By: Joycelyn Haywood, Marketing & Communications Manager
When I first took this job at Heart Gallery Alabama, I had no idea what to expect. I knew a little bit about the organization but nothing prepared me for how my life would be touched.
We’ve all heard the foster care horror stories but rarely do we hear the success stories. The perception of most Americans is that children in foster care are juvenile delinquents with behavioral issues. Of course, I was no exception. I didn’t know anything about adoption or foster care. Those were not subjects that were discussed around the dinner table.
Two weeks after starting at Heart Gallery, I attended my first photo shoot and my entire perception of these children changed. These were not juvenile delinquents. Most of these children are in foster care for reasons beyond their control – including neglect, abuse and abandonment. They are simply older children who no one has given a chance. They have the same basic needs as other children. They need safe and supportive environments. They need love. They need families.
Heart Gallery Alabama’s mission is to promote adoption of children currently in Alabama’s foster care system by recruiting professional photographers and videographers to take meaningful portraits and interviews that capture the individuality and personality of each child. After that photo shoot, I finally understood the importance of the mission.
I personally hope that after people watch our videos, their perception of children in foster care changes. I look back at my life and see all the support and love that I received and imagine how differently my life could have turned out if I did not have that system cheer me on in good times or pick me up during the bad times. I see so much potential in these children and I know all they need is the same thing.
My journey into the world of adoption was a real eye opener. Now I feel like it is my duty to use all my skills and resources to find these children families so they can have the same opportunities that I had and that my children have.