( all links open in new windows )
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Waiting Child Heart Gallery is on display on the first floor east hallway of the state Capitol building from Nov. 1, through Nov. 9, 2012. The gallery is a traveling photographic exhibit that was created to help find families for children in permanent custody.
Fifty of Oklahoma's finest photographers donated their time and talent to create beautiful black-and-white portraits of some of the hundreds of Oklahoma children who are waiting for adoption. The photos are displayed at various venues across the state and written comments from each photographer accompany each image. Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) photographers Caroline Miller and Kyle Chaufty have participated in this effort for several years.
KTUL News Channel 8 in Tulsa, Wendy's Wonderful Kids (a program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption), Apertures Photography and OKDHS are co-sponsors of the traveling exhibit. The powerful images and the stories behind them have helped hundreds of children and youth find adoptive families.
"Every pictures tells a story," says Linda C. Thomas, OKDHS Swift Adoption Services. "These children are waiting for a permanent home. Through no fault of their own, they came into custody because of abuse or neglect. These children need a family who can meet their needs."
Guy Larson of KTUL-TV in Tulsa brought the idea for the Waiting Child Heart Gallery to OKDHS after seeing a similar display in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2001. The following year, Oklahoma became the second state in the nation to offer its own gallery of portraits of children in permanent care. Each exhibit tours the state for two years. Thomas says each photograph serves as a reminder of the number of waiting children who are available for adoption.
To become an adoptive parent, you must be at least 21 years old and financially stable. You do not have to own your home and you can be single or married. OKDHS can help with the expenses associated with adoption through monthly adoption assistance for sibling groups, teenagers, and children with emotional, developmental or special needs.
For more information about adoption, call the Bridge Family Resource Center at 1-800-376-9727 or visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the OKDHS website.
Waiting Child Heart Gallery