The Heart Gallery aids children in need

By Rebecca Lane - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Approximately 1,000 children in Arkansas need to be adopted.  A project in Region 8 is aiming to find them their forever families.

'There are kids that want to be loved," Kathy Gott, of Jonesboro, explains, "and there's a lot of people who want to love kids."

Kathy and her husband Shawn Gott officially adopted their son, Jonas, on July 30th of this year.  They said they had decided years ago they wanted to adopt.  They went to the Adoption Coalition, here in Jonesboro, for help.  Last September, they met Jonas for the first time.

"He's a straight-a student," the proud pop, Shawn, brags, "he does really well in school and is a joy."

Jonas' story is a success story.  Nationwide, there are around 500,000 children cycled in and out of the foster care program every day.

Amy Harris, director of the LOVED Project, feels it is her mission to find homes for children in need. LOVED Project stands for "living our values every day." One outreach from the LOVED Project is the Heart Gallery Display.  This traveling display showcases children from surrounding areas who need to be adopted. Local photographers offer their services free of charge to capture photos of a child needing a family.  Once a child is chosen, the potential adoptive parent places a heart next to the picture.  Harris explains that it is a great feeling when seeing a heart next to a picture, but realizes that it's just one of many without.

"Those we're all very grateful for," she explains, "There's more pictures, more children that do not have that."

One obstacle she admits the system faces is getting older children adopted.  She says most people look to adopt younger children, believing the older ones come with too much baggage.  This way of thinking, according to Harris, is dangerous.

"You're almost sealing their fate," she warns, saying it can be too late when they turn 18 and are out of the system without ever knowing stability.

Harris advises if anyone is interested in adopting to take the time, go through the proper procedures.  It is a lot of work, but it's definitely worth it.  Just ask the Gotts.

"It hasn't been easy.  It's a lot of work, but we're a complete family now. He completed us."

For more information about how you can get involved in either adopting or mentoring a child go to the LOVED project website:

The Heart Gallery Display is moving to the Shady Grove Baptist Church in Piggott beginning Monday, August 30th.  It will be on display throughout the entire month of September.

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