Thursday, October 04, 2007

SC Heart Gallery

I shot photos for the SC Heart Gallery the other day, and tonight I worked on them in Photoshop. I'm done, and I can't seem to stop crying. It is a wonderful idea, taking photos of children who want to be in a family. As the photographers, we try to capture the essense of the child in a single black and white photo. The hope is that someone will see the photo in one of the Heart Center galleries or on line and will be able to imagine that child in his or her life.

There were 44 kids at the shoot. Forty-four local children who wanted to have a mommy and/or daddy enough that they risked spending the day with perfect strangers, smiling brightly and posing in hopes that eventually someone would pick them.

I wonder what they thought about on the ride over to the photo shoot. And, that night in bed before sleeping? Did they imagine a couple looking at their photo and saying to themselves, "oh, that boy is for us! He looks so smart and caring and I bet he would enjoy camping with us, too." Or, did they try to forget the possible meaning of the day and concentrate on something else?

This was not the first time for most of the children. I photographed a boy of thirteen, a girl who is fourteen, a boy around twelve and two young (and very energetic) boys. The two eldest stole my heart. What chances do they have of being adopted at this time in their lives?

I looked up an older child on line on the SC waiting child list and sent in an inquiry. How hard is it to adopt an older child? The response I got was curt - unbelievable, really, when you consider what is at stake. Some following up on my part revealed that it is not difficult to adopt locally, and it is next to free when compared with international adoption. And, the child has medical insurance even after she or he is adopted and often there is a monthly stipend to help the family afford another child - all the way through college. You can even foster first, to make sure the child fits within your family.

It seems doable. I will have to find out more. The thought of those precious kids I met going on their first date, learning to drive, picking a major in college, dealing with a mean boss - all without a mom or dad - it just rips me apart.