As we move into our final week of Luck v. Faith, we are sharing with you a wonderful organization that brings foster children to forever families through photography. Barbara Schechter is the Executive Director of Heart Gallery. In addition to sharing about Heart Gallery, Barbara gives her comments on luck, faith and ministering to foster kids.
“I don’t attribute finding a forever family to luck because I do believe that God has a plan for each of us and that the Heart Gallery helps to carry out His plan for these children.” Barbara Schechter
Share a story of a child’s adoption that started with Heart Gallery. Is it possible that pure luck changed this child’s life? Do you see something deeper when you look at the whole picture of how the foster child and new family’s lives collided?
I’m attaching a story [below] that I wrote in a recent newsletter about the Scott family and how they came to adopt an 11-year-old girl named Kassandra. You can see God at work here, as each of these two parents were drawn separately to the same child’s photo. It also happened that Kassie had already been matched with another family when the Scotts first started considering adoption, but after their plans got postponed, Kassie’s original match did not work out and she was now available for the Scotts. When you see the three of them together, you get the sense that they were meant to be a family.
I don’t attribute finding a forever family to luck because I do believe that God has a plan for each of us and that the Heart Gallery helps to carry out His plan for these children. In Kassie’s case, the Scott’s would not have been able to adopt her when she was first available, but the ‘coincidence’ of her becoming available again made everything work out the way I think God intended. They are greatly blessed by becoming a family.
There are so many amazing success stories of children whose lives were transformed by finding the right ‘forever family’. But personally, I struggle with the reality that God’s plan for some includes subjection to often horrible parental abuse and then never finding their adoptive family. We do believe that the Heart Gallery is called to minister to the children who do not get adopted just as much as we facilitate transforming the lives of those children who do.
When the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale hosted the Heart Gallery exhibit during their famous Christmas Pageant in 2008, they incorporated a stirring message about foster children right into the show. Pageant Director John Jones and his family performed a song called ‘Christmas Home’ and made an appeal for people to consider bringing a foster child into their home. Photos of Heart Gallery children flashed on the screen behind them. There was hardly a dry eye in the room. One of those photos was of then-nine-year-old Kassandra. Little did they know that one day she would become a member of their own congregation.
On June 22, Kassandra, known as Kassie, was adopted by a young couple named Tim and Heather as their only child. She told Judge Porter, in front of a large group of friends and relatives, that she had “perfect parents”. Clearly, there was a lot of love in the room. There was also a feeling that these three people were meant to be together.
It all started with the Christmas Pageant. Tim and Heather, each volunteering at different performances, noticed Kassie’s photo in the Heart Gallery exhibit and each took a copy of her bio card. They had taken the MAPP classes to become foster parents but had not completed their home study. They were starting to consider adopting. When they discovered that they had each pulled the card of the same child, it was on their hearts to pursue her adoption. But it was not quite so simple. The possibility of a career move to another state, followed by extensive plumbing damage to their home that held up their home study, caused enough delay that another family was selected for Kassie. Still they continued to pray for her. With a repaired home, a decision to stay in the area and an adoptive home study in hand, they contacted ChildNet only to find that Kassie’s match did not result in an adoption and she was available again. The rest is history.
Kassie left her adoption finalization with her Heart Gallery photo in hand. The photographer, Courtney Ortiz, was there to see her receive it, along with the Executive Director, President and two founders of the Heart Gallery. To quote Senior Pastor Larry Thompson, who was also there to witness the occasion, “This adoption makes everything worth it!”
Read more about this story in the Hollywood Gazette . . .
If you are interested in getting involved with Heart Gallery, tune in for the rest of the week for more of Barbara Schechter’s interview. You can also visit www.heartgalleryofbroward.org or call or email Barbara directly. Tel: 954-918-3008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.