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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Louisville photographers spotlight children waiting to be adopted

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, July 06, 2005  
Contact Information:  Lynda Price, (502) 551-9419; Karen McKiernan,(502) 595-5643; or Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 6, 2005) – Shopping with her caseworker last holiday season, foster child Kimberly Nicole asked the woman, “Do you know what I want for Christmas?” Her worker replied that she did not.

The girl said, “A family.”

For this 12-year-old and about 400 other Kentucky foster children, the gift of a permanent family would end months waiting for adoption.

A photo exhibit opening today in Louisville is designed to help find loving homes for children like Kimberly Nicole and raise awareness about the state’s steady need for adoptive families.

The Shining Star Photo Gallery II premiered today with a reception at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. It is the continuation of an effort begun last year.

Twenty-one professional area photographers donated their time and talent to create the portraits of children and sibling pairs from the state’s Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP) who are living in foster care across the state. Twenty-three children are featured.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and WLKY “Wednesday’s Child” -- a nonprofit organization that promotes adoption -- are cosponsors of the display.

The children, photographers and organizations that displayed last year’s portrait collection were recognized at the reception.

Mike Robinson of the cabinet’s Department for Community Based Services acknowledged that the state’s roster of available adoptive families far outpaces its need.

“Sadly, we always have children waiting in the wings for safe, loving homes,” he said. “But we can improve their chances of adoption through projects like this gallery. These moving portraits show the true ‘face’ of SNAP and encourage more families to explore adoption.”
 
The children featured in the portraits – with diverse ages, interests and backgrounds -- are a good representation of who SNAP works to find homes for, Robinson said.

Many SNAP children may be considered more difficult to adopt because they are older, have medical needs or are part of sibling group.

Last year, the Shining Star Photo Gallery traveled to Louisville churches, businesses and cultural events. It also traveled statewide to adoption fairs, cabinet offices and the Capitol. Its biggest audience was at the Kentucky State Fair.

The original Shining Star display concluded with several happy endings.

From last year’s collection of 19 portraits, five children, including one sibling pair, have been or are in the process of being adopted.

Robinson called that a victory for the children and their new families.

“Collaborations like this gallery will continue as long as they are successful in reaching the families who may be considering adoption, but just need a little more encouragement,” he said.

The gallery will be on display at the Kentucky Center for the Arts through Wednesday, July 13.

Businesses can schedule the Shining Star Gallery II to make a stop at their locations by contacting WLKY Wednesday’s Child Executive Director Lynda Price at (502) 551-9419.

Photographers contributing to the exhibit are: Paula Ahrens, Bruce Anderson, Clinton Bennett, Geoff Carr, Bruce Cook, Laura Faber, Weasie Gaines Photography, John P. Gleason, Karen Herold, Vivian Knox-Thompson, Dean Lavenson, James Moses, David Modica, John Nation, Patrick Pfister, Debra Rose, Regina Thomas, Sam Upshaw, Keith Williams, Martha Work and Yono.

Since 1979, SNAP has recruited adoptive families for Kentucky’s waiting foster children. The children have been featured on WLKY’s “Wednesday’s Child” in Louisville, on WLEX’s “Thursday’s Child” in Lexington, in the SNAP photo book and on the SNAP Web page.

To learn more about adoption and SNAP, log onto www.chfs.ky.gov/snap or www.wednesdayschild.com.  Or call the cabinet at (800) 232-KIDS to request an information packet.
         
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Last Updated 7/6/2005