Heart Gallery prompts adoption queries

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After the community was peppered with photographs of Maine children needing permanent homes, several families made inquiries about becoming adoptive parents. That was the point of the emotion-inducing campaign.

The poster project, created by the organization A Family for ME, was meant to compel people who saw a photograph of the child, as they went about their errands, to imagine becoming a foster or adoptive parent.

During April, 150 businesses in the Oxford Hills region hung up photographs in their lobbies or waiting rooms. The Norway-Paris Kiwanis Club was helpful in getting the word out and encouraging businesses to participate, Liz Herringbone of A Family for Me said Wednesday.

“It was absolutely successful,” Herringbone said. “The majority of families called about the process of becoming an adoptive/foster family, but some called about the specific kids in the Heart Gallery.”

According to A Family for ME, which recruits parents, 156 kids in Maine need to be adopted. The Heart Gallery is one of its publicity campaigns, and it has targeted many communities with the strategy around the state since November 2003.

Phil Dubois, the secretary of the Kiwanis Club, said he will be organizing an informational meeting for interested parents in the area soon.

Herringbone said the number of businesses that responded to the poster blitz was striking, and included hair dressers, doctor’s offices, a tire business and a couple of general stores.

“We’ve never had the Heart Gallery in that area; it was really a grand project,” she said. “It was really spearheaded by Phil and the Kiwanis Organization. Had they not done the legwork they did, it wouldn’t have been as grand.”

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