When Adoption Became Real: 3 Websites That Put Faces to the Foster Care Crisis


It feels like forever ago that my life was dramatically changed by adoption. I remember hearing about the foster care crisis and how few homes were available for kids in need. While the numbers tugged at my heartstrings and I hated the idea of any kid not having a place to call home, it didn’t resonate with me at the time.

Adoption and foster parenting didn’t become real to me until I was able to put a face to the crisis in our local communities, day in and day out. Connecting with other foster or adoptive families helped because I loved their kids. It was the first step toward putting a face on something as large and complex as the state foster care system.

But my own research was by far the most enlightening . . .

Did you know that you can see some of the children who are legally free for adoption in our state online? If you have been considering adoption or foster care and have been wondering if this is the right calling for you, I challenge you to flip through these websites. These are kids in need of a steady place to call home.

Adoption and foster care are likely to become more real for you, just like they did for me.

foster care crisis: two parents help a young girl with riding her bike.Websites Advocating for Children

1. South Carolina Heart Gallery

The South Carolina Heart Gallery features children who are legally free for adoption, divided by the geographical regions of the state foster care system. It has been around since 2005 and has helped match tons of kids with their waiting forever families. Their goal is to help families start the adoption process as well as foster connections between waiting families and kids in need.

You can request for your home study to be sent to a DSS Adoption worker to be screened as a match for the children listed here.

2. Department of Social Services Website

While the Heart Gallery is more limited in the children who are pictured, you will find a more comprehensive list of waiting children on the Department of Social Services website. You can filter by number of children (sibling groups are found here as well), age range, and gender.

These are not kids who are in the foster care system intending to reunify with their biological families. Instead, they are all children who are legally free and waiting for a forever family.

This can be an overwhelming look at the state of foster care and adoption in our state because it shows just how many children are waiting for a home well-suited to caring for them. While there is often a myth that people wait years for a placement, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are lots of waiting children, especially if you are open to older child adoptions.

3. Adopt US Kids

If you felt overwhelmed by the DSS website, it can be positively paralyzing to look at Adopt US Kids. This site compiles information on waiting children across the United States or filtered by our state, which makes it easier to place children in waiting homes. There are thousands of kids listed here for adoption, primarily older kids and teens.

Don’t let the idea of foster care and adoption pass you by if you feel your heart being tugged toward caring for a child in need. For those who need to make the foster care crisis real, I recommend looking through these websites to see if you could potentially open your home to one of these very real kids who need a place to stay.

While you may not be matched with the child you see, it’s a great place to start thinking about how you can get involved!


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