FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 7, 2017



Somer Flowers, SC Heart Gallery Foundation Board Member





The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates the Angels in Adoption® Program, will honor Greenvillian Clark Smith at an awards ceremony on September 26 and gala on September 27 in Washington, D.C.

Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) congratulated Mr. Smith for his outstanding advocacy as Chairman of South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation.

“Congratulations to our Angel in Adoption, Clark Smith, Chairman of the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation. Through his passion for video production and his heart for foster children, he has opened the door for hundreds of families looking into adoption. His impact on the lives of South Carolina’s foster care community is immeasurable.”

“The Angels in Adoption® Program is a unique annual opportunity in the nation’s Capital to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the power of adoption and the unspoken heroes who have made the dream of a family a reality for children. Since the program’s inception, over 2,600 Angels have come to Washington to share their firsthand adoption experiences with Members of Congress, highlighting its joys, as well as the barriers encountered in the process,” said Becky Weichhand, Executive Director at CCAI.

Clark Smith is being honored because his extensive background in video production, business development, and marketing has made an incredible impact on children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted. Clark has chaired the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, since January 2009.  The Foundation provides media and marketing support for the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which recruits adoptive families for children in foster care. In 2014, Clark began filming live interviews with the children who attended Heart Gallery photo shoots. The ability to virtually meet the children led to a significant increase in child-specific inquiries, as well as to hundreds more potential families applying to adopt. Many foster children have been matched with their forever family simply as a result of the video interview Clark facilitated.

The Angels in Adoption® Program is CCAI’s signature public awareness event and provides an opportunity for all members of the U.S. Congress to honor the good work of their constituents who have enriched the lives of foster children and orphans in the United States and abroad. This year, more than 120 “Angels” are being honored through the Angels in Adoption® Program.

The Angels in Adoption® Program was established in 1999 as a Congressional press conference to honor outstanding individuals. Since then, the program has developed into a yearlong public awareness campaign, culminating in an extraordinary awards gala and celebration in Washington, D.C.

CCAI does not receive any government funding and relies on the generous support of foundations, corporations, and individuals to accomplish this mission. For more information, visit



Unconditional Love

“I’m not asking for much…I just want a family that will take care of me and love me.”


MoniqueWe hear this over and over again from children in foster care who are available to be adopted. When asked what they are looking for in a family, you’ll never hear them say “lots of money”, or “a big house and awesome car.” You’ll probably never even hear them request a family or a certain race or parents of a certain age.


All these children want is to be loved…unconditionally.


And are they really asking too much? We don’t think so. Unconditional love something we all seek—both in our family and romantic relationships. Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are, not what they do or don’t do.


National-Adoption-MonthNovember is National Adoption Awareness Month, and we believe the perfect time to talk about what love means to children in foster care.


Imagine going through life wondering when you’re going to make the mistake that causes your family to kick you out. For many children in foster care, this has been their reality over and over again, as they’ve moved from one temporary home and family to another. These children deserve permanency and stability; they deserve unconditional love.


Spend a moment with our videos of children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted, and pay special attention to what they are looking for in a family. More often than not, they’re not looking for much: just to be loved and cared for.


The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.


Adoption isn’t scary…well, maybe a little


This week may be the only time of year when it’s acceptable to scare people; it may even be encouraged. Child-sized ghosts, goblins and witches will likely roam your streets this coming Friday in attempt—albeit imaginary—to instill fear in their neighbors in exchange for a sweet treat.


So, in the spirit of this “fear-filled” holiday, let’s embrace the emotion when it comes to adoption. Because, if you’re considering adopting a child from foster care, you’re probably already a little nervous…and rightfully so! Navigating the child welfare system, birth parents and the sometimes challenging behaviors of adopted children can be overwhelming. Here are some common adoption-related fears:


You may be scared of your home-study appointment. One prospective mother posted this on an online adoption forum:


“I have spent countless hours scrubbing down the house, setting up ournursery, and prepping our dogs for the children we hope to someday help. But no matter how many books I read, articles I highlight or calls to our agency, I can’t get the stress to stop. What if I forgot something from the inspection checklist? What if our dogs are too hyper for our inspector? What if the apartment is too small?” 


Or, you may have fears about how to tell your friends and family, such this adoptive mother:


“I can’t seem to imagine calling my mom on the phone and telling her ‘Hey mom, how’s the weather?  Really, that’s great.  By the way, we just started the process to become adoptive parents.  And we’re adopting an older child, not a baby.  So, how’s work?’” 


Our—and this may be the toughest fear to admit—you may even be scared of your own feelings toward your adoptive child. But, you wouldn’t be the first, as expressed by this prospective parent:

“My biggest concern is…looking at my child and thinking “That’s not really my child.” I’m scared I’m going to compare my adoptive child to biological nieces and nephews and think that he/she is really not part of the family. I am scared of watching my child do something and thinking “He/she gets that from me…but not really because he/she isn’t mine.”


Regardless of what you’re afraid about adopting, know that your feelings and emotions are normal. Countless of other prospective adoptive parents before you have had the same concerns. After all, you’re bringing a new person into your family—someone with their own feelings, beliefs and personality. It’s a scary thing! But, it’s also a pretty awesome and beautiful thing at the same time.


The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.