Have you seen us on TV?

Even as a supporter of the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation and advocate for children in foster care, I still get goose bumps every time I see one of our commercials on TV.

 

Have you seen them? If not, make sure you check them out on our website or Vimeo.

 

TV commercials are a vital, strategic channel for us to spread the word that over 690 children in South Carolina are currently waiting to be adopted. Thanks to the expertise of our Board of Directors, our commercials are seeing a tremendous impact in the number of families who are contacting the South Carolina Heart Gallery about adopting a child.

 

In fact, the South Carolina Department of Social Services recently announced the adoptions of 1,798 children since 2011—a 50 percent increase—and a reduction in the number of older foster children who choose to leave their families once they turn 18.

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation started running commercials across the state in early 2012. Think that’s a coincidence? Neither do we.

 

We’re proud of both the impact our commercials are having and the frequency they are being aired. Thanks to the generosity of our partner stations, our advertising funds are going a long way in spreading the message of our waiting children to more and more prospective families.

 

We’ve estimated that just from October to December 2013, our commercials had over 2.5 million gross impressions across the state. That’s a lot of people hearing our message!

 

So to both our partner TV stations and our supporters who make these commercials possible, we say THANK YOU!

 

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 Children’s Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

An Adoption Story: Tori Sizemore, Miss SC Teen USA 2013

Growing up in Anderson, SC, with three younger biological brothers, Tori always wanted a sister. She begged her parents to consider adopting a little girl, but they remained undecided—until their phone rang early one morning. A family friend, who happened to be an adoption attorney, was on the other line. She said that a little girl needed a home—that same day—and asked if the family would consider adopting her. They took it as a sign and agreed. Later that afternoon, Tori and her parents picked up the newest member of their family.

 

Tori immediately took to her little sister and became like her second mother. Today, she can’t imagine life without her.

“I knew what my family had to offer a little girl, but what I didn’t expect was how much love and joy she would bring to us. That’s the incredible thing about adoption—you are blessed just as much as you are a blessing,” Tori said.

 

A few years later, Tori’s family expanded once again through another adoption—this time twin girls. Tori, who once could only dream of having a little sister, now had three.

 

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Photo courtesy of Amanda Ferguson

 

During her junior year of high school, Tori decided to participate in a pageant to help her overcome her stage fright. She was a natural and, after a few more pageants, was crowned Miss South Carolina Teen USA 2013. During her reign, Tori worked tirelessly for her platform of “educating, inspiring, and equipping families to impact the next generation through foster care and adoption.”

 

Now a freshman at Anderson University, Tori is settling into life as a typical college student, while still being close enough to home to stay involved in her siblings’ lives. In December, she graciously appeared in a commercial for the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation, continuing her advocacy for our state’s waiting children.

“I am thrilled that I have found a new way to further the cause of adoption with the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation,” Tori says. “This organization is a fantastic representation of the impact caring individuals have and will make in the lives of so many foster children, and I am grateful to be a part of it!”

 

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 Children’s Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

In Her Own Words: Cinco de Mami

There are dozens of fantastic blogs out there by adoptive parents who are willing and eager to tell their stories. One of our newfound favorites is “Cinco de Mami,” a mother of five children: two adopted from Guatemala and three from foster care. Her blog is insightful, down-to-earth, and a little bit funky.

 

One thing that “Mami” does especially well is reinforcing that no family’s adoption or parenting story is the same. In a blog post on May 12, 2013, she shares some insight into her own journey:

 

We didn’t set out to adopt five children. But I am so thankful that we have.

 

When I was growing up, I didn’t babysit like all my friends. I found it boring and I wasn’t particularly fond of children. It wasn’t until the eighth grade that I fell in love with my first baby. My sister had a baby girl, and I wanted nothing more than to spend time with her. She had 3 more, and my brother had a baby.  I loved all these girls, and volunteered to babysit them at every opportunity. But,…the idea of being a Mother evaded me.

 

My ‘life paper’ I had to write for my senior year of high school included lots of travel, a successful career, perhaps a husband, but any hints at maternal matters was missing.

 

While my friends began to have children, and grow their families, I moved around a lot.(Hawaii, LA, San Diego and NYC).

 

It wasn’t until my late 30′s that I began to think about motherhood, and eventually made a conscious decision to become parents…we discussed the HOW of it…”well let’s see what happens first adoption or pregnancy”, and at the age of 40, we became parents through adoption.

 

Everyday I hear ‘Five? Oh my gosh, how do you do it?” I laugh to myself, because the truth is five really hasn’t been all that different from just two. Yes, there is some juggling and I have had to learn to be a bit more organized, but that is about it. It works for our family.

 

Read more from this adoptive mother at http://cincodemami.com/