Heart Gallery Displays:
July 1 - July 31, 2009 - Solana Beach Library
October 16 - November 20, 2009 - Fletcher Hills Library

Most parents have hundreds, if not thousands, of photos of their children in this age of digital cameras. Children in foster care, though, often have no one to document their milestones as they move from place to place, waiting to find a Forever Family. That's where the Adopt 8 Heart Gallery steps in, hoping to fill a void for some of San Diego's foster care children while also using beautiful portraits to help find permanent homes for these kids.

While local portrait photographer Luci Dumas captures Eric's fantastic smile through her lens, she's also looking to showcase something much deeper.

"My goal is to capture an essence of a child so that you feel like you know who they are," Luci said. "Each of us has our own individual personality and soul, so that's what I'm always looking for, like a little detective - OK, I know you're in there."

Luci Dumas, Lisa Peirce and several other local professional photographers are volunteering their time and talents for San Diego County Adoptions Heart Gallery. The portraits of these children will be featured at various locations across the county.

"About 10 years ago I just was struck with the need to give back and for me, because I have a heart for children, I'm a children's photographer, it was the perfect opportunity and the perfect vessel for me to help kids not only get homes, but also to have portraits of themselves, so they can see themselves and how special they are and how important they are," Luci said.

Many children who are waiting for their Forever Families go through several placements and transitions, and ultimately may not have a lot of nice photos of their childhood.

"A lot of kids, maybe the portraits don't follow them if they go somewhere else," Luci said.

So not only do these portraits provide an opportunity for potential parents to spot a child who may be a perfect fit for their family, the photos are also something beautiful that the child can keep forever. It's a glimpse of a moment in time when life was uncertain, with the goal to have it displayed in a home of their own one day soon.

"They're part of our history, and for me, also capturing the history of these children for them as well as their families that hopefully every one of these will get wonderful families is just... you know, it's just great to know I can do that for them," Luci said.

If you'd like to learn more about the adoption process in San Diego County, please call 1 (877)-I-ADOPT-U and visit cbs8.com's Adopt 8 Page to see the children and success stories we've featured.

We'd also like to thank all of the local photographers who have volunteered to work on this ongoing project through the years, including Luci Dumas, Lisa Peirce and Huy Nguyen.