Hoping for a home

Two traveling displays highlight some of the nearly 800 children in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties who are waiting to be adopted. Many won't escape the foster care system until they are adults.

Published May 15, 2006

On Sunday in Floridian we told the story of Amy and Mike Chandler, who welcomed a 14-year-old foster child into their home in hopes of giving her and her baby a family. If you missed the story, you may read it at http://links.tampabay.com.

The adoption did not work out, despite the family's best intentions. But many adoptions do. Last year, for example, 261 foster children in Hillsborough found permanent homes. Seventeen were 15 or over, the hardest to place because most parents are looking for younger kids.

The need for loving, adoptive homes never goes away. In Hillsborough, about 500 foster children are available for adoption, and in Pinellas and Pasco the number is 300. Many will never be adopted and will stay in the foster care system until they're adults.

The Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay and the Heart Gallery of Pinellas and Pasco are traveling exhibits of photographs of children who need homes. Today we would like you to meet some of the kids featured in the galleries. You'll also find information about how to adopt a child or help in other ways.

- MIKE WILSON, assistant managing editor/Newsfeatures



Age: 15

Grade: 9

Best subjects: English, American government

Musical instruments: Drums, French horn

Favorite sport: Softball

Career goal: To be an attorney

Call: Hillsborough Kids Inc., (813) 643-5437



Age: 2

Loves: Flowers, butterflies, getting dressed up

Needs: Patient, compassionate parents able to tend to her medical needs

Call: Hillsborough Kids Inc., (813) 643-5437




Age: 12

Favorite sport: Football (she's one of two girls on her team)

Musical instruments: Xylophone, drums, recorder

Favorite movie: The Polar Express


Age: 15

Favorite sports: Track, football

Personality: Determined, optimistic

Both children want: To stay in touch with their older sister

Call: Hillsborough Kids Inc., (813) 643-5437



Age: 11

Happiness is: Watching cartoons

Favorite show: SpongeBob SquarePants

Best subjects: Gym, art

Favorite sport: Basketball


Age: 13

Perfect day: Pizza, macaroni and cheese, a game of hoops

Musical likes: Country, hip-hop

Musical instrument: Recorder

Call: Hillsborough Kids Inc., (813) 643-5437


Age: 14

Best subjects: Science, gym

Diversions: Movies, football, PlayStation

Favorite foods: Mexican, Chinese, seafood

Call: Safe Children Coalition of Pinellas and Pasco, (727) 456-0637.



Age: 14

Career goal: To be a lawyer or an actor

Favorite diversion: Movies


Age: 11

Career goal: To be a singer or dancer

Personality: Bubbly

Wish: To have parents "who will let me and my brother open at least one present on Christmas Eve."

Call: Safe Children Coalition of Pinellas and Pasco, (727) 456-0637.


Age: 7

Favorite musicians: Raven and the Cheetah Girls, Destiny's Child

Pastimes: GameBoy, dolls

Wish: To have a sister

Ideal family: One that "looks like her"

Call: Safe Children Coalition of Pinellas and Pasco, (727) 456-0637.


Age: 5

Perfect day: Busch Gardens

Favorite animal: American bald eagle

Would settle for: A dog

Pastime: Scribbling

Wish: Older brother or sister

Call: Safe Children Coalition of Pinellas and Pasco, (727) 456-0637.