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Heart Gallery Uses Photos to Create Forever Families

5:37 PM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The click of a camera and the flash of a bulb could open the door to a new life for foster children in South Carolina.

That is how it happened for 13-year-old Makala Vosburgh.

"You're kidding me right, you're joking, this can't seriously be happening to me," recalled Makala of her reaction when she found out a family was interested in adopting her.

She had been in the foster care system for about eight years and was initially skeptical that a photo shoot would actually connect her with a family. Now, two years later, she has celebrated one year with Lisa and Ralph Vosburgh.

"I felt really, really happy, I think this was the first time in a really long time, that I actually felt true happiness," said Vosburgh.

The Vosburghs had already raised children, but Lisa says something about Heart Gallery moved them.

"It would just tug at my heart, and Ralph and I were empty nesters and we just said we have a home, we have the experience, and we would like to do that again," said Lisa Vosburgh.

Now Makala enjoys returning to Heart Gallery events to encourage other children and show them their dreams of having a family of their own can come true.

Heart Gallery creates opportunities for foster children to find forever homes with the help of volunteer professional photographs.

The pictures are then displayed online and a different locations throughout the state.

Photographer Mike Baker has volunteered his time to capture the faces and personalities of children for the last three years. After a similar experience growing up, he says knows the importance of the program.

"When a wannabe parent, or an adult sees that child, sees that love in those eyes, sees possibly the need in those eyes, it just helps make that connection, establish that connection," said Baker, who traveled from York to Columbia to photograph children Monday.

Since 2011 more than 100 children featured in Heart Gallery have found families, and for the Vosburghs, seeing those pictures of Makala solidified what they had asked God for.

"That really was how we fell in love with her at first. We saw her picture and we had her picture in fact when she first came to the house, her picture was everywhere," said Lisa Vosburgh, laughing.

"To just end up with the perfect parents, it's an amazing experience and I love both of them, because they've done so much for me and they've provided me with a good home and a foundation," said Makala. "It's been really great." 

For more information about Heart Gallery, how it works and how you can welcome a child into your family, you can visit them online at www.SCHeartGallery.org.

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