Heart Gallery shines a light on the need for foster care in Oklahoma

Through the entrance of the First United Bank at 315 E. Dewey is a photographic gallery of children, preteens, and teenagers, that at first glance appears to be a pleasant collection of bright-eyed kids from the community. The kids come in all colors, shapes, and sizes.

The one thing they have in common: they’re all available for adoption.

Currently, there are as many as 7,453 kids in DHS custody, and 145 are available to be adopted right now in Creek County. Seventeen of those children have been placed in another county because of the lack of foster homes in this county. As many as 38 of those kids have been separated from their siblings in foster care due to the lack of foster homes.

Through the end of April, you’ll be able to visit First United Bank on Dewey and see their smiling faces for yourself, and learn more about how you can help. It’s easier than you might think.

This gallery at the First United Bank branch on Dewey shows just a few of the 147 children available for foster or adoption in Creek County.

“I was surprised about all the different options there are for fostering,” said First United Bank representative Rhoda Thompson, during an interview on Wednesday afternoon. “There’s your traditional foster care, but there are also specialized foster care programs for those [kids] who have a primary diagnosis of intellectual disabilities and qualify for Developmental Disabilities Services, or therapeutic foster care for those with special psychological, social, behavioral, and emotional needs who thrive in a family setting, but require more intensive or therapeutic services than those for traditional foster care.”

You can also see the gallery online and find out more information about those available for adoption at oklahomaheartgallery.com

Foster care needs are as varied as the children in the gallery. Programs are in place or underway to assist with certain special cases, such as Hispanic children, or certified tribal foster homes.

First United Bank and CTX Coffee (114 E. Dewey) are also participating in a pillowcase drive to collect pillowcases to hand out to children who need to be removed from their home to get them out of what might be an unsafe situation. The children can gather their belongings that they want to take with them as they are placed under the care of DHS. Thompson said that any new pillowcases can be dropped off, but members of Sapulpa Nazarene Church and First Christian Church had made over fifty custom pillowcases with kid-friendly colors and designs and will be giving them to the drive, as well.

“There’s so much more that we could do,” Thompson says. She said discussions are in the works to assist in other ways as well, including care packages and other needs for those in foster care.

The gallery will be available to see Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm through the end of April. You can learn more about Oklahoma Fosters and see what options are available at okfosters.org. 

New pillowcases can be dropped off at First United Bank and CTX Coffee through the end of the month. 

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Micah Choquette

Micah Choquette

Micah is the Owner and Publisher of Sapulpa Times.