JFS Connecting Hearts

Forever Families for Children in Foster Care

Our mission is to find permanent, loving families for every child in central Virginia’s foster system through collaboration with agencies, families, and youth.

JFS Connecting Hearts guides families through the adoption process so children in foster care can find
permanent, loving families.

We work to find caring families and guide them through the adoption process so children in foster care can find permanent, loving families. We do this by sharing the stories and portraits of foster children, collaborating with other agencies, and educating prospective foster-to-adopt parents. Thank you for taking the first step towards finding a permanent, loving family for every child in Central Virginia!

More than 1,100 children in central Virginia are in foster care, many waiting to be adopted. Each and every child deserves a permanent, loving home!

ABOUT US

Why Foster-to-Adopt?

Page B. shares why she chose to foster-to-adopt:

“My husband and I got married late; it was a second marriage for both of us. We both really wanted another kid and started exploring adoption. Since we were older, we didn’t feel like it was the right thing for us to adopt an infant, so we adopted our daughter from foster care.

“Our daughter is an amazing kid. I didn’t give birth to her, but when she’s sad, I’m sad, and when she’s joyous, I’m joyous. Sometimes it’s challenging, but so is parenting any child. It’s tough, but it’s rewarding. There’s no difference in my relationship with her than if she were my biological child.”

Our Mission

JFS Connecting Hearts’ mission is to find permanent, loving families for every child in central Virginia’s foster system through collaboration with agencies, families, and youth.

Connecting Hearts' Founder

debbie

In August 2014, Debbie Johnston was appointed Virginia’s Adoption Champion by Governor Terry McAuliffe. An adoptee herself, Debbie is passionate about helping children find permanent, loving homes, and founded Connecting Hearts to fulfill that mission. She credits her success to her loving Virginia family who adopted her, believed in her, and gave her that basic human right: a family.

I’m passionate about this because I was adopted. I want all kids to get their own loving family for life.

Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   Adoptive Family Alliance   •   Match-to-Adopt Events   •   Adoption Awareness Month   •   The Bowling Ball   •   FAQ   •   Our Partners

denise

Contact: Denise Wise-David

If you are interested in becoming a foster or foster-to-adopt parent, would like to get involved in our organization, or want to share your foster care or adoption story, please do not hesitate to contact us!

[email protected] / 804-282-5644 ext. 280 / Facebook / Instagram

Alternatively, you may fill out the contact form below.

The Heart Gallery shares the stories and portraits of children in Virginia’s foster care system available for adoption. The photographs capture children’s spirit and individuality in order to connect them to families hoping to adopt.

The Heart Gallery uses the power of photography and storytelling to raise awareness about the children in foster care awaiting adoption.

Want to help?

If you own a local business and have a free table, wall space, or TV display, you can host the Heart Gallery! Even a counter where we can leave brochures can help us find families for every child in Virginia’s foster care system!

You can also host a link to our digital Heart Gallery on your business’s website! Fill out the contact form below to learn more and get involved.

Meet Children Waiting for Adoption

JFS Connecting Hearts hosts the Central Region Heart Gallery of Waiting Kids through the Fam-17-042 Grant Partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services.

kymon-1

Meet Kymon

Kymon is an active and respectful 12-year-old. He is in the 5th grade and works hard to do the best he can in his classes. He is resilient, outgoing, and has a strong attachment to his current foster family, whom he hopes to stay connected to. He is looking for his forever family that can provide him with structure and routine. He would do best in a family without pets or children around the same age.

samantha-1

Meet Sammie

Sammie is a smart and articulate 14-year-old with a bright smile. She enjoys being active and discovering new things by playing outside, riding her bike, swimming, and doing gymnastics. When home, Sammie enjoys puzzles, reading, and watching movies. After experiencing many moves, Sammie is ready to settle down with a supportive and committed family.

Click here to watch Sammie's video!

mark-1

Meet Mark

Mark is very kind and genuine. He enjoys writing stories and takes notes of things here and there to add to them. Mark likes to read; his favorite book is “The Trials of Apollo.” He has a vast vocabulary and is very inquisitive. Mark likes making crafts out of paper, playing with animals, and video games. Mark must be the youngest in the family and likes to follow a schedule as accurately as possible.

treazure-1

Meet Treazure

Treazure, she loves hamburgers, pasta and yes- broccoli! She finds joy in art, music and writing. Treazure loves to talk with people and has been described by others as being deeply caring. She will reach out to those she sees struggling and will try to help. Treazure enjoys joking around, having fun, watching movies, dancing, singing, talking and being “on the go.” Treazure is hoping to find a family who will commit to her and accept her for who she is.

latoya-1

Meet Latoya

Latoya is a bright and energetic girl. She loves school and is well liked by others due to her friendly demeanor. She is fun and outgoing and likes to play board games or any activity that involves running and jumping outdoors. Latoya also enjoys participating in gymnastics and dance classes. She will benefit from academic and emotional support.

traverious-1

Meet Traverious

Traverious is an active 8-year-old. He is respectful and gets along with other children. He has a great sense of humor and enjoys playing outside. He is looking for his forever family that can provide him with structure and routine. He would do best in a family without pets or children who are younger than he is.

josue-1

Meet Josue

Josue has an incredibly sweet personality and his smile will light up everyone in a room. He loves to listen to music and spend time with the people he cares about. Josue would flourish in a home that is knowledgeable and/or willing to learn about his unique medical needs. He would do well in a home that has a strong support system.

aangel-1

Meet Aangel

Aangel is very loving and has the brightest smile that can light up any room. She is always telling jokes to make other people laugh. She enjoys playing basketball and football, and wishes to play on a team someday. Aangel in an animal lover and truly enjoys having and caring for a pet of her own, especially a dog. Aangel enjoys playing UNO, board games, listening to music, and dining out.

damonte-1

Meet Damonte

Damonte is a pleasant, personable, 15-year-old currently in the 10th grade. He enjoys school, music, dancing, and basketball. He enjoys attending school and desires to play basketball for his high school. Damonte is soft spoken at first, but has a huge smile that is infectious once you get him talking. He is kind, and will be sure to make you laugh and smile with his wit and humor.

joseph-1

Meet Joseph

Joseph is an energetic young man who loves to go for walks on trails and interacting with the horses. Joseph loves to play sports such as basketball and works on punting a football a lot. His favorite football team is the Philadelphia Eagles. Joseph likes to collect sea shells and play outdoors. He is very polite with adults and to his peers. He is searching for a family that can love him wholeheartedly.

Rashawn

Meet Rashawn

Rashawn enjoys drawing and is quite artistic and creative; he also enjoys music. His favorite subject in school is science. Rashawn is playful and has a bubbly personality. He loves gardening and is currently growing kale, collard greens, cabbage, and mint along with other plants and flowers. His favorite colors are neon pink and neon blue. Rashawn loves reptiles (except for snakes) and large dogs. He enjoys journaling and spending time outside.

tyiana-1

Meet Tyiana

Tyiana loves to cook, and has many specialties! Having a clean and well organized environment is important to her and makes her feel calm and peaceful. She is very playful and loves to laugh with her friends, and her greatest memories are made doing fun activities. She enjoys going shopping and getting her nails and hair done. She is looking for a family that has older brothers and sisters that she can look up to and become friends with.

malik-1

Meet Malik

Malik gets excited about going to play outside. He loves to play football and basketball. A casual family game of football in the backyard or park would be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Malik also enjoys working with his hands, such as woodworking and building furniture. He hopes to take family trips to parks, zoos, and maybe even on safari because he is fascinated with animals. His affinity for animals has inspired him to want to own a farm one day.

Click here to watch Malik's video!

montasia-1

Meet Montasia

Montasia is fun and full of life. She is very talented and enjoys singing and dancing. Montasia is very creative, she loves recording her own songs. She is very successful academically, is engaged in every aspect of her recruitment, and is overall optimistic and upbeat. Montasia is open to meeting new families and has even written down characteristics of her potential family!

Alyssa

Meet Alyssa

Alyssa has a special place in her heart for animals and owns four pet fish. Alyssa loves to watch cartoons, and she loves princess movies. She is sweet, thoughtful, intelligent and kind. Alyssa likes to be inside doing crafts, knitting and crocheting. She is also a very talented artist, and enjoys painting and drawing and being able to get creative. Alyssa would benefit from joining a family that can bond with her over her love of pets, and provide her with the support and structure necessary for her to make the most of her future.

Isaac

Meet Isaac

Isaac is a funny, charismatic, and playful young man. He is 14 years old, loves to play video games, and enjoys interacting with his friends on XBOX Live.  When he’s not gaming, he enjoys watching television, playing sports, and playing games with others. Isaac loves wide-open spaces and would love a home with some room to grow!  He would do exceptionally well with a single mother.

Ronald

Meet Ronald

Ronald is a funny, energetic kid who loves being active in the outdoors, especially if there's water involved! He is curious and intelligent and loves to play and learn new games with his friends and with parental figures. He enjoys helping others and he is very good at clearly expressing his emotions. He would excel in a family that is very active, a little silly at times, caring and patient. 

grayson1

Meet Grayson

Grayson is a sweet child with a big personality. He is supportive, caring, and compassionate. He enjoys playing video games, dancing, and being outside. Grayson also loves playing sports, especially baseball, football, and basketball. He also loves reading comic books, and his favorite superhero is Spiderman. Grayson has expressed that he would like to be a part of a family that likes to have fun and does not treat him differently than other children.

Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   Adoptive Family Alliance   •   Match-to-Adopt Events   •   Adoption Awareness Month   •   The Bowling Ball   •   FAQ   •   Our Partners

denise

Contact: Denise Wise-David

If you are interested in becoming a foster or foster-to-adopt parent, would like to get involved in our organization, or want to share your foster care or adoption story, please do not hesitate to contact us!

[email protected] / 804-282-5644 ext. 280 / Facebook / Instagram

Alternatively, you may fill out the contact form below.

ADOPTIVE FAMILY ALLIANCE

Begin Your Foster-to-Adopt Journey

The mission of the Adoptive Family Alliance is to support families throughout their adoption journey with peer support, education, and mentorship. The Adoptive Family Alliance is open to all adoptive families in Virginia. Members receive access to:

  • Electronic newsletters
  • Webinars and podcasts
  • Support groups
  • Mentors
  • Educational and social activities
  • Opportunities to support adoption in Virginia

Once you join the Adoptive Family Alliance, you will receive a welcome email with information on how you can engage with us! You will find opportunities for educational supports, peer support, mentoring activities, and events for you and your family to engage in alongside other adoptive families in Virginia.

Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   Adoptive Family Alliance   •   Match-to-Adopt Events   •   Adoption Awareness Month   •   The Bowling Ball   •   FAQ   •   Our Partners

MATCH-TO-ADOPT EVENTS

 Connecting Families and Children

Match-to-Adopt events provide an opportunity for prospective adoptive parents to learn about adoption and children waiting for their forever homes. Our matching process focuses on educating families about the adoption process and the specific needs of children hoping to be adopted, as well as protecting the dignity of children through the process.

We invite you to view the Heart Gallery, which highlights children hoping to be adopted. We will feature a virtual tour of children's videos being added to the profiles soon.

When families express their interest in pursuing adoption, we bring together the families, including the child's current fostering families, and Foster-to-Adopt workers to share information about the adoption process, the needs of children, and to address the families' questions.

Our next step is to create fun social environments for families and children to come together and learn more about one another in a relaxed atmosphere.

Once the Foster-to-Adopt worker, families, and child have decided to pursue an adoption, the Foster-to-Adopt worker will begin supporting the family and child through the adoption process.

Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   Adoptive Family Alliance   •   Match-to-Adopt Events   •   Adoption Awareness Month •  The Bowling Ball •  FAQ •  Our Partners

ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH

A Hand to Hold

November is Adoption Awareness Month! Since 2015, JFS Connecting Hearts has celebrated with the “A Hand to Hold” campaign in partnership with WTVR CBS 6. Every day in November, CBS 6 features a child or sibling group in foster care awaiting adoption in central Virginia on Virginia This Morning, the evening news, and their website and social media outlets.

The goal of the campaign is to find these 30 children forever homes, but also to raise awareness about the other 1,100 children in need of permanent, loving homes who aren’t featured.

The awareness campaign’s reach has grown every year! In 2019, CBS 6 featured 31 children and sibling groups, and 153 families reached out to JFS Connecting Hearts to learn more about adopting them. Social media is a major component of “A Hand to Hold”: CBS 6 shares children’s stories on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. In 2019, the posts garnered more than 13,000 likes, 15,000 shares and 23,000 video views in Richmond and beyond.

Below is one of last year's features!

Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   Adoptive Family Alliance   •   Match-to-Adopt Events   •   Adoption Awareness Month •  The Bowling Ball •  FAQ •  Our Partners

THE BOWLING BALL

Fun for a Cause

JFS Connecting Hearts hosted the inaugural Bowling Ball on November 7, 2019 at River City Roll. Part awareness-raiser, part fundraiser, and all fun, the Bowling Ball raised $35,000 to find forever homes for children in foster care. The evening’s speakers shared insights and stories about the foster care system, and pictures of Virginia children awaiting adoption were arranged around the room. After the short program, the band tuned up and guests ate, drank, danced, and bowled!

The generous sponsors of the 2019 Bowling Ball included: WTVR CBS 6, Debbie Johnston, the Sharp Family Foundation, Hirschler Flesicher, Mark and Melissa Christian, New Market, the Promo Department, Shelley and Richard Birnbaum, Homewatch Caregivers of Richmond, John and Junie Myers, Taylor Made for You, Dr. James Burke, Good Neighbor, Ron and Benita Felmus, Sandy Sisisky, Owen & Owens, Susan Brewer, the Lewis Group of BB&T Scott & Stringfellow, Virginia Properties – a Long & Foster Company, Magic Quote, Woody Funeral Home, Marsha and Jay Olander, and BB&T Wealth.

The Second Annual Bowling Ball is October 29, 2020 at River City Roll!

Do you or your business want to help children in foster care find their forever families? By sponsoring the Bowling Ball, you can! Please click here to learn more about the sponsorship packages and download the commitment form.

Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   Adoptive Family Alliance   •   Match-to-Adopt Events   •   Adoption Awareness Month •  The Bowling Ball •  FAQ •   Our Partners

denise

Contact: Denise Wise-David

If you are interested in becoming a foster or foster-to-adopt parent, would like to get involved in our organization, or want to share your foster care or adoption story, please do not hesitate to contact us!

[email protected] / 804-282-5644 ext. 280 / Facebook / Instagram

Alternatively, you may fill out the contact form below.

FAQ

Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   Adoptive Family Alliance   •   Match-to-Adopt Events   •   Adoption Awareness Month •  The Bowling Ball •  FAQ •  Our Partners

OUR PARTNERS

WTVR CBS 6

Since 2015, JFS Connecting Hearts has celebrated with the “A Hand to Hold” campaign in partnership with WTVR CBS 6. Every day in November, CBS 6 features a child or sibling group in foster care awaiting adoption in central Virginia on Virginia This Morning, the evening news, and their website and social media outlets.

Change Who Waits

We work with Change Who Waits on photo shoot events to get high quality photos of kids in foster care who are available for Foster-to-Adopt. Check out their website to see the photos and videos of kids in our state who need a forever family!

One Church One Child

We work with Once Church Once Child on photo shoot events to get high quality photos of kids in foster care who are available for Foster-to-Adopt.

Einstein Bagel Bros

Einstein Bagel Bros has been a yearly participant in our Foster-to-Adopt Educational Campaigns in order to spread the necessary awareness needed to recruit prospective foster and adoptive families for Virginia’s children!

Michelle Jones

Ms. Jones is a local business owner with a passion for helping kids from hard places and encouraging others to do the same. She and her business partner own Beer Bingo and are always ready to lend a hand to help kids in foster care.

River City Roll

We partner with River City Roll for Match Events and our Bowling Ball Event.

Abundant Life Church of Christ

Abundant Life Church of Christ will be participating in a “One Faith One Child” Campaign in support of Connecting Heart's mission. ALCC's Pastor Gary Foreman has even chosen to begin the Foster-to-Adopt process himself.

Heart Gallery Hosts

Amazing Grace World Fellowship
Ashland Coffee and Tea Cafe
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
Candela’s
Children's Museum of Richmond
Christian Life Church
Clover Hill Assembly of God
Epiphany Catholic Church
Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Harvest Church RVA
Heritage Public Library
Journey Christian Church
Launch Jump Park
Manchester YMCA
Mechanicsville Branch Library
Mt. Gilead Church
New Direction Church
Omni Hotel Charlottesville
Painting with a Twist
Providence Presbyterian Church
Randolph Community Center
Synapse Social Richmond
Weinstein JCC
West End BNI
Western Henrico Rotary
WHIMBY
Woodlake United Methodist Church
521 Biscuit