JFS Connecting Hearts

Forever Families for Children in Foster Care

Our mission is to find foster, adoptive, and kinship 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 recruit and retain foster, adoptive, and kinship families 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!


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 foster, adoptive, and kinship families for every child in central Virginia’s foster system through collaboration with agencies, families, and youth.

Connecting Hearts' Founder

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   •   JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance   •   Calendar   •   Adoption Awareness Month   •   The Bowling Ball   •   FAQ   •   Our Partners


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-20-093 Grant Partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services.

Meet Michael

Michael is a 10-year-old boy that loves life. He wakes up happy and ready for every new day! Animals, Legos, and superheroes are some of his favorite things. You may find him also spending his free time climbing trees, being a secret spy, counting Pokémon cards, or target shooting with his favorite Nerf gear. He has a great imagination and loves to make people laugh. Toby Mac or country is his favorite music.

Click here to watch Michael's video!

Meet Isaac

Isaac is a funny, charismatic, and playful young man. He is 15 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.

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.

Meet Cordell

Cordell is a sweet, loving, and expressive young man. He is 10 years old, loves playing his Sega Genesis video game, transformer action figures, and loves dinosaurs. Cordell enjoys riding his bike, playing with his friends, and doing arts and crafts. Cordell loves helping others and carrying on fun conversations. Cordell would do exceptionally well in a two-parent household and loves dogs.

Click here to watch Cordell's video!

Meet Tyanna

This award-winning smile belongs to Tyanna! Tyanna is an energetic 7-year-old with a vibrant personality. She loves feeling special and having attention focused on her. And she loves unicorns! Tyanna has experienced a lot of loss in her young life, and she has not experienced consistent caregiving. She has a lot of difficulty in relationships and needs time and patience to learn to trust adults. Tyanna needs a family who can commit to sticking with her no matter what. She would do well in a 2 parent family or single parent with supports. She needs a family that has time to dedicate to the therapies that will most help her grow and heal. Tyanna would do best as a child who does not have to share a lot of attention with multiple siblings or same-age siblings. Tyanna has a sister that she loves and with whom she will need to have contact and visits in the Richmond area.

Meet Chasidy

Chasidy is a creative and funny 13-year-old girl! She enjoys art, crafts, listening to music, and taking walks. She is looking forward to being able to go on outings again and hanging out with her friends. Chasidy makes friends easily, has good insight into how her responses impact situations, and does well with taking responsibility. She is working on learning new coping skills that will help her with her communication skills. She is looking forward to being in her forever family, who she hopes will be patient, supportive, and willing to give her time to learn to trust them. She is currently placed separately from her sister but remains in contact with her. Chasidy is excited to find her forever family. Could that be you?

Click here to watch Chasidy's video with her sister, Quinshell!

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!

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.

Meet Zaniyah

Zaniyah is 12 years old who loves styling hair (doll babies/mannequins). She enjoys community outings to the park, movie theater, store, wants to be out of the house in the fresh air and moving around. She loves talking on the telephone to friends; she is an animal lover, especially dogs. Zaniyah is looking for a forever family who will commit to her.

Meet Elizabeth

Elizabeth is 17 years old and loves animals, fishing, and shopping! When Elizabeth is not enjoying outside activities, she enjoys reading novels and dabbling in make-up. Elizabeth gets along well with younger children and enjoys preparing meals and engaging in family-oriented events.

Elizabeth loves music as it allows her to relax. Elizabeth has an older brother and communicates with him and her maternal grandmother often, as she is very close with her family.

Meet Meghan

Meghan is a very caring, chatty, and imaginative girl who has a sweet tooth. She is very outgoing and makes friends easily in any setting. Meghan looks forward to going to school every day, and her favorite class is art. She enjoys doing crafts, playing outside, and gymnastics. Meghan loves playing dress-up, getting her hair done, and doing her own nails. She treasures her American Girl doll and loves to color. Meghan is not a fan of scary movies, thunderstorms, and the dark. She hopes to find a family that can reassure the presence and source of support and affection to help her grow into her full potential.

Meet Nathan

Nathan is a wonderful, tenderhearted teen born in 2005. Nathan is looking forward to having a forever family who supports his dreams of attending Virginia Tech or George Mason for game design. Nathan likes to play football in a recreation league, and watching football is also at the top of Nathan's list of favorite things to do. Nathan also volunteers on the weekends with the SPCA; this loving young man has such a huge heart for animals. Nathan has discussed in detail that he wants to attend a four-year college and focus on designing and creating video games. After he opens up, Nathan's gentle nature shines through. Nathan is the kind of youth that will leave you, saying, "He has enriched my life and given me so much more than what I am able to give to him." Do not miss bringing this amazing young man into your forever home.

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.

Meet Dylan

Dylan is excited about the idea of adoption and about searching for his forever family. Dylan will do well in a home with two parents or with a single dad. His ideal home would consist of a loving family where games of all types are played regularly.

Dylan dreams of having a kind and loving family, having a job that is not too complicated, and wishes he could be the smartest person in the universe. He will tell you his spirit animal is a tiger because they are brave, fierce, intelligent, and protective. Dylan's favorite subjects in school are math and science, but he says he enjoys them all. Some of his other favorite things include slushies, frosties, ice cream, and Mexican food. Dylan's favorite movie is Detective Pikachu, and he loves video games (especially Minecraft and Roblox).

Piano playing and fiddling with instruments have been enjoyable for quite some time, and he also enjoys singing. He is tech-savvy and enjoys anything with a screen! He wants his future family to know that he may become a YouTube celebrity and wants to be a computer specialist or an astronaut when he grows up! Seeing volcanoes in person would be something on his bucket list if he were to create one, and if he could have a superpower, it would be to control the weather. Dylan enjoys being inside playing games or reading, but he also likes spending time outside.

Dylan has a beautifully unique personality and enjoys being around people. He loves to laugh, thrives with praise, and does well with one on one time with people who care about him. At times, Dylan needs extra support and guidance when in social situations; over time, a family can model this and encourage him. He is protective over the ones he loves, and now we need to find him a family to be protective over him.

Meet Silina

Silina is polite and social as she tries to get to know people. Silina can be reserved and quiet at times. She takes her time to open up to people and wants to build trust. Once she trusts someone, she is funny, talkative, and bright. She loves music and socializing with her friends. Silina is respectful and polite. She rather texts than talk and is into social media. She likes to watch YouTube videos about hair, nails, and makeup. She enjoys going to the movies. She prefers to communicate with women over men. Silina enjoys going out to eat or cooking at home. She is good at making soul food. She has taken up a few new hobbies: knitting a blanket, growing plants, and completing puzzles. Silina loves shoes and getting her nails done.

Meet Laniya

Meet Laniya, an amazing 13-year-old girl. Laniya is very creative and enjoys coloring, drawing, and other craft activities. One of her favorite craft activities is crafting/making bracelets. Laniya also enjoys making friends at school and community events and enjoys reading. She enjoys fiction novels. She also enjoys snacking on popcorn while watching a wide array of movies, including age-appropriate horror films and comedy films. Laniya is also really good at gymnastics. She knows how to do backbends, handstands, and walkovers. She enjoys giving gifts and making things for others. Laniya's biggest desire in life is to have a secure, loving, and stable family. She loves a mixture of family time and also having a little downtime to herself. She is also one of the funniest children you may ever meet, and she enjoys telling jokes. Laniya has attended church in the past and enjoys reading and learning about bible stories. She is a fast learner and loves to be educated about various topics in life. Laniya is really good about advocating for herself and being an active part of the team that is helping her. She enjoys going out to eat and having sweet treats such as ice cream. She has a close relationship with her brother Joshua and desires to spend a lot of time with him. Could you be Laniya's forever family?

Meet Hunter

Hunter loves video games, board games, arcades, and can be very competitive. He likes movies, especially in the theater. He is very technologically apt and aspires to be a professional YouTuber. His favorite foods are spaghetti, french fries, and Whoppers. Hunter was born in Louisiana and thinks hot sauce and ketchup are major food groups. He likes pool games and just having fun in the water.

Hunter is mild-mannered and does well in school. His favorite subjects are science and math, and he is a good problem solver. He is clever and has a dry sense of humor. He responds well to clearly defined rules and expectations. He would do well in a family with routines and consistency. Honesty and loyalty are two of his best virtues. He gets along well with adults and has been making friends at school. Hunter wants a forever family that he can trust and depend on to be there for him.

Click here to watch Hunter's video!

Meet Ny'quon

Ny'quon describes himself as artistic, smart, nice, and confident. Ny'Quon does well in school, and enjoys his teachers and classmates. His favorite moment at school was the Teacher vs. Students basketball game. He loves sports, especially football and basketball. He wants to play professionally when he grows up. Ny'Quon also enjoys drawing, and has a special sketchbook dedicated to his art. Ny'Quon enjoys spending time with his friends. He is a very social child, and is open to meeting new people. Ny'Quon is working on learning chores like washing clothes and learning skill for that will help him as he grows up. Ny'Quon takes pride in dressing up and looking nice. Ny'Quon would love to travel with his family especially to watch football and basketball games or go to the beach one day. Ny'Quon is very passionate and excited about his future. Could you be the forever family to help him achieve his dreams?

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.

Click here to watch Damonte's video!

Meet Rashawn

Rashawn enjoys drawing and is quite artistic and creative; he also enjoys music and anime. 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.

Click here to watch Rashawn's video!

Meet La'Shai

La'Shai is a very bright and sweet fifteen-year-old girl. She enjoys school and excels in all of her classes. La'Shai will actually ask the teacher for more homework! Her favorite subjects are reading and math. La'Shai wishes to be a math teacher someday. Her favorite books are ones about adventures and fairy tales. She also enjoys anime. La'Shai enjoys playing most sports and watching movies. She also loves to listen to current music and sing along. La'Shai enjoys wearing neon colors and loves when her outfits match her shoes. She loves to buy new shoes. La'Shai's favorite snack is candy. Her favorite right now is Jolly Ranchers. La'Shai enjoys helping people and enjoys helping around the house. She also enjoys arts and crafts. La'Shai is very creative and tries to make different things out of her candy wrappers. La'Shai enjoys spending time with her siblings and playing outside. La'Shai would need a family that would want to continue her relationship with her siblings.

Meet Arion

Arion is a calm child with a pleasant disposition. He enjoys playing video games and interacting with peers his age. Arion enjoys visits with his siblings and does well with engaging in age appropriate conversations. Arion enjoys different activities at school that allows him to learn new and exciting skills while using the laptop or iPad. He is also able to get along with his peers in the school setting. In the foster home, Arion is very helpful as he assists the resource mother with chores on a daily basis. He also takes initiative when it is time to get things done, especially if it involves cooking a meal. He has a healthy appetite and continues to enjoy the taste of new foods!

Click here to watch Arion's video!

Meet Sammie

Sammie is a smart and articulate 16-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!

Meet Aiden

Aiden is cheerful, bright, enthusiastic, and engaging. He enjoys Star Wars, Spiderman, riding his bike, swimming, playing sports, watching cartoons, playing video games and board games, and playing outside. Aiden also likes building things, especially with his Legos. Aiden makes friends easily and is described as likable, social, and resilient. He has participated in a running club, church activities, and Upward basketball. He likes to attend church regularly and Christmas is his favorite holiday. Aiden would be thrilled to join a forever family who will provide him with unconditional love and support his continuing bond with his brother, sister, and cousin.

Click here to watch Aiden's video!

Meet Chloe

Chloe is a 14-year-old girl who enjoys the movies, shopping, art, singing, and nature. Chloe loves to make up and getting her hair and nails done. Chloe desires attention and does not like feeling left out.  Chloe wants to be a part of a family and is aware of her needs. Chloe is willing and open to working with service providers to better herself. Her strengths include resilience, personal insight, perseverance, and transparency. Chloe desires to be loved and accepted for who she is and is willing to invest in herself and her future. She also desires to make other people feel loved and enjoys making art and writing letters to others. Chloe wants to work in the medical field and help others who are hurting when she gets older. Chloe is intelligent and able to do well in school with the right supports in place. While Chloe has experienced many challenges in her life, she always overcomes her obstacles and can see the good out of difficult situations.

On Their Way

These children have been placed in adoptive foster homes and are on their way to forever families!

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.

Click here to watch Latoya's video!

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.

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!

Meet Ronnie

Ronnie is a 16-year-old who is very excited to find his forever family. Ronnie can be described as super outgoing, having a great sense of humor, and always willing to try new things. Activities that Ronnie finds interesting are doing anything outdoors: fishing, hiking, taking walks, building things, and doing carpentry work. In addition, Ronnie finds enjoyment during his down time to watch his favorite football team, the Washington Football Team, battle towards victory. Ronnie has an older sister who he would like to continue to maintain an ongoing relationship with. Ronnie's sister is a great role model for him and they both enjoy being competitive when it comes to reaching for their goals. Ronnie describes his ideal family as being honest, willing to gain trust with him (and vice versa), not over-protective, understands that he is a growing teenager, and most importantly doesn't give up on him.

Click here to watch Ronnie's video!

Meet Quinshell

Meet Quinshell, a lovely, vibrant 14-year-old. Quinshell is a social butterfly and likes to go out with her friends. She is very smart, personable, and enjoys attending school. In her free time, Quinshell likes to go shopping and talking with her friends on facetime. Quinshell likes to stay active by going to the recreation center, traveling, and theme parks. When not being socially active, Quinshell enjoys quiet time at home and enjoys relaxing or watching television with those she cares for.

Click here to watch Quinshell's video with her sister, Chasidy!

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 seashells and play outdoors. He is very polite with adults and to his peers. He is searching for a family that can love him wholeheartedly.

Meet Traverious

Traverious is an active 10-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.

Meet Azi

Meet Lily, who likes to be called "Azi." Azi enjoys being outdoors and physical activities. She enjoys reading books about history, stating, "Light captivates, transcends and provides a realm of warring ideas, beliefs and tells stories about people and their past." Azi is also an avid crafter who likes to draw and journal about her life experiences and enjoys listening to music. In school, her favorite subjects are economics, psychology, calculus, and literature as she aspires to attend college and earn a degree in Physical Therapy and Technology. Azi would like people to know she is a hard worker, persistent, and excited about adoption. Her goal is to become a valued member of the community and she really wants to be part of a family unit again.

Meet Kymon

Kymon is an active and respectful 13-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.

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.

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.

Home For Good!

These children have "achieved permanency" - adoption by their forever families!

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.

Meet Treazure

Have you ever met a teenager who likes broccoli? Meet Treazure! She loves hamburgers, pasta, and yes - broccoli! She finds joy in art, music, and writing and has a journal. 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." Recently, she tried a Caramel Frappuccino and loved it, so she is excited about trying new things.

Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance   •   Calendar   •   Adoption Awareness Month   •   The Bowling Ball   •   FAQ   •   Our Partners


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.


Begin Your Foster-to-Adopt Journey

The mission of the JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance is to support families throughout their foster, adoption, or kinship journey with peer support, education, and mentorship. The JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance is open to all foster, adoptive, and kinship 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 JFS Connecting Hearts 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 foster, adoptive, and kinship families in Virginia.

Resources and Blog

Learning is a life-long enterprise, and it’s even more true as you begin your foster, adoption, or kinship journey! The children coming into your life have faced incredible challenges that impact their emotional, physical, and social development. We want to be certain you have access to the essential parenting tools you need to foster their positive growth.

Below you will find our own webinars on a variety of topics, archives of our newsletters and blog posts, as well as links to outside resources that provide more formal educational opportunities.

May is National Foster Care Month!

April 27, 2021

May is National Foster Care Month, and JFS Connecting Hearts is partnering again with CBS 6 on a multimedia awareness campaign! Keep an eye on JFS Connecting Hearts’ Facebook page and watch CBS 6 to see interviews with Richmond foster families! Right now, there are 729 children and youth in central Virginia’s foster care system. […]

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Sneak Peek at the 2021 NFPA Conference

April 6, 2021

Virtual Learning Event for Foster Parents The National Foster Parent Association announced their 50th Education Conference, FORWARD, will take place online from June 24-26, 2021. Registration opens on April 15 and costs $99 for the three day event. Videos of the entire conference will be available to watch for three months after it ends, so […]

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Twice as Many Lights of Love!

January 13, 2021

JFS’ second annual Lights of Love was a great success, thanks to you: our friends, partners, volunteers, and staff! Lights of Love is a program designed to help bring warmth and light to neighbors who might otherwise feel forgotten. Last year, generous donors and friends brightened the holiday season for 40+ adults, seniors, families, and […]

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Hands Held, Hearts Found

December 22, 2020

JFS Connecting Hearts had a busy fall! Between the Virtual Bowling Ball awareness- and fundraiser and November’s “A Hand to Hold” media campaign, we have been busy sharing the stories of children in foster care and recruiting potential foster and adoptive families! JFS Connecting Hearts is humbled by the work of our sponsors, volunteers, donors, […]

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Why Should I Consider Joining a Support Group?

October 1, 2020

There are quite of few of us that just don’t feel the drive to join anything, including support groups. Usually, these groups are scheduled at specific times and days of the month. People who are long time members become close knit, while new members can feel a bit out of the loop. So, some people […]

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JFS Interns in the Spotlight

February 20, 2020

JFS is lucky to host talented interns across the agency from many different schools, programs, and backgrounds. These driven students spend time engrossed in the day-to-day at JFS, serving clients and practicing what they’ve learned in their classrooms. We interviewed a few of our fascinating interns to learn about them, their goals, and how they’re […]

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Support for You

We believe that support for the foster, adoptive, and kinship journey is important for a rewarding and successful experience. But, one size does not fit all when it comes to emotional support. JFS Connecting Hearts’ Family Alliance is committed to offering the support you need, whether joining a group works best for you or you prefer help on an as-needed basis. We are here for you at every step of your foster, adoptive, or kinship journey.

If you want support on your schedule, click here to join our Family Alliance support group on Facebook! The Facebook support group is also a place for you to post issues, questions, concerns, and celebrations to share with other parents. You can tune in for support anytime, day or night, and the JFS Connecting Hearts team and other Family Alliance members will be there.

We will host weekly live support chats in the group by Zoom and Facebook Live on Wednesdays at 8:00 PM. In each chat, we will share a resource for families and make time for you to ask questions and connect with other parents. The chats are archived in the group, so you can watch any time.

Check out our blog post about some of the benefits of joining a support group. We will also share information on our calendar from support groups across the state. If you need help finding a support group in your area, contact Cate at [email protected].

Laws and Policies

One of the important services we can provide to support you and your family is to keep you informed about state and federal legislation, laws, regulations, and policies that impact you. In this section, you can learn more about the legislative processes and how to raise your voice in support of children and families. Our monthly Family Alliance newsletter also features news about laws related to foster care, kinship care, and adoption – you can find the newsletter archive in the Educational Resources section above.

Sponsored in Part By

BCBS Anthem HealthKeepers Plus HK blue vert

Anthem HealthKeepers is proud to join JFS Connecting Hearts in supporting adoptive, foster, and kinship families in Virginia!

Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance   •   Calendar   •   Adoption Awareness Month   •   The Bowling Ball   •   FAQ   •   Our Partners

Below is a calendar of events, orientations, and trainings for prospective foster, adoptive, and kinship families provided by Local Departments of Social Services and JFS Connecting Hearts. Click on each event to see the full details. You may also click the arrow in the top right corner of the calendar to filter events by region: Greater Richmond, Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck, and Piedmont.

Match-to-Adopt Events

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   •   JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance   •   Calendar   •   Adoption Awareness Month •  The Bowling Ball •  FAQ •  Our Partners


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.

JFS Connecting Hearts profoundly grateful to WTVR CBS 6 News for joining us for another "A Hand to Hold" Adoption Awareness Month campaign! Every day in November, CBS 6 featured children in central Virginia's foster care system available for adoption, raising awareness about the need for foster and adoptive parents and hoping to connect kids to loving families.

"A Hand to Hold" 2020 by the numbers:

  • 31 children featured – 18 from the Richmond area – between the ages of 10 and 17
  • 38,500 views of the kids' features on JFS and CBS 6’s social media
  • 5,000 unique visitors to the JFS Connecting Hearts website - 50% of JFS' total web traffic in November
  • 70 families called JFS Connecting Hearts to inquire about adoption, and half of them inquired about a specific child
  • 32 families are now working towards becoming certified to foster or adopt

And, the happiest news of all...

Two children were placed with their forever families!

Traverious was featured on CBS 6 on the first day of "A Hand to Hold," November 1. The very next week, he moved into an adoptive placement! Traverious is now well on his way to permanent adoption!

Treazure has been in foster care and featured in the Heart Gallery for several years. Then, during this year's campaign, her biological father recognized her and immediately contacted JFS. After the DSS' review, Treazure is now reunited with her father!

Many thanks to all the sponsors, donors, volunteers, and partners who made the campaign a success. Their hard work made a tangible difference in children’s lives by telling their stories, reaching new audiences, and finding their forever families!

Below are a few of the 2020 features:

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Fun for a Cause

How Do You Roll for Kids in Foster Care?

There's not a moment to spare. Over 1,000 children in Virginia's foster care system are looking for permanent, loving homes. COVID-19 has disrupted their support systems, and many children in foster care have already experienced trauma, making them even more vulnerable to the pandemic's impacts.

JFS Connecting Hearts' mission is to find foster, adoptive, and kinship families for every child in central Virginia’s foster system. This year, instead of canceling the second annual Bowling Ball because of covid-19, we re-envisioned it as the Virtual Bowling Ball!

JFS Connecting Hearts is humbled by the work of our sponsors, volunteers, donors, and partners to make the entire effort a success. Because of their compassion and generosity, the Virtual Bowling Ball reached its fundraising goal!

We made a short video to express our appreciation - you can watch it below!

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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.


Jump to:   About Us   •   The Heart Gallery   •   JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance   •   Calendar   •   Adoption Awareness Month •  The Bowling Ball •  FAQ •  Our Partners



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!

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
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
Woodlake United Methodist Church
521 Biscuit