The children we have featured on our website who wait for adoptive families

  • are most often in the foster care system and cannot return to their birth families for a variety of reasons.
  • need help overcoming hurt related to past trauma(s) and/or abandonment.
  • are often part of a sibling (brothers and/or sisters) group.
  • are often older than four years of age and behind emotionally.

While you may not see “all” of the children in need of a “no matter what” family in our Gallery, please understand that those who are waiting share similar hopes for a family and similar obstacles to being matched with one. If these children do not seem like a “match,” chances are others who are not featured here will not be a “match,” either. However, if you have patience and perseverance, and are willing to adapt your home and life to fit a child’s needs, please keep pursuing and learning more about adopting from foster care.

Please keep in mind that, in order to be considered for a child within our Gallery, you must have an approved public adoption home study. If you are unsure if your home study is public, please contact us via phone (414-475-1246 or 800-762-8063) or email

Lastly, please keep in mind that circumstances for the children within the Gallery can change rather quickly and for a variety of reasons. When a child is listed as waiting, this means the child is quite literally “waiting” for their “no matter what” family and are still available. If a child is listed as matched, this typically means the child’s social work team has identified a match with a prospective “no matter what” family. The Coalition will continue to collect inquiries for a child listed as matched, and this information will be shared with the child’s social work team in the event that permanency falls through for whatever reason.

We invite you to check out our tip sheet, Not Too Old for Forever: Adopting Older Youth.

The Heart Gallery of Wisconsin
The Heart Gallery of Wisconsin, a traveling photographic exhibit of some of Wisconsin’s waiting children, is a program of the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. If you are interested in hosting the Heart Gallery of Wisconsin, please contact us.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families provides support and funding for this recruitment effort on behalf of children. We thank them for their belief that all children grow best in permanent loving families.


Someday, when you turn on a light in your home, you may have Elijah to thank. He already knows that he wants to be an electrician when he grows up. This is a young man with a plan! One of Elijah’s best character traits is working hard at everything he does. This includes not only […]


Dylon is an adventurous teenage boy who is as passionate an athlete as he is in finding his “no matter what” family. He loves playing football, basketball, and baseball. When he’s not on the field playing sports, he enjoys dancing and listening to his favorite tunes. Dylon has an [...]


Knock, knock. Who’s there? Jeff! This friendly young man is always on the lookout for someone to laugh with. “When I’m having a hard day, telling jokes makes me feel better,” he said. When asked if he could have any three wishes, Jeff said he would want a lot of money, unlimited wishes, or to [...]


Gabe is a loving boy with a huge smile and lots of energy. When outdoors, he keeps busy playing with other kids, swimming, and taking long walks. When he’s at home, he spends his time watching movies, reading, and coloring. He has a great imagination that he puts to work making creations with [...]

Reyna & Anthony

It’s hard to look away from the sweet smiles on the faces of Reyna and Anthony. These siblings have a close bond and are looking for a “no matter what” family who will love them unconditionally and keep them together for life. Reyna is a girl with a creative mind who enjoys art, playing with [...]


Those who know him best describe Dakota as a caring, eager to learn, helpful, and active young boy who likes hugs. His caring extends to animals too! He has a love for animals and is willing to help care for them. Dakota can be pretty independent, but he isn’t afraid to ask for help from […]

Donavin & Thomas

When Thomas was asked what makes him laugh the most, his answer was “My brother!” These siblings have a powerful bond and thrive when they are together. They both enjoy sports, specifically football, baseball, and basketball. Donavin is a fan of the Vikings, Lakers, and Cavaliers, while Thomas [...]


Sehdari is very much a people pleaser. He can be sweet, active, curious, intelligent, creative, and engaging. A bonus is he loves to help around the home. Sehdari has a phenomenal sense of humor and is quite the storyteller, especially when he tells stories about superheroes—one of his [...]


Emily is a sweet girl who wants to make sure the people around her are happy. She enjoys creating cards for those around her for all occasions, even to apologize if there was something she felt bad about. Emily enjoys watching movies and reading books and says her favorite book to read is [...]


Lawrence has a bright beautiful smile that would warm your heart and a mischievous personality to keep you on your toes! This social boy likes to be around his peers and make new friends, but he does prefer smaller group settings. He is a busy body who enjoys showing off his dance moves to his [...]