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.



Joshua wants what we all want – to be in a home where he is loved and understood. He is described by those who know him best as helpful, sweet, intelligent, athletic, and creative. He enjoys competitive activities and has recently shown a great interest in playing football. Joshua shared [...]



Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from frustrations, recover from setbacks, and adapt to change. Raven is described, above all else, as a resilient young man. He quickly makes connections with others and is known to “go with the flow.” He aims to please adults and seeks their approval. [...]



As you can see from this photo, a little snow doesn’t keep Cameron away from the playground! He is an active boy who enjoys climbing, swinging, jumping and running. He does work up an appetite with all that playing and it turns out eating is one of his favorite activities too! Cameron does a [...]



Neveah is a girl with dreams, just like any other teenager. Her idea of a perfect day would include “going to my best friend’s house and having a sleepover. We would do each other’s hair, eat junk food, and play games.” She has a caring nature and dreams of becoming a veterinarian or a nurse [...]


Joshua, Trenton, Maliek, and Bentley

Do you have room in your heart and home for a devoted, tight-knit sibling group? Joshua, Trenton, Maliek, and Bentley want you to know that they are looking for a loving, caring, patient “no matter what” family. The boys have a strong bond and state that they come as a “package deal.” Some [...]



Are you familiar with Dog Man? Sonic the Hedgehog? Or perhaps SpongeBob SquarePants? If so, you might want to have a chat with Caleb about his favorite characters from comic books, video games, and television. If you’re not familiar, he’ll be happy to fill you in! You can find Caleb playing [...]



Mic check . . . testing . . . . one-two, one-two! Listen up, because this talented performer has something to say! Chani loves to create his own beats and the rap lyrics to go along with them. His artistic side is also expressed through drawing, creating and editing videos, and fashion. “I like [...]



It’s hard to look away from the sweet smile on the face of Reyna! She is a girl with a creative mind who enjoys art, playing with younger children, swimming, watching comedy movies and, like most tweens, watching videos on YouTube. Reyna relaxes by listening to music and prefers to sleep with [...]



Alex describes himself as “kind and nice most of the time”, creative, and loving. He goes on to say that he can interact well with others and he is very good at crafting. His favorite song is “Firework” by Katy Perry. Some of the things Alex is interested in include going bowling, getting pizza [...]



Some of us watch horror movies by peeking around our hands that are covering our eyes. Xtavier, however, is a different story. He shared, “I have a big interest in watching a lot of scary movies!” A creative and artistic teenager, he particularly enjoys the details that go into a film’s special [...]