North Dakota Heart Gallery

North Dakota Heart Gallery

By: Nicholas Barth

Showing off special kids

On November 4, the North Dakota Heart Gallery was held at the Plains Art Museum. The event featured 10 pictures of adolescents waiting for adoption, as well as 10 pictures of adolescents who have been adopted in the past. Adults Adopting

Special Kids (AASK) is a collaborative program of Catholic Charities ND and PATH ND Inc. Both Lori Grommesh, Fiscal Manager OF Catholic Charities ND and Leanne Johnson, AASK Director Adults Adopting Special Kids are no strangers to the adoption process. Both have worked with charities involved in adoption and know the nationwide total is over 100,000.

Searching For History

There may be some unfamiliar with the ND Heart Gallery so here is some background information. The North Dakota Heart Gallery is a non-profit organization that was started in 2008 with a mission to reach out to the public and encourage the adoption of children waiting for forever homes.

We begin the experience by enlisting the help of professional photographers throughout North Dakota. Through artistic photography, we showcase the child’s personality and spirit, showing potential families a glimpse inside a child’s heart.

Every child deserves a chance for a family to call their own. The North Dakota Heart Gallery features children from throughout the state. The Heart Gallery will travel to events and exhibitions in communities across North Dakota to recruit forever families. (

Looking for a home

Currently, there are 13 kids in the AASK program of North Dakota waiting for adoption. Johnson said that security, belonging and purpose are what kids are looking for from an adoptive parent or family. North Dakota is very fortunate to have such a low number of kids waiting to be adopted as Johnson said the nationwide total is over 100,000.

Putting them in pictures

Johnson said that the idea of having professional photographers take a picture of children waiting to be adopted gives the  ”another avenue” to get the kids that are waiting to be adopted into good loving homes. Showing them in a different light should give people a better perspective on these special children.

Weighing the cost

Both Grommesh and Johnson say that the number one reason people should adopt is to provide a stable family for the kids. The price of an adoption is one reason people don’t adopt. Grommesh said that an infant adoption can cost around $10,000 Johnson said that working with AASK, an adoption usually costs around $350. No matter what the price though, he or she is still a human being, and you cannot put a price on a person. There have been many people who have adopted, such as country music star Rodney Atkins who have gone on to be very successful. It all starts with a loving person who is willing to give someone a chance.

To learn more about adoption though the North Dakota Heart Gallery visit their website at


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