In recognition of National Foster Care Awareness Month, the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) is displaying Fostering Creativity, a collaborative art gallery, at Boston’s City Hall. The display will be up in the second level of City Hall to spread awareness about children in care from through May 31.

The Fostering Creativity Project empowers foster youth seeking permanent, loving families by giving them a voice in their adoption journey. Traditional adoption recruitment does not always allow children and teens the chance to share how they would like to present themselves, and their strengths to prospective families; the Fostering Creativity Project is working to change that.

The Project began as a collaboration between MARE and local foster youth as a way to spread awareness about adoption from foster care.

With the help of a local group home, for children in care, MARE posed the question “What is most meaningful to you?” The eight children who chose to participate created artwork that answered this question in a deeply personal way. The idea was that seeing a portrait of a child is one way to connect with them, but sharing their answer to such a complex question gives a clearer look into who they truly are.

The art received back was joyful, thought-provoking, cute and compelling – a wonderful look into the personality of each unique child.

The Fostering Creativity Project has already had an impact on the participants. The group home found that art is a beneficial form expression for at least one of the children and he is now regularly participating in art therapy to cope with past trauma. Other children voiced excitement for the chance to share what was important to them and what they wanted in a family.

MARE chose the month of May to debut the Fostering Creativity Project exhibit because May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. It is the perfect time to connect the empowerment of the youth by giving them a voice with the goal of spreading awareness about adoption from foster care.

Prospective adoptive parents can be almost any age (18+); single, partnered, married, LGBT; homeowners or renters; experienced parents or new to parenting. Families of various income levels can adopt, as long as they have a stable source of income to support a child. There are no fees to adopt a child from foster care. Financial subsidies may be available, and children adopted from foster care are eligible for a tuition-waiver at Massachusetts state colleges and universities.

MARE is a private, non-profit organization, founded in 1957 to find adoptive homes for children and teens in foster care, including sibling groups and children who are traditionally harder to place.

For more information about the Fostering Creativity Project and adoption from foster care contact the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange  at www.mareinc.org.