"I showed one of them her picture and she said, ‘Oh, I'm pretty!' And she is, she's a gorgeous girl," said Gina Tucker at a photo shoot.
Gina has a photography business in Chandler called Photos By GeeGee. She and her husband, Andy, give of their time to take pictures of local foster children for the East Texas Heart Gallery.
"It's the least we can do if we can help them find a forever family. It's a blessing to do it," said Gina.
Kathryn Billberry is also a volunteer East Texas Heart Gallery photographer. She said, "You get to really know the kids even in just 30 minutes of taking their pictures and it's just a joy to be around them and be a part of that."
As the mother of a 3-year-old, she understands the impact of a stable home on a child.
"I know how important it is to have a mother and a father who love and care for you," Kathryn said. "So for me, it's just one little piece of the puzzle in helping them find that."
Gina and Andy especially have a heart for children in need of a loving home. They adopted their daughter.
"Gracey knows that she's adopted," Gina said. "She knows she didn't come out of my belly but that she was born in our heart. That's what happens when you adopt a child. They become yours and no one can tell you any different."
Gracey, now in the second grade, just turned 8 years old. She asked for something other than presents for herself.
"I asked everybody that came to my party to bring Payless [Shoe] cards or money to buy cards for the foster kids," she said with a sweet voice.
She collected $130 — enough money for 30 pairs of shoes for foster children.
"I just kind of felt bad for them so I just wanted to help," she said.
It has also given little Gracey an appreciation for her own forever family.
"I'm glad that I do have one and I hope the other kids get mothers and fathers, too."
That wish may come true for other children still waiting, thanks to the East Texas Heart Gallery photos that will be displayed around the area. The hope is to help the children find loving homes.
"I hope they can see through those smiles and see that these are kids that just want to be loved on," Kathryn said.
To learn more about the East Texas Heart Gallery, join Gillian Sheridan for her "Children are a Gift" report, Tuesday night on CBS 19 Ten @ 10. You can also find information on www.CBS19.tv and www.tylerpaper.com. To inquire about an East Texas child waiting to be adopted or for information on helping with the East Texas Heart Gallery, call 903-533-4109.