Media Release: Celebrating Local Teen’s Adoption
Young Man Finds Forever-Home After Being Featured in a PSA with the Tampa Bay Rays and Bay News 9
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – (February 22, 2016) – The Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco celebrated the adoption of Zachary on Monday, February 22 at 1:30 p.m. The ceremony took place at the Pinellas County Justice Center, where an intimate group gathered to celebrate the young man’s adoption by Mark and Terri Schreffler, an Air Force family from northern Florida.
Last June, 14 year-old Zachary was featured on Bay News 9 in a profile by senior news anchor Al Ruechel, in partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are big supporters of the Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco, and pitcher Chris Archer took a particular shine to the boy during his visit to Tropicana Field.
“Having a similar background made it easier for me to relate to Zach,” said Archer. “I couldn’t be more grateful that he found a family, and I only hope more kids are adopted after watching the Heart Gallery’s profiles.”
Archer was adopted at the age of two by his maternal grandmother and her new husband, who raised him in a loving home in Clayton, North Carolina.
The Rays spring training started the day before Zachary’s adoption. Archer invited Zachary and his new family to the Charlotte Sports Park on Sunday, where once again the teen was able to catch-up with his favorite player who also handed him a signed jersey.
The Schreffler family had almost let their adoption credentials expire, until they saw the video on the Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco’s website of Zachary at spring training last April. Within days, the couple had inquired about the young, blue-eyed boy, met with his caseworker, and was on their way to making a new family.
The Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco’s mission is to increase the number of successful adoptions by local children living in foster care. The gallery features children every year, in addition to recruiting and supporting families interested in adoption.
“Every child deserves a home, no matter what their age is,” said the Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco’s Executive Director, Jennifer Nance. “Zach’s success story is heart-warming, not just for us, but for the kids on our gallery still waiting to be adopted.”
Lutheran Services Florida was the agency responsible for making sure the Schreffler family was a good match for the teen. After home studies and multiple meetings, Zachary moved to Niceville, Florida, where he started the eighth grade at a new school and never looked back.
“I cannot thank the Schreffler family enough. There are so many children like Zachary in our community who are in need of a stable and loving home,” said Lutheran Services Chief Operating Officer, Chris Card. “I would encourage anyone with an ounce of interest to consider at least fostering a child in need.”
About Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco: The mission of the Heart Gallery is to increase the number of successful adoptions of local children in foster care. In addition to featuring children, we recruit and support families interested in adoption. The Heart Gallery was founded on the belief that every child deserves a home. For more information, or to view our gallery of children waiting to be adopted, please visit heartgallerykids.org.
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