Alabama teen uses Christmas tree to encourage child adoptions

Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 6:47 PM CST
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PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - Ornaments are going up along the Autauga Creek Christmas Tree Trail in Prattville. Over 70 trees will shimmer and shine for spectators this holiday season, but one of them is using the extra foot traffic to encourage families to give the gift of a loving home.

“This tree is about adoption,” Bre Shands said. “It has all, a picture of a whole bunch of people that are wanting to get adopted on Heart Gallery, and the cool thing is, I actually got adopted from Heart Gallery.”

The teenager is 15 years old and will be turning 16 soon. She was adopted back in 2016 by her parents Brooke and Jerry Shands.

“We looked at infant adoption, but we just didn’t feel like that was where God was calling us, and so we started looking at foster care adoption,” mother Brooke Shands said.

Now that Bre Shands has found her forever home, she wants to raise awareness for the children still waiting.

She is doing it through her Christmas tree out in Prattville. The faces of around 50 kids available for adoption serve as ornaments.

The tree supports Heart Gallery Alabama, a nonprofit which connects young people with loving homes.

“I just thought it would be really cool to help get more people adopted,” the Millbrook teen said. “So that maybe one day, hopefully, no kids will have to be adopted cause everybody has a forever family.”

Bre Shands worked hard to secure the $300 spot along the Christmas Tree Trail.

“You think about normal teenagers and what they want to do, sit at home and watch TV or be on their phone,” father Jerry Shands said. “She spent a lot of time doing chores around the house, washing trucks. She spent time with her grandparents, helping with the yard sale.”

Anyone looking to adopt a child can visit HeartGalleryAlabama.Com.

Trees along the Autauga Creek Christmas Tree Trail will be lit Thursday night. You can check out Bre Shands’ tree and many others until Jan. 1.

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