The Heart Gallery, which exists online as an interactive exhibit, was birthed in 2009 out of a collaboration between The Children’s Trust and Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe. It aims to “find forever families” for foster children who cannot safely be returned to the custody of their biological parents.
Zakiyah and Antonio have lived with four foster families over the past 4½ years and for the past three years, the siblings have lived with separate families. This is their story, in their own words:
Q: So, how old are you guys?
Zakiyah: I’m 15.
Q: So, you are in what grade?
Q: Do you like school?
Zakiyah: Yes, I love science.
Q: What about science?
Zakiyah: Investigating certain things, because I want to be in the FBI, so I like to go and investigate.
Q: What do you like about school, Antonio?
Q: What’s your favorite sport?
Q: Why football?
Antonio: ’Cause I like it!
Q: What position do you play?
Antonio: Any position.
Q (to Zakiyah): Do you like sports?
Zakiyah: I’ll go for basketball.
Q: Do you like to play or watch?
Zakiyah: I’ll play, it depends, but I like to watch.
Q: What do you guys like to do outside of school?
Zakiyah: Go out with my friends and go shopping or be a nerd and study together.
Antonio: I like to play video games and play outside — basketball or football.
Q: Do you like TV?
Zakiyah: I like "Criminal Minds." I like to watch all the criminal investigation shows. I love Derek Morgan and Reed on the show. I like how he can read fast.
Antonio: I like to watch the NFL network.
Q: If you could have a superpower, what could it be?
Antonio: Flash! Fast… to be fast!
Zakiyah: I don’t know.
Q: Too much responsibility?
Zakiyah: Haha, yes!
Q: Do you guys have a pet?
Antonio: A puppy.
Zakiyah: Her name is Mona. She’s a Yorkie, six months.
Antonio: I got two dogs. A big one, and one Chihuahua.
Q: How are they; are they funny?
Zakiyah: Yeah, there’s a short and chubby one. And the Chihuahua is small and likes to run.
(Antonio speaks of how much he loves the dogs. Actually, they belong to the foster family he lives with. )
Q: If I told you we had a plane waiting anywhere, where would you go?
Q: Why Hawaii?
Zakiyah: I’ve always wanted to go there. I hear that they have nice beaches. Or the Bahamas, because I see images and they look nice. I just like islands.
Q: What kind of music do you like?
Zakiyah: My favorite is Ciara. I like her dancing; she’s very smart. Ciara doesn’t fall into celebrity beef and she’s married to Russell Wilson. I really like him.
Q: Antonio, what do you and your friends do for fun?
Antonio: Play tag in the dark, ride four-wheelers, play basketball and football.
Q: What are three things you could not live without.
Q: Are you a big texter?
Zakiyah: Yeah, and I like Snapchat too.
Q: What about you, Antonio?
Antonio: I like Instagram. I play video games on my phone.
Q: How is this guy as a little brother?
Zakiyah: He’s not as annoying as most little brothers.
Q: What makes him a good little brother?
Zakiyah: He’s not annoying; he likes doing his own things.
Q: What makes her a good big sister? Does she look out for you?
Q: Do you guys like to cook?
Zakiyah: Yes, I took cooking class and I can make heart candy. I can cook anything.
Q: What do you like to cook?
Antonio: Hot wings and French fries.
Q: Do you guys love each other?