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Connecting Hearts, Growing Families

For more than 20 years, Amy Imber has been a tireless adoption advocate, connecting families of all kinds to the children their hearts have chosen. 

In that time, she’s noticed that a handful of stigmas and misconceptions have lessened their hold on public perception. These days, for example, adoption isn’t so readily dismissed as a second-best alternative, just as it’s recognized that a mother placing her child with more capable parents is doing so out of love for the baby she wants a better life for. 

“These are women who are trusting someone to place their children with families who are good people,” says Imber. 

Imber founded Connecting Hearts Adoption Services in 2008, and has been helping people all over Florida realize the dream of parenthood since then. But it isn’t a full-service adoption agency; instead, it’s a licensed agency where a team of social workers provides  the home study service, the comprehensive first step in approving prospective parents.

“A home study is a process and in the end, a document that approves someone to be eligible to adopt,” Imber explains. “It’s their history … [and] why they’re choosing adoption, how do they feel about discipline, background checks, references, physicals, information about their assets and liabilities. All the information we collect is typed up into a document that’s usually between 10 and 13 pages. That’s what they take to any agency or attorney of their choosing—in Florida or across the United States—to adopt their children.”

Extensive education is also part of making sure a family and a child are well-matched, and that prospective parents have the tools they need to support their growing family, especially if their newest member is still processing some kind of trauma. That education is how Connecting Hearts works toward its ultimate goal of successful outcomes. 

With the definition of family becoming more inclusive, Imber is proud of the diverse population that her agency assists, which includes single parents and same-sex couples of all backgrounds. In fact, it’s only one of two adoption organizations in Florida the Human Rights Campaign has given a Seal of Recognition for its work with the LGBTQIA+ community. 

“It means that we’re ‘qualified’ to work with same-sex couples,” says Imber. “Twenty or 30 years ago, this wasn’t even a conversation; now, they’re anywhere from a quarter to one-half of the families we’ve worked with. It’s something that’s very close to my heart.”

Manny and Nick Kresky adopted their son Sebastian with the help of Connecting Hearts two years ago. They got to know Imber at the beginning of their journey to parenthood and reached out to her after another adoption fell through—and have found her support invaluable before, during and after the adoption process. 

“When we met Amy, we felt that infant adoption specifically was the route to go,” says Manny. “We had conversations with her, and we kept that line of communication open for maybe two years. And then when our first adoption fell apart, the first person we called was Amy. … This never would have happened if it wasn’t for her because she really had our back.” 

“She put out feelers to people outside our network,” Nick adds. “She heard about Sebastian’s birth mother through a colleague in North Florida, and then it was just a matter of days until we made contact with her and the case worker. … We drove up to meet him when he was just a few hours old and made our commitment right there.” 

The Kreskys hope that being a mixed-race, same-sex couple helps normalize the fact that all families are valid ones. Still, there are some unique challenges that they and all adoptive parents face, and Imber has fostered a virtual safe space for Connecting Hearts’ families to connect.

“In addition to helping us with the home study and getting us connected with her contacts, Amy has created this community on Facebook for all of us to talk to each other,” notes Manny, which is where Nick says everyone can commiserate about “the -isms of adoption.” 

“It’s this community of amazing, supportive people who just love Amy and her agency and have benefited from her professional relationships,” Manny adds.  

The adoption process in general, like everything else in the past year and a half, has faced a number of new challenges born of COVID. 

“We’ve never had this many waiting families,” Imber says. “The national birth rate in general is down, so there’s just fewer adoptions. In the past 18 months, a lot of agencies have closed their waitlists for a period of time, or they have a waitlist to get on their waitlist. ”

But, in the end, every frustration is worth overcoming if it means a child finds the family they were meant to call their own. 

“Every agency and adoption attorney in the country is feeling the slowdown, but at the same time, we have people adopting babies every month,” Imber confirms. “We are so proud of the work we do and are so honored to work with the families we serve.” 


Connecting Hearts Adoption Services
(407) 733-8642