More than a Summer Vacation
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Summer Miracles Program gives families to older orphans age 10 to 13 who have little chance to be adopted in their own countries.
International orphans aged 10-13 stay with families who participate in orphan hosting to help them experience family life. The host family sends them to summer camp and works with Kidsave staff and volunteers in advocating to find them adoptive families. Kidsave is planning to bring children from Colombia for the Summer of 2014.
We also advocate for children coming to the US in other hosting programs, this year from Latvia and the Philippines. You can meet all the kids in our galleries.
To learn more about orphan hosting, watch the video below which tells the story of how one family made a decision to host and adopt.
- STEPS TO MEET KIDS
You can get started meeting kids with just a few steps.
1. Find Meet the Kids Events in your area in the Summer Miracles Events listings.
2. RSVP – Use the information on the event card to RSVP so we can expect and prepare for you.
3. Before attending you need to understand the following:
- You may not talk with the children about their histories (these are private) or adoption.
- Host families have the first right to adopt a child should that be a good match.
- Host families or Kidsave staff are the only people who can take the children anywhere – across the street, to the bathroom, on an outing. Please feel free to engage in activities with the children at the events, but if a child has a particular need please alert hosts or staff.
Please Note: If you are interested in adoption and/or are traveling to attend, you may wish to complete the Visiting Family Application prior to coming (see below). This is not required to attend an event, but is required if you wish to visit individually with any of the children or learn more about them.
Have Questions? – complete our Inquiry Form and someone will call you.
Become a Kidsave Visiting Family
By becoming a Visiting Family you can interact with the kids and their host families on a one-on-one basis. Our #1 priority is safety and the emotional and physical well-being of the children. We require prospective adoptive families interested in spending time with the kids to go through a screening and training process which pre-screens them for adoption requirements in Colombia. We want to avoid any heartbreak that comes with families not being able to pass the requirements Colombia has established for adoption. Colombia does not accept:
- Openly gay or lesbian families.
- Individuals with a criminal record.
- Individuals who take psychotropic drugs.
We are happy to talk with you about any of these issues.
1. The First Step is learning more about the program – either by reading or through our webinar.
Download and read the Visiting Family Packet Learn more about becoming a Kidsave Visiting Family.
Attend the Visiting Family Webinar – Required before spending one-on-one time with the kids and hearing their story.
2. Complete the Application
Visiting Family Application – it takes about 20 minutes to complete. Instructions and what information to gather are presented with the application.
3. Meet the Kids at an Event
4. Schedule Special Time with a Child
Contact the Visiting Family Coordinator for your area (use the coordinator tab to the left) to set up visits.
Have Questions? – complete our Inquiry Form and someone will call you.
- STEPS TO HOST
Steps to Hosting a Child
1. Complete the Host Inquiry Form. Our friendly staff will provide you with more details about the summer program.
2. Sign up and complete the 60 minute on line orientation webinar with Delta, the Summer Miracles Program Coordinator.
3. Ready to apply? Make your $275 application payment. A link to the Application Packet will be emailed to you upon payment.
4. Contact the local Kidsave Agency Partner to begin your psychosocial study or home study.
5. Go to Community Tools and review the Host Family Handbook and other resources. A password will be sent when your application is received.
- Complete Agency Training
- Attend Kidsave Training scheduled by your local Coordinator
7. May 15 remaining hosting payment due.
8. Prepare for the child’s arrival and host!
HOSTING FEES REDUCED UNTIL 12/31/2014
Hosting fee reduced to $750, plus $275 application fee ($1025 total). Application fee is non refundable. If you do not end up hosting, the hosting fee ($750) is refundable. Pay hosting fee and apply.
- HOSTING VIDEO
It Just Works!
This year Kidsave is expecting to support children from Latvia, Colombia and the Philippines. The children are still in the process of being chosen for Summer Miracles 2014 and the galleries will continually be updated as children become available. You can see children who are currently available for hosting and adoption using the quick form below.
Be the summer miracle they are praying for.
- GET INVOLVED!
Summer Miracles Hosting
Summer Miracles families host a child for the summer; they welcome a child into their homes for four to five weeks, usually the whole month of July and the first week of August. They provide all basic needs, food, clothing, summer camp, activities and most important: advocacy. The primary goal of the host family is to introduce the child to their community, their circle of friends, religious groups, and anyone else who can help ensure the child finds a family who is interested in adopting a child during their stay.
If you are interested in hosting an orphan for the summer through the Summer Miracles Program contact Delta, Summer Miracles Program Assistant, at email@example.com
To get started fill out a short inquiry form so we can contact you.
Start a Summer Miracles Community
If you have ever been interested in helping older orphaned children and want to make a big difference — help build a Kidsave Community in your area,
If you have a heart for helping kids find families and some time to give, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or
Learn More Here
FAQ’s About the Program and Hosting A Child
From the Beginning – Who is Kidsave?
Kidsave is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that no orphan or foster child is forgotten and that every child grows up in a family with love and hope for a successful future. Since 1999, more than 3,000 children have found parents and lasting connections with adults thanks to Kidsave programs.
What is the Summer Miracles Program?
Summer Miracles is approximately a four-week hosting program that provides older children growing up in foster care and orphanages with a unique summer experience to share the love and life of a family, attend day camp, and enjoy educational and cultural activities in the United States.
While the children are here they receive medical, dental, and/or psychological attention (as needed) and cultivate a lifetime connection with an American family.
We have found that during the summer, miracles happen, and many children are adopted by American families they meet during the Summer Miracles program. Since 1999, more than 1,700 children have participated in the program and over 80% of them have found permanent families as a result. Those few children who do not find a permanent family often leave with an adult connection that will provide support to them after the hosting program is over, giving each participant a chance to have a more secure future. The Summer Miracles program aims to create awareness of children growing up in foster care and orphanages by introducing Americans to kids who have little or no chance of finding adoptive parents in their own county.
Who Are the Children That Participate in the Program?
- Mostly children between the ages of 10-14, occasionally children under age 10 who are a part of a sibling group
- Single children and sibling groups (up to 4)
- Children who may have emotional, medical, and educational needs
How Does Kidsave Select the Children Who Will Participate in the Summer Miracles Program?
The children that are chosen for the Summer Miracles program are selected based on specific program requirements and are believed to have the ability to benefit from the experience and successfully adapt to family living.
Who Can Host A Child?
- Hosts must be at least 25 years old. There is no maximum age to host.
- Hosts can be married couples, a single woman or a single man
- No member of the host household can have a conviction for any violent crime or a crime against a child. Other types of prior convictions such as drug or alcohol abuse/DUI will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- Hosts must be in good physical and psychiatric health. Prior psychiatric hospitalization/ history, and/or use of psychotropic medication may cause ineligibility for hosting
- The host family’s home (house or apartment) must provide a safe environment and include adequate space. A host child may share a bedroom with at most one other child of the same gender.
- A minimum of one adult host must be a licensed driver in good standing.
- A past disrupted adoption or denial by home study agency may cause ineligibility for hosting
Our policies for host family selection are bound by country protocols.
How Does the Summer Miracles Program Work?
- Prospective families first attend an information meeting. If interested in hosting, a Host Family Application Packet and $275 application fee must be submitted. Upon receipt of application and fee, the local coordinator provides the family with access to additional required documents that must be submitted.
- Families visit with a local social worker who completes and submits the required hosting paperwork and approves their participation in the program. The family’s participation must also be approved by the sending country.
- Additionally, families must pay the $1250 hosting fee. The $1250 fee is charged per single child or sibling group (i.e. only one fee for a sibling set), and is used to offset some of the costs for the child’s participation in the program.
- Children are matched with approved host families (usually in late spring). The match is made by the family’s social worker.
- Approved families MUST complete program required training. Training occurs prior to the children’s arrival to the United States.
- Host families meet the children at the airport and then take them home to live as part of their family for the duration of the program.
- Children may attend a local day camp with American kids and/or other enrichment activities, and also participate in events planned by Kidsave.
- Children and host families get to know one another in a relaxed, nurturing, home environment.
- Families advocate for their host child(ren) to find a permanent family during their stay by taking the child to planned Kidsave events and also by introducing the child to their circle of friends and others in the community.
- Then miracles happen! Many host families fall in love with their child and make the commitment to adopt. Other families meet the children while they are here and make a commitment to adopt. Many families are inspired to become life-long advocates for children growing up in orphanages and foster care.
- All children return to their country of origin at the end of the four-week period accompanied by their chaperone.
What Will the Children do While They Are Here?
In addition to going to camp/enrichment activities and participating in day-to-day family life, Kidsave volunteers and staff plan weekend and weekday events designed to bring the children and families together, and to give people who are interested in meeting the kids a chance to interact with them as well. As needed, children will receive medical, dental, and psychological attention.
Are there scholarships?
Fees paid for hosting help support operation of Summer Miracles all year round. Fees help identify children for the program, work with the government to insure the children can travel, are available for adoption and have proper documentation, support escorts who travel with the children, support advocacy for the children while they are here and after they are gone until they are adopted or no longer eligible for the program.
Kidsave has a select number of scholarships available for advocate families for children who would not be able to travel otherwise. Scholarships are awarded based on need and the appropriateness of a family to host and advocate for available children. If you wish to apply for a scholarship please email email@example.com.
What Kind of Training and Support Will Host Families Receive?
Host families must complete required training provided by their home study agency and Kidsave. Families will receive training materials and resources such as the Host Family Handbook,
The Profile of the Older Post-Institutionalized Child, How to Talk to My Host Child About Adoption- Not!, a Child Talk language guide, and a recommended reading list so that they can learn more about the issues a post-institutionalized child may face. While the children are here for the summer, families have the support of their local social worker, coordinator, and Kidsave staff. Hosts attend two support meetings during the program, facilitated by their local coordinator. Additionally, families get access to a resource guide that outlines additional support services.
Aside From Providing a Home to a Child For Five Weeks, What Else Will Be Expected of Me?
- Host families are expected to involve the children in day to day family living in a safe and nurturing environment.
- Host families must attend weekend events that bring all host families, children, and chaperones together.
- Host families are expected to advocate for their host child (ren) at events and help them find a permanent family.
Do the Children Have Health Insurance While They are in the US?
Kidsave covers the insurance premium for a basic major medical and accident policy to cover each child and chaperone participating in the program while in the United States. The insurance will pay 90 percent for covered services under established “reasonable and customary” charge guidelines for your area and the type of service. There is no deductible. Families are expected to pay the 10% co-pays and uncovered services.
What Do the Summer Miracles Kids Bring With Them?
Most Summer Miracles kids step off the airplane with a backpack containing clothes for their visit. It will probably be necessary for your family to purchase a couple outfits for your Summer Miracles child. We also encourage you to use clothing your children have outgrown or collect clothing donations from friends and family. Less is more for these children. They are not used to having many clothing choices so there is no reason to feel you should provide these children with a whole new closet full of clothes.
What is the Purpose of the Weekend and Weekday Events?
Events are designed to give the community an opportunity to meet the children and interact with them and are held to generate media attention.
Do Host Families Have to Speak the Child’s Language?
No. It is helpful when families speak the child’s language but not required. Most families do not find the language barrier a critical problem. Families who have hosted children say they were able to overcome communication problems quickly.
To provide additional support to our host families, Kidsave provides a glossary of familiar terms in the child’s language called Child Talk. Volunteer translators typically attend events, and are available to interpret and help families communicate with their kids.
What is the Role of the Chaperone That Comes With the Children?
Chaperones are representatives from the children’s country and can be social workers, psychologists, directors and/or government officials. These chaperones have the power of attorney over the children. Their job is to make sure that the children have a safe visit and to get to know the families who may be applying to adopt them. All host families must plan to have the chaperone stay in their home approximately one week during the child’s visit.
What if a HostFamily Finds That They Are Not Able to Keep the Child for the Entire Summer?
Kidsave’s goal is to keep a child in the same home for the duration of the summer program. However, sometimes unexpected things happen within a family that will prohibit them from continuing to host the child for the length of their stay. Protocols are in place to address this.
What Happens to the Kids at the End of the Summer Miracles Program?
After the five-week visit, all the children must return home to their country with their chaperones. Kidsave’s relationship with the children does not stop, as the organization continues to advocate for the children so that each child can become connected to a caring adult.
What if a Family Decides to Adopt?
If a family decides they would like to adopt a child they have met through Summer Miracles Kidsave provides the family with next steps and a list of Hague accredited partnering agencies who can facilitate the adoption. Only an adoption agency can verify the legal availability of the child for adoption.
What Does Kidsave as a National Organization Do?
Kidsave manages the Summer Miracles program at a national level and helps raise money to bring the children here. Kidsave works with government and country officials to obtain permission for the children to travel, screens and approves the children and chaperones for participation, arranges for all documentation for children and chaperones to travel, coordinates travel for the children and the chaperons, and provides training and preparation for the children and chaperones. Here in the US, Kidsave builds and facilitates the Summer Miracles program, develops partnerships, recruits and trains community volunteers to recruit to coordinate the local program. Kidsave manages advocacy for all children needing families.
What Fundraising Responsibilities do Host Families Assume?
We ask that you help your local Summer Miracles committee to raise the necessary funds to bring the identified group of children to your city. The cost for one child to participate in the Summer Miracles program is approximately $7,500. The local community is responsible for raising $5000 per child who travels. Host families are not responsible for raising a specific amount but are expected to participate in and/or support their local community fundraising efforts as much as is feasible.
What Kinds of Volunteers are Needed for Summer Miracles?
Volunteers are needed to participate in the planning committee that coordinates each local program. Volunteer opportunities include fundraising, host family recruitment, communication/outreach, activity/event planning, host family support, escort coordination, hospitality, etc. Learn more about Volunteering with Kidsave
Coordinators by Community:
Southern California Delta Kirkland firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern California Elizabeth Spier email@example.com
DC/VA/MD Beth Dresing firstname.lastname@example.org
Iowa Steve Hudson email@example.com
NY/NJ/CT Cathee Gelman firstname.lastname@example.org
Chicago Kelly Abell email@example.com
Tools and Resources for our community:
- SUCCESS STORIES
A TRIBUTE FROM JULIA
Julia Ramos spoke at the DC Miracles Gala in October. Her speech was a heartfelt tribute to the power of parents.
Today I would like to thank my loving parents, Raul and Ana for everything they have done for my sisters Katya, Diana and me.
Katya and I were adopted from Russia in 2001. Our mother chose not to care for us and left my sister and me with my grandparents. So we were raised by our grandparents and lived with them until I was about 4 and Katya was 2.
Our grandfather was a loving and hard-working man. He was our biggest supporter. Our grandmother was blind and an alcoholic therefore she was unable to care for us. Katya and I were very young when our grandfather killed himself. It was especially hard for me because I was the one who found him, and have not been able to get the image out of my head since.
Not a stranger to loss, Sari knew in her heart she could successfully parent a teenage in foster care. Sari completed the foster care certification process, but hadn’t found the right match. Then a friend told her about Kidsave.
Sari had always wanted a daughter. She met Eunice at her second Kidsave event. Eunice was 11 and by then had been in 27 placements. In the foster care system since birth, Eunice struggled to be noticed in a sea of unwanted kids. Eunice’s social worker considered her unadoptable. But Sari and Eunice felt an immediate bond on that October afternoon. After attending a few more Kidsave events together, Sari became Eunice’s host family. Eunice and Sari spent weekends exploring, seeing shows, skating, bowling, and enjoying Sari’s friends and family. By the time spring break rolled around, Eunice was calling Sari mommy. On June 21, 2012, Eunice moved into Sari’s home for good.
Although Eunice had been a special education student, Sari believed she could transition into general education classes. Sari worked with Eunice’s new school, and got her tutoring. Slowly Eunice gained confidence in her abilities. Today Eunice is not only in general education classes, but she made honor roll, too!
Last June, Sari made a permanent legal connection and officially became Eunice’s mom. People say Kidsave saved Eunice’s life. But it changed Sari’s life for the better too. Thanks to Kidsave, Sari and Eunice are now a happy family.
Recent Summer Miracles News
Even Kids Can Advocate Four-year-old Mia Koval-Molodtsova met the kids needing families at the final DC/MD/VA event, the Kidsave Olympics. When she saw their photos again on a community flyer […]
I said to myself that I wasn’t going to cry today when we said goodbye to the Summer Miracles children at the airport. And then, emotion welled up the first […]
It’s hard to believe we are sliding into our last week of Summer Miracles – and we have several great boys without families. These boys are on the precipice — […]