As champions for the kids, our host families introduced the fantastic, talented, Summer Miracles kids to their local communities helping to spread the word that the kids need to find loving, supporting adoptive families. For many of our families, the idea of hosting was a way to change the outlook for kids that are often forgotten—older kids who desperately need family. And for many families, it was a way to connect with a child and explore international adoption.
The summer has been life-changing, both for the kids and their host families. As the days of summer rolled on, the kids got to enjoy what being family is all about. Many of the kids experienced firsts in their life; from a first trip to a beach, first water balloon fight, first hike in a National Park, and even a first trip to a dentist!
And of course, our host families had the support of the Kidsave community behind them. Each weekend fun community events took place across the country helping introduce the kids to the wider community and prospective adoptive families. Not only was it a great chance to meet the kids in a relaxed, fun environment, it also allowed for bonds to form naturally. And the kids loved being able to catch up with other kids and share stories.
Our Southern California community met regularly in parks throughout Orange County and Los Angeles, enjoying face painting, scavenger hunts, and hikes. One favorite weekend was our Kidsave Olympics which saw the kids design their own team t-shirts reflecting the things that make them unique. We saw flags, music notes, a variety of colors, and plenty of smiles.
In the Chicago Tri-State Area, our communities engaged in bowling (a first for many of the kids), park games, face painting, impromptu soccer matches, with activities culminating in the kids creating memory books – scrapbooks filled with photos and drawings of their summer.
Elsewhere in DC, Minnesota and New York, our Kidsave community kept spirits up with craft activities, games in local parks, the Kidsave Olympics, and picnics.
One of our community events highlights was seeing Summer Miracles kids from years past, now all grown up, return to help a new generation of kids find families. For Duvan Allen, a 2012 Summer Miracles kid, it was a chance to give back to Kidsave and be a spark of hope for the kids and families. “It means a whole lot to be able to contribute to a cause that helped me at one point. Being able to communicate with the kids, see their smiles, and help them find their adoptive parents, it means a lot to me,” said Duvan. “In 2012, maybe I wasn’t aware of it, but that’s what people were doing for me. And it changed my life. I’m happy I’m able to contribute even a tiny bit to that.”
Madeline Trachtenberg, Kidsave’s Assistant Programs Manager for Summer Miracles, shared, “We had a lot of families meet all of our kids this year… these events are a great opportunity to meet the kids, have fun with them and see their personalities shine.”
These meetings are crucial opportunities for these kids in their journey to find forever families. Madeline elaborated, “We hope to find them a family here in the United States, to give a home to these kids who are so deserving and wonderful.” These kids indeed are wonderful, and that’s why we make a conscious effort to utilize all the time we have with them and their host families.
As the kids prepared to return to Colombia while their host families prepared for difficult goodbyes, all are thankful for the chance to connect and share in each other’s lives. After spending a blissful summer getting to know these sweet, rambunctious kids, the end of Summer Miracles can be a little tough for everyone.
At the start of each summer program, everyone has their idea of what the next five weeks will entail. By the end, the kids remind everyone that not everything in life cannot be so perfectly planned. It’s up to us as individuals to learn to “go with the flow” and face life as it comes.
For many of these kids, our Summer Miracles program is their best chance to find forever families. Each teary goodbye reminds us why the work we do at Kidsave is so vital. These kids, like all kids, deserve a loving and stable home with parents who cherish them. And we won’t stop championing them for the amazing kids they are.