One night, a little girl in Colombia was sound asleep, dreaming.
In her dream, she vividly heard the name, Taylor. When she woke the next morning she thought it was so strange because she didn’t know anyone by that name. Little did she know that dreams really can come true.
As providence would have it, Linda Taylor met 12-year-old Maria Fernanda (Mafe) from Colombia in 2019. Linda heard about Kidsave on the radio many years ago and in 2016 started participating in Weekend Miracles in Los Angeles. After considering Summer Miracles, she decided to make a shift to the program with the goal of adopting. With the idea of “now or never in mind,” she contacted Kidsave asking if they still needed hosts for the summer.
Kidsave matched Linda with Mafe. “Something about her picture stood out to me,” says Linda. “She seemed so much like me, and it seemed like we would fit well together.” When Mafe heard the name of her host match was Linda Taylor, she quickly remembered the dream she had thought was strange months before, and thought, “it’s meant to be!”
Soon the day arrived when Linda and Mafe met at LAX. The summer they spent together was very eventful. In the beginning, Linda made sure that Mafe’s got her health screenings and check-ups. Not exactly the fun Mafe had in mind, but the rest of the summer was spent attending every Kidsave event, visiting Disneyland (twice!), taking horseback riding lessons, going to the beach, painting ceramics, and shopping. While the program was a five-week-long stay, to Mafe and Linda the weeks flew by in a blink of an eye.
“Mafe is so easy to get along with,” says Linda. “She’s very sweet, a girl that younger kids can look up to as a big sister because she is very nurturing. I loved the time we spent together, and I did not want her to go back to Colombia!”
After the end of the Summer Miracles program, Linda sent in her intent to adopt Mafe. Linda worked on finalizing her adoption for months. Then COVID-19 hit and delayed the process even further.
But Linda stayed positive. “I just knew that it was going to be okay, and she was going to be home soon,” says Linda. Kidsave staff helped Linda connect with Mafe over Skype and on Mother’s Day, Mafe sent Linda a card. At that point, Mafe had had a pretty good idea that this adoption would become official. The day Mafe and Linda had been preparing for finally arrived and the two couldn’t have been more excited to be reunited again.
Now that Mafe is home in California, Linda recalls her precious moments with Mafe that made her feel like a mother. Like the moment Mafe first signed her name as “Maria Fernanda Taylor,” and at the airport when walking through immigration Mafe was told, “Welcome to the United States.” And, introducing Mafe to Linda’s family, who warmly welcomed her. “I just felt like her mom during our first summer together,” says Linda. “I definitely feel like a mom now!”
Although the two are quarantined, Mafe is now reconnecting with the friends she made in Colombia and making some new friends virtually. The two decorated their home for the holidays and soon hope to take up virtual dance lessons together.
On their first Christmas together, they enjoyed their time by joining a YouTube church service, ordering a meal, and baking Christmas cookies for their neighbors. “Mafe had a great Christmas,” says Linda. “I started shopping when we were in Colombia.”
In the new year, Linda looks forward to getting Mafe settled. “I can’t wait to get her enrolled in school so she can meet friends and help her with her English,” says Linda. “Although it may be tough, Mafe is an excellent student.”
Mafe and Linda also can’t wait to go on bike rides together when quarantine is over and Mafe looks forward to meeting her new neighbors who gave her a State of California necklace for Christmas.
“Kidsave has changed my life… from meeting all the kids during the events to finding Mafe,” says Linda. “I feel like Kidsave is a second family to me. Kidsave made it possible for us to meet and changed Mafe’s future.”
Linda has many hopes for her new daughter. “I hope Mafe continues to believe in herself because she is very capable,” says Linda. I hope she doesn’t give up and looks for the possibilities ahead of her.”
If you have a connection with a child, Linda’s advice is to keep that child in your mind, and just remember “it’s all going to work out.”
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