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‘Devastating’: The impact of the pandemic on foster and orphan children

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Playing soccer at an Anaheim park is a routine summer activity, but for 17-year-old Sarah — whose name Spectrum News is changing for her protection — the past few days have been anything but ordinary because she and her 13-year-old sister, Victoria, arrived at LAX from Colombia just days ago.

“I was so excited, I was counting down the days,” Sarah said in Spanish. “This is our first time leaving the country, flying on a plane and seeing the U.S.”

The two sisters are in the U.S. as part of the Kidsave Summer Miracles Program, a nonprofit that brings foster and orphan kids from abroad and lets them spend a few weeks in the U.S. meeting and bonding with potential adoptive families.

“It was an opportunity I wasn’t expecting,” Sarah said. “I though this moment would never come, because at my age it can be hard.”

For Sarah, the COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on a possible adoption because she will soon age out of the system. As things open back up, she has until next March — her 18th birthday — to find a parent.

“It’s very difficult because you’re lonely without parents,” she said. “Without having that support, without someone telling you good job, you did it, you got good grades, I don’t have that.”

Sarah, who was born with a cleft lip, cleft palate and congenital arrhinia, has been in the foster care system now for 11 years. As the clock ticks, the sisters have relied on each other more and more as their chance of getting adopted shrinks with each passing day.

Read the Rest of the Story | Learn How to Meet the Kids | Learn More About Summer Miracles

Spectrum News 1