The Summer Miracles® Program gives families to older orphans age 11 to 14 who have little chance to be adopted in their own countries through an orphan hosting program.
Children who are available for adoption stay with host families in designated communities for a 4 to 5 week summer visit. While the kids are here they learn about the U.S. culture, attend summer camp, and experience life in an American family. Host families work with Kidsave staff and volunteers to find the children adoptive families.
Summer Miracles orphan hosting provides the opportunity to have a child in your home. The program brings children to designated communities throughout the US. A community consists of four or more families who are committed to hosting five or more children. Currently Summer Miracles has established communities in:
- Chicago, IL
- DC Metro (DC, VA, MD)
- Des Moines, IA
- Greater Los Angeles Area
- Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area
- New York Tri State (NJ, NY, CT)
- San Francisco Bay Area
- South Florida
Summer Miracles welcomes hosts who live in one of our communities listed above who are interested in adoption or who will work with Kidsave to help a child find an adoptive family. If you don’t live in a community , and would like to start one, please the section below “No Hosting Program Near You? Start A Kidsave Community!”
Summer hosting is an active, fun experience which engages communities of like-minded people in support of a group of children finding families.
It gives people a chance to meet a child and helps people who are considering adopting an older child determine if that’s right for them. Regardless of whether a host adopts, they spend the summer advocating to find their host child an adoptive family. If their host child is a good fit, the child’s host is given the priority for the adoption. If you are interested in adopting an older child, but not quite ready to take the plunge, Kidsave’s Summer Miracle’s program is right for you!
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.
The first step to host is to join us for an Online Hosting Webinar. Follow the link to RSVP to the next webinar. There’s always room for one more! Hope to speak to you at our next orientation.
No Hosting Program Near You? Start A Kidsave Community!
The Kidsave hosting program is built around the concept of communities of people working together in support of the children and each other. A hosting community provides emotional support for host families and helps engage others to bring in people to meet the kids. Each hosting community requires at least four to six families in a geographic area who are interested in bringing in a minimum of five children.
Each community needs a team of volunteer coordinators. These coordinators must be willing to recruit families, work with families to support training, raise money to support the program and manage advocacy for the children. Each community also runs a weekly series of fun, interactive weekend events that enables interested families to comfortably meet and interact with the kids. Host families are resources at these events to recruit host families and talk with visitors about the children. Usually one person coordinates and serves as the key point of contact for referring visiting families and conducting events. Then other hosts and volunteers can serve on committees to make sure the visitors are appropriately trained, their information needs are met and appropriate follow-up steps taken and that the media is involved so people are attracted to the weekend events. Churches, groups of friends, neighborhood groups are all great sources of energy to start a hosting community. Kidsave provides coaching and support for hosting communities – including great children to host.
The best part about being a Kidsave Community is the camaraderie that develops and the amazing caring that pours from people in support of the children. Communities need to gear up in the fall for a summer program. So get started today! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Volunteer Opportunities for Hosting Programs
Hosting programs survive on volunteers. Without them there would be no programs. Host families completely donate their time. Community hosting programs are run by amazing volunteers who take charge of everything to make a community happen. They help recruit families, they help the families prepare for the children to arrive, they raise money to help pay for some of the trips, organize weekend events, and work through their networks to make sure every child needs a family. Volunteering for a hosting program provides an up-close and very personal view of children who have been growing up in institutions, and what a difference a few weeks of caring and attention can do. It’s an amazing experience to meet the children when they first arrive, strangers, tentative, knowing none of the adults. And by the end of the hosting visit strong bonds exist and a community of adults have taken each of the children into their hearts. To volunteer to help Kidsave start here.
- COSTS & GRANTS
The first step to host is to join us for an Online Hosting Webinar. Follow the link to RSVP to the next webinar. There’s always room for one more! Hope to speak to you at our next orientation.
Costs of Hosting
- Application Payment:
$275. Required by all and nonrefundable. This enables our staff to interact with all applicants and help them navigate the process to be approved to host.
Pay Application Payment and Apply
- Hosting Payment
$2500. Half is due after your application has been approved. The remaining balance is due upon being matched with a child. This payment is tax deductible.
Agency services fees, including a family psychosocial study or home study, training, social worker support, and clearances are separate, paid directly to the agency and vary by state and agency.
While in the USA, host families support the children with food, clothing, shelter and summer camp experiences. A 90/10 emergency medical insurance policy is provided.
Please review the Steps to Host tab for more information on the hosting process.
The Kidsave CMomA Grant Program’s Objective is to give $20,000 in grants per year in financial support to eligible new parents adopting older (ages 2-17) or special needs children, both domestically and internationally.
- 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.
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
8. Prepare for the child’s arrival and host!
- STEPS TO MEET KIDS
Steps to Meet the Kids Summer 2017
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 – Be sure 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.
- A local coordinator will provide a quick review of the ‘Do’s and Don’ts for meeting the kids at the beginning of each event.
Please Note: If you are interested in adoption and/or are traveling to attend, you may wish to complete the Visiting Family Application (see below) prior to coming. This is not required to attend an event, but is required if you wish to visit individually with any of the children, their hosts, or learn more about them.
You can see the kids, read their bio’s and which communities they are visiting in the Gallery.
Visit the Gallery
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 outside the Kidsave events 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.
1. The First Step is learning more about the program – either by reading or through our webinar.
Download and read the Visiting Family Packet. Required before spending one-on-one time with the kids and their hosts and hearing their story.
Attend the Visiting Family Orientation Webinar – Learn more about becoming a Kidsave Visiting Family.
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.
How Kidsave Hosting Works
Stories from Kidsave Hosts
It Just Works!
Be sure to check out more videos on the Kidsave YouTube page here
Host families are volunteers. Summer Miracles Host families open their homes and host a child from overseas for four to five weeks. With Kidsave’s support and guidance they introduce the child to prospective adoptive families through their connections in the community. During that time the families participate in Kidsave sponsored weekend events which enable interested families to interact with the kids and get to know them. When a family is interested in getting to know one of the children beyond the Kidsave event the family is screened and one-on-one visits are arranged.
Learn more about hosting using the menu to the left or visiting our Getting Started with Hosting page for more specifics.
In 2018, Kidsave is bringing children from Colombia for hosting through the Summer Miracles program. Children are in the process of being referred and the galleries will continually be updated as children become available.
Be the summer miracle they are praying for.
- GET INVOLVED!
Summer Miracles Hosting
Summer Miracles families host a child for four to five weeks in the summer; usually July or 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 us 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
Fundraise for Summer Miracles
Sponsor a Child
Get your friends and family together to raise money to fund a Sponsorship or donate to an existing fundraising page.
If you have any questions about fundraising for Summer Miracles Program contact us at email@example.com
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.
And… What is the Summer Miracles Program?
Summer Miracles is a four- to five-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 1,800 children have participated in the program and over 83% 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 11-14, 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 and should not be more than 55 years older than the child they host.
- Hosts can be married couples, a single woman or a single man. Single men can host only boys.
- Host must live in a Hosting Community.
- 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 or 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 past disrupted adoption or denial by a home study agency may cause ineligibility for hosting.
- Our policies for host family selection are bound by country protocols.
Our policies for host family selection are bound by country protocols.
How Does the Summer Miracles Program Work?
- Prospective families first attend an informational meeting or webinar orientation. If interested in hosting, a Host Family Application Packet and nonrefundable $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 from a local accredited adoption service provider who completes and submits the required hosting paperwork and approves their participation in the program. Agencies charge fees for their services that vary by agency. The family’s participation must also be approved by the sending country.
- Additionally, families must pay the $2500 hosting fee. The $2500 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. Half of the payment is due upon approval of your application. The second half is due upon matching with a child. If, for some reason, you do not host with us, we will refund the hosting fee.
- Children are matched with approved host families (usually in late spring). The match is facilitated by the family’s social worker.
- Approved families MUST complete 10 hours of required training through their agency and an additional 4 hours of program and advocacy training with Kidsave. Training occurs prior to the children’s arrival to the United States.
- Once the child arrives, the 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. Please note: Kidsave does not run its own camp. Camps are selected by the host families based on their location and what will be of interest to the host child.
- 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 from the community 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.
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
- Attend weekend events that bring all host families, children, and chaperones together.
- Participate in two support sessions while the children are here.
- Take a minimum of one week off work.
- Find and sign their child up for camp, if needed.
- Host a chaperone, who is a Colombian social worker or psychologist, in your home for up to one week.
- Help their community fundraise.
- 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 US. The insurance will pay 90% 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 a couple changes of clothes. It will probably be necessary for you to purchase a few 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 them with a closet full of new clothes.
What is the Purpose of the Weekend and Weekday Events?
Events are designed to give the community and prospective adoptive parents, called visiting families, an opportunity to meet the children and interact with them. Events also held to generate media attention, which builds awareness and helps the children find permanent families.
Do Host Families Have to Speak the Child’s Language?
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 say they were able to overcome communication problems using translation apps and other techniques.
To provide additional support to host families, Kidsave provides a glossary of familiar terms in the child’s language called Child Talk. Volunteer translators typically attend events in order 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 may be social workers, psychologists, directors and/ or government officials. They have power of attorney for the children. Their job is to make sure that the children have a safe visit and to get to know the families who might apply to adopt them. All host families must plan to have the chaperone stay in their home approximately one week during the child’s visit. Chaperones write reports on the child’s visit to help facilitate future adoption.
What if a Host Family Finds That They Are Not Able to Keep the Child for the Entire Summer?
Kidsave’s goal is to keep each child in the same home for the duration of the program. However, sometimes unexpected things happen within a family that prohibit it 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 four-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 so that each child is 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 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, and recruits and trains community volunteers. 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 children to your city. The cost for one child to participate in the program is approximately $8000. Each community is responsible for raising $25,000. Host families are not responsible for raising a specific amount, but are expected to participate in and/or support their community fundraising efforts.
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:
Chicago, IL Maru Braemer firstname.lastname@example.org
DC Metro (DC, VA, MD) Marycarol Skaggs email@example.com
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX Bevin Kuhn firstname.lastname@example.org
Des Moines, Iowa John and Karen Erikson email@example.com
Greater Los Angeles Area Jo Moyer firstname.lastname@example.org
Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Area Bevin Kuhn email@example.com
New York Tri State (NY, NJ, CT) Cathee Gelman firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco Bay Area Elizabeth Spier email@example.com
& Jeri Mersky firstname.lastname@example.org
South Florida Mercedes Jimenez 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.
Vika is Reaching for Her Dreams!
Victoria Gill, a Kidsave Summer Miracles child hosted from Kazakhstan in 2003, spent her summer as an intern at the Tumor Vaccine Group at the University of Washington in Seattle and they have just extended her internship.
Tatiana Spencer, born in Kazakhstan 1995 came to the US with Kidsave Summer Miracles to DC in 2003 where she met her forever family, George Spencer and June Ellison. At age 9, Tatiana came home to VA in 2004 and started her new life with her sister, Julia also from the former Soviet Union and four months older than Tania.
Carlos turns 16
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing Carlos to me! Saturday was a special day. Carlos turned 16. I call it the 8+8=16 day. Carlos’s adoption went through a few days after his 8th birthday. So as of this week, he has been in the US and my son for half his life!
Cristian’s Story! Home in time for the holidays
“Two years ago, I was thinking surrogacy, co-parenting, or adopting an infant. There is no way that I would have guessed that I would adopt a 13 year old,” says Adam. “The process is amazing, and ultimately I ended up with an awesome child, Cristian. He is absolutely my son, and I could not be any happier.”
Henry’s Heartwarming Story
When I was very little my father died, and my mother turned me over to a family who put me to work. I got up at dawn and picked vegetables, pulling a donkey in the hot sun. I lived in poverty, surrounded by drugs and alcohol and violence. So one day I ran away, and I was placed in a foster home. Kidsave came to my rescue…
In the orphanage in Russia we didn’t have to deal with my drunken parents, and I guess they didn’t mind not having us around because they never visited us. After a few years they told me that we had a chance to visit America and spend time with people who might want to adopt us.
When I was three years old, my biological father died of a drug overdose. My abusive mother was an alcoholic and most likely a prostitute. For years I lived in dangerous and unhealthy conditions, often having to steal food in order to eat. I remember sleeping alone under a bus seat after my mother put me out on the street. Kidsave was my hope…
Second Hope Takes – Jiemmy
In 2006, because of Kidsave we traveled to the US again, and were finally adopted. Now that I am in college, I realize that I have the opportunity to share my life experience with others. I want to share the love and compassion I have been given by people who were not obligated, who made the choice to love me and care for me even when they did not know me….
But, most of all I have a Mom – Andrea’s Story
In Colombia, I never had anyone I could call “mom” or “dad”. My brother Sebastian and I lived with relatives who were abusive to us. We were poor, and life was hard. I remember not knowing where we’d sleep at night. Instead of going to school like other kids, I sold lemons on the street and begged from strangers to survive.
Milena’s Story – I fell in love with them instantly
Hi, my name is Milena. I was adopted from Russia when I was nine. My parents divorced when I was born so I never met my father. My mom started drinking and smoking and was unable to care for me.