Hosting is an active, fun experience which engages communities of like-minded people in support of a group of children finding families here in the U.S. through international adoption.
It gives people a chance to meet a child and helps people who are considering international adoption of an older child to determine if it’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 Miracles 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.
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.
Summer/Winter Miracles is a four- to five-week hosting program that provides older children growing up in foster care and orphanages a unique summer or winter 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 program, miracles happen, and many children are adopted by American families they meet during the program. Since 1999, more than 1,800 children have participated in the program and over 76% 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/Winter 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.
- Mostly children between the ages of 11-14, occasionally children under age 10 who are a part of a sibling group and are available for international adoption.
- Single children and sibling groups (up to 4)
- Children who may have emotional, medical, and educational needs
The children who 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 life.
- Hosts must be at least 25 years old and should not be more than 45 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.
- Hosts must live in a Hosting Community or receive special approval to host out of 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.
- Prospective families first attend an informational meeting or webinar orientation. If interested in hosting, a Host Family Application Packet and nonrefundable application payment must be submitted. Upon receipt of application and payment, 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 payment. At times during the off-season, discounts may be offered. The hosting payment is charged per single child or sibling group (i.e., only one payment 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.
- 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 each 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 are also held to generate media attention, which builds awareness and helps the children find permanent families.
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.
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.
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.
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 so that each child is connected to a caring adult.
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 international adoption. Only an adoption agency can verify the legal availability of the child for adoption.
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.
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 $8,000. 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.
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
Complete a self-paced 20 minute online webinar.
Complete the application. Link will be emailed after the application payment is made.
Contact the local Kidsave Agency Partner to begin your psychosocial study and clearances.
Complete Agency and Kidsave Training.
Prepare for the child’s arrival and host!
Steps to Meet the Kids (when in the U.S.)
You can get started meeting kids with just a few steps.
- Find ‘Meet the Kids’ (Advocacy) Events in your area in the Summer Miracles Events listings.
- RSVP – Be sure to RSVP so we can expect and prepare for you.
- 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 international 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.
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.
- 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.
- Complete the Application
Visiting Family Application – it takes about 20 minutes to complete. Instructions and what information to gather are presented with the application.
- Meet the Kids at an Event
Summer Miracles Events. If you can’t find an event in your area contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
Costs of Hosting
- A non-refundable $275 application payment is due before submission of an application.
- For Summer Miracles 2021, the hosting payment is $2,525. Half of the payment ($1262.50) will be due after your application has been reviewed and approved, the remaining balance will be due upon being matched with a child.
- Both the application payment and hosting payment are tax deductible.
- Kidsave may have 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.
- Hosting requires that family complete a psycho-social study, obtain clearances, and complete training through one of our partner agencies. Agency costs vary by agency and state. Please contact the agency partner in your area. You can find a complete list of our agency partners
If our partner agencies do not have an office in your area, Kidsave will work with our agency partners to find an agency for you to work with locally.
Requirements for Hosting (in Kidsave Communities)
- Hosts must be at least 25 years of age and no more than 45 years older than the child they are hosting.
- Hosts and anyone over age 18 in their household must undergo a psychosocial home visit, fingerprinting/background check and child abuse clearances. Existing government clearances are not accepted. Current home studies are usually accepted.
- Host parents must complete a minimum of 10 hours of agency-required training as well as Kidsave’s Orientation (online) and Program and Advocacy Training (in your community).
- During the hosting period, host families are committing to:
- Having a child in their home for four to five weeks
- Attending advocacy events every weekend
- Participating in two support sessions
- Helping their community raise funds
- Advocating for their host child to find an adoptive family
Note: Payments described above help support the operation of Summer Miracles all year round.
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. Learn More
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