As Seen in THE STAR

November 24, 2019
ST. MICHAELS — Today, they are beautiful, accomplished women with warm smiles and broad hearts.

But back in 2001, sisters Svetlana and Ekaterina and were neglected little girls languishing in an orphanage in Tver, Russia, more than two hours north of Moscow.

One summer visit, however, bridged their journey from abandonment to their forever family and new home in the United States. With the help of Kidsave’s Summer Miracles program, Svetlana, then 9, and Ekaterina, 6, traveled to the United States in 2001 to meet their host parents, Pamela and Carl Widell, then living in Georgetown, D.C., but with a summer home in St. Michaels. In July 22, 2002, Carl and Pam adopted the sisters.

“We knew right away we wanted to adopt them,” Carl said.

Ekaterina, 24, whose nickname is Katya, is paying her experience forward. She now works for the organization that provided her and her sister the chance to experience a “summer miracle” through Kidsave, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity founded in 1996 to help older children and teens living in U.S. residential facilities, foster homes, group homes, and orphanages overseas, find loving parents and lifelong mentors.