Host an Orphaned Child this Summer

BY  |  Tuesday, Apr 05, 2011 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

If you’ve ever felt blessed for everyday things in life that are easy to take for granted, like family, you may appreciate the warm thoughts behind Kidsave.org‘s Summer Miracles program.

Kidsave, a nonprofit which works to move older kids out of foster care or orphanages and into permanent, loving homes, plans to bring orphaned or abandoned children, age 8 to 13, to Montclair and the New York metropolitan area from Colombia, and to find host families for them for a four-week summer visit.

The goal of this visit is to help these kids find permanent families, their own “forever homes.”

Rachael Egan, a writer and mother of two who lives in Baristaville, plans to host a child from Kidsave in July.

“I want to help a child who needs a family, and I also want to help people who have not experienced the joys of adoption, to feel that sense of connection to the world, and the other gifts that arrived along with our children,” said Rachael, whose two daughters adopted from infancy in NYC, are of Mexican and Colombian descent.

“We can’t wait to meet our little (13 year old) guest from Colombia this summer. Our youngest says she will teach her how to swim, which is pretty funny because at the moment she swims more like a rock than anything else!”

Kidsave says on its website, “Children growing up in foster care and orphanages – government run and private ones — are at great risk. These are the forgotten children. These are the children Kidsave serves.”

The Colombian orphans picked for the Summer Miracles program would have very little chance of being adopted in the absence of this trip, Kidsave says.

There is no pressure on host families themselves to adopt these children, although a number of them do go on to do so.  Families may wish to host simply to advocate for a child and help them find a permanent home.

Over the four weeks, the children will experience family life, create kinships with the host family’s children, and attend weekend events that are aimed at introducing them to families keen to adopt a child. Training is provided for the host families, and there is a whole ream of safeguards in place to ensure the childrens’ safety during the program.

Another NJ family, the Chalkans of Lincoln Park, hosted a child named Ingrid from Colombia in 2008. By the time she returned to Colombia, her hosts knew Ingrid was meant to be part of their family, and her adoption was finalized in June 2009.

Ingrid’s mother Lisa Rasp-Chalkan told Barista Kids, “This program is a wonderful way to find families for older, orphaned children. Not many people set out to adopt a teen or preteen, but once they meet these children and form connections with them, anything is possible. Whether or not the host family goes in to adopt, the child develops lifelong friendships.”

Ingrid, who was about 12 and didn’t speak English when she first arrived two years ago, has adjusted well and made “wonderful friends,” Lisa said. She was named artist of the month twice at school, and student of the month once, excels at gymnastics and even cheers for her town’s football team.

For details on hosting kids over the summer, or on volunteering for Kidsave, click here. And here’s some evidence of visiting kids having fun during their visit to NY and NJ last summer.

There will also be an orientation meeting for the Kidsave Summer Miracles Program on Saturday, April 9th at 4:00pm, hosted by the First Congregational Church at 40 South Fullerton Street.

(Top photo, courtesy of Kidsave, shows NJ and NY families who hosted Kidsave children last summer; second photo shows, from left, the Chalkan sisters, Adrianna, 11, Ingrid, 14, Gianna, 7, and Gisella, 13 and their dog Brooklyn)

1 Comments

  1. POSTED BY danielibnzayd  |  July 11, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    You may have heard of the Korean adoptee who, due to a snafu with another “orphan”, was sent to a family instead of the girl they had “chosen”; of course they did not notice the difference. The girl was old enough to remember this horrific infinite moment of tragic happenstance.

    Another story: An adoptee from my “orphanage” here in Beirut remembers, at the age of four, the nuns telling the children to be on their best behavior, because some parents-cadeaux–gift parents–were coming to choose a lucky child. She remembers the competition this set up in her mind, and how it changed her view of those in the orphanage with her, as well as introducing for her the concepts of deceit, manipulation, and false-facedness.

    And so here an NGO brings in Colombian kids like so much coffee to be sampled by the privileged parents who, if the child is “lucky”, might decide that s/he will become part of their “family”. Let’s ignore the fact of the matter that these hosts, their very lifestyle, and their political leaders that they vote for and support, have done more than anything to set up the conditions in Colombia that create these “orphaned” children.

    Let’s ignore their very hands in this, and focus instead on the parade of poverty disguised as beneficent charity. This lies somewhere between pet adoption (the dog won’t live forever) and kidnapping on the Horror Scale, and I can’t imagine how anyone of reason, good faith, and mindfulness of the situation of the world could even conceive of something so disgusting and counter to human dignity.

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