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Nonprofit Spotlight: Making sure older orphans and foster care children have a chance to find a loving family

LatinaLista — Orphaned and foster care children have it tough not having a loving, stable family. The statistics paint a bleak future for them:

1 in 10 commit suicide
Less than half finish high school
50 percent end up in jail
1/3 become homeless
1 in 4 will become parents before the age of 20
Many will turn to life of drug trafficking or prostitution to survive.

From all these sad predictions, there is a silver lining — they don’t have to end up this way. Adoption by loving families will improve their odds dramatically but it’s the waiting for that day that is a huge lost opportunity in the well-being of these children.

Kidsave understands that. Started by two women who saw the horrendous conditions in Russian orphanages where children, young and old, were living their days without any kind of family interaction, the Washington DC-based organization decided that a new model for these children was needed, especially for the older children.

Orphans and foster care children in the United States, Russia, Colombia and Sierra Leone have the opportunity to spend their weekends and summer vacations surrounded by loving families.

Kidsave’s model gives older, overlooked foster youth and foreign orphans short-term visits with families for a summer or weekends. Family Visits have successfully found adoptive families and permanent connections for older kids who otherwise would have no chance of finding a family. The program has worked in the USA among hard-to-place foster youth, in Russia, Colombia and Sierra Leone. It is also very successful when used to help large numbers of foreign orphans find a family in a new culture accustomed to adoption, such as the USA, Canada and Europe.

The family visits are a core component of an all-around model that bypasses the traditional way in which adoption works. In addition to the family visits, the children are already connected to those families because before they started spending time with the whole family, the children were matched with a mentor in that family.

The mentors are asked to use their network of friends to host parties and get-togethers with some in their network who may be willing to adopt older children. The organization also creates events that help kids meet prospective parents.

Once a prospective family decides to adopt, Kidsave provides all the support services, during and after the adoption, the family and child will need to make the transition as smooth as possible So far, the success rate has been stunning.

By 2020 our goal is to connect 1,000,000 orphans and foster youth to parents and mentors to enable them to experience love, hope and the opportunity for a successful future — because every child needs a family ~ Kidsave

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  • DouglasRiggle
    October 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Great article! It’s disheartening to know how many orphans “age” out of the system but are faced with even bigger obstacles. Orphan World Relief works with a number of orphanages doing work with older kids… we need more and more people, groups, churches…etc. to step up and make a difference. Next week is Orphan Sunday. Make a difference today!
    Douglas Riggle, President
    Orphan World Relief

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