MORRIS – Two Colombian orphans have enjoyed themselves this summer in Morris with their host family Eric and Anne Rasmusson.
The Rasmussons were considering adoption last fall when they found the organization Kidsave, an advocacy group that focuses on finding families for children nationally and internationally. They decided to help.
“We’ve put the adoption on hold, but we saw the opportunity to help,” Anne said prior to the arrival of siblings Danilo, 11, and Angelica, 12.
After arriving Aug. 1 in Chicago, the pair made their way to the Rasmussons’ farm north of Morris, where they’ve learned many new things.
The children don’t speak much English, but spoke with the Morris Daily Herald through a translator.
“We’ve played and we went on a scooter and in a pool,” Angelica said. “We’ve had two bonfires and got to go to a festival.”
Danilo said he has enjoyed his time in Morris and is surprised by the fine manners of the people living here.
The Rasmussons have taken the children to several planned parties, where families interested in adoption could meet the children and interact with them. They’ve also had people to their home and attended events at the homes of others.
The kids are told the trip is a summer vacation they get to go on, but they know there is a chance someone will adopt them.
Danilo is afraid of not being adopted by his 12th birthday next spring, when he will age out of the foster care system and go to a more institutional type setting, in his words. He’s even more afraid of what will happen when he turns 18 and will be out on his own.
The past three weeks, Danilo had a chance to forget his circumstances back home for a little while and do things all kids do: play tag in the yard, go to the beach and learn to ride a bike for the first time.
Delta Kirkland, Kidsave program director, said the program started with children from Russia and Kazakhstan in 1999. It has brought children from Columbia to the U.S. for several years.
“The kids come and stay for a four- or five-week visit,” Kirkland said. “We’ve found this to be a very effective formula and 75 to 85 percent of the children who have participated have been adopted.”
The last group event is Saturday in Orland Park.
Kidsave believes every child needs a family, and by finding families for these children, their chances of completing school, finding a good job and building a life and family of their own greatly increases. Without a supportive family, the children will be on their own after they leave the system, usually between the ages of 16 and 18.
People interested in meeting the children can contact Anne at 214-608-7446.
For information on Kidsave, visit kidsave.org