In the spring of 2018, Ethan saw a post on Facebook about Kidsave, an organization that brings older children from Colombia to the United States through its Summer Miracles® Program. Children stay with host families to learn about U.S. culture and experience life with an American family. At the end of the visit, some families may decide to adopt a child from the program.
Ethan mentioned the post to his then partner, now husband, Jim, who had often talked about being a father.
“I showed the post to Jim,” said Ethan. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s do this!’ Next thing we know, we’re signed up to host an adorable 13-year-old boy, Juan Carlos.” Upon his arrival at the airport, Juan Carlos ran up to his host fathers and sister, gave them a big hug, and presented each of them with braided bracelets from his home country. “Right then and there, we fell in love with Juan Carlos and knew we were going to adopt him,” said Jim.
Becoming a Family
Children participating in Summer Miracles may or may not know adoption is a possibility, but host families aren’t allowed to talk openly about it during the visit. At the end of the hosting period, the children return to Colombia. If a family wants to adopt the child, they meet with an adoption agency to start the formal process.
Children’s Home has a longstanding international adoption program with Colombia and partners with Kidsave to provide host families with education, background checks, a hosting assessment, and support.
“We felt like we won the lottery when we got to work with Children’s Home,” said Ethan. “From day one, everyone was kind, encouraging, and helpful.”
“There were many months we couldn’t talk to Juan Carlos until our letter of intent was accepted by the officials in Colombia,” said Jim. “After that step, we could Skype with him every two weeks, but we still couldn’t talk to him about adoption.”
Waiting for the official referral to adopt Juan Carlos was stressful. To their great relief, Jim and Ethan received approval to adopt in early 2019. Jim, Ethan, and Bella, Ethan’s daughter from a previous relationship, traveled to Colombia to welcome Juan Carlos into the family.
Now 14 years old, Juan Carlos is adjusting well to life as an American teenager. “Every night, when I tuck him into bed, the smile on his face says everything. Being his dad is a dream come true,” said Jim.