Tom Beaulieu has adopted two children from non-profit organization Kidsave and the Ocean Park resident is hoping to convince other locals to provide a family to children in need.
Every year Kidsave puts on their annual Summer Miracle Program. The hosting program allows families to experience and engage with foster children from Colombia who are searching for a family.
Kidsave said their mission ensures that no orphan or foster child is forgotten and that every child grows up in a family. According to their website, there have been 5,549 children that have been hosted for family visits and have been matched with families.
Beaulieu said, “This program has enriched my life so much.”
The program gives families to older orphans ages 11 to 14 who have a slim chance of being adopted in their own country.
The children travel from Colombia and stay in the United States for four weeks, attend day camps, and social weekend events. The children are currently one week into their program and are searching for permanent families.
Beaulieu and partner Lori Brown decided to be a host family in 2009 and since then they haven’t looked back.
In 2009 the two hosted 11-year old boy Santiago. All three agreed it was the best summer ever, which lead Beaulieu and Brown to go to Columbia and pick up Santiago to officially adopt him. Santiago returned to Santa Monica in 2010 with a permanent family and soon began at John Adams.
“Santiago is 19 years old now and just graduated from Santa Monica High School,” said Beaulieu. “He volunteers with the City, and volunteers to be a translator for Kidsave.”
According to their website, the non profit has found that since 1999 more than 1,750 children have participated in the program and over 80 percent of them have found permanent families as a result.
Santiago wasn’t the only one to be adopted by Beaulieu. Recently 15-year-old Johana visited Santa Monica as Beaulieu and Brown were once again a host family. Everyone got along so well, Beaulieu and Brown were ready to adopt again. She is now officially part of the Beaulieu family and plays soccer at Samohi.
“Being a host family is such a great feeling. What I get out of it is 500 times more than what the kids get out of this,” said Beaulieu.
Johana’s biological brother, Johnson is currently an orphan and is visiting Santa Monica and is currently staying with Beaulieu but is looking for a permanent family.
Beaulieu explains Johnson is a caring and sweet boy and would like to see him find a permanent family.
“Every weekend there is an advocacy event, this is where people who have an interest can come and meet these incredible kids,” said Beaulieu.
The kids from the organization will be leaving back to Colombia on August 2. If interested in learning about the program or Johnson as he spends three more weeks in Santa Monica, call (310) 642 – 7283 or visit https://www.kidsave.org/programs/orphan-hosting/.
“This has been the greatest thing that has happened to me,” said Beaulieu.