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In a post originally on their website, Kidsave shares the Leach family’s story about adopting their daughter through Holt — who they originally met through Kidsave’s Colombia hosting program.

Catherine and Bernard Leach, a warm-hearted couple residing in Los Angeles, had been certified foster parents for many years before they met Kimberlyn through Kidsave. Already happy parents to their beloved daughter, Maia, they were eager to welcome an adopted sibling into their home. Kidsave’s Winter Miracles program helped them turn that dream into a reality.

Through the Winter Miracles program, Catherine and Bernard had the opportunity to host Kimberlyn, who was 11 years old and living in Colombia at the time, for three weeks during the winter. That hosting period was instrumental in forging a lasting bond between them. There were some cultural differences, but the family found common ground between Kimberlyn’s Colombian culture and Bernard’s South American roots, which helped Kimberlyn feel at home with the family. Catherine and Bernard’s love and patience also helped to nurture a strong connection.

The family spent quality time with Kimberlyn and shared many beautiful moments together. Ice skating was a highlight for Kimberlyn. Catherine says, “It was something that she was very excited about once she learned Maia was an ice skater. She said she had been ice skating before. She said it’s a memory she does have with her birth mom, so it was very special for her to participate in that with us.”

Activities like these brought everyone closer to each other, especially Kimberlyn and Maia. Christmas was also a memorable experience as they shared each other’s cultures and traditions, bringing them closer as a family.

Maia and Kimberlyn did many activities together, just like sisters would. Catherine explains, “They enjoy many of the same types of things like music, dancing, video games, skating, crafts, and shopping.” This deep connection between the two made them inseparable, turning them from friends into sisters.

After the hosting period ended, Catherine and Bernard decided to start the adoption process and bring Kimberlyn into their family. The adoption process was a challenging time for everyone, but their love and commitment to each other never wavered.

smiling older brother with arms around smiling younger sister in a park

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“The time apart to me was challenging because one of the things they told us was that she wouldn’t really be notified that we were adopting her until we got to a certain point, and that certain point wasn’t until this October, 2 years later, and we traveled out there in November. So, there was a lot of uncertainty,” said Catherine.

Catherine and Bernard were overjoyed, prompting Catherine, Bernard, and Maia to journey to Colombia to reunite with their new daughter and finalize the adoption in Colombia, and bring her home. During their time there, they explored the country and immersed themselves in its rich culture before embarking on their return to the United States.

Kimberlyn’s adoption was finalized in the U.S. in May 2024. She is officially a part of their family. The big transition and adjustment from leaving Colombia and permanently living in the U.S. can take time, but with love and patience, they made it work.

Kimberlyn was enthusiastically looking forward to learning English and embracing her new life alongside Catherine, Bernard, and Maia. Among the shared cultural threads linking them, all three had heritage beyond the United States: Catherine hailed from a Nigerian and Jamaican background, while Bernard’s roots traced back to South America. This commonality fostered a sense of connection for Kimberlyn, who felt a kinship with her native Colombia, especially given the similarities in traditional cuisine. These familiar tastes further enhanced her sense of ease and belonging in her new home with Catherine, Bernard, and Maia.

Adapting to a new environment and country can present challenges, but the Leach’s preparation and research into Kimberlyn’s culture helped them create a home where love knows no boundaries. Catherine concludes “I would definitely say it’s good to be open to things you’d probably never thought you would do before.”

Today, Kimberlyn is blossoming. Surrounded by the unwavering love and support of her forever family, she is reminded every day of the blessings that have transformed her life. With a sister who doubles as a cherished friend and parents whose steadfast presence is a beacon of strength, her journey is illuminated by the warmth of familial bonds that nurture her spirit and inspire her growth.

About Kidsave’s Summer Miracles Hosting Program

Kidsave’s Summer Miracles program gives older chidlren who are overseas a chance at a family. The Summer Miracles program provides older kids with no possibility of birth family reunification – and little likelihood of adoption in their home country because of their age – the opportunity to stay in the U.S. for five weeks in the summer (three weeks in the winter). While here, the kids stay with host families, learn about American culture, create lifelong memories, and connect with potential forever families. Book a call with Kidsave to learn more.

Hugo Mariona | Kidsave

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