HARRIS' HEROES

Kidsave helps pair orphans with families

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Frail and malnourished, Katya, at 9-years-old, weighed only 40 pounds.

Her 11-year-old sister Julia weighed just 66 pounds.

Five years had passed since their mother left them at a Russian orphanage.

At 16, the girls would be put out on the street.

But a last minute opening on a trip to America, with an organization called Kidsave, would give the sisters new hope.

"There are kids who are in the same position as we are and there are parents who could potentially want us,” says Katya.

And a Hispanic family from Reston did want them, hosting the sisters for Kidsave's program that pairs older orphans with families for a summer.

Ana and Raul Ramos and their daughter Melissa fell in love and adopted the girls. And soon after, they adopted one more.

"In June, Diana came as part of another group with Kidsave and we adopted her too," Ana Ramos says.

The organization, Kidsave, was started by one woman.

"I went to Russia to adopt a child in 1993. I was just stunned by the number of children that were just sitting in an orphanage without parents, without stimulation, without enough caregivers to take care of them,” says Kidsave founder Terry Baugh.

From that trip, Kidsave was born. And Baugh started bringing those forgotten children to America.

"They come off sort of rag-tag, scared, all alone and they leave with a community of people in love with them,” Baugh says.

Adopted into Kidsave families, those orphans are able to grow into happy, successful young adults - like the Ramos girls.

"To be so beautiful and accomplished and such a loving family, it doesn't get any better than that,” Baugh says.

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