Colombia Orphan Visits Harwood, Unknowingly Seeking a Family
A Harwood couple is hosting an 11-year-old girl from Colombia for one month in hopes of finding her a home in America.
For the next 30 days, Harwood residents Tom Fridrich and Molly Mee are going to depend on Google Translate—a lot.
On Monday afternoon, the married couple picked up an 11-year-old Colombian orphan girl from Dulles Airport in hopes of finding her a permanent home in America. Neither of the residents speak Spanish, and their preteen visitor—Dianna Patricia—doesn’t know English.
But over the next month, Mee, her husband and her son Noah Fridrich, are spreading the word about their short-term visitor, hoping that a U.S. family will consider adopting the young girl.
The big catch to all this? Dianna has no idea.
Welcome to the Family
In partnership with a program call KidSave, older orphans from foreign nations are brought to America in hopes of finding a real family. Through one-month visits and advocacy efforts through host families, orphans are able to get connected with people seeking an older child to bring into their home.
Mee and her husband considered adopting a boy last year through the KidSave program, but ultimately decided not to. Going forward, Mee, a Towson University professor, said she felt helping children find homes was the next best thing she could do.
“I feel like it’s my calling to try and help another child. We live in a community where we can drum up support and get families in the area who might want to adopt, and get [Dianna] out of an orphanage,” Mee said.
Through KidSave’s month-long visiting programs, approximately 80 percent of children find homes in the United States, Mee said. That’s the goal for Dianna, she added, to find a home that can provide love and a real future.
“If these children can’t find homes by the time they’re 16 or 18, they are put out on the street with little education or no money,” Mee said. “Their chance of survival or success is really small.”
Inviting a new child into one’s home can be a tricky experience, especially with the holidays coming. But Mee said the timing is quite strategic, and that it’ll allow Dianna to have a real family experience.
“Christmas morning with the family, tradition, the family get-together, eating dinner with the family, playing video games with the ‘brother,’ play dates, having her own bedroom … she’s never had that,” Mee said.
Hosting Dianna isn’t cheap, and Mee said she’s been preparing her house for weeks. But now that the Colombian preteen is in Maryland, the time to work is heightened even more, she said.
Spreading the Word
“This is almost a one-shot deal. Most children come one time and that’s it, then [KidSave] opens it up for other children,” Mee said.
Throughout Dianna’s one-month stay, Mee has scheduled several events and gatherings so interested families can meet Dianna and see if they’d like to adopt the 11-year-old. If a family does decided to adopt her, Dianna will still go back to Colombia since the process can take up to a year, but Mee said she’ll be going home with a newer, brighter future.
In the weeks leading up to Dianna’s visit, Mee and her family have partnered with local businesses, started a blog and begun notifying families about the adoption opportunity. Mee said families as far as California have expressed interest in meeting Dianna, but that she knows face-to-face interactions will ultimately help Dianna find a home.
Residents have already begun donating items that will help Dianna during her time in Maryland. She is still in need of some more shoes, clothes and activities to enjoy while her host parents work during the day, Mee said.
Local businesses have partnered too, including East Coast Martial Arts and the Parisi Speed School in Edgewater. Mee said she hopes to work with the Edgewater Girl Scouts or similar organizations, so Dianna can be exposed to more fun activities and meet more families.
Interested in helping Dianna find a home or adopting her yourself? Contact Molly Mee at 410-703-4456 or email her at MollyMee66@yahoo.com.