August 5, 1999
From Correspondent Siobhan Darrow
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Some Russian children visiting the United States this summer may get more than vacations -- they may get new homes.
Andrea Lapin picked up two visiting youngsters, and they may change her life forever.
"They got off the plane, and I just knew," said Lapin.
Olya and Katya live in an orphanage in Russia. They had only each other before they met Lapin. She hopes to give them a home with her in California.
"I asked them if they wanted to be a family with me, and they said 'yes,'" Lapin said. "I told them that they knew they had to go back to the orphanage first, though, and I would try and get them as soon as I could."
Kidsave International is one organization that brings dozens of Russian orphans to summer camps across the United States each year with the hope that host families won't be able to say goodbye.
"Meeting them and seeing them is the way people fall in love and decide to make them a permanent part of their family," said Randi Thompson of Kidsave.
Children performing Russian folk dances at a recital organized by the Nightlight Foundation hope to win the hearts of prospective parents in the audience. Some times it works.
"I just fell in love with that little girl, and I know that sounds crazy -- how can you fall in love just watching a little girl," gushed possible adoptive mother Lisa Murillo.
Ron Stodart of Nightlight Foundation has found homes for more than 400 Russian orphans -- most of them older children.
He sponsors a music competition in Russia. The children selected don't get just a trip to the United States; most of them also get what they've always wanted most -- a family.
Like 14-year-old Olga. Her dream is for parents who will take care of her, she says.
For Katya and Olya, that dream will come true soon. But for now, they are back in Russia, waiting until their new American mother, Andrea Lapin, can bring them home for good.
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