Moms Unite To Have Belarusian Children Return

Program In Jeopardy After Actions Of Host Family

AUBURN, Calif. -- A group of Auburn moms who host children from Belarus are uniting after the actions taken by one family may cost them all of their hospitable duties.

The program brings hundreds of children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident that happened 20 years ago to the U.S. every summer.

But the program is now in jeopardy after a 16-year-old girl staying with a Petaluma family refused to go back home.

"She needs to go home," said Carrie Borba of Auburn. "This family should not be using this venue to keep this child."

The girl in Petaluma will turn 17 this year, which means she will no longer be able to participate in the program.

Some of the host families said they are angered at the thought they may never see the Belarusian children they have grown to love after the actions taken by one family.

"I just consider it a completely selfish act to jeopardize the program for one child," said Traci Beitz, who hosts a child.

In response to the threat of the program ending, Nevada County host families said they plan to start a letter writing campaign with both the Petaluma family and the Belarusian government to ensure that 1,700 children are allowed to return to the U.S.

"I'm just terrified at the thought that my little Russian child Natasha will not be coming back next year," Beitz said. "This is something we look forward to every single year."

Attempts made by KCRA 3 to reach the Petaluma family and their attorney were unsuccessful.



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