SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Alexandra Goode has watched the scene play out before, young children coming to a new country, scared looks turning into the first smiles of a new life she helped make possible.
She just never tires of seeing it.
"I'm telling you, it's been rejuvenating,'' Goode said of her efforts to have Russian orphans adopted by American families. "For a woman my age, this is not a retiring, it's a re-firing.''
Goode has been doing her work for more than a decade, facilitating group visits like the one that has captured hearts on Hilton Head for the last two weeks. And will be affecting lives for far longer than that.
"You see the families that have reached out to children,'' she said. "And you see the children that are getting forever families.''
And the Lowcountry has seen the impact of Goode's International Guardian Angels Outreach, which made the visit possible for Chrstine Carr and her Operation 127 ministry.
So local families have experienced the gift of this Holocaust survivor who now fights to give kids a better life.
"She is the heart and soul and brain and energy of this program,'' said Carr. "She is incredible, she has the energy of 10 20-year olds.''
This visit brought 10 children, ages 4 to 14, for three weeks of activities. And an introduction to host families that the organizations hope become even more.
"Eight have been placed with families right now,'' said Carr. "It's been much more amazing than I thought for getting homes. I knew people wanted to adopt, but the generosity, the hearts of the families have just been amazing.''
For Goode, the change in the children in just two weeks has been even more amazing.
"They're brighter looking,'' she said. "They're happy and incredible how attached they are to the host families. They love them. They hold on to them. It's amazing.''
The visit will come to an end next week, when the kids return to Russia. But possibly not the connections made on both sides and so many levels.
"Well, they will go back on Wednesday and there will be many, many tears shed by children and adults,'' said Goode. "But in a very short time, when they are ready, I will make a trip back over here to spend a week here to work with the families to put the papers together so they can send it to Russia.''