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Three Lives Dramatically Impacted By Medical Care At Dorie’s Promise.

Monday, April 24th, 2017

DOctor Castro is a beloved member of the team at Dorie's Promise

By Dr. Francisco Castro (Medical Director) –

Second of two parts

In my last blog, I talked about our success last year with the child care program at Dorie’s Promise. Today, I want to relate personal stories about three children whose lives have been impacted dramatically by Forever Changed International.

Doctor Castro checks on Josue

Doctor Castro checks on Josue after a surgery in 2015.

The first is Josue, who will celebrate his fifth birthday on July 3. His life started out with little promise after his mother abandoned him on the street just two days after his birth. A firefighter rescued him and took him to a hospital in Guatemala City.

Through a physical exam and imaging tests, a pediatrician discovered serious birth defects that required urgent surgery.

When Josue arrived at Dorie’s Promise, he still had a colostomy bag in place. We prescribed antibiotics, laxatives, special fluids and other measures, including reconstructive surgery, to correct his condition.

We later discovered that Josue suffered from urinary tract malformations, urinary infections, and kidney damage. After several operations, we discovered his bladder was not functioning. He needed another operation.

This brave, resilient—and loved—child will continue receiving antibiotics, urinary tests, and check-ups. Though he will need multidisciplinary medical interventions, thankfully Josue has the promise of a future.

Efrain is 13 years old and has been diagnosed with a condition associated with severe intellectual disabilities and physical abnormalities. Among them are blindness, small hands, and partial convulsions.

Other health problems he suffers from are chronic bronchitis, recurrent upper respiratory infections, and breathing difficulties. Efrain has received continuous pediatric care to address his needs since arriving at Dorie’s Promise in 2005.

This has included neurologists’ and geneticists’ assistance, physiotherapy, and pediatric surgeons’ interventions. He receives physiotherapy daily and a weekly visit from a specialized therapist.

This intervention delays, and improves, stiffness in Efrain’s joints and spine, and paralysis of his limbs. A cataract on his left eye was successfully removed in 2011; he now uses glasses.

Doctor Castro checks Lester.

Doctor Castro with Lester in 2010.

Last year Efrain underwent two successful operations by pediatric surgeons at Hospital Roosevelt in Guatemala. They corrected abdominal and adenoid problems, and removed his tonsils.

Nine-year-old Lester has been at Dorie’s Promise since before he turned two. He arrived chronically undernourished, which left him with short stature and a low IQ. He also suffered from chronic asthma, rhinitis, and middle ear infections.

Due to Lester’ s lack of progress in hearing and speech development, and upper respiratory infections, I decided to operate with a pediatric surgeon’s assistance, removing his tonsils and adenoids.

The operation last October was successful. Lester’s speech and respiratory problems (infections and allergies) are expected to improve gradually, enhancing his quality of life.

Stories like these demonstrate the value of your gifts to children at Dorie’s Promise. You are literally helping save their lives!

Personal and Medical Reflections

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Personal and Medical Reflections by Dr. Francisco Castro Medical Director

By Dr. Francisco Castro (Medical Director) –

First of two parts

Dorie's Promise Medical Director Dr CastroEvery year at Dorie’s Promise has been a special one, and this past year was no exception. During 2016, we provided shelter for dozens of kids, but much more than that as we met many other prerequisites for a happy life.

Our goal is to fulfill children’s needs in four basic areas: physical, safety, affection, and spiritual life. These are the most important needs to take care of as soon as an orphan arrives. Then, we seek to reinforce them in an individualized and continuous manner during their stay at the home.

Improved self-esteem and education are our other primary goals. Of course, we want to care for children’s mental and social aspects of health as well.

Most of the children remained at Dorie’s Promise throughout the year, although some returned to their immediate families or relatives. Only a few were adopted by Guatemalan families. Others came to us for the first time, from other homes or families, or from at-risk situations on the streets.

Many arrive in poor health, with most suffering from acute and chronic physical illnesses. Twenty percent of our child population come with special needs and permanent neurological damage.

In most, we found negative psychological and spiritual conditions because of abandonment, abuse and lack of love. Without exception, these kids are coming from backgrounds of poverty, which is the common denominator.

Dr Castro gives Silvia a check up at Dorie's PromiseThat doesn’t surprise me, since nearly 60 percent of Guatemala’s population lives in poverty and 43 percent of children under five are chronically undernourished.

Because of my experience and extensive reading, I have concluded that Guatemala needs more children’s homes providing the kind of care that Dorie’s Promise delivers. Foster care is still a weak, idealistic social program and adoptive families few in number.

Culturally and economically, adoption hasn’t been viable for many families or social programs. To recruit, maintain, follow up, and train families to do so means a huge financial commitment, or at least better organized, collaborative communities.

Our programs are not perfect. I am aware that there is a need to reinforce financially our health and psychological programs, as well as education, arts and sports. In addition to Special Mothers improving their love and care, we need the presence of more men to improve role examples and gender identity.

Yet, despite our imperfections I am pleased to say that—thanks to our friends in the U.S.  and Guatemala—Dorie’s Promise and FCI have successfully provided a good home to many children in need.

They have achieved happiness and have a much brighter future. They could have otherwise been lost to an unjust and dangerous environment. We appreciate your support.

A Message From Dorie About The Fire At Virgen de Asuncion Orphanage

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Dear Friends,

I am horrified and heartbroken for all the orphaned children who lost their lives in the fire in Guatemala as well as the hundreds who were made homeless. I visited this orphanage years ago and I remember thinking it was much like the one I grew up and was abused in. The worst of the worst has happened to these precious children and they desperately need someone to care. Please help Forever Changed bring some of these little ones into Dorie’s Promise by offering your support so we can give them God’s promise of a loving home. A place of safety filled with a future and hope. I know how lost they must feel and how much they long for someone to reach out and lift them out of this nightmare. It was something I felt and longed for too. I invite you to pray with me as we ask the Lord together to restore and heal each precious life. We are all called and commanded “to look after the orphan in their distress” James 1:27. This is a distress of disastrous proportions. Please reach out to help rescue them with me.

For His Glory and in His name.
Dorie

Yes, I want to make a gift today to help the children who survived the fire at Virgen de Asuncion!

Last Chance to Give for 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016

A BIg smile from one of the children at Dorie's Promise GuatemalaPlease consider a special gift to help us end 2016 strong. Your gift will help us make sure that we are able to send the children of Dorie’s Promise to the schools best fitted to their individual needs and learning abilities.

The average cost of sending a child to a private school in Guatemala is $142 a month, or $1,700 per year — which covers tuition, books, uniforms, after-school activities, tutoring, supplies, and transportation. Everything they need to be successful.

We invite you to help us give our children this exceptional education, a chance most orphaned children will never have, through your kind giving. Maybe you could give a gift of $1,000 or $500. Maybe that’s too much. Maybe you are better able to give a gift of $50 or $100. Please give today, before the year is out.

Thank you for making a real difference in the lives of our children!

Why The Winter Months Are A Good Time To Visit Dorie’s Promise

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

A Mission group at Dorie's Promise

By MJ Zelya –

The children of Dorie's Promise Guatemala can't wait to meet you!When it’s winter in America, it’s the best time to visit Guatemala!

Going to visit the children of Dorie’s Promise — and help the surrounding communities in need while there — is the perfect choice if you are planning to travel and don’t yet know where to go during the colder months.

The weather is perfect because the rainy season has stopped, and the children enjoy playing outside and going on walks around the neighborhood.

Dorie’s Promise boasts plenty of reasons for you to say good-bye to your routine and do something different — something that will make an eternal impact on others.

You are not only sharing with the children, you are creating a bond with them; it will truly be an eye-opening experience, one that will change you from the inside out!

When you arrive in Guatemala, the first thing you will notice is the mixture of people and cultures. Guatemala is well-known for its diversity, but you’ll immediately realize that the people are warm and friendly — you will feel at home.Imagine it … loving children who don’t have parents, helping families that have nothing, bringing water and food to people who need it.

Throughout your time at Dorie’s Promise, you will find children hugging you and wanting to be your friend — taking you by the hand and asking to play with them.

But your impact is not only on the children’s lives, but also on the communities, where many people, in desperate need, are grateful for the help and time friends like you invest.

Alejandra our home director says:

In summer, our children are busy in school, a season when it’s difficult to have enough time to share with them. But it’s different in winter! They are on vacation, out of school, and there is plenty of time to have fun, do different activities, and plan special outings during the week.When you serve at Dorie's Promise you'll be working with some of the most impoverished people on the planet.

Through outreaches in our missions program you can make a real difference. The many children and families we serve throughout Guatemala eagerly wait for Forever Changed International to bring teams of people to share Christ’s love with them as well as provide them with what we would consider basic living essentials. Soap and a pair of shoes can brighten the eyes of a 5-year-old boy more than you can imagine.

We run trips all year long so come anytime.  We would love to have you join us for a week very soon! Apply Today!

Mission Trip to Dorie’s Promise: I Will Never Be The Same!

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Guatemala - By Sarah GillSarah GillGoing on a missions trip is life changing event. We often hear about the excitement and passion that a trip to Dorie’s Promise builds into the lives of those who visit. Below is an interview with Sarah Gill about her recent visit to Dorie’s Promise.

Where did you hear about Forever Changed International (FCI)?

I heard about FCI through my employer Lisa Le of Lovely Homes Realty. She had just gotten back from an event where she had met Heather, and asked if I wanted to go to Guatemala. My heart has always been for mission work, so I said yes.

What made you want to take a mission trip with us?

It had been six years since my last missions tip, and I was eager to go on another trip. I’ve always felt like my life was suppose to be about helping people, and this seemed like a good way to do so.

What was it like to travel to Guatemala?

Exhilarating. Even on he plane I could not contain my excitement to land. Traveling throughout the communities as the week progressed was a real wake-up call. I had never seen anything like Guatemala before! My favorite thing about traveling to Guatemala was the kindness of the people, and the generosity of the culture.

What was your impression of the Dorie’s Promise?

It felt like I had found home. Aside from the very comfortable accommodations, it felt like a place that was full of warmth and kindness. There was so much love there!

What was your biggest take-away from the trip?

That there is much work to do in this world, and it can all get done if people are willing to lovingly give what they have.

One of the children living at Dorie's Promise, photo by Sarah Gill.Why do you think people should support Dorie Promise or sponsor one of our children?

There’s a quote from Schindler’s List that echoed through my heart during the week that I stayed at Dorie’s: “He who saves a life, saves the world entire.” If every person who’s able did what they could to help the forgotten children of Guatemala, they wouldn’t be forgotten. $35 dollars isn’t too much. FCI does so much for the children and the community with what they are given, imagine what they could do with more!

My trip to Dorie’s was so amazing, and it impacted me greatly. It made me realize that I don’t have to have my life in perfect order to help people, I just have to be willing.

Because of my trip, I have been inspired to take my own team to Dorie’s next year. My hopes are also high for seeing what else I can do to help the children of Guatemala, as well as others who have been forgotten around the world.

I am so thankful for my experience with FCI. I will never be the same!

# # #

Would you like to share your Dorie’s Promise Mission Trip experience on our blog? Email Us.

If you’d like to experience a missions trip like Sarah’s click here to watch our video and request more info.

Update On Extracurricular Activities: Karate, Ballet and More!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

THe CHildren of Dorie's Promise with their Karate Instructor

By MJ Zelya –

The children of Dorie's Promise in Ballet class.As a part of our child development sphere of care, the children at Dorie’s Promise participate in different extracurricular activities — things like karate, ballet, or tennis classes.

And we have even such improvement! They share and communicate better with each other, and their self-esteem has flourished.

In fact, one important facet of a child’s participation in extracurricular activities is the link to higher academic achievement, fewer behavior problems, and higher rates of success in adulthood.

For example, involvement in sports:

  1. Teaches children the concepts of discipline, effort, and teamwork.
  2. Creates healthy habits for life.
  3. Helps with hyperactivity in some children and can affect their school performance by increasing their concentration and improving their mood.The Karate Instructor visiting Dorie's Promise.
  4. Allows them to be better organized outside of school.
  5. Strengthens motor coordination and improves reflexes, providing greater strength and agility.
  6. Can be essential in the process of socialization, meaning an easy way to make new friends, improve relationships, and help them be more tolerant and accepting of different viewpoints.
  7. And it not only uses energy — but it lets them have fun!

One karate teacher explains some of his experience:
“When I started karate classes with the children of Dorie’s Promise, it was a bit difficult because I was used to starting a karate class with discipline and order. I understood that while children of Dorie’s Promise need to know the philosophy of karate on issues such as self-control, discipline, and respect, they also needed a class that was entertaining for them. Combining discipline with a game, always reminding them of the concepts of control and respect, I have seen remarkable changes — especially in Hans and Lester. They both have better coordination and control of their space. They have also improved in the areas of self-control. On one occasion, I asked Hans the meaning of control. He thought for a moment and replied that it meant ‘do not act crazy.’ I found that a very good response and remember them (in his words) at appropriate times.The children enjoy their Karate classes.

“In most children I have also noticed an improvement in their self-esteem. At first, Abraham Cabrera, Luis, and Jose Antonio did not like to demonstrate an exercise or a technique, but now they are the first to raise their hands to be an example.

“In all children I have observed, as is normal, increased strength, flexibility, and the ability to pay attention. We always play a game that I call ‘Sensei says’ — with the same rules as ‘Simon says’ — which includes karate techniques, and it has improved their attention and reaction time.”

The ballet teacher says:

The girls enjoy the opportunity to take ballet classes.“There has been a big change in their behavior, in discipline, in following instructions, and improvement in technique; their flexibility and ability are great; teamwork is something they have learned well instead working solo.”

Thanks to the support of friends like you, the precious children of Dorie’s Promise have a brand-new future awaiting them. No longer are they “orphans,” forgotten and alone, but rather part of a growing, thriving, loving family dedicated to providing them opportunities for success — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

If you or someone you know wants to forever change a child’s life, become a sponsor now — simply click here to do so. Thank you for being part of lifelong transformation, one child at a time!

Meet Abraham Emanuel

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

 

Abraham Emanuel is now 8 years old.

By MJ Zelya –

Abraham Emanuel playing at the playground of Dories' PromiseAbraham Emanuel was sent by minor’s court to Dorie’s Promise because of the neglect and abuse he had experienced at home. He was living with an aunt after his mother passed away. The judge was looking for relatives to take care of him; Abraham’s biological father showed up but was unable to keep him because he lacked the resources.

When he arrived at Dorie’s Promise at the age of 4, he was a sad, passive, introverted boy who never smiled. The road to self-esteem and happiness for him has been a long one, but with the support of our psychologist, special moms, and others, his emotional health is improving as he learns to leave the past behind him.

Now he feels protected and loved in a healthy environment. He likes to help others, play soccer, go for walks around the neighborhood, read books (he loves stories about pirates, David and Goliath, and Jonah), and play with superhero toys (his favorite is Captain America!). He loves to eat pizza and salad.

He is very smart, is respectful of his teachers and classmates, and does a good job with his homework — his favorite subject in school is math. He gets happy when it’s time to go to church.

Abraham would love to know a special friend — someone just like you — is on this journey with him, as he continues to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sponsoring Abraham, financially and in prayer, will help him thrive today and tomorrow. Thank you for your compassion for the children of Forever Changed International!

Dorie’s Promise Students Participate in the School Science Fair!

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Students from Dorie's Promise participate in a science fair.

By MJ Zelya –

Ana smiling during a school activity.One of the things the children at Dorie’s Promise love the most is the chance to experience a wide range of different activities. We are especially excited when our children participate in fun school activities. The hands-on-learning they get from these activities helps them develop a lifelong love for learning.

Recently, the school held a Science Fair. The children were so excited! They couldn’t stop talking about it. All of them planning and thinking about what kind of experiments to do and if it’a going to work for them. They were happy, anxious, and enthusiastic- all at the same time.

We are glad to see them so excited for school, it’s really satisfying to watch them grow, becoming more responsible with their homework and see the effort they make to do their best.

Here some of them share their experience with their science experiments:

Fabiola – I did my presentation on making rainbows. The experiment was to use a disc and a candle to reproduce a rainbow. My friends and I worked together to prepared for the project. We worked through every step of the experiment. I was a little nervous, but with the support of my friends it encouraged me. In the end everything went really well.

Ingrid and Lucia – It was very fun for us. It was the first time we have participated in this kind of activity. Our experiment was to make a hologram with a box and a disc. The first step was to form the pieces of the disc into a triangle. A video is projected and the triangle shaped disc reflects the image. It was an unforgettable experience! The best part was sharing it with our peers and their parents, our Special Mothers and the others at home and our teacher. This have motivated us both to discover and learn more.

Silvia with her science fair gorup.Silvia – (For Silvia the fair meant a lot, because she is afraid of public speaking. The Science Fair was challenging for her, but gave her a chance to overcome her fears.) I was very nervous because I had to say a paragraph about the process of our experiment. We filled a water balloon with water and then had to keep it from exploding as we moved it closer to the fire from a candle. It caused my nerves to go crazy when I’d hear the explosion of a balloon, but I practice it a lot before we gave our presentation. I really wanted everything to go great. Having this experience gives me confidence and security in front of the school.

It’s incredible how all our children are growing, and it’s fun to watch them experiencing new things. Without the opportunity to attend to school they would not be getting opportunities like these that help prepare them for the future. Their lives are forever changing through this ministry! It’s because of your support that these children are preparing for a brighter future. Each year we need to raise over $50,000 to help provide exceptional education for our students. We are thankful for the many donors and sponsors who make this possible. Would you like to give a special gift for education? Go now.

Hope for Orphans: An Update on Lucia and Fabiola

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

AFter 2 Years at Dorie's Promise Lucia and Fabiola are flourishing.

By MJ Zelya –

Fabiola loves the food and friends at Dorie's Promise.
Its been almost two years since Lucia (also called Ana Lucia) and her sister Fabiola arrived at Dorie’s Promise and their lives have been changed in many ways since then.

At first, they were very shy – keeping to themselves and not saying much. They came to our home with signs of both physical and emotional abuse. Shortly before moving to Dorie’s Promise their mother had died of cancer and they were living with a neighbor. That neighbor didn’t have the resources to properly care for the girls and they would often miss school to sell candies or trinkets to try to make extra money. Because of this they had chronic malnutrition, dental cavities and chronic viral respiratory infection when Doctor Castro did his initial exam.

As you know, after coming from this kind of environment it has taken time for them to recover their physical and emotional health. Definitely the consequences of chronic malnutrition are long term and typically result in shorter height. Emotionally they have improved by leaps and bounds, they have become outgoing girls, with high-self esteem, independence, and they are very happy. It’s satisfying to see our children improve so much, and to be able to give them the tools for a different life, a Forever Changed life.

God’s hand has been in this. We see the evidence in their lives. The hard work and loving care that everyone involved in our home; our founder Heather, the staff, the Special Mothers, those visiting us on missions trips, the sponsors, everyone has made this possible. Thank you for your dedication to our children.

Ana Lucia (age 14) says:Lucia, age 14, dreams of becoming a business administrator.

I feel happy to be here at Dorie’s Promise. I feel at peace, because here I have the opportunity to reach my goals in life, to chase my dreams. If I have the opportunity I would like to be a business administrator. I like the way everyone treats me, they give me lots of love and attention. And everyone is very kind to my little sister.

I enjoy it when we go on an outing with the mission trippers and have special dinner with them. I also like playing with all of them. I’m learning English and I am able to practice and get an better understanding of English when the missions groups are here.

Before coming to Dorie’s, my life was very hard. Sometimes we didn’t have enough food and we ate only one or two meals a day. Here I have delicious food, a doctor worried for my health, people worried for my education and many others who give me the most important thing of all… Love! I appreciate that!

I want especially say thank you to my sponsors for the way they’ve helped change my life. I’m grateful for what are you doing for us, and you are in my prayers.

Fabiola (age 8) says:

I like to live here. I like going to school and having friends. I love the food they prepare, and the attention and love of my moms. Thank you for helping me.

Both girls are in need of a handful of new sponsors. Will you consider sponsoring Lucia or Fabiola and helping provide them with continued care, education and love?