• GO HOME

    image001
  • 2012 Year in Review

  • The Children of Dorie’s Promise

  • Bringing Families Clean Water

  • Other FCI Blogs

  • Archive of Posts

Posts Tagged ‘adoption’

Amelia Home With Her Forever Family After 8 Years at Dorie’s Promise

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Amelia with her adopted family the Rachors of Flint, Michigan.

By Heather Radu -

The Rachor’s visited Amelia many times over the years.The subject heading of Cinda Rachor’s recent e-mail said it best: “She’s coming home!!!” “She” is eight-year-old Amelia, who spent most of her life at Dorie’s Promise until Cinda and her husband, Jim, secured the approval of Guatemalan officials to take Amelia to their home in Michigan.

Although it was a bittersweet moment, at a farewell dinner on Amelia’s final night (May 29) at Dorie’s Promise, she and her mother offered their “thank you’s” to the Special Mothers and staff who cared for her.

Director Alejandra Diaz was pleased to see this moment arrive, saying as Amelia matured and grew more aware of her situation, she displayed more anxiety.

“We know that she is going where she belongs,” Ale says. “She was so original and different that we are going to miss her. She was always so kind and full of love for the Special Mothers. Each of those moments will remain alive in our hearts.

“For the other children, it is difficult to see her leave and know that they need to stay. However, they are so happy for her, especially the older ones who really understand what this means.”

Cinda says that while Amelia’s adoption proved quite challenging, the Lord continually provided in the midst of situations that appeared desperate and daunting.

“We’ve seen Him meet us at so many times when we thought we were at a dead end,” Cinda says. “God always said, ‘I’m in charge. I just need for you to keep following. Allow Me to lead and I’ll keep leading. I’ll allow Amelia to get home and I have a bunch of cool stuff to show you in the meantime.’”

Cinda and Amelia during a December 2013 visit.This “cool stuff” included Cinda and Jim Rachor getting a first-hand look at Dorie’s Promise, which in 2008 inspired them to start bringing mission teams to Guatemala twice a year.

Made up of mostly teenagers from their church (Central Church of the Nazarene in Flint, Michigan), when some of the teens reach college age they return with classmates and friends. This helps spread awareness of our work far beyond Michigan.

In addition, as interest at Central Church grew, Cinda persuaded their youth pastor to lead a trip. A team of 30 will arrive on June 14, followed by another team of 30 led by the Rachors a week later.

The story of this family’s perseverance over so many years inspires me and other staff members at Forever Changed International and Dorie’s Promise.

I knew Cinda was special the day she called repeatedly to see if we would take Amelia, who had been in foster care.

The agency handling her adoption wanted to send her to another orphanage. However, after hearing from a fellow church member about our home, Cinda insisted Amelia be sent to Dorie’s Promise.

After hearing the urgency and concern in her voice, I couldn’t refuse her request, even though at the time we had little space available. I knew she would leave no stone unturned to bring Amelia home, even though that required eight years and four different attorneys.

Amelia in May 2014 shortly before going home with her Forever Family.The Rachors visited throughout the year, coming on Christmas, Amelia’s birthday every October, and with mission teams. They built thick books of documents and photo albums to verify their interest in providing a home for this little girl.

Cinda and Jim finally experienced a breakthrough last September when they found an attorney willing to argue their case with Guatemalan government authorities as well as officials at the U.S. embassy.

“For the first time someone who had power said, ‘We’ll help you get her home,’” Cinda recalls. “Before it was always: ‘We’re sorry but there’s nothing we can do.’ In front of my children I had a meltdown and cried tears of joy. This attorney said, ‘I can help you, but you have to have the support of the U.S. embassy.’”

The Rachors obtained that support despite many difficulties, including a lack of proof of Amelia’s background. Although she arrived here as an infant, no one knew how she entered the foster care system. Not even private investigators could find any traces of her family.

However, that is all behind us now. Amelia is home, with a younger sister (Hope, 7) from Guatemala whom the Rachors adopted six years ago. Amelia will have five other siblings, ranging from Annagrace, 13, to Steven, 21.

“When we first saw Amelia’s picture, we said, ‘That’s who God has sent to be our child,’” Cinda says. “Like your own children, they don’t have to earn it. They’re your family. They’re a gift. It’s your job to advocate for them and protect them, the way Christ advocates for us.”

Without a doubt, the story of Amelia’s adoption is one of the happiest we have seen in many years.

Saying Goodbye to Five

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Jazmin with her sisters.

By MJ Zeyla -

Saying good-bye is not easy, especially when you care deeply about a person. Whether you were on a study tour, a business trip, a mission trip, or visiting with family and friends, it’s a difficult thing to do. (Even if we know bigger and better things are ahead.)

For us at Dorie’s Promise, it is difficult saying good-bye even though some of the children may only have lived here for a short time. We feel it so strongly because we love them, but we know that they are going to a place where they will be loved and cared for, and that their new families will provide what they need to be happy.

When children leave Dorie’s Promise, we always pray that the Lord would be with them, taking care of them wherever they are — and that as they grow up they would trust in Him as their Savior.

This month has been full of good-byes. We had several leave for a better life: Jazmin, Maria de los Angeles, and the Villegas siblings — Jackie, Jessy, and Vanessa. This is the life that every child deserves, one that is essential for every human being as the base of society — the family!

Four of them left through international adoption* and were reunited with families in the United States, after long waits for the courts to clear their paperwork. The other was adopted by a Guatemalan family.

We are filled with feelings of both happiness and sadness — joy and gratitude. We know that their forever families will provide them a place to belong, be loved, and be safe and secure … yet we miss them.

Dorie's Promise Guatemala - Maria with her adoptive family.MARIA DE LOS ANGELES

Entered Dorie’s Promise: 4/4/2011

DOB: 12/2010

Maria came to us by court order after she was abandoned in the hospital. Her parents never showed up to claim her after she received medical treatment for dehydration and intestinal issues. As a result, the minor’s court took charge of her case. She was housed with us while they attempted to locate her parents. After many hearings and ads in the newspaper, nobody claimed Maria. Her adoptability was declared in February 2013. CNA, local adoption officials, found a family for her in April 2014.

VILLEGAS SIBLINGS

Entered Dorie’s Promise: 2/13/2013

Jacky’s and Jessy’s DOB: 9/2005

The Villegas Siblings with their adoptive mother Susan.Vanessa’s DOB: 10/2006

They were sent to us because their case was stuck in the courts after international adoptions closed. We were their fifth home while they waited for their case to be finalized. After a long seven-year wait, they were released to their mother in the United States. Their mother told us:

This is GODS MIRACLE! I am just the mommy! I was told to go away, the case was closed, you will never get them – but I believe that when God places something on your heart He will carry you through, sustain you, and give you wisdom and discernment . So when there appeared to be NO WAY another door would open.

This is the 5th orphanage the girls were in. Wow!!! What a difference!

Dorie’s Promise not only feeds and clothes their children, they feed their hearts and souls. They have created an environment that truly gives the feeling and security of a home and family. I am so grateful to the Special Mother’s and everyone who loved my children as their own.

JAZMIN

Entered Dorie’s Promise: 2/4/2009

DOB: 9/2007

Jazmin with her Forever FamilyWhen Guatemala closed international adoptions, the court ordered Jazmin transferred to our home. Her adoptive father, Jeff Denbleyker, made a special visit to our home to make sure his daughter was in a safe place. Advertisements were put out to find relatives who might want Jazmin, but they received no answer. Finally, the courts approved Jazmin’s adoptability, and then, after a longer wait and more hearings, allowed her international adoption to be finalized so she could go home. Below is a note from her adoptive father.

Jazmin’s smile and bright eyes first captured our hearts in late 2007. We had no idea what the adoption process would turn into, but there was no doubt that God had put her in our hearts and asked us to take the step forward. As Guatemala’s adoption laws changed, and the interpretation and implementation of those laws evolved throughout 2008, Jazmin’s future was filled with uncertainty. I still remember that phone call in early 2009 where we were told that the adoption was over and Jazmin would likely be placed in a government orphanage. You can imagine the heartbreak; but that desperate time was followed by a phone call a day later that Jazmin was placed, through the truly miraculous hand of God, at Dorie’s Promise. Little did I know at that time how significant this blessing would be in her life.

While the subsequent five years have been an incredibly difficult journey, it was such a blessing to know that Jazmin was being cared for at Dorie’s Promise. While orphan care typically focuses upon physical needs, Dorie’s Promise also took care of her spiritual and emotional needs in an extraordinary way. Amidst our angst in fighting for her adoption, she was in a place where she experienced and knew love … something so rare in this world. Yes, we regret that she was not able to spend those five years in our home with our family, but we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all who make Dorie’s Promise what it is and made such a positive and amazing imprint in her life. God truly had her in His hand. THANK YOU!

 

 

*International adoptions in Guatemala closed in 2008

Bringing Chelsea Home

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Guest Post By Tim Sainz-

Chelsea and her dad during one of his tripsA few weeks ago, Heather Radu asked me to write something about my experience with Dorie’s Promise.

“Something brief,” she said. “Or something long. Whatever you want.”

The long version is way too long, so I will take a stab at a short one.

I have visited Dorie’s Promise about 15 times in the last six years.

The first time I went, it wasn’t called Dorie’s Promise, the oldest child living there was nine years old, and my daughter was three weeks old.

When I went a month ago, I chatted with that same young lady, who is now 15, and after the trip and a long legal battle, I also took my daughter home. She’s now six.

A few things strike me about the reactions friends, family, and strangers have had about Chelsea finally coming home.

First, a lot of them comment about what a good thing it is that I stuck with this for so long — and they say this with a combination of curiosity and surprise.

Chelsea now six years old.It’s not for me to analyze whether these reactions are commentaries on what folks think of me or whether they are reflections on themselves.

Whatever they are, they provoke only one thought in me. I never had the choice of giving up. I went into this seven years ago with my eyes open.

Adopting isn’t like shopping. There is no return policy. At least not for me.

My wife and I agreed before we even started an adoption process that no matter what happened, we would stay the course. That included things like developmental or physical handicaps. We never imagined legal roadblocks and the associated financial burdens, but it included them too.

Don’t get me wrong. Even though I kept them pushed away in my dark recesses, I had my doubts about the outcome of this adoption. My faith was tested. It just wasn’t lost.

Comments that were intended to comfort me — for example, “God has His own timetable” — proved much more annoying than comforting. I had to work at not allowing this trial to take my faith and turn me into a misery for the people in my life.

The next reaction I get is the knowing look that is a combination of worry and pity coupled with the question, “How is Chelsea adjusting?”

Let me just say this.

Chelsea was home maybe 10 days before she started complaining, “Why are you always asking me for help putting away my clothes?” It’s completely lost on her that I helped by washing and folding them. Sounds like a normal adjustment to me.

Chelsea with one of our special mothers at Dorie's PromiseThe biggest surprise, however, is the reaction I never get.

People focus on my wait. No one ever wants to hear how Chelsea managed through the last six years.

For me, however, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, the adoption of my daughter has nothing to do with me or any unforeseen benefits I may have received from having my resolve tested.

The people at Dorie’s Promise, Chelsea, and her birth mother are the heroes here.

Imagine you have a boyfriend and that he loves you. Then imagine you get pregnant and all of a sudden he no longer does. You are a societal pariah, and overnight you lose the support of your friends and family.

Now imagine that you are a six-year-old girl who owns her own underwear but not a whole lot of anything else. You have seen other children go home, but you don’t really know what that means. Some foreign guy who speaks broken Spanish visits regularly. You know him as your papa, but you don’t really know why he won’t just take you home. Life is pleasant — it’s all you really know — but there has always been something that’s not quite right.

And finally imagine that you start a foundation to help unwanted children find homes. Other people exploited the system and ruined it for all of the unwanted children. You had to come up with an entirely new operating plan so that you could continue to shelter the kids who were already under your care.

I wasn’t really looking for something to test my faith when I started the process of adopting Chelsea. Candidly, I had no idea what a test of faith was.

Chelsea and her family have been Forever Changed.On reflection, it seems to me that test of faith is a misleading term. It’s not so much a test as it is a search for stronger people who inspire me to continue down a challenging path.

It wasn’t fun fighting a legal battle and watching the growing frustration in Chelsea.

It was nothing, however, compared to giving my child up in hopes of her having a better life.

Nothing compared with living in an orphanage without “my own mama and papa”.

And nothing compared with the constant pressure of more than 50 children and employees depending on me.

Dorie’s Promise is undoubtedly the greatest thing that ever happened to Chelsea and every child who has ever, and will ever, live there. It’s certainly the best thing that ever happened to me.

The place is full of people who keep the faith — active faith, it seems. Not so much blind faith. And with this, they change lives. Not the least of which are mine and Chelsea’s.

For that, my family and I are and always will be grateful to everyone involved.

Thank you.

 

Elyel Is Adopted

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

By Pablo Villagran-

Among the stories we love to share most are those about children who find loving, caring parents. That is the case with six-year-old Elyel, who came to Dorie’s Promise as an infant in 2006 and was adopted in late July.

According to staff members who have called to check on him, Elyel is happy and everything is going well.

“His parents said that he had a hard time going to bed the first few nights but with time he got used to it and now is sleeping very well,” says Director Alejandra Diaz. “He has adapted well to his new school and family.”

Elyel lives on a farm, which is a perfect setting for a boy who loves animals. To make it even better, he now has a horse to call his own.

Since adoption rates in our country are typically low, we are encouraged by what appears to be more interest in adoption by families here. We regularly see couples who are looking for a child like Elyel or Carlos Enrique, who was adopted earlier in 2012.

Dorie’s Promise played a key role in facilitating Elyel’s adoption. Teacher Claudia Roncal suggested that the prospective parents spend time with Elyel to get to know him better.

They accomplished this through a series of 10 meetings, which each lasted four to six hours.

Claudia says the idea came from a process we followed with Carlos’ adoption. She suggested it to some psychologists, who agreed.

They chose the teacher to supervise the meetings, which were held in our pre-school classroom. “This established an effective link with his future parents,” Claudia says. “We did this through games, including them in Elyel’s daily activities and directed interaction.

“This not only made them feel included, it made possible the positive transition from Elyel’s environment here to his new home. It also allowed other children to get a positive outlook on the process—and prepares them to one day possibly pass through it themselves.”

It particularly benefited Elyel, who had spent almost his entire life at Dorie’s Promise. During the period of transition we helped him adjust to living elsewhere and promoted closer interaction with his father.

This helped establish confidence in Elyel, who struggled through a period of anxiety. Fortunately, Claudia says the family made a great effort to attend all scheduled meetings and patiently gave him space to remove distrust and anxiety.

“This is one of the happiest endings to a story I’ve ever seen,” Claudia says. “It was an honor to present people to Elyel who would always be there for him and assure him that he would be going to a good home. It was one of the most significant experiences of my life.”

If you would like to play a role in helping other children to experience the kind of joy that comes when an orphan is adopted, click here to learn more about helping Dorie’s Promise.

Birthday donations

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

By Pablo Villagran-

Birthday parties are a special occasion for any child, but former resident Maria Jabin marked her happy day recently with a unique twist.

In place of gifts to Maria, who just turned seven, her friends made donations to Dorie’s Promise.

“She also asked her friends to bring princess costumes or accessories for the little girls at Dorie’s Promise,” says her mother, Kay. “We sent them to Guatemala, along with some gifts for the Special Mothers.

“We included pictures and a letter that our oldest daughter wrote in Spanish, updating them on Maria and how she is doing here in the United States.”

Maria is the youngest of six children the couple are raising; five are adopted. They first adopted Vanya from Bulgaria in 1995 through All God’s Children International (AGCI.) That process brought them in touch with our founder, Heather Radu.

Part of a large group of families from Cincinnati, Ohio who adopted through AGCI, the Jabins helped organize reunion picnics and hosted Bulgarians during visits to America. After adopting Vanya, the Jabins adopted three boys through the foster care system in Ohio.

“In 2004 we decided to adopt through AGCI again,” Kay says. “Their program in Guatemala was running well and we were interested in adopting an infant.”

Aside from their oldest, (natural) daughter, Rebekah, all of their other children were three or four years old when they joined the family.

So, the Jabins looked forward to welcoming another infant. They completed their paperwork in Guatemala and secured approval in the winter of 2005.

Throughout this period, the Jabins had been praying for “Baby Maria” even though they had no idea how long it would take before they got another child.

In the spring of 2005, Tim and Rebekah spent a week here helping to paint, move furniture, and spend time caring for and playing with the children.

A few days after returning home, the Jabins received an e-mail from AGCI, saying they needed a family to accept a referral for a baby girl who could potentially have a health problem.

“When we received the e-mail we quickly realized that Rebekah had spent almost an entire day with this baby,” Kay recalls.

“We had literally been looking at some pictures of our daughter holding Maria when we received the e-mail. We couldn’t help thinking that some kind of divine intervention was taking place.”

The Jabins responded immediately with a “yes.” As it turned out, Maria never developed a health condition. Tim and Kay call that a sign that God simply wanted this little girl in their family.

In the summer of 2011, Rebekah returned to Dorie’s Promise with a couple of college friends on a mission trip.

During their visit, Rebekah was able to do morning devotions with the Special Mothers who had cared for Maria.

“The Special Mothers told her that one thing that made them sad was not hearing from adoptive families and about how the children were doing after they left the orphanage,” Kay says.

However, in this case the story is known—and what a happy one!

Elyel’s New Family

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Elyel Garcia Gramajo

DOB: 05/15/2006

Entered Dorie's Promise: 05/17/2006

Recently, Elyel left Dorie's Promise to be united with his new family.

Elyel's biological mother entered the Promise of Life program to give her baby up for adoption. However, after she delivered Elyel, she disappeared. She has not been present and it has been difficult to find her in order to continue with the adoption process. Eventually the biological mother was notified by the court to continue with the process to allow Elyel to be adopted. On 03/03/2009 the court declared Elyel adoptable.

The Central Adoption Authority (CNA) found a Guatemalan family interested in adopting him. Through a process that take approximately 3 weeks, Elyel and his new family got to know each other. Elyel leaves Dorie's Promise, the home that has sheltered him since he was a newborn. We wish Elyel the best and pray the Lord keep him safe and happy in his new life.
 

Waiting for a Second Blessing

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

By Pablo Villigran-
 
Dorie’s Promise changes lives, sometimes in unexpected ways. Just ask Karen and Curt Nichols. Although the couple has three daughters, the desire to adopt had been tugging at their hearts for years.
 
After deciding to take this step, they visited Guatemala and initiated the process that changed—and blessed their lives.
 
Four-year-old Cristian now lives at their central New York farm. The family hopes that Brandon, a bright-eyed boy of four who still lives at Dorie’s Promise, will soon be able to join their family.
 
“Cristian is very active and always ‘into’ something new,” Curt says. “He demands a lot of attention and keeps us all laughing with his juvenile language and antics. Our house is filled with laughter and little kid sounds.”
 
They learned about us through a friend who adopted a child from us. Since they were searching for an adoption agency, that started the ball rolling. The couple submitted paperwork in November of 2006. Two and a half years later, Cristian came to their home.
 
With their oldest daughter then a freshman in college and the others busy with their activities, the demands of early-childhood parenting were over. Cristian helped them resume.
 
“One of his sisters says it got louder in a good way,” Karen recalls. “Another says he adds excitement.
 
“Our oldest daughter feels that our family has grown closer through this process and with Cristian’s arrival. I think it is fun to experience a child’s early years again. He just ‘belongs’ here and adds a lot of spunk to our lives.”
 
The only drawback to this situation is that Brandon is still waiting for his paperwork to clear. The two boys shared a crib in their early months and played together as infants.
 

The Nichols family calls Brandon Cristian’s “brother” and uses video chats and periodic visits to reinforce these bonds. On their visits they stay here and spend as much time as possible with Brandon and the other children.
 
While this hang-up represents a prayer request for supporters, Karen says that waiting so long is an experience that has dramatically increased her faith.
 
“I have learned that after you have done all that you can do in a situation, you have to surrender it to God,” she says. “I have a better understanding of what it means to fully trust God and have faith that His timing is perfect. We know that having Cristian home is a miracle in itself.”
 
She also compliments sponsors who help support the children at Dorie’s Promise, saying their visits have shown them that sponsors’ money is used wisely.
 
“The children have what they need and each receive great love and care,” Karen says. “We couldn’t ask for any better living situation away from home.”

Saying Goodby to Carlos Enrique

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Carlos came to Dorie's Promise by court order because his biological mother provided false data to the hospital.  Minor’s Court needed to clarify the identity of the biological mother.  She was notify by the court many times to be at the hearings. His biological mother came once to visit Carlos, and she never showed up for any of the court appointments. Minor’s Court declared Carlos adoptable on February 10th, 2011.

About 2 weeks ago we got a call, letting us know they found a family for Carlos! His new family has been waiting to adopt a child for about a year. Carlos will be their first child, and they are super excited to have him.

The Carlos' adoptive family started to visit him last week.We can see in the amount of interest they have paid to him during their visits, that they will be a loving and caring family for Carlos. On March 16th, Carlos went to be with his new family.

We wish him the best!

Waiting on Adoption

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

By Alejandra Diaz-

We hope that the newest resident of Dorie’s Promise is only here for a short time. That’s because Fredy Jose Cuc Caal is in the middle of an international adoption process. His arrival boosted our number of children to 36.

We think Fredy is about four years old. Although he had been living with a foster family, we aren’t certain why he came to stay with us.

Smart and talkative, Fredy appears to be quite happy here, even though he has had some adjustments to make. While living with a family, he was used to having his own room and receiving more special attention. So his first days at our orphanage weren’t too easy.

Also, going out to school was a part of daily life, so remaining on the grounds for preschool classes is new to him.

Other things have changed. Instead of his own room, Fredy has to share one with five other boys. Most of the time, he stays around the grounds, although he sometimes goes out for short walks or to the park.

Despite the challenges, Fredy has taken to life here fairly well. The big smile he wears is a unique part of his personality.

Fredy also loves to give hugs. Our Special Mothers have taken extra care with him, since they know it is not easy for a toddler to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings. Teacher Claudia Roncal has also been affirming and affectionate.

The Special Mother who watches him most closely describes an active child who loves to eat and play with other kids his age.

Our staff is praying for Fredy, particularly about his future. We do not have much information about his legal situation or the adoption process. However, we pray for him and his adoptive family—that God will comfort them through this trying time.

We also pray for other adoptive families caught in this situation, that they can find the strength and patience they need.

We ask all our supporters to pray for Fredy and other children in similar situations. It has been difficult watching these kids getting older as each year goes by, but there is little we can do to make the wheels of government turn more quickly.

Along with us, please pray also for the authorities in Guatemala who have the power to change this situation and help move these adoption processes along.

No matter what the outcome, we remain grateful that we were able to open our doors to Fredy. We ask God to keep giving us the opportunity to wrap our arms around him and other children who need love and care.

Thriving After Leaving Dorie’s Promise

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

By Ken Walker-

The mothers of two children who left Dorie’s Promise last spring say they are thriving in their new surroundings, adapting to their extended families, and starting preschool this fall.

After a gradual transition to his new home and a different language, Evan Alejandro Anderson started preschool this week in the system where his mother, Laura, works as an occupational therapist.

Laura and her husband, Scott, waited three years before their first child finally arrived in Rochester Hills, Michigan last April.

However, Laura says the delay proved to be worth it. Traveling to Guatemala 14 times to see Alejandro, they got to know the staff and appreciate the role they played in starting him toward a fulfilling life.

“It’s an absolute miracle,” she says of their son’s long-awaited arrival. “We always knew God would come through.”

Paul Kvinta and his wife, Becky Kurtz, are also full of joy after waiting for more than three years before Nubia Marcela arrived at their home in Washington, D.C. last May.

“Marcela is loving life in the big city,” says Becky, who works for the federal government.

“Among her favorite things are the elephants at the zoo, the butterflies and dinosaurs in the National History Museum, and the carousel on the National Mall.”

Like Alejandro, Marcela will attend preschool this fall after a fun-filled summer. In recent months the Kurtzes have visited playgrounds, swimming pools and the beach. On visits to North Carolina and Texas, Marcela met all of her aunts, uncles and cousins.

“She really treasures spending time with her extended family,” Becky says. “They all warmly welcomed her.”

Laura is especially pleased with the way her large extended family has welcomed Alejandro, and the way she believes his story will shine a light on God.

“They felt like they knew him through pictures and videos, but to meet him and play with him is huge,” Laura says. “People have said, ‘To see you remain faithful for so long has touched me.’

“I’m so thankful for the Special Mothers at Dorie’s Promise,” Laura adds. “I knew he was loved, hugged, fed and allowed to grow. To watch him flourish now is amazing. He knows how to spell his name, where he lives and wants to know everything.”

Becky has similar feelings, saying because of the wait, they feel more connected to people at the home and other places in Guatemala.

“Marcela is a wonderful little girl,” she says. “The best part is just all being together. We both love it when she crawls into our bed in the morning, puts her arms both of our necks and proclaims, ‘la familia!’ It’s hard to beat that joyful expression of belonging and love.”