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Posts Tagged ‘Child Sponsorship’

Siblings Learning to Dream Again

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Flor and Mateo at Dorie's Promise

By Kelly Shank –

Each of our children longs for a family where they feel loved and included. Our deepest desire is to see their dreams come true by being reunited with their birth families or placed in adoptive homes. For the times when this dream doesn’t come true, our staff dries tears, answers questions, and stands in the gap.

Before coming to Dorie’s Promise, Flor and Mateo were living with a Guatemalan family and in the process of being adopted. We’re not sure what happened, but the adoption proceedings stopped. Afterward, the court referred them to our home. Unfortunately, placements don’t always work.

As you can imagine, Flor and Mateo were disappointed when they came to Dorie’s Promise. Being adopted together is their dream. Having that taken away was too difficult for them to understand. They couldn’t imagine what they could have done differently, to have a family.

Flor at Dorie's PromiseFrom the moment they came to us, we knew how much they loved each other. Their bond helped them endure their disappointment. Not only did they lose their adoptive family, they also moved nearly 4 hours away. Dorie’s Promise wasn’t their first choice. They were abandoned by a family, moved, and wanted to return to the orphanage where they grew up. More than anything, they want to be with people they knew and who loved them.

We understood how much they had lost, and knew we needed to earn their trust. One year later, things are completely different for Flor and Mateo.

Flor

She might seem quiet when you first meet her, but once she opens up to you, you’ll be amazed. Flor is one of the smartest girls in our home. Not only does she speak English well, she also wants to learn more languages. Her teachers are amazed by how well she does at her bilingual school. She’s so bright that we’re constantly trying to find new ways to challenge her.

Even though she still misses her old friends, Flor has really connected with the other children here, especially Jennifer. They attend the same school and both love art. Seeing Flor feel safe enough to build friendships again gives us hope that she is healing.

MateoMateo at Dorie's Promise

Mateo is one of the funniest boys in our house. He keeps the Special Mothers laughing each day as he recounts his school day adventures. Being able to connect with Brayan has given Mateo an older role model in our home, someone to learn from and hang out with. We’ve also seen him take on the role of older brother to the little boys as well, teaching them to build new creations with Legos.

Just like his older sister, Mateo is also very smart. He has overcome the challenges of their move, while also attending a bilingual school. We know he’s going to do great things because Mateo is a triple threat—smart, funny, and caring.

Our director, Alejandra, shares that “we know inside of them there are still many situations to solve and we pray that God is helping us be the family and the support they are needing now, and the one they are going to need in the future.”

Bringing Baseball to Dorie’s Promise

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Yankee's Pitcher Ben Heller at Dorie's Promise Guatemala

By Kelly Shank –

Imagine the excitement for our children when New York Yankee’s pitcher Ben Heller visited in December.It’s not every week we host a professional baseball player at Dorie’s Promise. So imagine the excitement for our children when New York Yankee’s pitcher Ben Heller visited in December.

We caught up with Ben a few weeks ago to follow up on his trip and plans heading into spring training.

Ben’s connection to Dorie’s Promise started long before he and his wife, Martha, visited our home last December. In fact, they’ve been sponsors for more than four years. In 2011, a friend of the Hellers visited Guatemala and returned home on a mission to share about her trip and raise support for our children. Thankfully, Ben and Martha understood our needs and valued our desire to transform the lives of children.

Although he had served on mission trips previously, Ben was surprised by the extremes of Guatemala. The natural beauty of the country and wealth in some Guatemala City neighborhoods is a stark contrast to the poverty in many villages and overwhelming conditions surrounding the Guatemala City landfill. Even our kids surprised him by how quickly they made him feel welcomed.

Baseball is a huge part of Ben’s life at home, but he didn’t want baseball to overshadow the reason he was working in Guatemala.

He preferred to quietly join his wife and friend for a week serving at Dorie’s Promise without fanfare. As their trip grew closer, a Yankees fan from Guatemala reached out via Twitter and asked Ben to consider holding a baseball clinic in Guatemala City. Although soccer is definitely the favorite sport of Guatemalans, little league baseball has a steady fan base, with teams for children of all ages and tournaments throughout Latin America.

As he considered the request, it became obvious that his baseball experience offered a unique opportunity At the baseball clinic Ben Heller held while in Guatemala.for him to serve others during his trip. With the help of Guatemalan fans, Ben hosted a pitching clinic for 100 local players. As little league players honed their pitching skills, ours learned the game’s fundamentals.

Thanks to Ben and local organizers, Dorie’s Promise received a generous donation from the players’ families. We are thankful for the opportunity to connect with local families. Most importantly, Ben shared his testimony with the children after the clinic, bringing together his story of faith, baseball, and service.

Ben’s looking forward to sharing about his Guatemala trip with teammates and fans as spring training begins. Visiting our home has given him a new perspective on our work and the importance of our supporters. Ben stressed the importance of having a long-term commitment to Dorie’s Promise. He encourages others to become monthly sponsors, like he and his wife, and support our children as we transform their lives. After visiting our home, Ben understands the difference we make in the lives of children and sees the value in his sponsorship.

We look forward to many more years partnering with the Hellers!

The Path Leading Children to Dorie’s Promise

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Have you ever wondered how children find their way to Dorie’s Promise?

By Kelly Shank –

Marcos is all smiles.Have you ever wondered how children find their way to Dorie’s Promise? We want to help you understand the process that brings children into our home.

There are many different paths our children take before eventually living at Dorie’s Promise. Some of them were abandoned as infants. Others were given up by parents who simply couldn’t provide for them. Too many were rescued from abuse. The common themes in each child’s story are loss and trauma. From the moment children enter our home, we become the protectors of their rights and well-being.

The Beginning of their Journey:

We never know when we might get a call asking us to consider accepting a new child. We’ve received emergency placements in the middle of the night before but most children come into our care as a result of the normal family court proceedings. Based on a home’s location and the level of specialized care needed for a particular child, social workers reach out to the directors of private orphan care homes in hopes of finding a placement before turning to government facilities.

When Alejandra, our director, receives one of these calls, she must determine if Dorie’s Promise is able to provide the best care for a new child without sacrificing the care being received by the children already living in our home. Our homes are divided by gender so one of the first factors she considers is if we have room in that specific house.

Additionally, we consider the age of children who enter our home. As a general rule, we take children up to 8 years old. Why only eight years old? We are committed to making long-term commitments with the children who enter our home so we try to accept children who may be with us for an extended period of time. Lastly, she also considers the special needs of the child, whether physical, mental, or emotional, to determine if we have sufficient resources for a new child.

Navigating the Courts during Their Stay:

Merary came to Dorie's Promise to be reunited with her brother Yire who was already living at our home.As we mentioned, once a child enters our care we represent their interests in court. Jessica, our Legal Assistant, represents them at all court hearings, prepares reports, and is responsible for keeping our staff aware of the legal status of each child’s case.

Between thirty-five and forty children live in our home at any time. You might have noticed that there aren’t thirty-five to forty children on our Sponsor Page. The gap occurs because we only include Permanent Placements in our Sponsor bios. Children in our sponsorship program are Permanent Placements because either their parental rights have been terminated or they have been determined by the courts to be with us long-term.

Every child enters our home as a temporary placement, similar to the foster care program. Through the court process social workers determine if the children could potentially be reunited with their biological parents or other relatives. About 40% of the children in our home are eventually reunited with their biological parents or other family members. We appreciate the deep connections our children have with their biological families and are excited when parents are able to complete the court-ordered reunification programs and establish healthy homes for their families.

Unfortunately, in the majority of our cases, biological families are unable to make the changes necessary to provide a safe home for their children. In those instances, parental rights can be terminated and a judge can declare the child adoptable. Afterward, the National Council for Adoptions (CNA in Guatemala) works to match children with potential Guatemalan adoptive families*.

Each child’s case is unique. Although the designation of temporary or permanent might sound like a simple decision, unfortunately it isn’t. Some of the children in our home have been here as temporary foster placements for many years, caught between parents who desire to be in their lives and the reality that they are not able to provide for them. In contrast, some of our permanent, “adoptable” children have also been here for many years as well. Often, older children and sibling groups are not easily matched with adoptive families.

Our Promise to These Children:

We've made a promise to all the children who've come to Dorie's Promise.Heather Radu, our founder, decided many years ago that we were committed to long-term involvement in the lives of our children. Thus, we accept younger children who may be in our care for a decade or more, giving us the best opportunity to help them become successful adults. This is also why we take some of the hardest placements, those with disabilities and sibling groups.

We believe in giving our absolute best to every child in our home, no matter their placement status. We choose to stand in the gap of their lives, love them, lead them, and help them heal.

Your monthly gift helps us continue providing the best care possible. Visit our Sponsor Page, read more about our children, and find ways to support our home.

 

* International Adoption from Guatemala closed in 2008

Finishing Well in 2017

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Three boys ready for school. | Dorie's Promise Guatemala

By Kelly Shank –

Alejandra is full of happy engery. | Dorie's Promise Guatemala2017 has been an amazing year at Dorie’s Promise. Over the last few months we’ve shared stories about all the big things happening in our home. Our children, staff, and trip participants all experienced life changing opportunities over the last year.

If you missed our stories about Nayeli’s first year in college, Myra’s quinceañeara, or the children who moved into our home after the fire at the Virgen de la Asunción orphanage, you can find them and many more on the blog.

Even though 2017 has been an amazing year already, we believe the biggest blessings for Dorie’s Promise have yet to come. The stories we share about the big things happening in our home highlight all the work being done behind the scenes by our staff. You don’t hear about the mountains of laundry that get washed each morning or the hours our drivers spend running kids to school but these daily tasks are what make a home for our children and that is the reason we work so hard.

You know that we rely on the generosity of donors for all of our needs but what you might not realize is that we rely heavily on the generosity of a few people to continue operating each year because we don’t have enough monthly sponsors. The majority of our funding is received through special donations at the end of each year which is a little bit scary when we’re paying the bills. We need your help to meet our budget for 2017.

Lester concentrates hard on a Lego project. | Dorie's Promise GuatemalaWe are trusting that once again God will faithfully provide for the needs of our children.

As we celebrate 2017 we also want to look forward to 2018. Next year Brayan will be graduating from high school and we are committed to supporting him as he prepares for his future career. Plus, we are anticipating regular maintenance needs in our homes and with our vehicles over the next year. We are planning ahead so we can make the most out of the gifts we receive.

Our dream is to double the number of children in our care. Instead of being limited to 40 kids, we want to serve 80 children but we are not in a financial position to expand yet. To do so, we need to reach 100% funding through monthly sponsorships for the children already in our care. When we can reach this goal, we can start welcoming more children.

Will you help us finish well in 2017?

Becoming fully sponsored is our biggest Christmas wish! We believe that God is calling people to become a part of our family this Christmas. If you already sponsor one of our children monthly, would you consider inviting a friend to sponsor one of our kids as well?

Jenny gives a hug to one of our volunteers. | Dorie's Promise GuatemalaWe know that God will provide and we invite you help share in the blessings at Dorie’s Promise. We thank you and our kids do too. Join the Dorie’s Promise family by becoming a monthly sponsor today or by giving a one-time donation. Thank you for making dreams come true for our children this Christmas season.

Here a just a few of the highlights from 2017:

Our Thanks to You

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Our thanks to you!

Thank you donors, sponsors and volunteers.This might be our favorite story of the year, the one where we share how thankful we are for everyone who supports Forever Changed International and Dorie’s Promise!

First, we want to sincerely thank all of our monthly sponsors and donors. Without your support Forever Changed International would not exist. We rely on donations for everything we do. Our staff, our homes, schooling, medical care, everything depends on the willingness of our donors.

Your generosity allows us to create homes that give our children a safe place to heal. Earlier this year we welcomed children into our home after the government orphanage fire because you responded to their need immediately. These children are happier and healthier now in our home.

Thank you for believing in the work we do and allowing us to represent you as we serve our children.

Next, we want to thank our trip participants this year who made huge impacts in our local communities. Hundreds of you visited our home and helped our partner communities. We were able to build two homes, deliver food baskets, provide water filters, help with much-needed home repairs, and invest in organizations we believe in. We also understand that for every person who visits our home there are many more at home who have helped support them financially, materially, and spiritually. To all those who visited our home and those who supported our participants, thank you for partnering with us in Guatemala and making a difference this year.

All of our children benefit from the generosity of our supporters.Finally, we want to share our most heartfelt thanks to our staff and volunteers both in Guatemala and stateside. You are the heart of our organization.

To everyone who works in Guatemala, we are so thankful for your dedication every day on behalf of our children. Your love for our children is unprecedented and we could not care for our children without you. Thank you for loving our children as your own and giving them a home where they are can thrive.

To our stateside staff, board members, and volunteers, your efforts are rarely seen but always felt. Thank you for tirelessly working behind the scenes to keep our organization running and helping to guide us towards our dream of helping even more children in Guatemala.

This Thanksgiving holiday we are thankful for you and wish the best to you and your family!

Generous Donation – “We Wanted to Help.”

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Photo Provided By Bryan and Rachel Kreitz

By Heather Radu –

Photo Provided By Bryan and Rachel KreitzBryan and Rachel Kreitz were among 18 members of a mission team that came to Guatemala on spring break in March. Although it was the Houston couple’s first trip to Dorie’s Promise, it won’t be their last.

That’s because the children at our home captured their hearts. In addition to planning a return trip next June, they recently made a generous donation of 1 percent of their sales during May.

It was the first business-related donation made by the couple, who purchased Trinity Legal Discovery in Houston nearly two years ago.

“It was my wife’s idea,” Bryan says. “She wanted to start giving back to community groups and charities. I asked, ‘What do you want to do for the first month?’ and she said, ‘Dorie’s.’

“We fell in love with those kids. It’s a tough road for them and we wanted to help. We took downloadable pictures off the web site and put stickers on our boxes. So during May, every box of client documents we sent out had pictures from Dorie’s Promise on them.”

The Kreitzes learned about us through some friends who made their first mission trip to Guatemala last year. Bryan and Rachel were eager to come after hearing about Dorie’s Promise; ultimately, they helped assemble a team from various places. It included six children age 12 or younger.

The trip touched the couple in a dramatic way. As the owners of a small (14 employees) business that includes constant cash-flow pressures, they saw that what they face isn’t that tough compared to the poor in Guatemala.

“We were dealing with people who live in an eight-by-eight-foot home and four people sleeping in one bed and they weren’t complaining,” Bryan says. “There’s a week’s worth of food in our refrigerator, and they may not eat more than once a day.”

Photo Provided By Bryan and Rachel KreitzThe team completed a number of community projects in the town of Palencia, where we are building a school. Among their efforts: delivering two weeks of food to a soup kitchen, 50 water filters and two sets of bunk beds to residents, and completing two house extensions.

The trip also impacted their nine-year-old and 12-year-old daughter. Back home, the couple still discuss their visit as they remind their children of how much more they have than kids in Central America.

“It was great to see them get outside themselves,” Bryan says. “It was eye opening for all the kids. One of them talked about wanting this and that, but the second day he said, ‘Mom, I don’t want anything. I want to help these kids.’ She started bawling.”

In addition to helping in the community, the spring break team spent a lot of time with our kids—playing soccer, throwing a football around, going to a trampoline park, and attending church together.

The team was especially impressed with the care and attention offered by our Special Mothers.

“The kids wanted to be loved on and you can tell they are,” Bryan says. “These kids need our help and a dollar there goes so much further. I look at it as being able to help one kid at a time.”

Needless to say, supporters like the Kreitzes make our work a little easier.

Gymnastics Boosts Girls’ Confidence

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

The girls from Doire's Promise who participated in the gymnastic classes last fall.

By Alejandra Diaz –

Three of our students get ready for their final performance.Even though Guatemala just passed the halfway point of the 2017 school year, our girls are already looking forward to their Gymnastics Vacation Course this fall.

A dozen of our girls participated in last fall’s course. About 100 students overall were involved in the classes, which start after the school year—which begins in January—ends in October.

Our children participated for the first time two years ago, but were eager to enroll again last year because some of the girls are very talented. (To see some photos from the classes, click here.)

Although they only have the chance to take formal lessons in October and November, every time they have the chance to practice at home, they do it! Sometimes we have to caution them to watch out for other people when they do their tumbles, flips and other moves.

These gymnastics classes have made a huge impact on our girls, improving their school work and self-confidence. We have seen big changes in their outlook and attitudes.

They have shown themselves they are able to do great things. The girls felt so good when they made their presentations at the final show and everyone congratulated them.

After all, taking part in the gymnastics classes requires a lot of effort and self-discipline. These sessions demanded a lot of practice and meant they had to demonstrate a daily commitment to improve.

Not only do these classes show the kind of achievements that are possible with hard work and dedication, they emphasize the value of child sponsorship.

Several of the girls from Dorie's Promise performing iat the end of their gymnastic class.It is only because of the support of so many generous donors that we can take the girls to these vacation courses. Indeed, we would really love to find a way to give them the opportunity to participate in gymnastics year-round to allow them to further develop and use their talents.

Since the costs of shelter, food, clothing and other necessities require so much of our resources, it is only when children receive full sponsorship that monies are available to sign them up for additional opportunities.

Our goal is to meet all our ongoing monthly expenses through child sponsorship, which will enable us to be much more flexible in our operations.

If you would like to help our children take part in things like the gymnastics course and other character-building and educational exercises, consider becoming a child sponsor today.

A Connection with Merary

Monday, May 8th, 2017

By Alejandra Diaz –

Merary at Dorie's Promise GuatemalaWhile numerous donors have visited Dorie’s Promise, a couple of our most avid supporters have yet to come to Guatemala. However, Christina and Patrick Wallis are saving for the mission trip they plan to take with their five children.

The couple started following FCI after sensing a strong attraction to missions and short-term possibilities where they could serve as a family.

After discovering Dorie’s Promise in online research, they signed up for email updates and started a mission trip savings account.

Then, a few years ago, Patrick found himself repeating “Merary” at work. Later, the couple discovered several references to this name in the Bible and recognized the Holy Spirit was speaking.

“One day we got an email about a new girl at Dorie’s, whose name was Merary,” Christina says. “We both immediately knew that was the Merary we had been praying about. Immediately, we began to give and help support her.” (Learn how you can sponsor Merary too.)

Christina, Patrick and their children—Carissa, 17; Grace, 14; Elyse, 13; Hannah, 11; and Levi, 6—pray for Merary regularly. After learning her name means “bitter” or “sad,” their prayers included the request that she would know joy and happiness.

Recently, the Wallises learned they can correspond with the girl and plan to start writing her letters. As adoptive parents, the Wallises would love to take Merary into their family. Since Guatemala has closed internal adoptions they realize that isn’t possible, but they want Merary to know that she is loved.

Merary loves to color.Through the Special Mothers, Patrick has sent her pictures of the family and money to buy special gifts. In turn, we have sent them photographs of Merary enjoying the gifts.

Christina says they have read her profile online and watched videos of her, as well as keeping Merary’s picture on the refrigerator and their phones. “I know she likes most food, but not onions,” Christina says. “She loves jokes and to make people laugh—very much like our family does.”

The spiritual connection that originated with the Holy Spirit leading Patrick to repeat Merary’s name has dramatically affected the Wallises faith, which continues to grow.

“I think of how specifically, how personally, and with great detail the Lord worked to make sure Merary knows she is loved,” Christina says. “There is a God that loves her and He took great effort to communicate with a family across the world about her very existence.

“She can also know there is a mom, a dad, and siblings out there who know her name, who care what is happening to her, and love her because she is precious.”

Needless to say, these kinds of stories are an incredible blessing to us!

Child Sponsorship Needed

Monday, April 10th, 2017

The smiling faces of children whose lives have been Forever Changed at Dorie's Promise.

By Bradley Burck –

Orphans from fire in Guatemala

Marbely is a survivor of the fire at Virgen de Asuncion. She is now at Dorie’s Promise.

The current situation at Dorie’s Promise underscores the importance of Forever Changed International’s child sponsorship program.

As you may have read on our blog, the home recently accepted four children from the Virgen de Asuncion orphanage in Guatemala after a disastrous fire there in early March. The death toll at the state-run home recently reached 41, with several dozen others sustaining injuries.

In addition, we recently accepted three other children from desperate circumstances, which increased the number living at the home to 44, which is several above capacity.

Given the needs in Guatemala, sponsoring residents through FCI is an excellent way for people wanting to help to respond.

News reports outline the seriousness of the situation. Although designed to accommodate 400 people, the week of the fire the New York Times reported that 750 were crammed into the aging structures at the state-run orphanage.

The newspaper also reported that, although they had been removed from their homes for their own safety, many were victims of sexual assault and other abuse by staff members. The situation prompted criminal cases and complaints with the country’s human rights commission.

Alejandra Diaz, the director of Dorie’s Promise, says that feelings of frustration are common around Guatemala. This situation could have been avoided if the government had provided the care that the children at the state orphanage needed, she says.

Children like Elvis are in need of sponsors.

Children like Elvis (Age 5) are in need of sponsors.

“We are accepting the challenge to take more children, which has filled us beyond our capacity,” Alejandra says. “But we cannot stay indifferent to the need of a safe place for so many children.

“I wish we could have more space and resources to take more children so we could offer them the opportunities that we have provided to the children who have been with us for a long time.”

This situation cries out for prayer, which Alejandra says is one of the most important things that supporters in the United States and elsewhere can offer right now.

  • Pray for emotional relief for our newcomers
  • Pray that they would have a smooth transition
  • Pray too for the nation of Guatemala—that that positive changes can be made for so many children who live in poverty and serious circumstances

“The other important thing we need is their commitment to support us,” Alejandra says. “Not just now during this emergency, but ongoing support so we can offer as many children as possible a future and the opportunities to forever change their life.”

To read more about children who need sponsors, visit this page. Monthly sponsors provide ongoing safety and security for children and are needed now more than ever. Or give today, a special one time gift, to help the children who survived the fire at Virgen de Asuncion.

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!