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Posts Tagged ‘children in need’

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.

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?

Luis Still Waiting…

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Luis 2016

By MJ Zelya –

LuisLuis working on a drawing project. came to Dorie’s promise from a Government home; he is one of the children whose adoption case was stuck in court after Guatemala close their door to international adoptions in 2008. His case is still in process and we are waiting for the court to make a final decision. He has been waiting a long time.

Meanwhile, we enjoy watching him grow and learn. Luis, age 9, is now a big boy, who cares about the little ones, shares his toys and plays with them. A great “big brother” to the younger children.

When he came to our home we noticed that he had some problems with his speech, saying the “ch” sound instead of “s”. In the other home he was never taught him to say his words correctly, he simply learned the wrong way to pronounce them. When he came to Dorie’s Promise, the psychologist evaluated him and gave us some guidelines to help him work on improving his speech. He has worked hard to make the changes, with the help and the support of the Special Mothers his speech has improved tremendously.

Luis is a little gentleman. He is polite and likes to be neat and well dressed. Special Mother Diana admits, “Sometimes he amazes me, he is so mature for his age.” His special mothers also remark about how honest he is, and how if he makes a mistake he recognizes it and will apologize.

He loves to play football (soccer) and play at the park, the swings are a special favorite of his. He loves school, where he makes good grades, and he likes to work alone on his homework.

Luis, dressed and ready for school.This year he participate in a science fair at school. Luis and a partner had to show how to make a rainbow using a CD and a candle. Lucky his teacher said, “The science fair was an unforgettable experience for Luis. At first, he was so anxious because he had to demonstrate the experiment in front of his classroom and teachers. He worked hard, memorized his speech and did a wonderful job!” At the end of the fair the class had an ice cream party.

Special mother Diana says of Luis, “He is a funny and bold boy. He makes you laugh- making funny faces or telling jokes to the other boys. Sometimes he pretends to be crying and when I look at him he starts laughing. It was only a joke!”

She also says, “He likes to help with the chores at the home.  He even likes to stay later than the other kids helping me at night and he says, ‘Mama Diana you have to rest too.’ ”

While he wait for the court to finalize his case Luis needs your help. He needs your prayers, it hard to be left waiting for a Forever Family, year after year. Pray for his to be reunited with them soon. Luis also needs sponsors. By becoming a sponsor you help us continue to offer the exceptional level of care that Dorie’s Promise is know for. At our home it’s so much more than room and board, for our children love is an daily experience. We also provide education, medical and psychological care, special activities and spiritual support. Sponsor Luis today, and become part of his Forever Changed life!

 

Meet Ingrid: Your opportunity to change a life!

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Ingrid shortly after she arrived at Dorie's Promise.

Ingrid shortly after she arrived at Dorie’s Promise.

Ingrid now (age 14) at Dorie's Promise.

Ingrid now (age 14) at Dorie’s Promise.

By MJ Zelya –

Ingrid is one of the older girls that are sheltered at Dories’ Promise, she and her siblings have been here since 2010. Watching her evolution from the reserved child she came to us as, to the smiling, caring person she has become is a privilege. But we are worried, because she doesn’t have enough sponsors to cover all her needs; she still needs your help to finish what she has started, working towards her dreams.

All too soon she will be grown and on her own. We want to make sure she is well prepared when that day comes. Not just getting a good education at school, but having the skill she needs to live on her own and continue to pursue God.

Through all these years we have witnessed the miracles of what sponsorship has done in the lives of our children. The sponsorship program helps us to give the children what they need to be better people. With the help of our sponsors our children’s physical, emotional, spiritual needs have been met.

We would like for all of our children to be supported 100% in order to fulfill those needs, but in this case we ask you to help us to reach Ingrid’s support goal-  she needs you! Your support will open doors for her future!

Ingird has grown into a confident and independant teen.Ingird is a sweet girl who her special mothers say sleeps like a bear, she really enjoys sleeping and when it’s time to wake up she gets angry because she wants to continue sleeping. They say she has grown into a more confident and independent teen.  In her free time she loves to play football (soccer) and listen to Christian music on her iPod.

Ingrid has a beautiful voice, and makes beautiful and special prayers. She is also a good activities organizer.

I believe in second chances, and for sure God bringing Ingrid to our home to have the opportunity to grow into a healthy and secure woman is a blessing.

Please consider sponsoring Ingrid, and being a part of this important second chance in the life of someone that otherwise would have been forgotten by the world. God knows your heart and will bless your gift. Together we are changing the lives of children like Ingrid forever. Your sponsorship gives the children of Dorie’s Promise what they need to be better people and eventually to build a better country.

 

 

A Birthday Party to Remember!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Ana with her firends at her birthday party.

On Sunday, July 19, Ana turned 9 and had a very special birthday celebration with her friends — one she will always remember. Her party included pizza, cupcakes, and colorful balloon crowns that her dad made for her and all the guests. But there was something missing — birthday gifts.

Instead of gifts for herself, Ana decided to ask her friends to consider making donations to Dorie’s Promise. Having read recent letters from Forever Changed International that described how funding was down and that donations were urgently needed, Ana and her mom began to consider how they could help. So invitations quickly went out that included information about Dorie’s Promise and its website, along with a note of encouragement that a gift of charity would be the best gift Ana could ask for.

Ana made her birthday party special by asking for donations to Dorie's Promise instead of gifts.Ana herself was once an orphan* and wanted to give back to help the children who live in the same place she did as an infant. She came home to be with her adoptive family in 2007 when she was eight months old. She enjoys looking at the photos of when she was a baby living in Casa 6 and recognizes the familiar setting when she looks at the Forever Changed International website to see photos of the child her family sponsors at Dorie’s Promise.

Ana’s birthday party was filled with fun and special memories with her closest friends, two of whom were also adopted from Guatemala. It was exciting to add up all the donations that came in and share the total at the party.

Ana prays that the money will be a blessing to the children of Dorie’s Promise and is happy to know that she is helping in some small way. As the saying goes, it is truly better to give than to receive!

*International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008

A Great Need… Support Forever Changed International Today

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Our children need you now more than ever before.

Founder Heather Radu

By Heather Radu –

I want to share something that’s weighing on my heart with you. 

Since we started Forever Changed International, it has been our goal to see our home sustained 100% through child sponsorship. Monthly child sponsorship gives our children the most reliable source of income to fund the home and therefore provides them the most secure future possible.

Over the years, we have been diligent in asking those who support the ministry to become monthly sponsors of our children. Currently, 70% of the children are sponsored.

To cover the remaining 30%, we look to friends who give generously AND to our missions program’s donation fees. This year, our missions program is down in numbers. We are forecasting 160 less mission trip participants this year than last. Unfortunately this year, both spring and summer trip numbers were much lower than in years past. A few large teams were unexpectedly unable to participate.

This means about $160,000 less coming through our doors — funds that are necessary for us to maintain the level of care we are currently providing our children.

Honestly, we have been talking about the possibility of this kind of thing happening for years. It is impossible to know for certain that the same number of participants will serve with us as planned each year. Every time we talk about sponsorship, I want you know we are looking at our mission program and saying, “We can’t rely on this as a steady income source.”

Again, our goal is to see our homes 100% funded through our monthly sponsors. All other income would then be available for administrative and potential growth expenses. So, all of this to say…

The income we rely on to run Dorie’s Promise is down and is expected to be down for at least the next several months. WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP!

Would you consider a special gift to the ministry today?

Give a gift today to help these boys living at our home in Guatemala.There are so many ways to help us at this time.  I have listed a few options here:

  • Give a special gift today.
  • Become a sponsor.
  • Contact Charity Danielson, our sponsorship coordinator, at 360-836-7626 or to find out how you can help us spread the word to friends and family about our sponsorship programs. Monthly sponsorship is the most secure way to care for our children!
  • Contact Naomi Beazely  to find out more about planning a future mission trip to serve with us.
  • Pray for our ministry and children — that we will continue to be able to serve for years to come.

I don’t know what you could do given the urgency of this post. Would you pray about it and give as God leads you?

Whatever you do, please know that your help is needed, and needed immediately. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Our children need you now more than ever before.

Meet Efrain (Age 10)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Efrain with his Special Mother at Dorie's Promise.

By MJ Zelya-

EfrainEfrain after his eye surgery has been living at Dorie’s Promise since 2005. He is now 10 years old. He was abandoned by his mother because of her economic inability to take care of him.

Efrain is very attentive to his surroundings. He loves it when the Special Mothers sing to him. Efrain knows he is loved and cared for, and the Special Moms and other children make him a very happy boy who constantly laughs.

Janet, the Special Mother who takes care of him, says, “The movement in his legs and arms has improved. The therapy he is receiving has helped him a lot. He looks happier, and he can reach his foot and hold it with his hands. It’s so exciting to see how flexible he is now.”

His favorite meal is the sweet porridge, and he loves to drink milk — lemonade too.

Dr. Castro says that Efrain is a boy who is kind, patient, and content. In addition to his developmental delays, he has a genetic defect, which is only present in some of his cells. Otherwise he would not have survived until now. It does cause him to be small in growth, blind with cerebral Efrain is a boy with a big heart, a patient nature, and a gentle spirit.palsy (muscle-joints spasticity), and have seizures. As part of the syndrome, he has a cataract in one eye and a coloboma (a sort of hole in the eye) in another. One eye cataract has been operated on; hopefully he is beginning to distinguish some shadows. Due to all these problems, Efrain is confined to a wheelchair.

Our nurse, Mirna Yuman, has recently taken a physiotherapy course with the intention to provide better care for Efrain. The outcome has been astonishingly positive; in just one month of this extra personalized therapy Efrain is able to keep he own head up better and is stronger, while his limbs and back are more flexible. He has received from our Lord a special gift, what Doc Castro calls “the gene of happiness.”

Efrain behaves as if he is conscious of the good care he receives, and we believe that he knows how much he is loved. He needs your love too. Efrain is only 40% sponsored. Sponsorship helps pay for the extra medical care and personalized attention that is required to give him the best care. Sponsor Efrain today and become a part of the family that cares for this special child!

Poverty in Guatemala

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

A boy wandering in the trash at the Guatamal City dump.

By MJ Zelaya-

As the trucks come into the dump working rush to sort through the rubble.Not only does Africa contain some of the poorest countries in the world, but there is also one country in the Americas, a very small country called Guatemala, where people exist and live in inhumane conditions.

And it’s hard to say this when you are talking about the country where you were born.

Poverty can be defined generally as a situation in which households or individuals do not have sufficient resources or skills to meet the needs of those individuals. In the national survey of living conditions in 2011, more than 13 million inhabitants, above 50% of the population in Guatemala live below the poverty line— with more than seven million people living in extreme poverty.

And it’s why thousands of Guatemalans decide to emigrate to other countries, risking their lives simply to seek better opportunities. Poverty in Guatemala is cataloged in two ways, from “poor” to “extreme poverty.” People living in extreme poverty live on $1 a day. That dollar is supposed to cover their basic needs, and in reality they have only one: eat to survive.

A vicious circle is created over generations that is hard to escape because you have such limited options: without education the new generation follows the same pattern… work hard to get the minimum to eat and survive, or die.

Children, like this girl are the most vunerable to poverty's effects.It’s a daunting but very real scenario. Just walk around the cities of Guatemala — you can see people in need in the streets, poor people trying to get by with God’s help, needing Him to be true to what it says in Scripture: give us today our daily bread (Mathew 6:11).

A lot of those who are better off try to indulge being islands, keeping to themselves — no matter what is happening around them, they are only satisfying their OWN needs and forgetting God’s heart — to help the poor.

And that’s why Forever Changed International supports those in need, working to meet the many needs Guatemalans suffer. 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. Apply for a trip today!

Coming to Guatemala is a real eye-opener. The suffering will change your mind and your point of view. It will show you how many are truly hungry, and that you have been privileged to be born and raised in a country with a multitude of opportunities —a very different life to live. Even more so it will help you gain a kingdom perspective. One mission tripper put it this way, “Seeing their hearts for the Lord displayed with Dorie’s Promise children, the communities we visited and with our team was very impacting on us. Every person on our team has expressed the positive life experience our time at Dorie’s Promise has produced.”

A home in the ghettoBut poverty is affecting many things in our country: starving children are being exploited physically, emotionally, and sexually — a reason why Dorie’s Promise, our orphan home in Guatemala, is so important.

Dorie’s Promise Guatemala changes the lives of those most vulnerable to poverty’s effects – children. They come to us lacking the emotional, physical, mental, and, most important of all, spiritual fundamentals they need to break free from the cycle of poverty. You have the opportunity to lift a child out of poverty and into a loving home by becoming a sponsor! Sponsorship does more than just provide them with the basics of life – food and shelter.  Your sponsorship fills their life with love, hope, education, and care.

Meet Miguel Age 6

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Miguel at Dorie's Promise with his Special Mother

By Arwen McGilvra –

Miguel (2)When Miguel was born, it was obvious that he was different. He had a large bulge between his forehead and nose — an abnormality called encephalocele. His parents abandoned him at the hospital and the doctors wrote him off, saying he had little chance to live because of the defect.

Encephalocele, a type of neural tube defect (NTD), is characterized by sac-like protrusions of the brain and the membranes that cover it through openings in the skull.* This happens during fetal development when the neural tube fails to close completely. It is a rare defect only occurring in about one in 5,000 births. While the exact cause is not known, lack of pre-natal care is a factor. Taking folic acid and avoiding alcohol and smoking are important in preventing NTDs. Here in the States, pre-natal screening may be able to detect NTDs before birth, and doctors can be prepared to both safely deliver the baby and have surgeons ready for the necessary operations. Sadly, this option is not available to many women in Guatemala.

The minor’s court sent Miguel to Dorie’s Promise in 2007 when he was just four months old. Doctors told us that because of his encephalocele, along with a deformation of the brain, he would likely be incapable of a full life. But Miguel is living proof that with God nothing is impossible!

Dr. Castro with Miguel - Dorie's Promise GuatemalaThe circumstances don’t slow God down, and they haven’t slowed Miguel down either (who will turn 7 in July.)

Thanks to the care he’s received from Dr. Castro and the Special Mothers, Miguel is a very intelligent, healthy, happy boy. He enjoys exploring nature — he loves to go for walks and collect tree branches. When visitors enter the home, the first thing he does is clap and laugh. He gets excited when new people come to see us.

“He is so cute!” says MJ Zelya, one of our staff members.

Special Mother Marleny says, “Miguel is a boy with many special qualities. He enjoys listening to music, and that usually puts him in a good mood. He likes affection and responds with hugs and kisses.”

Miguel at Dorie's Promise Guatemala“He has a strong character,” she continues. “He can demand attention and will scream to get what he wants from the Special Mother in charge of his care.” Yet it’s this strong will that has carried Miguel through the difficulties he’s faced with his health. He still suffers from seizures and delayed growth. He has a caregiver trained to attend to his special needs.

Dr. Castro has monitored his growth closely: “Sometimes visitors ask me if his facial deformity could be operated on, and after several specialist consultations, not a single medical opinion has concluded that such esthetic operation is advisable, due to its complexity and the danger of such an operation.”

Miguel was declared adoptable in 2010 and he is still waiting to be adopted by a Guatemalan family. Meanwhile, we would like to invite you to take the opportunity to get to know him and see if God is leading you to become a sponsor. We think you’ll be blessed by the experience. Knowing Miguel you learn how joyful and full life can be despite your health or circumstances.

 

 

* Source NINDS Encephaloceles Information Page and March of Dimes Neural Tube Defects

New Gift Registry Up and Running

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Children playing with toys at Dorie's Promise - An orphanage in Guatemala City

By Heather Radu –

So many mission teams ask what they can bring to Guatemala that it inspired us to create a gift registry to streamline the giving process. It will enable volunteers and supporters to stay abreast of current needs while simplifying our record-keeping.

Missions Coordinator Naomi Beazley and I came up with the idea last year while helping teams arrange trips. Numerous people asked, “What are some needs at Dorie’s Promise?”

Education Bundle - Elementary $75.00

Education Bundle – Elementary $75.00

Since the situation changes regularly, we often needed to check with Director Alejandra Diaz before calling people back, sometimes on the verge of their trip. We decided that by posting a list on our website, teams could have the latest information at their fingertips.

After a recent “soft” launch, we are informing our network of supporters about this option. Our current list includes seven priorities — totaling nearly $47,000. The most expensive is a Toyota microbus (for $36,000), while the lowest-priced item is a supply of size 2 diapers (for $246).

We are thrilled to announce we have received our first donation of $460 toward a computer lab, which will cost a total of $3,340. A team from Northwest Community Church in Mundelein, Illinois, that visited March 15-22, included the money in a generous gift. It will also buy our children shoes and Christmas presents and three coffeemakers for our staff.

Naturally, we don’t expect someone to provide all the funds for a particular item. We will combine any size donation with others designated for that purpose. If additional gifts are received after we have raised the money for a specific item, we will contact those donors to ask where they prefer we use it.

We are also working on a group registry to facilitate mission projects in the community. The logistics aren’t yet complete, but by early summer we hope to post a listing of needs in Guatemala City.

Girl Bundle - (0-3 months) $50.00

Girl Bundle – (0-3 months) $50.00

This idea stems from similar inquiries from volunteers who wanted to know what kind of help they can offer to Guatemala City residents during their stay.

Through the group registry, they will be able to plan that work in advance. It can be tasks such as putting in bunk beds, pouring a cement floor in someone’s home, or installing a pila (a watering station used to wash clothes and dishes).

On the registry website, you can find lists of other needs at the orphanage — things like appliances, children’s toys, clothing, shoes, health and hygiene items, and educational resources.

This registry will save teams time and the logistical problems of transporting donations, since online gifts will enable our staff to purchase items locally. We hope friends like you are as excited about this new system as we are … to see our gift registry, click here!