• GO HOME

    image001
  • Great Missions Trips for the Familiy

  • Partners of Hope

  • Other FCI Blogs

  • Archive of Posts

Posts Tagged ‘Dorie’s Promise Guatemala’

2018: Our Year to Refocus Missions

Monday, February 19th, 2018

2018 is the year we refocus on the reason we first started hosting teams.

By Kelly Shank –

Mixing the daily needs of 40 children with 300 visitors can be overwhelming to both our staff and kids. The 2018 mission trip season is quickly approaching at Dorie’s Promise and we’re readying our home for more than 300 visitors. Recently, our staff met to discuss our home, our children, and what we want 2018 to look like at Dorie’s Promise.

Mixing the daily needs of 40 children with 300 visitors can be overwhelming to both our staff and kids. Some may wonder why we welcome visitors at all. There is no better way for people to understand the needs in Guatemala than through experience. Plus, we know the people who come to Dorie’s Promise want to serve our children and communities. Our job is to create a program that is healthy for our children, manageable for our staff, and meaningful to those we serve.

As a staff, we asked hard questions and consulted professionals who know our children.

What are the benefits of allowing so many people into our home? How many people should we allow into our home? What changes can create healthy boundaries for our children? What should we really expect from our staff? What kind of projects are we good at?

Over the course of 3 days, we realized just how far we’ve strayed from our original mission.

God has called us to passionately serve the

world’s forgotten children through life-changing ministries.

2018 is the year we refocus on the reason we first started hosting teams. We know when people meet our children and see the need in Guatemala, they join with us to serve the families and children of Guatemala.

By identifying our priorities and gifts, our focus again became clear—the children in our home. They are our greatest priority at all times. Our gifts can also help families throughout the country. We believe in families and are committed to preserving families who may be on the verge of crisis. For those children whose families have experienced crisis and find themselves in a government orphanage, we intend to partner with organizations to care for them until they too can be united with a family.

2018 is our year to refocus missions at Dorie’s Promise. Our calling is clear.

New York Yankee's pitcher Ben Heller at Dorie's Promise.Preserving Families. Caring for Orphans. Transforming Lives.

This is how we fit into the Guatemala missions community. We are both relieved and excited as we prepare for the 2018 trip season at Dorie’s Promise. As a staff, we are united in our vision for the future. We understand how we are called to serve the families and children of Guatemala. We are already identifying families, community partners, and other facilities who share our vision and have needs we can meet this year.

We will serve everyone with dignity and humility, providing solutions and opportunities that promote independence instead of dependency. We will listen well and only offer solutions that are needed, even if it means we change the way we operate.

This is the year we remember why we started.

Will you help us preserve, care, and transform in 2018? We still have openings for both teams and individuals in 2018. Join us as we serve the children and families of Guatemala.

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!

Behind the Scenes: Meet our Board of Directors

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

The FCI Board of Directors on a tour of a Mission project in Guatemala.

By Kelly Shank –

Forever Changed International owes a debt of gratitude to the four women who serve along with founder, Heather Radu, as our Board of Directors. These women help guide us, make tremendous contributions with their time and talents, and are our biggest supporters.

We would like to thank them for their commitment to our children and their support for our work in Guatemala.

Our Board of Directors:

Cari Burck:

Dr. Cari Burck (left) with Dorie Van Stone.

Dr. Cari Burck (left) with Dorie Van Stone.

Being able to spend time with Dorie Van Stone deeply influenced Cari. Dorie’s resiliency and God’s provision for Dorie during her childhood taught Cari how to love orphans. While playing with our children and taking pictures many years ago Cari captured 1 year-old Lester’s first smile. She was able to witness the moment he finally felt safe enough to express joy in his new home. That moment is one of her favorite memories. Serving Dorie’s Promise is family affair for Cari, her husband, and their two children. When not working as an Osteopathic Family Physician in West Virginia, Cari enjoys gardening, painting, and photography.

Barb Quinn:

During the 1990s Barb and her husband adopted three children with the help of Heather Radu. Experiencing Eastern European orphanages firsthand changed Barb and ignited a passion for helping orphans. Since the beginning Barb has been a supporter of FCI and she continues to help guide our work today as a board member. She wants people to know that Dorie’s Promise is different. “There is a sense when you walk into Dorie’s Promise that it is a home, full of love and hope.” Barb and her husband are happily retired and enjoy splitting their time between Washington and Hawaii.

Cinda Rachor:

Cinda with her daughter.

Cinda with her daughter.

Cinda’s connection to FCI began as she was desperately trying to find a loving home for her daughter during her adoption process. Fast forward more than a decade and she is still visiting FCI. Along with her husband and seven children, she now leads mission teams each year. “I work with FCI because I love the way they seek to honor God with every decision. I work with FCI because I believe in our staff.  I work with FCI because I adore the children that live there and believe they have been beautifully and wonderfully made.  I believe God created each child there to have a hope and a future and I love being able to support that purpose in any capacity that I can.” The Rachor family calls Michigan home.

Dorie Van Stone:

Dorie Van Stone is the namesake of our orphan care home. As a young girl, Dorie’s mother dropped her off at an orphanage because she no longer wanted her. Abused daily and rejected by a series of prospective adoptive parents, she became tough and angry. A series of encounters would give her hope and eventually change the course of her life. With her husband, Lloyd Van Stone, she served as a missionary to New Guinea. She chronicled her experiences in the book, Dorie, the Girl Nobody Loved. Dorie is now retired in North Carolina.

Exciting News for Pastora Mercedez

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Pastora Mercedez with her mother.

By Kelly Shank –

Casa de Pan feeding center.For the last four years, visiting teams at Dorie’s Promise have faithfully served the children at Casa de Pan feeding center outside the Guatemala City landfill. The weekly visits with Pastora Mercedez and her staff have been a staple of our community work.

Pastora Mercedez works with some of the poorest, most socially outcast residents of Guatemala City. The families she serves primarily work as “scavengers” in the landfill. Parents in these households spend their days scavenging for anything valuable or recyclable from the landfill while children are often left alone to care for themselves.

Although they earn an honest living, these families are among the lowest social classes within the city. They live in harsh conditions, surrounded by piles of recyclables, in homes built from scrap tin and wood, and are plagued by respiratory conditions from exposure to the landfill. Pastora Mercedez understands the difficulties these families, especially the children, face because she is the daughter of scavengers.

Every weekday 400 children come to one of Pastor Mercedez’s two feeding centers to receive a hot meal.

The Forever Changed International and Casa de Pan Partnership:

Team members from Dorie's Promise gave a medical clinic.Our relationship with Pastora Mercedez has evolved over the last four years. Originally, our teams visited once a week to serve lunch and bring food donations. As our connection deepened, so did our efforts to help strengthen this ministry.

Visiting teams have helped improve the facilities at the feeding center as well as providing financial support for the ministry. Two years ago a team built four classrooms in the church to expand tutoring opportunities for the community. Additionally, twice in recent years visiting teams provided medical clinics for neighborhood children who rarely have access to reliable health services.

Our Director, Alejandra, shares her reflections on our partnership with Pastora Mercedez.

“It has been a blessing to support this ministry during the last few years. Not only have we blessed the children who come to the feeding center every day but we have also seen the blessings in the mission participants’ lives.”

We are excited to announce a generous group of donors has committed to fully funding the monthly food expenses for Pastora Mercedez and Casa de Pan! Thanks to the commitment of our teams over the last four years, the future of Pastora Mercedez’s feeding centers are secure for the future.

Thank you to everyone who has served with us and donated towards Pastora Mercedez’s feeding centers to help her reach financial security.

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

Feliz Navidad from Dorie’s Promise

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Christmas 2017 at Dorie's Promise.

By Kelly Shank –

The littlest children were so excited to have a chance to see Santa in person.We hope your Christmas was filled with fun, family, and friends! With so kids in our home we can’t help but have fun during Christmas. From the littlest kids to the biggest, everyone has been excited to celebrate.

Every year we have special guests who visit our children at Christmas time, including special friends from America and Santa Claus himself. As you can imagine, taking all of our children to visit Santa would be a little difficult so instead Santa makes a special trip to Dorie’s Promise each year. The week before Christmas Santa came to visit during a special pizza party for our kids. He listened to their last minute gift requests and brought an early present for each child. The littlest children were so excited to have a chance to see Santa in person.

We hope that your holiday has been filled with all the people and moments most special in your life too. Maybe it’s a favorite holiday meal, a visit with family, or Christmas carols that bring the holiday spirit to your family. Each of us has special memories that help create the perfect holiday. It’s no different for our children and staff at Dorie’s Promise. There are very special holiday memories that we share in our home every year. This year was even more special because we were able to start creating special memories with several new children, including Myra who just celebrated her fifteenth birthday.

With a house full of kids, Christmas is a special occasion at Dorie’s Promise. We create a uniquely Guatemalan holiday celebration for our children, where they can participate in Guatemalan traditions, celebrate the birth of Jesus with our staff, and experience the love of family as we spend time together.

The children and staff enjoy special Guatemalan Christmas meal.In Guatemala we usher in Christmas Day with lots of celebrating on Christmas Eve, known as “Noche Buena.” On December 24th each of our kids received a new special outfit, got dressed up, and shared a traditional meal of tamales and ponche with the Special Mothers. This is one of their favorite meals of the year. Folded into a banana leaf, tamales are a mixture of corn, meat, and sauce while ponche is a special hot fruit punch that is made specifically for the holiday season. A combination of fruit, sugar, and cinnamon, each family has their own recipe of ponche, making it even more special. We want our children to celebrate their Guatemalan traditions so they can pass them on to their children in the future.

After supper the families of our staff come to spend time with our kids and play. We forget all about bedtimes on Christmas Eve and everyone counts down until midnight when our real Christmas celebration begins. Once it’s officially Christmas our whole neighborhood begins lighting fireworks and all of our kids open their gifts. In a home with so many children it’s special to watch them open gifts chosen for each individual. Our staff does a great job of making sure each child has something they will enjoy.

Thank you for helping us make Christmas special for our children.

From the children and staff at Dorie’s Promise, “Feliz Navidad y que Dios te bendiga.” (Merry Christmas and God bless you.)

New Schools in the New Year

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Abraham C. does school work. He is one of the children attending a private school in Guatemala.

By Kelly Shank –

Several of our children attend the private Colegio Shaddai school.Last week we shared about the fun activities our kids are enjoying during their school vacation. As they are honing their soccer skills and learning new songs on the keyboard, Cecilia and Alejandra have been busy preparing for the new school year. In January, 36 of our children will be attending school.

Spread between five separate schools we will have children in grades ranging from Pre-K through high school.

Enrolling children in five different schools might seem like unnecessarily making life harder but offering individualized education is one of our core beliefs. The majority of our children will attend one of four private schools in Guatemala City: Colegio Hossana, Colegio Shaddai, Centro Educativo Verapaz, or Coeli. A few children, mainly those who are foster care placements and those who are newer or behind in their schooling, will attend our local public school. Once they are caught up academically and placed with us permanently we will determine if a different school best meets their needs.

These schools each offer a very unique opportunity for children. Centro Educativo Verapaz and Coeli offer specialized learning environments for our children who struggle with delays, need some extra help, or work best in a different type of classroom. Coeli is especially helpful to prepare older children because they offer classes that prepare kids for their future careers like culinary arts.

Coeli is especially helpful to prepare older children because they offer classes that prepare kids for their future careers like culinary arts.Colegio Hossana and Colegio Shaddai are amazing private schools where our children have flourished for years. Although they are academically challenging, our children are excelling in their programs. One of the biggest benefits is that our children are able to learn English which gives them a valuable skill for their future. We are lucky to have found schools who value each of our kids and partner with us to help them excel.

It’s been amazing over the last several years to watch the changes within our house. We have transitioned from a house full of cribs to a house full of backpacks. Five more of our children will be attending school for the very first time with us this year. Carlitos, Lucero, Carlos Emmanuel, Marco Antonio, and Marvin Omar are all very excited for the adventure of going to school. Alejandra says they are really excited to make new friends and learn new things like the older kids.

For some of our children, January will mean attending a new school. Four of our children will be attending Centro Educativo Verapaz this year because we believe it offers the best learning environment for each of them. Additionally, three of our children are transferring to Colegio Shaddai as well. For these children the transition may mean that school is a little bit more difficult than before. We like our children to be challenged in school so they can also celebrate the joy of achieving their goals. Each year we are amazed by the growth we see in our children’s education.

A teacher from Colegio ShaddaiThanks to the efforts of Lucky, our teacher, the children are well-prepared for the new school year. Even though our kids were enjoying the break from school, Lucky made sure they were still practicing their math, reading, writing, and English. They are ready to share everything they’ve learned and done over their break with their teachers and friends, including their new soccer moves and piano skills.

Providing the best possible educational experience for each of our children is a high priority for us. We truly believe that by investing in their education we are giving them the opportunity to become successful adults.

If you would like to invest in our children’s future by helping them receive a quality education, please consider becoming a monthly sponsor today or giving a one-time educational donation. Thank you for investing in our kids.

Trading Backpacks for Vacation Fun

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Trading Backpacks for Vacation Fun

By Kelly Shank –

School is out in Guatemala until January.While children in America are counting down the days till their winter break our kids are savoring their vacation from school. Most of our schools ended by the middle of October and won’t start again until the middle of January. Our home is full of excitement with all of our children out of school.

We’re all enjoying days that start a little later, special activities, and a break from homework. With everyone home, the Special Mothers have extra hands to help out during the day too.

This past school year was tough for some of our kids but we are so proud of how well they finished. (For a few of our children this was their first year in school so they are enjoying a well-deserved break after their hard work.)

Everyone at our home was ready for a little break at the end of the school year. We traded in lunchboxes and backpacks for later mornings and camp. With so many kids in our house over break we want to balance letting them have free time with making sure they have opportunities for fun activities too. We like to try out new activities during the summer before committing to lessons or teams during the school year.

Nayeli Soto is one of the children from Dorie's Promise who is in soccer camp during the school break.Lately our home has been filled with the sound of piano music. One of our mission teams this past summer generously donated an electric keyboard for our children and now 7 of our girls are learning to play the piano with the help of a local musician who visits our home. Music is helping these girls learn a new skill, have fun, and gain a new level of confidence in themselves. For some of our girls who struggled with school and other activities, playing the piano has been an activity where they finally felt successful. Alejandra has especially taken an interest in the piano and is learning quickly. Last summer the missions team played the piano and sang for our children. We’re hoping that our girls can play some songs and sing for the team when they return next summer.

While a few of the girls are discovering a new interest in the piano over break, all of the boys, along with Myra and Nallely Soto, are upping their soccer game by taking part in camp. Everyone who visits our home knows just how serious our children are about the game. If you’ve ever played soccer with them you also know that they don’t hold back either. Soccer is a big deal in Guatemala and it’s no different at Dorie’s Promise. Every summer we enroll our kids in soccer camp to help them improve their skills, have fun, and practice playing on a team. We especially love to watch the smaller boys learn new skills and show off when they get home. Visitors beware, they’re practicing hard to win the upcoming kids versus mission team soccer games.

With about one month left before school starts again we’re trying to have as much fun as possible with our children. Before we know it, we’ll be packing lunches and backpacks for another great school year. Until then, our home will be filled with piano music and soccer balls.

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:

Watching Brayan Grow into Adulthood

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Brayan is turning 18 in January.

By Kelly Shank –

Brayan when he first arrived at Dorie's Promise

Brayan in 2007.

When Brayan was barely 3 years old he toddled into our home for the first time. It’s hard to believe that in just 2 short months he’ll turn 18 years old!

For Heather, our founder, Brayan is like one of her own children. Having spent several years living in Guatemala with her family during the opening of Dorie’s Promise, Heather has known Brayan since he first entered our home and her family’s memories include him as a little boy playing with her children.

Recent visitors to our home will recognize Brayan as the fun-loving young man who towers over the other boys. He’s also the one you will definitely want on your soccer team because he’s really good. If you’ve spent any amount of time with Brayan you can’t help but smile when you think about him because he’s one of the happiest children in our home, always smiling and his laugh is contagious. Plus, he’s always ready to help anyone whether that’s during community projects with teams, the maintenance men around our house, the Special Mothers, or the other children. He’s a really good kid we all love.

In the last year we’ve started to make a transition in our home.

Where our home was once filled with cribs and babies, now it’s full of video games, makeup, tweens and teens. Almost half of our children are 10 years old or older and many of them will be with us until they reach adulthood. So, just like Nayeli last year and Brayan this year, we’re carefully trying to help prepare each of them for their future.

Brayan in 2017 at Dorie's Promise.

Brayan in 2017

We are about to begin what may be the hardest work we’ve ever done—helping each child become a successful, independent adult. We have many ways to make this happen and great opportunities available for our children but we truly want to make the absolute best choice for each individual by balancing their desires, their unique talents, their struggles, and the resources available.

Although he will turn 18 this January, Brayan will be staying at Dorie’s Promise. He has another year of school left in his vocational training before he graduates. Giving him the benefit of a full education is a priority for us. Brayan is working hard in school because he wants to get a good job. Thanks to his schooling, he will have experience and training that gives him an edge in the workforce. Plus, there are more things he wants to learn this year, like photography. Alejandra, our Director, is hoping to enroll Brayan in photography classes to help him improve his skills and explore his career possibilities with local professionals.

Both Heather and Alejandra are committed to doing the very best for each of our children. The children of Dorie’s Promise are their children too and like any good mother they want to give them the best opportunity for success. For Brayan, right now that means finishing his last year of high school and taking classes that will prepare him for his future career. He might be a chef or a photographer, time will tell. No matter what, we’re committed to launching him well into adulthood.