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Posts Tagged ‘Dorie’s Promise’

A Passion for Orphans

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

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

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

By Dr. Cari Burck –

Working on the orphan train for the Artisans Express

Working on a project to raise public awareness of orphans in my hometown of Huntington, WV.

Most people don’t know it, but there is an orphan crisis in the world today. Depending on whose statistics you read, there are as many as eighteen million children in the world who have lost both their parents and are growing up in orphanages.

International adoptions were a huge thing for the last twenty-five years. The problem is that most countries have been shutting down international adoptions because of the criminal elements that worked their way into the process. So, countries like Romania, Bulgaria, and Guatemala (all which continue to have orphan issues) no longer allow Americans to adopt their orphaned children. Those children go into poorly-run and scarcely funded orphanages. Most of which, if you could see them, would make you turn your head in disgust.

We are not immune to the orphan challenge in the United States, where more than 397,000 children do not have permanent families and grow up in the foster care system. Sometimes that’s a wonderful experience for children. Sometimes it isn’t. About 25 percent of these children are eligible for adoption.

How we got involved with orphans is all a blur to me now. However, one of my husband’s clients was involved in international adoptions in Guatemala. When the Guatemalan government shut that process down, most adoption agencies just left. One of his clients decided to take over an orphanage there and run it. The home had forty children who would have been shipped out to the kinds of dreary institutions you see on television, where there is one caretaker for fifty children. She called us and said, “I need you to do this with me.” We agreed.

Lester's first smile.

Lester’s first smile.

I remember my first trip down to Guatemala. Although I went to take pictures for the new website we built, I spent most of my time getting up close to little ones, looking in their eyes, and smiling. There was a little guy about eight months old named Lester. Lester didn’t smile. The Special Mothers (that’s what we call our care takers) told me that he never smiled, no matter what. So I made it my mission to get Lester to smile. I just loved on him, gave him attention, and acted silly. I remember the Special Mothers watching me. I know they thought I was a little crazy. Little by little Lester began to crack. Before I left, I snapped the first picture of him smiling.

Today I’m on the board of directors of the organization we helped start. It is called Forever Changed International.

Our goal for our children is to always have one Special Mother for four children. We want our children always surrounded by love, to know they are loved, and to know that God loves them. That’s starting to pay off too. Our children in Guatemala are growing up and thriving. They have self-esteem and confidence like you wouldn’t imagine. I see the smiling pictures every month of Lester at school and playing with the other children. His Special Mom tells me that he has come so far since he was a little guy.

Coming in the next blog the Artisans Express public art project in Huntington, WV and the message I created to raise awareness of orphans. Meanwhile you can read more about the Artisans Express project here- Public Art Inspires.

Meet Dulce: A Living Miracle

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Dulce is a Living Miracle!

By MJ Zelya –

Dulce as a baby.

Dulce as a baby.

Dulce (Age 3) is a very special girl with special needs, I call her a Living Miracle. She found in our ministry the care and love she needs in order to have good health and proper development.

She was found on the floor of a bar, rescued by people that found a small baby alone and crying. When she was taken to the hospital, doctors said she was born premature and in her condition she had little possibility of living. Her life certainly began with struggle. Twenty days after Dulce arrival at Dorie’s Promise, she developed viral pneumonia, then a week later began having seizures. Yet today it’s amazing to see her active – walking around, climbing wherever she can, crawling, and sometimes fighting with the other children like a normal kid does.

Doctor Castro gives us this report about her health:

Dulce at age 3 is behind in her development, but with love and care she is improving.

Dulce now, age 3.

Dulce special health needs include a developmental delay, growth retardation, seizures, congenital heart disease (variety or TAPVC) without heart failure, chronic bronchitis, gastro-esophageal reflux, and she is prone to respiratory and lung infections.

“After further investigation (brain CT scans, chromosomal studies) follow up and some consultations with a neurologist, and a geneticist friend of mine, we were unable to find a specific syndrome to explain her physical features, growth deficit and developmental delay. I concluded that she needed a developmental stimulation plan and close pediatric follow up,” says Dr. Castro.

At 8 months of age, Dr. Castro discovered that she also had a heart murmur that seemed abnormal. He asked a pediatric cardiologist to check her and after clinical and ultrasound studies, a new abnormality was found; Dulce was suffering from a congenital heart disease, Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venus Connection (TAPVC) – three out of the four pulmonary veins were connected to the right atrium instead to the left one. Also called inter auricular communication.)

In TAPVC, the blood does not take the normal route from the lungs to the heart and out to the body, instead, the veins from the lungs attach to the heart in abnormal positions and this means that oxygenated blood enters or leaks into the wrong chamber. Dr. Castro continues to watch her health and growth progress closely, and she sees specialists as needed.

Dulce going for a walk with the help of her special mother.

Walking with help from her Special Mother.

Her Special Mother Ismelda says, “Dulce has been progressing. She can stand by herself and take a few steps with help. She is starting to eat solid food, and loves it. She expresses what she needs, mimics others and claps.”

Dulce is a loving little girl,” says Gabby , our children development coordinator. “She loves to hold my hand and kiss it.”

With the extra medical care Dulce needs, sponsors are very important to meeting all of her needs. Sponsoring a child like Dulce, at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala is different than sponsoring a child at most other organizations.  Why?  Because we own our home.  The children live there 24 hours a day – 7 days a week in a a safe, nurturing environment, with healthy, well-balanced, delicious meals, as well as safe and well-maintained facilities, on-site health care and education. When you sponsor a child at Dorie’s Promise, you are giving life and investing in the future of a child.

Sponsor Dulce Now

Update on Siblings Ana Lucia & Fabiola

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Sisters Lucia and Fabiola, back in December. They've come a long way since then.

By MJ Zelya –

Time is going so fast, and it’s amazing to see our kids growing and developing well at school and in the home. Ana Lucia and Fabiola came eight months ago (read Changing Lives Every Day!) and since then have had many positive changes both physically and emotionally.

Their nutrition is better, they are more confident in expressing their feelings, and their self-esteem has improved a lot. They have also learned to value things in life. They have expressed that they do not want to leave Dorie’s Promise because they have all they need here … a stark contrast to the conditions they lived in after their mother passed away. They did not have any family to support them, so a neighbor took them in for a while, but was not able to provide for the girls.

Lucia studying at Dorie's Promise.The most important thing is that they feel happy and safe here. They have found a family that loves them and wants the best for them, setting them up for success in the future. We also want them to know they need to chase after their hopes and dreams, no matter the obstacles, because the extraordinarily is possible through faith.

We wanted to share with you how are they doing these last months:

LUCIA

Ana Lucía is always willing to try new things. She loves to participate in activities at the home, and always tries her best. She gets involved in the house chores voluntarily and helps the Special Mothers take care of the younger kids.

At school, she has a small group of friends. Her teachers say she listens and follows instructions. She knows that she has to pay attention in order to grasp and learn the concepts. Her favorite subject is Art.

Special Mother Lorena says: “Ana Lucía is an intelligent, cooperative, kind, loving, honest teenager. She can easily relate to people. She likes to eat pizza and chicken.

“She has the ability to draw and paint. She also likes to play soccer.”

Fabiola getting ready for school at Dorie's Promise.FABIOLA

Fabiola is full of energy! She loves the activities involving movement. She is now very excited about her ballet lessons and dreams about training in gymnastics.

Sometimes she has a hard time listening at school, because of all her energy; but she loves to do her homework and to participate in class. She is starting to learn to read and write.

Special Mother Candida says:

“She has shown that she is smart, loving, and cooperative. She is the leader in group activities and likes to participate in them. She enjoys going on outings.”

Both girls are part of our sponsorship program, and you can help them by becoming a monthly sponsor for $35/month. As a sponsor you’ll have access to quarterly updates that includes photos, video and artwork from the children. Not only is it a great way to show you care, but it’s a great way to watch the children grow. Sponsor Lucia or Fabiola today!

2nd Quarter Sponsorship Updates Are Ready!

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Sponsors: your 2nd quarter updates are waiting for you.

Sponsors: your 2nd quarter updates are waiting for you. You can log in and see the new video, pictures, art, and written updates. 

Sponsor MarioThank you for your support of the children at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala! Your sponsorship helps us provide more than room and board for these orphans- it’s education, extracurricular activities, specialized medical and psychological care, and a loving home where they can feel safe and belong.  The total cost of supporting a child at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala is around $1000 per child per month. It takes a team to make that happen. Sponsors are an integral part of that team. THANK YOU!

If you aren’t sponsoring yet… can you pray about sponsoring one of our children?

Mario (age 3) is one of our children who could really use your support. He is currently only 39% sponsored! Many mission-trippers fall in love with Mario because he is very snuggly and welcomes affection. He was born premature and was abandoned by his mother at the hospital. He’s had some struggles in his life and is making progress despite a growth delay.  Right now he thinks it’s fun to close and open doors. Mario is a loving and determined boy. Will you consider becoming his sponsor?

Meet Gabby – Our Child Development Coordinator

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Gabby with Maria Jose and Nayeli Soto.

By MJ Zelya –

Gabby with Fabiola at Dorie's Promise.I have always thought that children are the future of our planet. To make a positive change in them, and in our world, they must have the right balance of spiritual, psycho-social, educational, emotional, and moral training. The goal being to raise them to be responsible adults.

When children come to us, we work hard to make sure they have what they need, no matter how much time they stay at Dorie’s Promise. We need to satisfy every part of a child’s life.

Education and proper development are an essential part to their future, which is why Dorie’s Promise is always looking for team members who can contribute to improving the children’s skills. Last December we hired a Child Development Coordinator named Gabriela Calderon, or “Gabby.” Gabby has created a series of programs and resources for the development of our children according to their age, as well as their physical and mental needs.

Alejandra, our Director, says, “One thing that I enjoy a lot at Dorie’s is that we are always looking for more! We want to give not only a basic education to our children, we want to give them the best; we want to make sure they not only receive good care, we want the best care for them; we want to make sure that each one of them gets the opportunity to develop all their God-given capabilities — and that is the reason why Gabby joined our team.”

Gabby is in charge of the daily routines for the children in the home. She also keeps up close communication with the schools and teachers following the progress of each child. She has even found some opportunities for extracurricular activities for some children — ballet, Our ne child development director Gabby, with children at our home.karate, and tennis classes, and hopefully soon we will also have dance classes for the older girls.

Gabby worked for Dorie’s Promise several years ago as the House Director. “I’ve always had good memories of my time working here,” she says. “Last year, the Lord gave me the opportunity to come back to Dorie’s Promise. I was really excited and eager to help our children.”

As soon as she arrived, Gabby started developing new schedules and activities for the kids to take advantage of every minute they have. “My intention is to facilitate opportunities for these kids to be the best they can be in every area of their lives — and for them to realize that, if they work hard, they can get out of their unprivileged situation and become successful people.“

Every day is a new challenge, as new needs arise that have to be tackled. “I ask the Lord to give me the wisdom to know what’s best for them. It doesn’t matter if the children stay with us for one month, or the rest of their lives; I am going to work, with the help of our donors and devoted staff, for them to experience what it is to have a good life…the life that they deserve.”

It has been a blessing to have Gabby on our team, to share the vision of Forever Changed in the lives of our children and with all of us at Dorie’s Promise.

Families Are Welcome: Come See For Yourself

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Come Spend Spring Break in GuatemalaBy Charity Danielson-

The video below was prepared by two families who visited Dorie’s Promise last year.   The insights and reflections they share about their time in Guatemala will touch your heart. Perhaps you will also be inspired to come for a visit yourself.

As this video shows, there is something for everyone in our missions program– something each age group can give.

A trip with Forever Changed International allows you to minister in a multitude of ways. The children at Dorie’s Promise are eager for play, for affection, for your time together. In addition, you’ll spend time at the state orphanage and it will be obvious to you why we exist– to provide opportunity for these little ones who are so desperate for attention and affection. Our outreach to the inner city makes way for connection with children living in the ghetto – whose parent work from sunrise to sunset scavenging about in the city dump searching for bits of glass and metal to sell on the streets so they can care for their family. During your trip you will meet the pastor who runs a feeding program near the dump. By faith, they feed these children a mid-day meal each day.

Your family will be able to reach out to impoverished children and families, providing necessities; water filters, clothing, toiletries along with prayer and love. Your kids will remember it forever. You will too! Time with our missions staff in Guatemala will result in growth, and spiritual refreshment as it is an opportunity to completely focus on the love of Christ and what it means to serve. I hope you enjoy the video and prayerfully consider if the Lord is calling you to join us soon.

An amazing adventure and life changing experience awaits you.

The New Vehicles Are Great Blessings!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Thank YOu donors for helping us buy new vehicles!

Ingrid, Silvia and Brayan check out the new van.For us at Dorie’s Promise, the safety of our children, along with their happiness and health, is one of the most important needs we meet. Every day we need to transport them to the school, appointments, or different outings, and it feels really good to know that the vehicles in which they are transported are nice, safe, and comfortable.

When we first talked with Heather about the need to upgrade the vehicles to carry our children and to transport the mission teams, we thought it was going to be a long-term goal. It was truly a surprise and a blessing to see how many people wanted to donate and help us reach that goal — in just a few months, we had enough funds to start looking for the best options.

“Buying new cars for Dorie’s Promise was seen as a challenge, but we trusted in God to make it happen,” says Alej, the director of Dorie’s Promise Guatemala.

When we knew the fundraising was complete, the first thing that came to mind was, “This is a miracle, a gift from God, a dream come true!” God provided for us! What a lesson for all of us working for Forever Changed International and for the children at our home.

The process was exciting: we got quotes in several places, thanks to the Internet, to find the best price, while comparing the options for quality, safety, and security — all very important factors when you decide to purchase a vehicle.

The new van is already hard at work transporting our children.Seeing the happiness in the children’s faces when they got into the new vehicles the first time is beyond comparison. They were really excited — everybody wanted to get in at the same time. They are pleased that they won’t be riding in the old cars to school and on outings. The new vehicles feel so comfortable — and they have air-conditioning!

One of the children, Jennifer, told us, “I am happy with the new cars; we will no longer feel hot because it is air-conditioned, and we are very comfortable without it being such a tight fit for us all.”

We can now feel proud to give our children and visiting missionaries good, safe transportation in a comfortable ride.

We are so blessed to know that many people believe in what we do every day at Dorie’s Promise — even being so far away, they take care of our children by helping us give them the best!

Giving Children Opportunities to Play, Learn and Dance!

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Nailey Soto in her dance costume

Even the older girls got into the dance spirit.We were recently contacted by a non-profit organization called Traveling Tutus.  They donate gently used ballet costumes, tap shoes and ballet shoes to underprivileged children.  We gave them sizes and favorite colors for the girls at Dorie’s Promise. They sent us back dance costumes and shoes for every girl at our home. Shortly after we sent Traveling Tutus our information we also received some donations for dance classes for the girls. One of the donors told us she was “so excited for the children to have this activity.”

Another donor sent us this note: “I know the little girls will be so thrilled with the costumes and shoes. We are blessed to be a part of this work at Dories.”

Childhood is a stage when we create in our minds fantasies and ideals, of what we would like to do and be, most children develop their talents according to their abilities and interests. It is a time for exploration and wonder.

However, most of the children who come to our home come from a hostile environment where parents spend all of their time and energy just trying to put food on the table. For many families in Guatemala, the first and the only interest of parents is to bring food home, there is no time for the children to play, or go to school. It’s a hard lifestyle where children mature faster and childhood barely exists.

Ana showing off her dance costume.Life at Dorie’s Promise is so much different. Besides the opportunities to play and receive an education we want to help our children to discover what they like to do, experimenting in different areas where they can develop their skills.

The Dorie’s Promise education program, in addition to facilitating schooling and offering homework tutoring, includes also offers the children different activities such as: tennis, ballet and karate lessons. This has been achieved due the support of many different people, like those who donated for the dance classes. The added donations from Traveling Tutus, the girls are even more excited to explore the opportunities to learn to dance.

We are delighted to see them happy, pursuing their dreams, and overcoming personal challenges and their own limitations. Each one of our children was created for a purpose. God gave us the gift of life and He sent his son, Jesus, that we all could have life and have it to the full (John 10:10.)

We have witnessed the changes in each child’s life. The work that Forever Changed is doing through all children lives has a meaning. Everyone participating in that work from our directors, staff, special mothers, drivers, mission trippers, sponsors and donors – each one has contributed to lives changed!

Visit our Facebook page to see more pictures.

Missions With A Purpose

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Come visit Dorie's Promise Guatemala and share the love of God.

By Pablo Villagran –

I want to encourage you today to come on a mission trip...I get the idea that sometimes people think mission trips are designed for particular people who have everything together and live a life morally correct and, as a result, like to help others.

I think missions at Forever Changed International is for anybody who is willing to humble themselves and let God work. There isn’t any specific skill or ability you need in order to come. It is all about loving our kids, the people of Guatemala, and God. But there is a first step we all have to take. You have to begin with the decision to COME.

I think one of my favorite writers explains it very well:

Charity means “love, in the Christian sense.” But love, in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion. It is a state not of the feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we have naturally about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people.

—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

So it’s more will than feeling. Sometimes we don’t get to “feeling” right away, but it’s also part of the will to make the decision of loving others.

Through working in the communities around our home you will meet some of the most impoverished people on this planet.The Bible says that Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

So the love we have for others comes from our main love. The love of God.

I want to encourage you today to come on a mission trip. If you have been receiving a lot of seed (Word of God), this is a good time to put your faith in action and plant some of it. As Scripture says, be doers of the word, not just good listeners (James 1:22). God has called everybody to care for the poor, the orphans, and the widows.

God did not call perfect people to fulfill His Word. We can see many examples of people who didn’t have everything together, but rather did it because of the great love they receive from God.

A Dorie’s Top 10 List

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

"We were blessed through our trip to Dorie's Promise."

I would like to mention some of the specific ways we were blessed through our trip to Dorie’s Promise.

The children showing affection.1. The humble, Christ-like hearts of Pablo, Abel, and Jessica. They were so gracious, helpful, and caring. We especially liked the morning devotions and evening debrief times.

2. The access to our own kitchen stocked with some of our favorite foods when we arrived. Granola bars, peanut butter, coffee, fruit, ramen noodles, mac and cheese.

3. The way the special mom’s welcomed us into their lives and routines.

4. The church service.

5.  The humble and thorough maintenance staff who even folded our laundry for us once!

6. The ability to visit and play with the children during different parts of the day.

7. All of the amazing outings we took – State Orphanage, Paradise, Galilee, the Dump, Antigua…..

8. Safe and comfortable accommodations. I couldn’t believe I had the privilege of going on daily walks without safety concerns.

9. Tasty meals.

10. Just the right balance of service time and free time.

Thanks so much for all you do.

Rachel Clyne