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Posts Tagged ‘Guatemala Orphans’

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!

Three Lives Dramatically Impacted By Medical Care At Dorie’s Promise.

Monday, April 24th, 2017

DOctor Castro is a beloved member of the team at Dorie's Promise

By Dr. Francisco Castro (Medical Director) –

Second of two parts

In my last blog, I talked about our success last year with the child care program at Dorie’s Promise. Today, I want to relate personal stories about three children whose lives have been impacted dramatically by Forever Changed International.

Doctor Castro checks on Josue

Doctor Castro checks on Josue after a surgery in 2015.

The first is Josue, who will celebrate his fifth birthday on July 3. His life started out with little promise after his mother abandoned him on the street just two days after his birth. A firefighter rescued him and took him to a hospital in Guatemala City.

Through a physical exam and imaging tests, a pediatrician discovered serious birth defects that required urgent surgery.

When Josue arrived at Dorie’s Promise, he still had a colostomy bag in place. We prescribed antibiotics, laxatives, special fluids and other measures, including reconstructive surgery, to correct his condition.

We later discovered that Josue suffered from urinary tract malformations, urinary infections, and kidney damage. After several operations, we discovered his bladder was not functioning. He needed another operation.

This brave, resilient—and loved—child will continue receiving antibiotics, urinary tests, and check-ups. Though he will need multidisciplinary medical interventions, thankfully Josue has the promise of a future.

Efrain is 13 years old and has been diagnosed with a condition associated with severe intellectual disabilities and physical abnormalities. Among them are blindness, small hands, and partial convulsions.

Other health problems he suffers from are chronic bronchitis, recurrent upper respiratory infections, and breathing difficulties. Efrain has received continuous pediatric care to address his needs since arriving at Dorie’s Promise in 2005.

This has included neurologists’ and geneticists’ assistance, physiotherapy, and pediatric surgeons’ interventions. He receives physiotherapy daily and a weekly visit from a specialized therapist.

This intervention delays, and improves, stiffness in Efrain’s joints and spine, and paralysis of his limbs. A cataract on his left eye was successfully removed in 2011; he now uses glasses.

Doctor Castro checks Lester.

Doctor Castro with Lester in 2010.

Last year Efrain underwent two successful operations by pediatric surgeons at Hospital Roosevelt in Guatemala. They corrected abdominal and adenoid problems, and removed his tonsils.

Nine-year-old Lester has been at Dorie’s Promise since before he turned two. He arrived chronically undernourished, which left him with short stature and a low IQ. He also suffered from chronic asthma, rhinitis, and middle ear infections.

Due to Lester’ s lack of progress in hearing and speech development, and upper respiratory infections, I decided to operate with a pediatric surgeon’s assistance, removing his tonsils and adenoids.

The operation last October was successful. Lester’s speech and respiratory problems (infections and allergies) are expected to improve gradually, enhancing his quality of life.

Stories like these demonstrate the value of your gifts to children at Dorie’s Promise. You are literally helping save their lives!

Personal and Medical Reflections

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Personal and Medical Reflections by Dr. Francisco Castro Medical Director

By Dr. Francisco Castro (Medical Director) –

First of two parts

Dorie's Promise Medical Director Dr CastroEvery year at Dorie’s Promise has been a special one, and this past year was no exception. During 2016, we provided shelter for dozens of kids, but much more than that as we met many other prerequisites for a happy life.

Our goal is to fulfill children’s needs in four basic areas: physical, safety, affection, and spiritual life. These are the most important needs to take care of as soon as an orphan arrives. Then, we seek to reinforce them in an individualized and continuous manner during their stay at the home.

Improved self-esteem and education are our other primary goals. Of course, we want to care for children’s mental and social aspects of health as well.

Most of the children remained at Dorie’s Promise throughout the year, although some returned to their immediate families or relatives. Only a few were adopted by Guatemalan families. Others came to us for the first time, from other homes or families, or from at-risk situations on the streets.

Many arrive in poor health, with most suffering from acute and chronic physical illnesses. Twenty percent of our child population come with special needs and permanent neurological damage.

In most, we found negative psychological and spiritual conditions because of abandonment, abuse and lack of love. Without exception, these kids are coming from backgrounds of poverty, which is the common denominator.

Dr Castro gives Silvia a check up at Dorie's PromiseThat doesn’t surprise me, since nearly 60 percent of Guatemala’s population lives in poverty and 43 percent of children under five are chronically undernourished.

Because of my experience and extensive reading, I have concluded that Guatemala needs more children’s homes providing the kind of care that Dorie’s Promise delivers. Foster care is still a weak, idealistic social program and adoptive families few in number.

Culturally and economically, adoption hasn’t been viable for many families or social programs. To recruit, maintain, follow up, and train families to do so means a huge financial commitment, or at least better organized, collaborative communities.

Our programs are not perfect. I am aware that there is a need to reinforce financially our health and psychological programs, as well as education, arts and sports. In addition to Special Mothers improving their love and care, we need the presence of more men to improve role examples and gender identity.

Yet, despite our imperfections I am pleased to say that—thanks to our friends in the U.S.  and Guatemala—Dorie’s Promise and FCI have successfully provided a good home to many children in need.

They have achieved happiness and have a much brighter future. They could have otherwise been lost to an unjust and dangerous environment. We appreciate your support.

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.

A Message From Dorie About The Fire At Virgen de Asuncion Orphanage

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Dear Friends,

I am horrified and heartbroken for all the orphaned children who lost their lives in the fire in Guatemala as well as the hundreds who were made homeless. I visited this orphanage years ago and I remember thinking it was much like the one I grew up and was abused in. The worst of the worst has happened to these precious children and they desperately need someone to care. Please help Forever Changed bring some of these little ones into Dorie’s Promise by offering your support so we can give them God’s promise of a loving home. A place of safety filled with a future and hope. I know how lost they must feel and how much they long for someone to reach out and lift them out of this nightmare. It was something I felt and longed for too. I invite you to pray with me as we ask the Lord together to restore and heal each precious life. We are all called and commanded “to look after the orphan in their distress” James 1:27. This is a distress of disastrous proportions. Please reach out to help rescue them with me.

For His Glory and in His name.
Dorie

Yes, I want to make a gift today to help the children who survived the fire at Virgen de Asuncion!

New Arrivals from Virgen de Asuncion

Monday, March 27th, 2017

The fire at Virgen de Asuncion happened just over two weeks ago. In addition to helping the leadership of that orphanage with supplies for the children still in their care, we also committed to the government to take some children at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala.

As of today four children from the State Orphanage arrived. Three more from other circumstances have also entered our home. The crisis at Virgen de Asuncion has created overcrowding at all the state’s facilities. Because of this overcrowding, the courts started to send children to private orphanages like ours because the state simply doesn’t have the capacity in their current facilities.

This has all happened very quickly. We want to take a moment to update you on all that has transpired at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala in the last few weeks.

As of this post, we now have seven new children in our care. That takes us up to 44 children living at Dorie’s Promise. We are now slightly over our preferred capacity of 40 children. That’s a big deal! Pray for us.

Our team in Guatemala is working their hearts out to make this happen. They value these children and want to make right the bad decisions their government made.

Cost

As you know from all the letters and emails we send, we have been making ends with 37 children in our care (just barely). Adding 7 more children to the mix changes our situation considerably. Many of you have stepped forward and made gifts to help. Thank you! The situation is that these 7 children are going to be with us until they are adults. That cost to us is close to $100,000 a year.

I think you will agree. We need to get Dorie’s Promise 100 percent sponsored as soon as possible. Help us spread the world!

Meet the New Children

Orphans from fire in GuatMyra is 14 years old. She is very friendly and has made herself at home at Dorie’s Promise. Myra’s mother died when she was younger. After being passed around to relatives, she ended up at the state orphanage. She lived there for 10 months before the fire destroyed the building.

When she came to Dorie’s Promise, she stayed in an isolation room for several days with one special mother. We do this with all new children who come to Dorie’s Promise until Doc Castro clears them. Myra told us she loved the isolation and having the attention of one person. After living at the state orphanage where the adult to child ratio was 20 to 1, she felt special having all the attention and care of one person.

Myra is a great girl. She loves to play basketball, bike, and do Zumba. One thing she wants to learn how to do is play the piano. Her favorite foods are pizza and pollo campero.

She will start at Hosanna School soon and will be enrolled in the 8th grade. She says that she would like to be a lawyer or designer when she grows up.

New at Dorie's PromiseManuel came to Dorie’s Promise on Monday, March 13th. He comes to us from the orphanage Virgen de Asuncion. The tragic fire there has changed his life (hopefully for the better)!

Manuel is 6. He has the biggest smile you have ever seen. Our staff keeps commenting on how infectious his smile is in our home.

As a baby Manuel was abandoned at the hospital because of some severe physical issues. Over the years, he has had a number of surgeries to allow him to function and get by in life. His medical issues have made it so most orphanages in the country don’t want him because they can’t care for him. Because we have Doc Castro on staff and have experience with children with special needs, we know how to care for him properly.

Manuel likes to play soccer. He enjoys coloring books and playing with cars. He is every bit a little boy!

His transition to Dorie’s Promise has been very good. Manuel started at Hosanna School in kindergarden this week. This is his first time in school. He says when he grows up he wants to be a police officer.

Guatemala's OrphansMaberly also came to us on March 13, 2017. Her psychologist called Dorie’s Promise and specially asked that she come and stay with us. How could we turn down a personal request from a doctor caring for children at Virgen de Asuncion. When our staff came to pick her up, Marberly got excited! She immediately recognized our team from all our missions’ teams visits to Virgen de Asuncion. She was so excited!

This wonderful little girl was totally abandoned at age 10 when her father died. Nobody would claim her and care for her. As a result, she was sent to the state run orphanage and lived there for three years.

Doc Castro is monitoring her health and will be working with our psychology team to make sure that she gets the best possible care and transitions well into our home.

New child at Dorie's PromiseNew orphan at Dorie'sFlor and Mateo are a brother and sister dynamic duo. They came to Dorie’s Promise on March 17, 2017. These two have a hard story. They were abandoned and then adopted by a Guatemalan family. The adoptive family eventually gave them up. They were put back into the government system. That’s how they came to us!

The change and transition to Dorie’s Promise has been hard on them. Abandonment is always tough on children. When it happens twice at a very young age, you can only begin to image the pain and frustration these two children are feeling. Despite their trials, Flor and Mateo love each other very much and look after each other. Flor is 11 and Mateo is 9. They are friendly and happy children. In the next few weeks, we will get them started at Hosanna School. We are so excited to see how they do at Dories Promise and in school. Our team in Guatemala thinks they are going to thrive!

Christina Pedro ArrivesChristina Pedro arrived at Dorie’s Promise on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. We call day a child arrive at Dorie’s promise their Forever Changed Day! Christina was at Virgen de Asuncion when the fire happened. She was moved to Zacapa (hours from Guatemala City) immediately after the fire, but her social worker contacted us and asked us to take her in at Dorie’s Promise.

The life of an orphan is never easy, but Christina’s life has been tough. She is a child of abuse and neglect. Her official record says that she is 9 years old but she has never been registered with the government and has no birth certificate. Nobody at the government agencies knows her real age or anything about her.

One of the things we do in this situation is work the beauracy and try to find out everything possible about the child. After years of working with orphans, we know how to find out things. Our team is tenacious about details. We will find out the true story of Christina’s life. As her life changes and she matures, we will share more about her with you.

Eswin arrives at Dorie's PromiseEswin is seven! He arrived at Dorie’s Promise just two days ago. Because he just arrived, we don’t know very much about him. The judge who sent him to us spent the day trying to find him a safe spot to live. He couldn’t so he called us and asked us to take him in and care for him.

Your Help is Needed

Pray about each of these children. Ask God to bless them and allow them to thrive in our care!

As you pray, remember that our finance barely cover 38 children. We need to get our children 100 percent sponsored. Whatever you can do to help with a monthly give would be a huge help.

Give a special gift today!

New Child at Dorie’s Promise

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Orphans from fire in GuatThe first of the orphans from the tragic fire at the Virgen de Asuncion Orphanage has arrived at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala.

Her name is Mayra. She is 13. Both of her parents have passed away and no relatives have made a petition for her.

Pray for her transition into our home.

For more information about our response to the fire at Virgen de Asuncion please read our last blog post about the fire in Guatemala and the tragic loss of life.

Orphanage Fire in Guatemala – Our Response

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

By Bradley Burck

You may have heard the horrible news coming out of Guatemala about a state run orphanage that caught on fire. We are trying to get all the details we can about what happened and how many perished in this tragedy.   The details about the incident are coming out slowly and seem to change daily.

The name of the orphanage was Virgen de Asuncion. This is the same orphanage that all our mission teams visit when they come to Guatemala. For those of you who have visited this home, you know that if feels more like a prison than the kind of home we run for orphaned children.

Our sources tell us that 34 are now confirmed dead. That number is expected to rise in the next few days.

Virgen de Asuncion was built to hold 400 people. We know that 640 children were living there at the time of the fire. The ages of those children ranged from 5 to 18 and included children who were abandoned early in childhood, troubled teens whose parents released them into the custody of the state for care and rehabilitation, special needs children, teenage mothers, and teens convicted of crime.

As you can imagine, reports of sexual abuse and overcrowing have been coming from Virgen de Asuncion for the last few years.

The night before the fire, there was rioting in the orphanage. More than 60 boys escaped the facility.

The escape of the boys caused the institution to go into lockdown. Our sources tell us that in response to the lockdown a few teenage girls set a mattress on fire thinking the fire would cause the officials to open the doors and let them out. That fire quickly got out of control and consumed that section of the building.

The office of Human Rights is now demanding the orphanage be closed and all the children living there be moved to other orphanages, returned to their parents, or put in a foster care situation.

Our immediate response to this tragedy is to work with the leadership of the orphanage to provide the supplies, blankets, food, and clothing they need to help their children until they are all moved to new locations.

We also contacted the government and let them know we have the ability to take in 8 new children between the ages of 5 and 8. This will put us well over our financial and space capacity. We currently have 38 of 40 beds occupied. Adding an additional 8 children is going to make life very interesting for the next several months.

If you would like to help the children who survived this fire, our team would like to encourage you to make a donation.

You can give to provide immediate resources to help all the orphans coming out of Virgen de Asuncion or to help Dorie’s Promise cover the costs of taking in an additional 8 children.

Please be praying for all the children of Virgen de Asuncion!

Last Chance to Give for 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016

A BIg smile from one of the children at Dorie's Promise GuatemalaPlease consider a special gift to help us end 2016 strong. Your gift will help us make sure that we are able to send the children of Dorie’s Promise to the schools best fitted to their individual needs and learning abilities.

The average cost of sending a child to a private school in Guatemala is $142 a month, or $1,700 per year — which covers tuition, books, uniforms, after-school activities, tutoring, supplies, and transportation. Everything they need to be successful.

We invite you to help us give our children this exceptional education, a chance most orphaned children will never have, through your kind giving. Maybe you could give a gift of $1,000 or $500. Maybe that’s too much. Maybe you are better able to give a gift of $50 or $100. Please give today, before the year is out.

Thank you for making a real difference in the lives of our children!

Ana’s School Breakthrough!

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Ana is in the fourth grade.By Heather Radu –

A beaming Ana at her school, Shaddai.Last week I gave you updates on Nayeli and Brayan (if you missed it, read that post here.) I’d really like you to know about Ana too. Because of your help, we have been able to get Ana into a wonderful Christian school called Shaddai. She is in the fourth grade. When she came to us 7 years ago, she was behind in her schooling. We worked with her, of course, but always knew her math skills were lagging.

This year she’s had a breakthrough! Her teacher has been spending extra time with her on math. Ana has been getting regular tutoring on the subject … and you know what? She was recently selected to represent the school in a math competition!

She did well and proved to herself that it just takes extra effort to get ahead and do well in school. What a great life lesson!

Alej says that Ana is now talking about attending college and becoming a doctor someday!

Ana had a breakthrough in school this year.Stories like Ana’s, of lives that being changed at Dorie’s Promise, are an every day occurrence. They are stories of lives being changed because of you, your heart, and your giving.

We need to raise about $30,000 to secure schooling for our children before their school year begins in January. Please pray about it. Whatever God lays on your heart to contribute, I want to urge you to give it today.

When you give, I want to do something really special for you. I’ve been thinking about what would be nice to do that would connect you with the work of education. If you can send a gift of $100 or more, I want to send you one of our children’s report cards with a note from them saying thank you. My hope is you will keep it close by — on the fridge or in your office or in your Bible — somewhere it will remind you of the important work you are doing in Guatemala to help the orphans at Dorie’s Promise grow and thrive.

Let me hear from you soon. We are making plans for schooling for each of our children as you read this. Please Give Today.