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Posts Tagged ‘Orphan’

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.

Dorie’s Promise Students Participate in the School Science Fair!

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Students from Dorie's Promise participate in a science fair.

By MJ Zelya –

Ana smiling during a school activity.One of the things the children at Dorie’s Promise love the most is the chance to experience a wide range of different activities. We are especially excited when our children participate in fun school activities. The hands-on-learning they get from these activities helps them develop a lifelong love for learning.

Recently, the school held a Science Fair. The children were so excited! They couldn’t stop talking about it. All of them planning and thinking about what kind of experiments to do and if it’a going to work for them. They were happy, anxious, and enthusiastic- all at the same time.

We are glad to see them so excited for school, it’s really satisfying to watch them grow, becoming more responsible with their homework and see the effort they make to do their best.

Here some of them share their experience with their science experiments:

Fabiola – I did my presentation on making rainbows. The experiment was to use a disc and a candle to reproduce a rainbow. My friends and I worked together to prepared for the project. We worked through every step of the experiment. I was a little nervous, but with the support of my friends it encouraged me. In the end everything went really well.

Ingrid and Lucia – It was very fun for us. It was the first time we have participated in this kind of activity. Our experiment was to make a hologram with a box and a disc. The first step was to form the pieces of the disc into a triangle. A video is projected and the triangle shaped disc reflects the image. It was an unforgettable experience! The best part was sharing it with our peers and their parents, our Special Mothers and the others at home and our teacher. This have motivated us both to discover and learn more.

Silvia with her science fair gorup.Silvia – (For Silvia the fair meant a lot, because she is afraid of public speaking. The Science Fair was challenging for her, but gave her a chance to overcome her fears.) I was very nervous because I had to say a paragraph about the process of our experiment. We filled a water balloon with water and then had to keep it from exploding as we moved it closer to the fire from a candle. It caused my nerves to go crazy when I’d hear the explosion of a balloon, but I practice it a lot before we gave our presentation. I really wanted everything to go great. Having this experience gives me confidence and security in front of the school.

It’s incredible how all our children are growing, and it’s fun to watch them experiencing new things. Without the opportunity to attend to school they would not be getting opportunities like these that help prepare them for the future. Their lives are forever changing through this ministry! It’s because of your support that these children are preparing for a brighter future. Each year we need to raise over $50,000 to help provide exceptional education for our students. We are thankful for the many donors and sponsors who make this possible. Would you like to give a special gift for education? Go now.

Meet Sheily: A Little Ray of Sunshine

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Sheily is a little ray of sunshine.

By MJ Zelya-

Sheily will turn two later this month.Sheily came to Dorie’s Promise when she was 2 months old because she was abandoned by her biological mother. The last we’ve heard is that her mother is alcoholic and homeless. Because her biological family abandoned her and she was declared adoptable and CNA is looking for a Guatemalan family* to adopt her.

When Sheily was born she was suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. This has caused her some developmental troubles such has being slow to gain height. She also has sign of emerging attention deficit hyperactivity. Yet with the loving care given to her at our home her development is getting better, and she is gaining weight.

Despite of the circumstances; she is a little ray of sunshine!!!

At first, she ignored people in order to avoid contact. After all the affection she has received at Dorie’s, she has become just the opposite. She waves at everyone that passes in front of her. As soon as she hears a song, she starts to dance and jump around. She has become a little parrot, she repeats everything!

Sheily outside with her Special mother going for a little walk.She is turning two this month, and she might not seem that age, but she has the skills! Through the early stimulation program, the Special Mothers help her learn new skills in the mornings and afternoons. Now she walks around the Home by herself, supervised of course, and whenever she enters a room she greets everyone.

Like most two-year-old’s when she is sleepy or hungry, she gets a little bit grouchy. She loves to play with balls, stuffed animals or dolls with José Carlos and Dulce. They love it when the Special Mothers let them be together in the same crib. It’s their little play date!!!

She is a loving girl and loves to be hugged and kissed, and she needs your support. When you sponsor an orphan like Sheily you help us provide the love and care that she needs. Care that goes beyond just providing for daily survival, we provide the children at our home the kind of care any parent would want for their own children. Sponsor Sheily today!

*International Adoptions in Guatemala closed in 2008

 

The Orphan Train

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

The Orphan Train on display at the opening gala for the Artisan Express.

By Dr. Cari Burck –

The trains base is being painted with some help from my son and his friend.I always thought I would be the mother and have a lot of children in my home. I had no idea God put that desire in my heart so that we could help start and run an orphanage in Guatemala. A lot of our family’s time, energy, and resources go to helping run Dorie’s Promise Guatemala. I help make the decisions about private schools, remodeling bedrooms, hiring chefs who understand nutrition, and coordinating care with our physician.

In many ways, I feel like the mother of the forty children we care for. I don’t get to hug on them and love on them face-to-face like I want. Still, I know they are getting everything they need to grow, thrive, and have the chance to be exactly who God created them to be in this world. My dream is that some of these children will grow up and solve the orphan problem in Guatemala.

Along with help from my friend, Michelle De Monnin—who owns De The Orphan Train on display in Hungtinton, WVMonnin’s Art Studio in Milton, Washington, we created The Orphan Train for the project. Originating as a fund-raiser for the new Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital, the Artisans Express project has become much more. The City of Huntington, WV teamed up with the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital and the Cabell Huntington Hospital Auxiliary to launch a collaborative art initiative called All Aboard! Artisans Express 2015.

Artists from throughout the Tri-State region applied their creativity to 40 fiberglass train engines that are on display throughout the city until fall. Afterwards, the trains will be sold in an auction to benefit the children’s hospital. Michelle helped take my idea for this train and bring it to life. She did the poster and designed the decals for the train. She is the co-artist for this project and I want to make sure she gets credit for that. She is also an adoptive mother of the most beautiful little girl from India, named Chloe. To say there is not a little bit of Chloe in this project just wouldn’t be true.

A lot of people came along side us and helped. My father-in-law, Don Burck, and my friend, Frank Schuler, spent time trying to figure out what we could do with the base. One of my favorite ideas from them was covering it with rocks.

My friend, Mike Emerson, at Huntington Steel figured out how to make the springs on the top of the train come to life. He also consulted on different ideas for the base. Without him, I think I would still be trying to apply coats of fiberglass to it. Mike finally said, “Just wrap the original wood base in metal and paint it.” I also need to give credit to the guys at Paris Signs for their work. Tony Wheeler there is a friend, helping take Mike’s concept for the springs to the next level. Paris also did the decals of the children and made the metal base for us. The painting on the base is—for good or bad—all mine and based on Michelle’s concept.

The Orphan Train on Display and Up CloseWhen people see my train, I want them to feel love for children.

I want them to be reminded that there are children everywhere who need them—especially in our region. There are so many ways to help. Adoption is the ultimate way to help, but not everybody can do that. Foster care is another way to help change lives. There are local kids that need you! I know adoption and foster care overwhelm people. That’s okay. Not everybody can do that, but everybody can do a monthly sponsorship or give a gift to an organization that cares for orphans.

That’s my message with this train: look around you and jump on the opportunities to change life for children who don’t have parents.

The train will be auctioned off later this year. You can bid on The Orphan Train here.

Read more about the Artisans Express project here- Public Art Inspires.

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 Luis: A Good-Natured Little Boy

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Ruth meeting Luis for the first time.

Meet Luis: A Good-Natured Little BoyLuis is one of a handful of children who are still stuck in the system after a 2008 law put a moratorium on international adoptions from Guatemala. The adoption process was near completion when Guatemala closed its doors to adoptions outside the country. After seven years, the courts are still working on his case.

Luis is described by his Special Mothers as OUTSTANDING! He is responsible and follows the rules. He is always paying attention to little details. At school, he works neatly, always giving his best effort.

His adoptive mother, Ruth Sheehan, says, “Luis is a blessed, precious child and has been that way since he was a baby. Even as a tiny baby, he was almost always happy, good-natured, patient, and joyful. We have fun every time I am able to see him.”

He loves to play football (soccer) with his friends. At night before going to bed, he always chooses Star Wars books. He enjoys assembling Legos and is always trying to create new shapes and figures with them. Luis has a good eye for detail and symmetry, and works on something as long as it takes until he gets it just the way he wants it.

He loves games and puzzles, and will focus on these and even school exercises with extended concentration.

A recent picture of Ruth and Luis at Dorie's Promise.Luis is not a fan of vegetables, but he always eats them because he knows they are good for him. His favorite food is CEREAL!!!

Dr. Castro says, “He is very skillful at sports, especially soccer, and is a wonderful, affectionate child. He is also very compassionate and friendly with other children. His development is very good, and he has been a healthy boy.”

He is very sensitive to others (children and adults), picks up quickly on nonverbal cues, and genuinely wants others to be content. He has a strong sense of justice, knows right from wrong, and will take a leadership role to make sure the rules are followed. Everyone agrees that Luis is smart and inventive.

When Luis was a baby his adoptive mother Ruth would lift him up so he could see his face in the mirror, and he would laugh and giggle over and over. He is still a happy boy today.

“He has always had the best smile of any child I have ever seen,” Ruth says. “I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute I have ever spent with him! He is the answer to my prayers.

Luis' first Christmas.Ruth would very much like to bring Luis home to his Forever Family, and we ask that you join us in praying for that to happen soon. In the meantime, you can sponsor him to help us give him the best possible care, medical treatments, and education.

Gratitude

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

The children of Dorie's Promise showing their gratitude for all the sponsors and donors who have give to their home.

By MJ Zelya-

Orphans from Guatemala have found on oasis at Dorie's Promise.This note really has been inspired by God…I feel He spoke to my heart, urging me to express my gratitude and thanking those who have been channels of blessing to us, no matter the size or shape. What matters is the motivation behind people’s generosity — LOVE.

It’s amazing how God manifests Himself through people or things — reminding you at every moment what He needs you to do. This happens to me all the time.

He put on my heart that we should be thankful at all times, regardless of the circumstances we are facing. Very recently my mom passed away. It has been difficult to pass this test in life — my mom was very young and did not expect her departure so soon. The first thing that came to my mind were the children of Dorie’s Promise, and how they also go through a bereavement — leaving their family and the environment they know, many because they were neglected or orphaned.

Many sponsors, missionaries, and donors have been able to support these children by giving them a home, an oasis, where they can find love, security, education. A home that maybe doesn’t fully fill the emptiness of a lost family, but certainly helps heal the wounds left by the circumstances of life. We believe that God has sent them here to change their weeping and mourning into joy, Psalm (30:11-12) — He always has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).

Simple Gratitude - Dorie's PromiseWe have seen God move through many people, filling us with blessing, always providing what we need.

Every donation, no matter how small or big it is, is very important to us. A donation of furniture we received this month … the money that was raised to reach the finish line to buy new cars, clothing, medicine — and more. These many blessing are impacting those living in extreme poverty, those who need a ray of hope.

Being thankful is a fundamental characteristic of those who believe in God, because it allows us to bring the Gospel and to honor His name in everything we receive. It is grace poured on us through people, and it extends to our children, to our home, and to our community.

It is necessary to always “give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20 NLT).

And pray not only because you are in need of something, but also because you have a lot of things to be thankful for….

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!

A Report from Doctor Castro

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Doctor Castro with children from Dorie's Promise

Some reflections on my experience as a physician and pediatrician at Dorie’s Promise, serving orphans and battered, abused, neglected Guatemalan children:

In my youth I was attracted to, and still am, to three different fields of study: anthropology, architecture, and medicine. I learned, in fact, that the three are related to each other. They are centered on the needs of the human race, such as the need for cooperation between people working together in order to achieve an ultimate goal.

All three fields are in a constant search for knowledge and practices that can improve people’s lives, but above all, the three are based on the idea of the common good of the people. I visualized myself helping and caring for children, so I decided to study Pediatrics in Guatemala and England.

Luis gets a check up.Working with children in a pediatric practice has transformed and utterly touched my life.

Every moment I have spent serving children has made me more conscious and aware of the true miracle of life.

Children are the light of the world — they are a fount of energy emitted onto others, especially people who are in direct contact with them and, ultimately, those people are the primary beneficiaries of this positive energy.

After my decision to retire from academia, hospital life, and private practice, a position at Dorie’s Promise was offered to me, and I saw this as a good opportunity to continue serving children. So I accepted and have been serving at the orphanage for more than eight years.

Guatemala is a poor country where many children need attention and good care. I truly feel God has provided me with direction, proper guidance, and the strength to continue as a doctor and health adviser serving the children of Dorie’s Promise — not only visiting them as their pediatrician, but also being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With our nurse assistant and administrative personnel plus the Special Moms, I have been privileged in the task of watching the children’s growth and development closely, coming up with early interventions to prevent and cure almost 97% of their health needs. In regards to the other 3-5% of their health needs that I am not able to directly provide, I have been able to use my resources and medical contacts for expert second opinions and intervention.

Our health program has been blessed by having great leadership for both our home and non-profit organization and coworkers that believe in our work, who are committed and passionate for service. This has allowed us to improve and maintain efficient and effective health Doctor Castro checks up on a child from Dorie's Promiseinterventions, based on Christian principles. Dorie’s Promise is always concerned about the children’s safety, fulfilling their needs by providing them shelter, their basic physiological needs, integral health, security, affection, self-esteem, learning, and a beautiful and harmonious home.

The children have suffered through a few very dangerous infectious outbreaks in the past: large Rotavirus gastroenteritis, adenovirus pneumonia, eye and skin infections, and parasites. But I can proudly say that since 2006, and with great thanks to our health system, home improvements, and preventative measures, our children have not suffered anymore infectious outbreaks and have been protected from these always-potential threats.

So what’s in store for Dorie’s Promise in the future? We will continue to work with these beautiful and amazing children through the support and dedication from U.S. supporters and our dedicated Christian missionaries and other partners. I see Dorie’s Promise as a good example to other homes, working with other Guatemalan organizations as partners to improve and extend our services to communities in need. Our health program will be caring for children ranging from newborns to adolescents, but the fact of life is that our children are growing up under our care and bit by bit reaching adulthood; so we will need to focus our health care and education on preparing our children for the real world with responsibilities.

Give A Special Gift to Orphans

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Give a Gift to Orphans : Become a Sponsor

Sponsoring a child is a gift that gives a life – Forever Changed.

Our goal is to see Dorie’s Promise Guatemala fully funded by monthly sponsors.  By funding our home 100% through sponsorship, we can be certain that our monthly obligations will be met. It is essential that as a ministry we are responsible in how we go about funding our home and its growth in order to serve even more children in the years to come. If we are able to reach our goal, we will be able to use additional gifts to expand our ministry to serve even more children! Every gift you give to our ministry goes toward improving the lives of orphans and children who would otherwise have no other hope.

Get started by viewing the children currently available to Sponsor, reading our FAQ and sponsorship benefits.

Here are three special children who need you to sponsor them today:

Sponsor Dulce Today!Dulce (Age 2) is a very special child to us. When a mere newborn, Dulce was found bloodied and lying on a bar room floor. Most likely premature, she came to us with low birth weight, low height, small head circumference, and developmental delay. Shortly after her arrival at Dorie’s, she developed viral pneumonia. She was hospitalized and, miraculously, as tiny and frail as she was, she recovered. Since coming to us in July 2012, she has suffered a myriad of health problems.

Dulce is a fighter — she has been fighting to survive ever since she was born. Her Special Mother Myriam prays every day for Dulce’s life. She is improving slowly with increasing weight and increased mobility of her arms and legs. We are hopeful that with the love and care she is receiving, Dulce will continue to thrive.

Josue (Age 2) was found abandoned on the streets in Guatemala City when he was only two days old. He was sent immediately to the hospital where it was discovered that he had a genetic abdominal defect. While there, he had numerous surgeries to correct the problem. Josue was brought to Dorie’s and was transferred to the care of our staff physician. He has been waiting on more surgery to rebuild his urinary tract but is making tremendous progress.

Josue also has a lot of fight in him. He has tremendous energy and enthusiasm for life. He is happy by nature and is very active and affectionate. Josue likes to imitate the older boys and tags along after them as much as they will allow.

Abraham Emanual (Age 6) came to Dorie’s Promise via court order in the Spring of 2012. He was 4. His father abandoned the family when he was an infant and then his mother died. Relatives took Abraham in, but shortly thereafter Protective Services removed him from the home because of abuse and neglect. With the love and sense of security Abraham is receiving at Dorie’s Promise, he is blossoming into a wonderful little boy. He has big brown eyes and a beautiful smile. He loves to play with toys, run in the backyard, and play with the other children. Whenever it is time for group activities, Abraham is the first to jump in. He is a great dancer and loves to play soccer.

Please consider sponsoring a child today!