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Posts Tagged ‘Siblings’

Abraham Emanuel Reconnects with His Family

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Abraham Emanuel at Dories Promise

By Kelly Shank –

4 year old Abraham Emanuel at Dorie's Promise

4 year old Abraham Emanuel

Our hope is for each of our children to find a loving family. Each time one of our children is able to reconnect with birth family or is matched with an adoptive family, we celebrate. Although we love our children, we know living with a family is best.

This past January, Abraham Emanuel (Abraham) finally went home with his sister and aunt.

Abraham’s Story

In September 2012, Abraham toddled into our home for the first time. Only 4 years old at the time, he was surrounded by new people in a new place and wasn’t sure what to think or do.

When he was only a baby, Abraham’s mother passed away, leaving his future uncertain. For the next several years where he would live was in question. Eventually, the courts referred him to our home where he would find stability. For the next 5 ½ years, Abraham became a member of our family at Dorie’s Promise.

We have watched Abraham grow and mature from a quiet toddler to a confident young man. Our home became his home and he grew to love the other children and staff. One of his favorite hobbies is playing soccer, and there was always other boys ready to play with him in our backyard.

Abraham’s Future

This past January, Abraham finally went home with his sister and aunt.Last year, Abraham’s older sister Karla began the process of seeking custody. At just 19 years old, becoming the primary caregiver for her younger brother would be difficult, but Karla was determined to reunite their family. She fought hard for her brother.

Along with Karla, their aunt also stepped up to help reunite Karla and Abraham. While Karla works, their aunt will be caring for Abraham when he’s not in school. Abraham will be surrounded by family who loves him every day. This is our dream come true.

The day Abraham left Dorie’s Promise was filled with mixed emotions for everyone. He was excited to go home with his sister but sad to leave everyone he had called family for the last 5 years. Most of his memories were made in our home, and leaving means he’s starting over again.

For our staff, watching him leave was both exciting and hard. We celebrate each time one of our children gets the chance to go home, but we will still miss him. Even in our sadness, we understand our part in his life may have been short, but was significant because we helped prepare him for his future.

We wish Abraham, Karla, and their whole family all the best!

Siblings Learning to Dream Again

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Flor and Mateo at Dorie's Promise

By Kelly Shank –

Each of our children longs for a family where they feel loved and included. Our deepest desire is to see their dreams come true by being reunited with their birth families or placed in adoptive homes. For the times when this dream doesn’t come true, our staff dries tears, answers questions, and stands in the gap.

Before coming to Dorie’s Promise, Flor and Mateo were living with a Guatemalan family and in the process of being adopted. We’re not sure what happened, but the adoption proceedings stopped. Afterward, the court referred them to our home. Unfortunately, placements don’t always work.

As you can imagine, Flor and Mateo were disappointed when they came to Dorie’s Promise. Being adopted together is their dream. Having that taken away was too difficult for them to understand. They couldn’t imagine what they could have done differently, to have a family.

Flor at Dorie's PromiseFrom the moment they came to us, we knew how much they loved each other. Their bond helped them endure their disappointment. Not only did they lose their adoptive family, they also moved nearly 4 hours away. Dorie’s Promise wasn’t their first choice. They were abandoned by a family, moved, and wanted to return to the orphanage where they grew up. More than anything, they want to be with people they knew and who loved them.

We understood how much they had lost, and knew we needed to earn their trust. One year later, things are completely different for Flor and Mateo.


She might seem quiet when you first meet her, but once she opens up to you, you’ll be amazed. Flor is one of the smartest girls in our home. Not only does she speak English well, she also wants to learn more languages. Her teachers are amazed by how well she does at her bilingual school. She’s so bright that we’re constantly trying to find new ways to challenge her.

Even though she still misses her old friends, Flor has really connected with the other children here, especially Jennifer. They attend the same school and both love art. Seeing Flor feel safe enough to build friendships again gives us hope that she is healing.

MateoMateo at Dorie's Promise

Mateo is one of the funniest boys in our house. He keeps the Special Mothers laughing each day as he recounts his school day adventures. Being able to connect with Brayan has given Mateo an older role model in our home, someone to learn from and hang out with. We’ve also seen him take on the role of older brother to the little boys as well, teaching them to build new creations with Legos.

Just like his older sister, Mateo is also very smart. He has overcome the challenges of their move, while also attending a bilingual school. We know he’s going to do great things because Mateo is a triple threat—smart, funny, and caring.

Our director, Alejandra, shares that “we know inside of them there are still many situations to solve and we pray that God is helping us be the family and the support they are needing now, and the one they are going to need in the future.”

Hope for Orphans: An Update on Lucia and Fabiola

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

AFter 2 Years at Dorie's Promise Lucia and Fabiola are flourishing.

By MJ Zelya –

Fabiola loves the food and friends at Dorie's Promise.
Its been almost two years since Lucia (also called Ana Lucia) and her sister Fabiola arrived at Dorie’s Promise and their lives have been changed in many ways since then.

At first, they were very shy – keeping to themselves and not saying much. They came to our home with signs of both physical and emotional abuse. Shortly before moving to Dorie’s Promise their mother had died of cancer and they were living with a neighbor. That neighbor didn’t have the resources to properly care for the girls and they would often miss school to sell candies or trinkets to try to make extra money. Because of this they had chronic malnutrition, dental cavities and chronic viral respiratory infection when Doctor Castro did his initial exam.

As you know, after coming from this kind of environment it has taken time for them to recover their physical and emotional health. Definitely the consequences of chronic malnutrition are long term and typically result in shorter height. Emotionally they have improved by leaps and bounds, they have become outgoing girls, with high-self esteem, independence, and they are very happy. It’s satisfying to see our children improve so much, and to be able to give them the tools for a different life, a Forever Changed life.

God’s hand has been in this. We see the evidence in their lives. The hard work and loving care that everyone involved in our home; our founder Heather, the staff, the Special Mothers, those visiting us on missions trips, the sponsors, everyone has made this possible. Thank you for your dedication to our children.

Ana Lucia (age 14) says:Lucia, age 14, dreams of becoming a business administrator.

I feel happy to be here at Dorie’s Promise. I feel at peace, because here I have the opportunity to reach my goals in life, to chase my dreams. If I have the opportunity I would like to be a business administrator. I like the way everyone treats me, they give me lots of love and attention. And everyone is very kind to my little sister.

I enjoy it when we go on an outing with the mission trippers and have special dinner with them. I also like playing with all of them. I’m learning English and I am able to practice and get an better understanding of English when the missions groups are here.

Before coming to Dorie’s, my life was very hard. Sometimes we didn’t have enough food and we ate only one or two meals a day. Here I have delicious food, a doctor worried for my health, people worried for my education and many others who give me the most important thing of all… Love! I appreciate that!

I want especially say thank you to my sponsors for the way they’ve helped change my life. I’m grateful for what are you doing for us, and you are in my prayers.

Fabiola (age 8) says:

I like to live here. I like going to school and having friends. I love the food they prepare, and the attention and love of my moms. Thank you for helping me.

Both girls are in need of a handful of new sponsors. Will you consider sponsoring Lucia or Fabiola and helping provide them with continued care, education and love?

New Siblings at Dorie’s Promise Enter Sponsorship Program

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Three new siblings recently arrived at Dorie’s Promise via court order.

Three new siblings recently arrived at Dorie’s Promise via court order. Yojana (8), the eldest, has been very communicative and expressive since the first day. The boys, Alex (5) and Elvis (Age 3), were scared and sad — they came to our home very dirty and in torn clothes.

They had lived on the streets; their parents stole whatever they could in order to give them food. Yojana said that they did not have money, so it was OK that her mother stole from other people. With the help and support of the psychologist at our home, Yojana now knows that stealing is not right — that if she wants something she can’t harm anyone to get it. Alex and Elvis are too small to understand what happened with their parents.Yohana, Alex and Elvis

Due to the life these parents have chosen, both of them are in jail, and for a long time now that their sentence was determined. The children at first were sent to live with their grandfather, who rents a room with one bed. He is an alcoholic and was abusive with the children. At one point they were left in a parking lot because he forgot them. The police rescued them and took them to minor’s court. That’s when the judge decided to send the children to Dorie’s Promise, while the biological parents finish out their sentence, possibly even longer.

When we take in children who were abandoned or abused by family, it’s so easy to see the lack of care they received. Physically speaking we see malnutrition, insecurity, dirt on their skin, and cavities in their teeth. Once the children have been able to stay in our home for some time, we also see the effects of the lack of education, the poor moral standards, and the disrespect for others.

It’s a sad story that many kids call their own — and at such a young age — but we know that we are making a difference in their lives. Day by day, we see children like Yojana, Alex, and Elvis getting better, their health improving, becoming more secure and independent, and learning morals and how to respect those around them.

Elvis is the youngest of the siblings.This process of change is something we feel delighted and privileged to be part of, and it’s through this ministry that we know we are making a big impact in their lives!

Their special mother says of the siblings:

“Yojana has changed a lot. She is a happy girl who always smiles, and she likes to spend time with the girls and play dolls. She is very kind and humble. Now, she takes care of her appearance, she tries to stay neat and clean. She also likes to help the special mothers. She loves to walk around the neighborhood and loves to eat chocolate.

“Alex and Elvis have also changed a lot. Now they seem to be happy and enjoy sharing with the other boys. They are healthier, they eat all kinds of food, and they say they do not want to leave Dorie’s Promise.”

Since they will be staying with us for a long time, we’ve added Yojana, Alex, and Elvis to our sponsorship program. Please click on one of their names above to learn more about them and become their sponsor.

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:


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!

Changing Lives Every Day!

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Sisters Ana Lucía, 13, and Fabiola, 6

By Alej Diaz-

Meet Fabiola, age 6.Some weeks ago I attended a hearing for two of our new children, Ana Lucía and Fabiola. During that hearing I realized one more time why we are here … why we serve at Dorie’s Promise … why it is so important to open our hands and our hearts to those children who have nowhere to go.

Ana Lucía 13, and Fabiola, 6, entered Dorie´s Promise in July. When I met Ana Lucía, I could see her joy for life, her enthusiasm to help others, and how protective she was of her sister. I had no idea of her past or what life was like for them before they came to live with us.

As it turns out, they were living with their mother in a very poor community close to Guatemala City, but at the end of last year their mother got sick and was diagnosed with cancer. Just six months later she passed away. Ana Lucía and Fabiola were able to stay with their oldest brother, who was 17 at the time. After two months, their brother went to jail, and the girls had nobody to take care of them. They went to live with a neighbor and stayed with her for some time.

Ana Lucía had to work in the mornings in order to earn money for her and her sister — she would to sell candies in the street or outside a big mall close to where they lived. She and Fabiola would attend school in the afternoons.

Meet Ana Lucía, age 13.In June of this year, these neighbors they were staying with decided they couldn’t take care of the girls anymore — she simply didn’t have enough money or resources for the girls and her own family. As a result, they were taken to Minor’s Court — and it’s how we in turn received a phone call asking if we had space for two girls aged 13 and 6. We said yes. And from my perspective, this is when the girls’ lives started changing.

We are so blessed to have the opportunity to make a difference for them. They are gaining weight, eating well, sleeping in nice beds, and will go to school next year. Most importantly, they are learning about God and are experiencing His love every day through the Special Moms and the entire staff at Dorie’s Promise.

Once again, we believe this is the reason for the children’s home of Dorie’s Promise: to passionately serve the world’s forgotten children in Guatemala City. To accomplish this mission, we need your continued prayers and support — we even have a special sponsorship opportunity to help us provide open beds so we can take in more children like Ana Lucía and Fabiola.

We praise God for these changed lives! And we pray we can continue changing lives every day!!

Maria Jose and Franco : A Very Special Pair of Siblings

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Maria Jose and her brother Franco

By MJ Zelya-

Maria Jose is very protective of her younger brother Franco.Maria Jose and Franco are siblings who entered Dorie’s Promise by court order because their birth mother abandoned them (and their younger sister Hilary) at a relative’s house. Their aunt couldn’t keep them due to the lack of economic resources, so they were sent to our home. At first the three of them came; Hilary’s birth father now has custody of her. For Maria Jose and Franco’s case, the judge decided to leave them at Dorie’s Promise because they don’t have relatives who want to support or take care of them. However, just recently they have been declared adoptable*, and the CNA (national adoption agency) is looking to place them with a loving Guatemalan family.

They are very special and loving kids. Anxious to be adopted, they say they want to be part of a family that will give them love and education, but they do not want to be split apart. Pray with us for a family to be found that will take both of them in and provide them with plenty of love and care.

Franco is an active child with a free spirit. He is all boy: running, jumping, and climbing. He also enjoys playing soccer. If you visit Dorie’s Promise, he will be delighted to play against you.

Maria Jose is also very active. She is very responsible and loves to help the Special Mothers with the chores. Besides that, she likes to play dolls with the other girls.

Maria Jose and Franco playing together in the backyard of Dorie's Promise“Maria Jose is a loving girl, smart, active, and very protective with her brother,” says Special Mother Lorena. “She loves to do crafts and share with us what she has learned at school. She is very spontaneous when she is talking; she always wants to be the first to answer when someone is asking a question. She is becoming more mature and secure in herself.”

Marleny, another Special Mother, says of Franco, “He is a smart boy. Sometimes he gets a little bit angry, but he is learning to control his impulsive behavior. He follows instructions perfectly and is usually very obedient. He is a big brother for the other kids. Franco is always on the lookout for his sister and wants to spend time with her.”

Lucky, a teacher, adds, “Franco is a bold, intelligent, and very independent boy. He also has a special sensitivity to what happens to others. Maria Jose is a smart girl. She likes to pay attention and read books. She is very clever.”

While they wait to be placed with a Forever Family, we are privileged to take care of Maria Jose and Franco. You can help us care for them by becoming a sponsor. You’ll get regular updates on how they are doing, including pictures, video, and written updates. You’ll be a part of our extended family at Dorie’s Promise. Prayerfully consider becoming a sponsor. By choosing to do so today, you are helping us meet the educational, emotional, welfare, and spiritual needs of both children — while helping change their lives for eternity!


*International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008

Siblings Update : The Najera’s

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

The Najera siblings today at Dorie's Promise

The Najera siblings today at Dorie’s Promise

 By Arwen McGilvra & MJ Zelya –

Ingrid holding Abraham when they first came to Dorie's Promise

Ingrid holding Abraham when they first came to our home.

The Najera siblings came to Dorie’s Promise in February 2010— completely neglected, dirty, with sad little faces.

Ingrid protected her brother Abraham as if he were her son. She held him in her arms and did not want to be separated from him. “My mom says that I have to take care of them,” she said, although she was only 10 at the time. At that age, kids are natural dreamers, full of joy … and the only responsibilities they should have are studying, chores at home, and showing respect to their parents. They should not have to raise baby brothers and sisters.

When they came to live with us, the Najeras were malnourished and had lots of cavities in their teeth. Their mom had cut Ingrid’s hair like a boy’s, and the first thing Ingrid said is that she wanted to have her hair long — she didn’t want to look like a boy anymore.

It’s was heartbreaking to see how badly treated these children had been. They’d never attended school and were living in extreme poverty and abusive conditions.

The Najera's after a year at our home

The four younger siblings after a year at our home.

One year after the four youngest came to Dorie’s Promise, we learned that they had an older sister. Mirna was moved from a government shelter to our home because she pleaded with the judge to be with her siblings. The judge granted a special exception for us to receive Mirna because she was out of the age range of the population we had at Dorie’s Promise. We were so excited to reunite these five siblings! What a blessing for them to be together again and to ALL receive the love and support they needed.

After a year of living in our home and receiving medical and psychological care, as well as love from our staff, we could see the difference between Mirna and Ingrid. Ingrid looked happier, laughed more, and felt safe. She told Mirna that Dorie’s Promise is a beautiful place where they can be protected and happy and have five meals a day, their own toys, and a nice room with a bed. All of our staff was touched to hear that. The Najera siblings found a nice place where they are treated as they deserve and have what they need.

The Siblings Today

Sponsor Mirna - Forever Changed InternationalMirna

Mirna is great. She has found her place here with us and is enjoying being a part of this big family. Since her education had been neglected before coming to Dorie’s Promise, she struggled with schooling. Recently, though, we’ve changed tactics, so she has been going to beauty school. There she is learning everything from hair styling to nails and makeup, and it has been a big rush for her. It’s good to see her find and apply her passions. In fact, all the special moms have been objects of her experimentation — there is hardly a person who she has not given a beauty treatment to as part of her studies.

“I feel incredible, and since I have this opportunity, I have been doing my best to take advantage of it and learn everything I can, so that later in life I have something for my siblings and I to depend on,” says Mirna.

It has really been a joy to see her develop and know she makes a big effort to achieve her goals.

Ingrid is 100 percent SponsoredIngrid

Like her older sister Mirna, Ingrid did not receive any prior education, and it has created problems for her in school. It’s been especially apparent in her math classes. She needed a special tutor to try to catch up to her classmates. Despite all of that, she has applied herself to her studies and has managed to pass third grade and will be starting fourth grade next year.

She says, “I know that is going to be hard, and I know that I will have to study a lot more than my classmates in order to really catch on, but I am really grateful that I at last have the opportunity to study.”

Ana is currently 100 percent sponsoredAna

Ana has been doing extraordinarily. She started first grade this year, and she quickly became one of the top students in her class. She did well and will start second grade next year. She is excited about all the new stuff she has learned, and Beverly Humes, her teacher, says, “She loves to do her homework — she learned a lot during this year, and she is one of the most studious girls I have ever seen.” It’s incredible to see that even though she didn’t have a preschool education like every student in her school, she didn’t have much trouble adapting.


Sponsor MariaMaria

Maria started going to school this year and has become one of the most loved students to her teachers. She has shown good development, and next year she will be in “Preparatoria,” preschool, where she will learn to read, and that makes her very excited. She is looking forward to it so she can read stories to her brother Abraham. Overall, she is doing great.



Sponsor AbrahamAbraham

It’s hard to believe the change in Abraham since he came to live with us. He was such a shy little baby who hardly smiled, but his transformation since then is incredible. He is outgoing, laughs a lot, and has become a joyous little boy. He is getting ready to enter another phase in his life — he is very excited about starting school in January. Everything you hear from him is “school” this, “school” that. He is going to be a part of the “big boys” going to school. It makes us all very happy to see how he has blossomed.

New Siblings at Dorie’s Promise

Monday, August 13th, 2012

The other night, 3 kids were sent to us at Dorie's Proise by a court orde, because the mother drug addict and alcoholict. They had been living with relatives, but recently these relatives presented the kids to the minor’s court saying that they could not take care of them anymore.


Maria Jose Villalta

DOB: Unknown (7 years old approximately)

Date of Entry: 08/08/2012


Franco Schwartz

DOB: Unknown(5 years old approximately)

Date of Entry: 08/08/2012


Hilary Villalta

DOB: Unknown(3 years old approximately)

Date of Entry: 08/08/2012


Brothers Benefit

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

By Alejandra Diaz-

Last week Heather Radu wrote about the significance people can make in a child’s life by taking a mission trip to help the kids at Dorie’s Promise and others in the community.

In addition, those who want to make a difference on a continuing basis throughout the year can help sponsor one of our residents.

While supporters typically send $35 a month, a child’s full support requires more.

Two children in need of additional sponsors are Jonathan Mejia, age 9, and his brother, Gerson, who is 4.

Jonathan has lived here for more than two years. After suffering physical abuse, a social worker asked a minor’s court judge to send him to an orphanage while authorities investigated his home situation.

Six months later, the judge determined that Gerson was also at risk and asked Dorie’s Promise to accept him so he could be reunited with Jonathan.

Working with Jonathan has posed a challenge because of improper discipline, limited education, and the way his parents used him to resolve difficulties.

However, through therapy and special care, we have seen major changes in his behavior. During his first year, Jonathan received psychological therapy at the Pediatric Foundation. In 2011 we secured a special therapist who has worked with him on a weekly basis.

In addition, after progressing in his studies, Jonathan is in third grade—a bit behind normal, but he is catching up. He smiles more often after receiving gifts from sponsors and mission teams, a delight he had never known.

Gerson just started preschool and is doing well. He has also received the special medical and dental care that he needed.

These achievements have come at what sometimes seems like a snail’s pace. Yet today we see two normal little boys maturing.

Jonathan loves playing soccer, running, and watching TV. Gerson loves playing with other little children his age.

When people become sponsors, they bring new light and smiles to the faces of children like Jonathan and Gerson. However, it is not just the monetary support that matters.

When the kids at Dorie’s Promise receive gifts and personal notes from sponsors, nothing can compare to watching the joy on their faces.

When sponsoring a child, you also commit to pray for this boy or girl. Working with them as I do, I am certain that because of prayer Jonathan and Gerson are able to open their hearts to receive and give love.

They have also learned that there are other ways to solve problems than resorting to violence.

You may think of such steps as small or insignificant compared to the rest of the world. But in these brothers’ world, they are huge.