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Posts Tagged ‘Sponsor Program’

The Path Leading Children to Dorie’s Promise

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Have you ever wondered how children find their way to Dorie’s Promise?

By Kelly Shank –

Marcos is all smiles.Have you ever wondered how children find their way to Dorie’s Promise? We want to help you understand the process that brings children into our home.

There are many different paths our children take before eventually living at Dorie’s Promise. Some of them were abandoned as infants. Others were given up by parents who simply couldn’t provide for them. Too many were rescued from abuse. The common themes in each child’s story are loss and trauma. From the moment children enter our home, we become the protectors of their rights and well-being.

The Beginning of their Journey:

We never know when we might get a call asking us to consider accepting a new child. We’ve received emergency placements in the middle of the night before but most children come into our care as a result of the normal family court proceedings. Based on a home’s location and the level of specialized care needed for a particular child, social workers reach out to the directors of private orphan care homes in hopes of finding a placement before turning to government facilities.

When Alejandra, our director, receives one of these calls, she must determine if Dorie’s Promise is able to provide the best care for a new child without sacrificing the care being received by the children already living in our home. Our homes are divided by gender so one of the first factors she considers is if we have room in that specific house.

Additionally, we consider the age of children who enter our home. As a general rule, we take children up to 8 years old. Why only eight years old? We are committed to making long-term commitments with the children who enter our home so we try to accept children who may be with us for an extended period of time. Lastly, she also considers the special needs of the child, whether physical, mental, or emotional, to determine if we have sufficient resources for a new child.

Navigating the Courts during Their Stay:

Merary came to Dorie's Promise to be reunited with her brother Yire who was already living at our home.As we mentioned, once a child enters our care we represent their interests in court. Jessica, our Legal Assistant, represents them at all court hearings, prepares reports, and is responsible for keeping our staff aware of the legal status of each child’s case.

Between thirty-five and forty children live in our home at any time. You might have noticed that there aren’t thirty-five to forty children on our Sponsor Page. The gap occurs because we only include Permanent Placements in our Sponsor bios. Children in our sponsorship program are Permanent Placements because either their parental rights have been terminated or they have been determined by the courts to be with us long-term.

Every child enters our home as a temporary placement, similar to the foster care program. Through the court process social workers determine if the children could potentially be reunited with their biological parents or other relatives. About 40% of the children in our home are eventually reunited with their biological parents or other family members. We appreciate the deep connections our children have with their biological families and are excited when parents are able to complete the court-ordered reunification programs and establish healthy homes for their families.

Unfortunately, in the majority of our cases, biological families are unable to make the changes necessary to provide a safe home for their children. In those instances, parental rights can be terminated and a judge can declare the child adoptable. Afterward, the National Council for Adoptions (CNA in Guatemala) works to match children with potential Guatemalan adoptive families*.

Each child’s case is unique. Although the designation of temporary or permanent might sound like a simple decision, unfortunately it isn’t. Some of the children in our home have been here as temporary foster placements for many years, caught between parents who desire to be in their lives and the reality that they are not able to provide for them. In contrast, some of our permanent, “adoptable” children have also been here for many years as well. Often, older children and sibling groups are not easily matched with adoptive families.

Our Promise to These Children:

We've made a promise to all the children who've come to Dorie's Promise.Heather Radu, our founder, decided many years ago that we were committed to long-term involvement in the lives of our children. Thus, we accept younger children who may be in our care for a decade or more, giving us the best opportunity to help them become successful adults. This is also why we take some of the hardest placements, those with disabilities and sibling groups.

We believe in giving our absolute best to every child in our home, no matter their placement status. We choose to stand in the gap of their lives, love them, lead them, and help them heal.

Your monthly gift helps us continue providing the best care possible. Visit our Sponsor Page, read more about our children, and find ways to support our home.


* International Adoption from Guatemala closed in 2008

Finishing Well in 2017

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Three boys ready for school. | Dorie's Promise Guatemala

By Kelly Shank –

Alejandra is full of happy engery. | Dorie's Promise Guatemala2017 has been an amazing year at Dorie’s Promise. Over the last few months we’ve shared stories about all the big things happening in our home. Our children, staff, and trip participants all experienced life changing opportunities over the last year.

If you missed our stories about Nayeli’s first year in college, Myra’s quinceañeara, or the children who moved into our home after the fire at the Virgen de la Asunción orphanage, you can find them and many more on the blog.

Even though 2017 has been an amazing year already, we believe the biggest blessings for Dorie’s Promise have yet to come. The stories we share about the big things happening in our home highlight all the work being done behind the scenes by our staff. You don’t hear about the mountains of laundry that get washed each morning or the hours our drivers spend running kids to school but these daily tasks are what make a home for our children and that is the reason we work so hard.

You know that we rely on the generosity of donors for all of our needs but what you might not realize is that we rely heavily on the generosity of a few people to continue operating each year because we don’t have enough monthly sponsors. The majority of our funding is received through special donations at the end of each year which is a little bit scary when we’re paying the bills. We need your help to meet our budget for 2017.

Lester concentrates hard on a Lego project. | Dorie's Promise GuatemalaWe are trusting that once again God will faithfully provide for the needs of our children.

As we celebrate 2017 we also want to look forward to 2018. Next year Brayan will be graduating from high school and we are committed to supporting him as he prepares for his future career. Plus, we are anticipating regular maintenance needs in our homes and with our vehicles over the next year. We are planning ahead so we can make the most out of the gifts we receive.

Our dream is to double the number of children in our care. Instead of being limited to 40 kids, we want to serve 80 children but we are not in a financial position to expand yet. To do so, we need to reach 100% funding through monthly sponsorships for the children already in our care. When we can reach this goal, we can start welcoming more children.

Will you help us finish well in 2017?

Becoming fully sponsored is our biggest Christmas wish! We believe that God is calling people to become a part of our family this Christmas. If you already sponsor one of our children monthly, would you consider inviting a friend to sponsor one of our kids as well?

Jenny gives a hug to one of our volunteers. | Dorie's Promise GuatemalaWe know that God will provide and we invite you help share in the blessings at Dorie’s Promise. We thank you and our kids do too. Join the Dorie’s Promise family by becoming a monthly sponsor today or by giving a one-time donation. Thank you for making dreams come true for our children this Christmas season.

Here a just a few of the highlights from 2017:

Gymnastics Boosts Girls’ Confidence

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

The girls from Doire's Promise who participated in the gymnastic classes last fall.

By Alejandra Diaz –

Three of our students get ready for their final performance.Even though Guatemala just passed the halfway point of the 2017 school year, our girls are already looking forward to their Gymnastics Vacation Course this fall.

A dozen of our girls participated in last fall’s course. About 100 students overall were involved in the classes, which start after the school year—which begins in January—ends in October.

Our children participated for the first time two years ago, but were eager to enroll again last year because some of the girls are very talented. (To see some photos from the classes, click here.)

Although they only have the chance to take formal lessons in October and November, every time they have the chance to practice at home, they do it! Sometimes we have to caution them to watch out for other people when they do their tumbles, flips and other moves.

These gymnastics classes have made a huge impact on our girls, improving their school work and self-confidence. We have seen big changes in their outlook and attitudes.

They have shown themselves they are able to do great things. The girls felt so good when they made their presentations at the final show and everyone congratulated them.

After all, taking part in the gymnastics classes requires a lot of effort and self-discipline. These sessions demanded a lot of practice and meant they had to demonstrate a daily commitment to improve.

Not only do these classes show the kind of achievements that are possible with hard work and dedication, they emphasize the value of child sponsorship.

Several of the girls from Dorie's Promise performing iat the end of their gymnastic class.It is only because of the support of so many generous donors that we can take the girls to these vacation courses. Indeed, we would really love to find a way to give them the opportunity to participate in gymnastics year-round to allow them to further develop and use their talents.

Since the costs of shelter, food, clothing and other necessities require so much of our resources, it is only when children receive full sponsorship that monies are available to sign them up for additional opportunities.

Our goal is to meet all our ongoing monthly expenses through child sponsorship, which will enable us to be much more flexible in our operations.

If you would like to help our children take part in things like the gymnastics course and other character-building and educational exercises, consider becoming a child sponsor today.

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!

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.

Merary is Added to the Sponsorship Program

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

meraryBy MJ Zelya –

Meet MeraryMerary (Age 9) came to Dorie’s Promise this last October. Since she was a small baby she had been living with a relative. Her birth mother is drug addict and was unable to care for her. Even then, the relative was abusing her and she was rescued by her aunt, who brought her to the Minor’s court. The judge sent Merary to Dorie’s Promise until her case is resolved.

Interestingly enough, Merary is Yire’s sister. They hadn’t actually met until Merary came to Dorie’s Promise.

At first Merary was very shy—she never spoke to anyone, hardly smiled and she was always distracted. Her gross motor skills were not developed. One of the things she really wanted to do was jump rope, but she wasn’t coordinated enough to do it.

It is so exciting to watch, as children come to our home and grow in the confidence and abilities!

Merary has done just that, she’s learned to jump rope, and it’s become a favorite activity for her. Lorena, one of the Supervisors says, “Now she talks all the time, she smiles and she is a joker.” What big changes in such a short time!

Lorena goes on to say, “She makes her bed neat and she likes to cooperate with us on housekeeping tasks. She shares freely and is very loving. She’s also able to expresses her feelings well.”Merary is a very smart girl.

Merary’s favorite color is red and her favorite television program is Princess Sofia.

She is very smart, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise to find out that she knows all the names of Bible’s books and she says them in order. She also has learned many proverbs from the Bible and she shares them with us.

Merary certainly enjoys living at Dorie’s Promise. “I like this place,” she says. “I eat delicious food. Many times a day! I also have clothes and shoes, and I will go to school soon. When I grow up I want to be a teacher. I’m happy because I have many friends and many moms that love me here.”

Merary has just been added to our sponsorship program. Will you consider becoming her sponsor? Your sponsorship helps us provide so much more than just room and board. It also helps us provide medical care, education and spiritual and emotional support. Sponsor Merary and help us make her dreams for the future come true.

Meet Jennifer: Help Make Her Dreams Come True

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Jennifer at Dorie's Promise in 2009.

Jennifer at Dorie’s Promise in 2009.

By MJ Zelya –

Jennifer at Dorie's Promise 2016

Jennifer (Age 12) came to Dorie’s Promise in 2007 when she was only 4 years old.  Her mother decided to give her up for adoption* because she remarried and had a new family.  When Jennifer came to live at Dorie’s Promise she did not speak Spanish just a Mayan language called Kakchiquel. It was difficult, at first, for everyone to understand her needs. In the end, she adapted very well and learned Spanish so quickly that she was able to enroll in school that same year.

She is a smart girl, we noticed that right away. She has always earned good grades in school, and her teachers say she is a great student. She would like to learn English and speak it fluently!

“I’d like to go to college someday,” says Jennifer.

Her Special Mothers see that as a real possibly, “She is very responsible, and does her homework all by herself.”

She enjoys Bible study time and shares the stories she learns there with the other girls. One of her favorites is the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 when Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish and fed the multitude.

Jennifer is very optimistic and goal orientated. When she sets a goal, she works hard to accomplish it no matter the time it may take.

She is also a very creative girl. She loves to draw and make handicrafts (especially bracelets. See photo right.)

Jennifer and friends showing off the bracelets Jennifer made.Her favorite foods are hamburgers, guacamole, and pasta.

Special Mother Nohemi, the supervisor of house 6 says, “Jennifer is always willing to help others and she is an obedient child.”

She goes on to say, “She is growing up quickly. She is so beautiful. You can see that she is leaving the childhood stage and entering into the teenage years. She is a very lovely girl in so many ways.”

Jennifer is grateful for the opportunity God’s given her to live at Dorie’s Promise. “To me, this home is like a family.” Yet still she desires a for a Forever Family to adopt her*. We will continue to pray for a loving, godly Guatemalan family for Jennifer. Yet we appreciate the privilege of knowing Jennifer and watching her grown into such a delightful young lady.

Please consider sponsoring Jennifer and helping her make her dreams come true!

*International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008

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!

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?