Current Child Count

  • HOGAR DE AMOR I: 14 babies
  • HOGAR DE AMOR II: 5 boys
  • HOGAR DE AMOR III: 7 girls
  • HOGAR DE AMOR IV (Family run): 3 children

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Baby D Update

It's time for an update on Baby D!

First of all, his diagnosis is a VSD (Ventricular septal defect) - and most of the symptoms associated with that - and a PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) .

Currently, he is on two medications indefinitely.

He has struggled with repeated respiratory infections, a common issue with heart babies. He narrowly escaped hospitalization last week thanks in part to a valiant effort by Casa de Amor staff and volunteers.

Baby D currently weighs 4.8 kilos but needs to weigh SIX kilos for his heart surgery to take place. Pray that he begins to tolerate more formula at each feeding!

From past surgeries, we know that a little one going through such an experience needs lot of extra TLC. It's also best if the least number of people possible are involved to provide the best continuity of care. That's why it was pretty neat when a nurse visitor to the Baby Home was captivated by our tiny Baby D and asked if she could change her plans and come back in May! (Read her blog post on falling in love with our baby here.)

NOW the trick will be getting D healthy enough and big enough by May for the surgery, plus coordinating with the doctors and Clinica Belga!

At least we won't be held up by lack of funding. As mentioned in my last blog post, we have been told to budget at least $13,000 for the surgery and post-op hospitalization and medications. Tia Maria, our health care coordinator, was able to obtain a pledge of 70% of the funding from a Catholic foundation in our city. That is an AMAZING portion towards the surgery!

Donations to cover the remaining 30% have come in from far and wide - Australia, Canada, and the US. All of the donations have been from current or former volunteers with the exception of one family who explained that they understand the costs involved as they raise their own "heart baby".

At this point, only about $1,300 is still needed to reach our goal (yes, Linnea, a little more came in since you asked me this morning)!!!

Little D is a much-loved baby!

PS - For a few recent pictures, see volunteer Linnea's blog post!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Heart Surgery

Last month, we welcomed baby D to the Baby Home. It was obvious that he was very small and delayed for being four months old. He was closer to the size and developmental level of a newborn!


 
Our dedicated volunteers and health staff have poured extra attention into D, and he is slowly gaining weight and recovering from several illnesses. He is a sweet, generally quiet, little baby!
 
After several appointments with specialists, we learned more as to why D is not thriving. He has a heart defect that demands surgery as soon as possible. His life depends on it!
 
Throughout the years, Casa de Amor has received a number of babies who were found to have heart murmurs, and even one who needed two medications, but this will be the first time a defect is serious enough to warrant special intervention. 
 
We were in for a shock to hear how much this surgery will cost! Previous surgeries here in Bolivia, such as cleft lip or palate repairs, hernias, lazy eyes, etc., have cost us anywhere from 0 to several hundred dollars. This one is in a completely different ballpark!
 
The heart clinic told us to budget $12-13,000 for the heart surgery, plus more to cover any potential complications.
 
A substantial chunk of this amount is for the cardiologist. Once we are able to commit to a date for the surgery, we will know which pediatric cardiologist would be assigned to our baby, and could possibly negotiate a discount.
 
We trust that God brought us this precious baby for a reason, and that our team of supporters will be able to bless him with a life-changing surgery!
 
Please write Jennifer with any questions, or go directly to our support page for more information on giving.
 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

New arrivals!!

Just as soon as I posted the group Baby Home picture, it went out of date!! On Friday evening (December 6), Casa de Amor got an early Christmas in the form of four children in need of a new home.

Introducing, according to age....

Brothers LM (age 5) & E (3)




These boys were transferred to us from another children’s home that is shutting down. According to the reports left us by that home, their mother was escaping a violent partner when she came to them for help. She was visiting the boys every week or two and wants to pick them up when she finishes studying. They seem like talkative, happy boys so far! The youngest needs dental work.
 
Tomorrow (Monday) we'll talk and decide if these boys would be better in Casa de Amor II.  

 
A, age 2 or 3



Little boy A was brought due to abuse, obviously. We have no further details on him so far. He prefers to be outside and gets upset when brought inside. His first morning in the home, he didn’t want to be touched by anyone and ran crying from the staff.


Baby V., approximately 1 month
 
 
 

This is one of the most pitiful babies we’ve ever had in the Baby Home. His size (2.3 kilos/5 pounds, 4 ounces) reminded me a bit of the triplets, but they were over a pound smaller at his age and still not as sad looking… His story is awful. He was admitted to a hospital in the campo (countryside) by his father and grandfather after his mother (17 years old) tried to kill him by rubbing poison on herself before feeding him. According to the 20 year old father, she then left him on the floor of their shack to die. On November 22, the baby was transferred to our city of Cochabamba for better care. He was released on Monday last week (December 2) but no one had visited and no one came to pick him up, so authorities were notified and he came to us by Friday!

For some reason, his skin is drying and peeling off in sheets. He needs a lot of attention, and I'm so glad that one of our volunteers is caring for him around the clock!


These two cuties arrived on Monday:

V., age 1 year and 5 months (?)


We have very little information about this little girl so far. Apparently her father was very abusive and tried to kill V and her mother. She hasn't spoken a word yet and cries a lot.


Baby F., approximately 4 months



Until we get reports, we know little about this sweet baby except that her mother has health issues and begged social services for help.

Pray for the adjustment of all these new babies and children!!
 


Friday, December 6, 2013

New Group Pictures!

Our wonderfully dedicated volunteer Hannah left yesterday, but we look forward to welcoming her back next month! I love the group pictures she got at two of the homes and thought I'd share them here.

BABY HOME


We received two new little ones at the Baby Home this week!
 
 
CASA DE AMOR III (GIRLS)


Hannah explains that the girls were napping before this picture and weren't quite in the mood for posing, but it's our first group picture with the newest, C.! (first girl at left)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Celebrating Life


Today our beautiful N turns ONE!


We sang Happy Birthday then Tia Maria, our resident pastor, prayed over N's life. I marveled over the turn of events since N's mom was nearly forced to abort her. (Read about how she came to us last year here.)



Happy Birthday, baby!

There are LOTS of cute pictures of her smiling and clapping and the other babies, but all reveal the name on her pretty cake, so I can't show them here.



Practicing walking. She can almost do it!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Little Kitchen Helper


Our dear F (just turned 2 years old) helping Tia Silvia this morning in the kitchen...



TOO cute!!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Visiting SPAI, an Adoption Agency in Italy

My husband and I spent almost two weeks in Italy in June. Our main purpose was to visit some of the twelve Casa de Amor children now living in Italy with their adoptive parents. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip!

(To read more and see pictures of the children, go to my personal blog, here!)



Found it! Looking for SPAI's office right after arriving to Ancona by train.

While there, we planned a quick side trip to Ancona to visit SPAI, "Servizio Polifunzionale per L'Adozione Internazionale". SPAI is the adoption agency that has placed several of our children into Italian families, the most recent being Juan Gabriel in January 2012. (This year we have had zero international adoptions as Bolivia's government remains unwilling to even consider renewing international adoption agreements.)


Ancona is a nice little port town



Casa de Amor is also very grateful to SPAI for the past several years of financial support. We thought it would be nice to go thank them personally!


Meeting Doctora Clementina Merlan in her office. She would love to visit Bolivia again, but with adoptions currently closed between our countries, we are not sure when that visit would take place - or when we will have grants from SPAI again.


Touring SPAI's office, full of momentos from the countries they work with



I loved SPAI's street, pedestrian traffic only


Monday, April 22, 2013

Many Faces

We had to get a good picture last week of baby L for paperwork purposes, and I love the many faces he gave us.


 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Baby L is just 8 months old and well over 20 pounds - pretty huge for a Bolivian baby, especially one who was born prematurely! That's hard to believe now after all the good care he's gotten with the Booher family of Casa de Amor IV. :)
 

Friday, April 5, 2013

New sibling pair in the Baby Home!





Here's the scoop on our newest new baby!! Below is the content of baby A's sponsorship packet. For more information on sponsoring her, write our sponsorship coordinator Denise at Denise@casadeamor.org!

We actually said we were too full when asked to take in this newborn, but then realized she was the new sister of a baby boy we already had!

On February 15, 2012, we were called by the main pediatric hospital’s social worker and informed of a situation in the maternity wards. A mother had tried to suffocate her brand new baby to death, and upon exam was found to be suffering from postpartum psychosis (the most unusual but extreme form of postpartum depression). Thus baby boy S arrived to Casa de Amor’s Baby Home at 3 days of age.

Fast forward to April 1, 2013, and Casa de Amor’s social worker was in the office of the same social worker of the same hospital. We were asked to take in an abandoned newborn but we said we were too full, with two newborns already. Then a doctor just “happened” to walk into the office and mention the name of the abandoned baby’s mother. Our social worker immediately recognized the name and called the director back with this new bit of news… And the rest is history!!

Beautiful baby A was brought to us at 5 days old and seems a perfect little baby so far.
 
 
 

After many visits to the birth family (5 older siblings, a mother with multiple mental illnesses, and a physically ill father), it was obvious that they could not and did not want to care for S. His papers are already pretty far advanced, meaning he could’ve be assigned an adoptive family soon, but now we will have to start in court over presenting his new sister. Pray that somehow the case is expedited so that BOTH can receive a forever family without too much more delay!




 
We think the two look VERY much alike! S didn't like the idea of lying down by his sister though, so still don't have a good picture of both of their faces. :)
 
 
 
 So tiny!!
 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Special Arrival from the Chapare!

 
 


Introducing one of our beautiful new babies!! The below information is from baby S's sponsorship packet. (For more information about sponsoring her, write our sponsorship coordinator Denise at Denise@casadeamor.org!)


On March 27, we were called about a baby approximately 3 weeks of age just brought in from what is called the “Chapare”, a tropical area a few hours outside Cochabamba, down out of the mountains. As different as this area is, the Chapare is part of the department of Cochabamba and so their children-in-risk pertain to our city.

And so a gorgeous tiny baby girl arrived to Casa de Amor! The baby’s papers state that her mother has seven other children, but has only lived with the youngest the past few years as she has pursued other relationships. This baby's father wants nothing to do with the baby and made that clear, so the mother gave the baby to her neighbors, saying they could have her. Although that couple would love to raise the baby as their own and actually gave her the unusual, beautiful name she arrived with, they did the right thing in notifying authorities.

At this point we do not know if they are presenting papers to request legal guardianship, but it takes 1-2 years for a child’s abandonment papers to go through.

 
 
Baby S has been healthy and a pretty perfect baby since arrival! Next week she’ll go to the doctor for the regular exams. She weighs around 8 pounds.  
 
Depending on any future developments with S’s birth family, Casa de Amor will process papers to so that she will eventually have a forever adoptive family!
  

 
 
Baby S is in the pale green and white outfit. The baby in pink is baby "V".
 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cute babies!

For our Casa de Amor fans, a few recent pictures of our beautiful babies!!
 
 
Our newest, baby V, has the cutest ways of sleeping... 
 

Spunky Toddler F (those who know her know this hairstyle just suits her!)
 
 
Baby C, growing slowly but surely (Yes, this is a girl - we need some hair!)
 
 
 
Toddler MN - hard to believe that she left today with her new Bolivian adoptive parents!! She was our second oldest at the Baby Home, a spot which will now go to A. who turned two last month.
 
 
O., our oldest at the Baby Home, turned three yesterday! Here she is modeling her new earrings, to replace the others she quickly lost...and one of these was gone by the next morning! Sigh. And she loves earrings so much!
 
 
And a final picture of our chubby cheeked V! (Blogger turned this picture automatically in two tries of uploading it, but I think it's still worth showing.)
 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

First babies of the year!

We’ve been blessed with two beautiful baby girls this last week of February.

First came A, and she has now gone to live at CDA IV with the Booher family! I’m sure they’ll have a blog post up on her soon and I’ll link here.

What we know of A’s story, from her sponsorship packet:

Casa de Amor staff and volunteers regularly visit Cochabamba’s Pediatric Nutrition Center. At one point in our visits last year, we were shown to a gorgeous baby girl who was abandoned. We agreed to bring her home to Casa de Amor when she had recuperated enough to leave the hospital.

After months of repeated illnesses and hospitalizations, A finally arrived! According to her social report, the baby was found in a trash can. According to the police who picked her up, she must have been born only minutes prior, as she was still attached to a long umbilical cord and still had birthing fluids on her little body. The doctor who checked her over declared her healthy, so until it was decided what to do with the baby, she was sent to the nutritional center to gain weight.

With nothing new to go off in A’s background, Casa de Amor will process papers to so that she will eventually have her forever adoptive family!
 



Then today, a tiny little "package" arrived to our doorstep!

 

V’s story, from her sponsorship packet:

On Saturday afternoon, February 23, a woman was tending her elderly father’s fields with her children, clearing brush. Around 5pm they were preparing to leave when they detected the sound of a baby crying. Upon further investigation, they found blood...and then a newborn! The baby girl was naked and dirty, already covered in dirt and ants as she lay amongst thorn bushes. Her little body was cold, so after wrapping her in her own jacket, the woman ran her to the nearest hospital. There the baby was discovered to have signs of an infection and hypothermia.

After a few days, the baby was declared stable and ready for a home. Casa de Amor was contacted and sweet baby V (named by hospital staff) arrived. As I changed her diaper before weighing her, I discovered the remains of her umbilical cord stump, just off!

We will soon take V to the doctor and do further exams. For now she seems healthy and weighs a light 3.1 kilos (barely 7 pounds).

If we cannot track down V’s birth mother, even with her abandonment coming out on the news, Casa de Amor will process papers to so that she will eventually have her forever adoptive family!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

First Birthday x 2!

We had a nice time yesterday celebrating two first birthdays at the Baby Home!

E and S turned one within two days of each other so we decided to celebrate all at once
 

S has been with us since brand new (he actually arrived the same day we were celebrating two birthdays at once).


 
E joined us just two months ago! He will have his second surgery, this time to repair a cleft palate, on February 22.
 
 
Our next-to-youngest baby, little C!
 
I wanted to post several more cute pictures of the other kids, but I've struggled for two days now to get any more pictures to upload and blogger refuses. Will try again next week! :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy 2013! I never thought I'd take THIS long of a break from blogging - time got away from me! Between the holiday season, two weddings, a move, and travel, I think I had a good excuse.

Now my challenge is deciding where to begin in catching up our blog friends on Casa de Amor. Look for posts soon!

Meanwhile, a few pictures from our Bolivia wedding on November 30, 2012:

 

A special trip to "El Cristo" right before the wedding, the site of our engagement exactly 8 weeks prior


 
 With my family and dear friends
 
 
 
Our youngest wedding guests!