Thursday, July 24, 2014
E was sent to a room at 3:30pm and slept alright last night, but this morning was in a lot of pain again.
He must be doing pretty well, because even though the surgeon said he thought he would be hospitalized 3 days, he might be released tomorrow, Friday!
Thanks so much to everyone who is praying...and giving!
The current donation count stands at $2,114, from 10 donors living in 4 different countries (US, UK, NZ, and Denmark).
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Here are a couple recent pictures:
We're in the thick of surgery prep again though, this time for baby E (10 1/2 months). Since his arrival in February, he gets sick, then sicker. After many tests and a hospital stay, he comes home - sick. Then he gets sicker. And sicker! Back to the hospital, home sick. Repeat!
He has been diagnosed with several different infections this year, but mainly develops respiratory infections. Cold and cough type viruses are very common both in Cochabamba (3rd most polluted city in South America) and the Baby Home (the babies and staff pass colds around), but E seemed to have trouble to an unusual extent.
It has been so frustrating for our staff and volunteers doing their best, around the clock, to help this baby, and see him still suffering!
Finally, after numerous visits to many doctors, including two of the best pediatricians in town, a special study was done and E was diagnosed with severe acid reflux. He doesn't throw up to a large degree, but it's almost worse that he doesn't! The milk we give him goes back into his right lung every time he eats.
Earlier this month, we were told that he needed the surgery as soon as he was somewhat well again, preferably within a month's time. At that point he was receiving IV meds for pneumonia every 12 hours and STILL not improving. Finally, it just became too urgent, as his esophagus is compromised due to the terrible reflux.
Baby E. will be admitted to the best clinic in our city TOMORROW morning, Wednesday, July 24, and operated on an hour later.
Please pray for wisdom for the doctors, for peace and comfort for baby E., compassion and patience for those staying with him night and day, and for the rest of the funds to come in!!
Maria, our health coordinator, has estimated needing $3,000 to cover the surgery, even with the surgeon donating his time. Since posting the need on our Facebook page, $875 has come in through 3 donors (sending from Denmark, Ireland, and the US) via paypal. That's a great start but we need more!
Please let us know if you have any questions!
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Now, nearly 10 years after receiving our first child, Casa de Amor is blessed with friends far and wide!
Some of our biggest cheerleaders are former volunteers who have seen and experienced our ministry in Bolivia firsthand. (Most of baby D's heart surgery donors were former volunteers, as I mentioned I this post.)
Friends Savannah and Kristin of Nashville, Tennessee, have set up a neighborhood glass recycling program that funnels donations to our children. See the website of ¡Muchas Glassias! for more information and Savannah's wonderful pictures. Their regular donations have provided everything from a refrigerator for the new girl's home to Christmas baskets for our staff.
My parents are also pretty awesome cheerleaders! They met Josh and April Samuels at their church. The Samuels have begun ellajude, a beautiful line of handcrafted jewelry. A percentage of their profits blesses Casa de Amor Children's Homes. Their first two donations have come at crucial times of need for us!
On behalf of our staff and children, thank you so much to these very creative supporters!
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Saturday, May 17, 2014
WE HAVE A SURGERY DATE!!!
We bailed him out one week later with a nasty cough and more meds, but he’s been doing very well under Elizabeth (and now Katrina Culmer’s) diligent care.
Tia Maria has also given her all these past months.
For those of you who have been waiting for information on donating blood, we think that’s taken care of for now! The doctors have changed their minds and say we only need 1 or 2 donors. We can easily reach that goal amongst our staff. More helpful at this point would be volunteers to stay at Daniel’s bedside before and after the surgery.
Thank you for your prayers and support! We are nearing the goal of a healthy baby! :)
Monday, May 5, 2014
Yesterday he woke up with discharge clouding his eyes, and as the volunteer and I talked about him, he coughing hoarsely.
Oh, the disappointment! This morning I sensed defeat in the voice of Maria, our over-worked health coordinator. The doctor gave him three medications and ordered lab work.
Maria has been unable to reach the heart surgeon to learn what happens now.
Please pray for God's perfect timing in all of this!!!
In other news, I just did a fresh tally of the finances that have come in specifically for this surgery.
Some interesting stats about the donations:
ELEVEN separate donors (some have given multiple times)
SIX different countries: US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and United Kingdom
EIGHT donors are former volunteers, and ONE donor will volunteer later this year
Average donation amount per donor: $400!
Thank you to everyone who has given so sacrificially! I hope to report back with good news SOON.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
WE HAVE A SURGERY DATE!!!
Baby D will be admitted to the heart clinic on Wednesday, May 7, for heart surgery on May 9! He is still about a pound shy of where he should be, but is currently healthy and progressing developmentally. Due to the chronic ear infections he has suffered through, he has been scheduled for auditory testing.
PRAY THAT HE STAYS HEALTHY!!
We are so grateful for the dedication of volunteer Linnea to care for D around the clock and get him healthy and strong. She leaves Bolivia tomorrow morning to return to Canada, but return volunteer Lindsey is stepping in to fill the gap.
April 28, 2014
Last week when I sat down with our health coordinator, I realized how many details are involved. Maria had just spent the morning on 3 tests for the baby costing over $100. If that doesn’t sound like much, it’s a lot here in Bolivia. One of the things she found out is that we will need MANY blood donors. (An estimated 16?!)
Friends and volunteers in Cochabamba who are willing to donate blood: stay tuned for more details!
A few more pictures of our volunteer get-together a couple of nights ago, thanking Linnea for her service to Casa de Amor:
Click HERE to see how to give via check or paypal.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
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
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Introducing, according to age....
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:
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.
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
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
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.)
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.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
(To read more and see pictures of the children, go to my personal blog, here!)
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.)
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!