Current Child Count

  • HOGAR DE AMOR I: 11 babies
  • HOGAR DE AMOR II: 6 boys
  • HOGAR DE AMOR III: 8 girls

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Urgent Needs - Update and Thank You!!

Yesterday was an exciting day of tallying the checks that have just arrived! This is the most amazing week we have had since 2015 end-of-year giving. THANK YOU everyone for your generosity!! We were also touched by the encouraging, uplifting notes that are arriving with the donations. I haven't seen these people (many from Texas) in several years or even more, but they are responding generously to needs.

Here is an update:

The June letter explained that we need $40,000 by the end of July AND for our mini-bus to sell.

The bus has been taken to market a couple of times but there has not been an adequate offer, so this is still in process.

However, as of this last wonderful week, we have received $30,858 to our mailbox and paypal since the mailing of the letter!!

The discouraging part is it seems the childcare and support staff (minus administration) are not going to resign from their jobs. This signifies that we owe them THREE months of salaries when we end their contract - another difficult aspect of Bolivian workers law. This will add $14,550 to the previously estimated closing costs.

So it's clear that we are seeing progress but still have a mountain to climb!

Also encouraging is the support we are seeing from friends in Cochabamba who are part of the children-at-risk ministry community. People are pulling together to see that our kids have a great new home, and that's wonderful news!

Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Difficult News

This letter has now arrived to our Casa de Amor mailing list. Due to it's importance and the rumors I am hearing, I am also posting the contents here. Please hear my heart, there is nothing more than what is contained here. I fully trust the local administration and admire them for their dedication in the face of so many challenges. Thank you!


Dear Supporters,
This is a letter I never imagined writing so it’s taken some time to gather my thoughts. Casa de Amor and Bolivia have been a huge part of my life since I was 20 years old—the memories are so special to me! Beginning in 2002, God established a two-continent team to build a loving home for orphaned and abandoned babies. The first newsletter of 2005 announced with joy, “Casa de Amor now shakes with the sound of children! God has blessed us with six beautiful children to love and care for, five boys and one girl.” (One of those boys is now my son!)

Casa de Amor Bolivia
Despite regular setbacks, Casa de Amor in Bolivia has been a well-funded ministry, able to accept any baby in need as long as we had a crib. We’ve administered three children’s homes, 24/7, for 11 ½ years. Since the economic downturn in 2008, however, we rarely have a large bank account balance, but money would come just in time to cover necessities. International adoptions also nearly ceased, and three of our biggest supporting churches stopped giving for internal reasons beyond our control. Still God provided.
The ministry was never supposed to be about me. I searched actively for years to find someone—anyone—willing to take over my role. Finally in late 2014, prospects appeared! The timing was none too soon as I was due with our 5th child (2nd biological). It had become increasingly complicated to run the homes well and care for my growing family. My husband and I made the decision to move near family in the states.
Mid-2015, after months of preparation and training and productive meetings, I excitedly announced to our supporters the new team God had assembled to replace me—a local director, two missionary
administrators, and a new missionary president for our Bolivian board. My heart was full, knowing the children would still be cared for, and I could focus on my family.
The joy was short-lived. Days before our September departure, the new US staff members within Bolivia resigned. They saw the shoestring support for themselves and became alarmed. The responsibility of overseeing funding for 30+ children, 15 staff members, and 3 houses was too great.
I did not expect my departure to mean decreased giving, but just in case, I heeded suggestions to restructure and reduce costs. Before boarding the plane with our family of 7, I oversaw and approved a new plan reducing our expenses by about 40%. Sadly, giving has plummeted since my departure. Giving since January has averaged 70% of our restructured basic operating expenses. Staff and board members in Cochabamba have given it their best, but also failed to find new financing.  Obviously, a continual lack of money when one cares for children is of huge concern! This was not the Casa de Amor we knew for so many years.   

Other Difficult Factors
We are accustomed to Bolivian authorities’ difficult mandates, but regulation is increasingly oppressive—and expensive. To list just a few:

  • Annual government-decreed wage increases, some years as much as 10% for our entire staff
  • Constant pressure to replace childcare staff with degreed professionals  (and no trial periods allowed)
  • Women not allowed to work over 40 hours a week—creating the need for an exorbitant amount of caregivers and insecurity with the children.
  • No publishing children’s pictures
Continually discouraging are the partially full Bolivian and US boards. People are just busy! We’ve not had a consistent volunteer coordinator since 2014, eliminating a multi-faceted source of support. No one leads vital communication to supporters, and our long-time child sponsorship coordinator moved on.
The final blow was a disgruntled ex-employee’s court case. We won in 2012, her employment term complaints proven false, but corruption saw her appeal unexpectedly granted early this year. We were ordered to pay her additional wages and court fees amounting to over $32,000. Appealing this judgment so our new director doesn’t go to jail has added expense, stress, and distraction from the ministry.


With growing dismay, Bolivian administrators and I began asking with an open heart, “What is God telling us?” “Has Casa de Amor’s time of ministry passed?” We had a healthy, growing ministry many years thanks to steady funding AND dedicated personnel. Lacking both meant excellence was no longer obtainable.
During this time of questioning, God did not open any floodgates. Trusted advisors who know Bolivia agree the climate is difficult. We’ve concluded the unthinkable—we must cease operations in Bolivia. 

Our desire is to bow out gracefully, leaving the best possible testimony. Caring for the children and staff is our priority!


The Current Situation
Even closing down in Bolivia is hard. There have been myriad details and legalities to consider. And of course, in the midst of it all, is the weight of finding Christian homes for 15 babies and 15 school-aged children. We have a couple possibilities, but pray for God to move on their behalf, to open the right doors!
There is a sense of urgency to transfer the school children during July’s short winter break. If the babies are also moved by then, we can release the staff the last day of July—IF we have the funds to do so without bringing down new court cases. We informed our Bolivian staff yesterday in a tearful meeting that we hope to have enough money by the end of July to pay them every bit of what they are owed by law.
The costs we are looking at between now and then include:
REGULAR OPERATING EXPENSES (JUNE & JULY): $20,000
CLOSING EXPENSES (including a good finish with all staff members): $25,000
RENT HOUSES PAINTING AND REPAIR (3 houses, with owners we greatly appreciate): $5,000
TOTAL = $50,000
We seek a buyer for our main asset, a large van, and a few other items of value which are estimated to bring in around $10,000. All will be applied towards these expenses.  
This means we still need approximately $40,000 in the next 5 weeks—a very tall order, but vital.
Your generosity is greatly needed as we honor our Christian testimony in Bolivia to finish well! 


Checks can be mailed to our address in the US, or donations made online using PayPal (see below).
I am deeply grateful for all our financial sponsors, a group that began with my family’s Christmas card list, and has grown to include dear friends around the world. Thank you so much to each one who has given, from widow’s mites to large checks that made us gasp. YOU made Casa de Amor a place of love by your generous and sacrificial giving!

In Christ,
Jennifer Beaty (Thompson)
Founder
Casa de Amor Children’s Homes

PS--Once we know the new homes of all 30 of the children, we will inform everyone. I’m sure those ministries would appreciate the transfer of child sponsors and new support! Please contact me with any questions.

“And Jesus took the children in his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them.”
Mark 10:16



Mail checks made out to "GOAL" to the following address:

GOAL
PO Box 357 
Collierville, Tennessee, 38027
USA


Paypal Donation Link


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fun Outside!

** We apologize for the lack of pictures! As much as we would love to show their beautiful faces, for the privacy of the children we are no longer allowed to post pictures online.**

Several weeks ago with the help of several wonderful volunteers – the outdoor play-sets from the old baby home were finally transferred to the newer baby home!

The outdoor play-sets have always been a favorite place to play for our kids! They have brought life to the homes, and allowed the kids to be creative, and enjoy long mornings playing outside! When the babies moved homes last September, the play-sets were temporarily left behind due to the work involved in moving them.

The kids continued to enjoy them when they visited volunteers, but mostly were un-used.

In May, thanks to the hard work of Tio David, Tio Franco, Tio Tadeuo, and Tia Chelsea, (and the willing help of lots of little hands) the play-sets were dis-assembled, transported, and re-assembled!

A work in progress!

The kids now have fun/ safe places to play outside, and the babies have their own play-set inside!
The babies enjoy hiding under the slide in the play-room and the toddlers love to sneak UP the slide when they think no one is watching. :)

The girls love their new swings, and would swing all day if not for their homework and chores!

The girls also enjoy playing “house” in their new fort, and it is always interesting to see. Last week I overheard Saret, one of our youngest in kindergarten, sweetly ordering her younger sisters to eat their food and not cry. Saret can be a picky eater, and is often tired at lunch time. It is not uncommon for her to end lunch time in tears- so it was amusing to hear her advice to the other girls!

We are so thankful that the kids are able to spend time playing as KIDS! Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Staff Shout-Out!

This week I was chatting with a longtime supporter of Casa de Amor. Her husband had recently stopped sending their monthly child sponsorship donation and she had some questions. I realized that their questions could possibly be the same with many of our supporters, so I’ll address them here.

She asked if the homes were doing alright. I shared that we’re having difficulties with certain “Bolivia” issues.

I could have also added corruption in the court system…

an environment that does not favor non-profits…

laws that are not practical for those caring for children around the clock.

She asked if I trust our administrative staff at Casa de Amor Bolivia.

Let me just say YES!

and…

YES!!!  



I’m sorry that I haven’t been more proactive in sharing that publically. I assumed that people would know I couldn’t leave and move to the US without a trustworthy, capable staff on the ground. Now I see that was a mistake.

First of all, it’s so awesome to have passed the work to nationals!!! This is a great goal of us in missions.

Secondly, I know my staff VERY well. We worked alongside each other for years and years. We bonded and I KNOW they caught the vision for Casa de Amor because I’ve seen it played out in their decisions again and again!

Right now, I long to be with them there, looking them in the eyes and saying I’m sorry for how hard things have been, and assure them that they are doing a great job looking at the challenges from every angle.

We have not been able to replace the English communicator role, which greatly pains me, but Rosa stepped right into the role as director and is doing a great job. She wears many hats with grace!

Even though I’m not there, thirty beautiful children are being cared for. They receive food, education, medical and dental care, and of course round-the-clock love and care.


If anyone has questions about their giving, please don’t hesitate to write me!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Important Administrative Announcement

Casa de Amor Children’s Homes is in urgent need of these three staff members:

Bilingual Communication Administrator (Bolivia based)
Facilitate communication between the Bolivian ministry and international donors

Child Sponsorship Coordinator (US or Bolivia based)
Match children to sponsors, support communication between sponsored children and sponsors on a regular basis

Volunteer Coordinator (Bolivia based)
Coordinate every aspect of a volunteer’s service period in Bolivia from the moment of inquiry until the end of their stay

Our challenge through the years, particularly as I stepped back to care for my own family, has always been finding dedicated people as passionate about high quality ADMINISTRATION as CHILDREN. While sitting on the floor and playing with a child is important, there is a constant stream of national staff ready to do that. Sitting at a desk and telling supporters what is going on...in English...now THAT has been a hard role to fill!


August 2008
I still did plenty of baby holding!!


We will not be able to continue operation for much longer without English speaking administrative support to communicate with our amazing donors. Thank you! 

Write Jennifer for more information.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Homework Time


Like the majority of children, the kids at Casa de Amor LOVE homework. Ha!
Like most children, homework time is not the highlight of the day for kids at Casa de Amor. However, it is a time when the children receive special individual attention. Because school is half-day in Bolivia, the children often arrive home with 1-3 hours of homework. (Depending on the concentration of the child) Several of the children struggle with learning abilities and attention difficulties, and this often makes homework time even more difficult.

Due to our wonderful long-term volunteers, and local volunteers, lately, there has been no shortage of help at homework time.

After arriving home from school at lunch time, the kids change out of their uniforms and sometimes wash their overcoats and socks by hand. This is a great way for them to learn responsibility, and to prepare for the reality of life in Bolivia. Once this is taken care of, lunch is served, and we gather around the table to eat and hear about the kid’s days. (The littlest ones often fall asleep at the table!)

After lunch is finished, and dishes are done, homework time begins. The youngest kids with less homework finish first, and typically nap for an hour or so. The older kids have more homework, and sometimes work until dinner time. Although this can be a tedious time, it can also be a great opportunity to talk with the kids and hear about their days and interests and dreams.

Yesterday, I got to write simple and complex sentences with 11 year old Edgar. 45 sentences seemed like a daunting task, but I began to enjoy laughing and joking with Edgar as we worked. Edgar is very intelligent, but has had a hard childhood, and can often be trying to work with. He is the oldest of the boys, and often feels lonely. As we were writing sentences, he opened up about his friends, classmates, soccer team, and interest in World War 2.

Although homework time is not my favorite time either, I am thankful for the way God uses it as an opportunity to spend time with the children at Casa de Amor!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Children's Day

Dia del Nino!

Children’s Day, April 12th, is a largely celebrated holiday in Bolivia. Restaurants offer special deals, hire clowns, and offer face painting. Schools give large goody baskets to children of snacks and candies. In general, it is a day for children to be spoiled, but it is also a day where the children at Casa de Amor are showered with love and attention from local churches and individuals.

Last Tuesday, I arrived at the home in the morning to find the children- and some tias- with clown face paint. A very generous group of physical therapy students had planned a special day for the little kids with games, snacks, and most importantly – lollipops! We have a ways to go in learning how to eat lollipops, but for the most part, it was a successful day! :)

Matthew 19:14 says: Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

While Children’s Day is not a specifically Christian holiday, it is a good reminder of Jesus’ love for His children, and the responsibility we as adults have in pointing them to Jesus. Please continue to pray for wisdom for decision that need to be made at Casa de Amor, and as always for God’s provision for these precious lives.




Wednesday, April 6, 2016

School Anniversary!




In Bolivia, (and with 31 children) there is always SOMETHING to celebrate! 

This last week, on Thursday afternoon, the kids excitedly announced that they would be preforming in the school anniversary celebration in the morning. This led to an exciting turn of afternoon events!

Each class participates in a different school holiday, and Friday 8 of our school aged children participated in traditional dances. Each dance requires a specific costume, according to native dress in each region. The 4 Pre-K students were required to rent their costumes- normally a fairly simple task. However, due to a road block by local dairy farmers, this turned into an all afternoon event for our fearless volunteers.

Friday morning, we arrived to the school prepared to help and cheer on the kids in whatever way possible. The kids divided into their classes, and the volunteers and tia decided to divide and conquer! The volunteers and Tia Marcela helped the youngest with their costumes, I supervised Shyrlen as she prepared for her dance, and Franco helped keep Daniel and Benito from taking their cowboy looking costumes too  seriously. 

When it was time for the dances to begin, we were all busy taking pictures and making sure everyone was in the right place. The kids danced extremely well, and were happy to show off for the audience.

Enjoy a few pictures of our older kids at Casa de Amor! Until April 12th for Children's Day, and then we'll celebrate again!   

Maybe not everyone enjoyed themselves....


Handsome little cowboys... or dancers from Santa Cruz!

S- the littlest- all dressed up!
B is not so sure about dancing with a GIRL!
They say it takes a village to raise a child...and an army to dress them up!







Thursday, March 24, 2016

An Apple a Day....

They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but unfortunately it isn't always that easy! Especially when there are 31 children living in semi-close quarters...

As the weather starts to change ( in Bolivia from Summer to Fall) , the children start to get coughs and colds. Although Casa de Amor does everything possible to prevent this, the normal cold is hard to beat completely.

This morning, I went to the homes with the intention of spending the morning helping the tias and playing with babies, and soon saw that was not going to happen. Three of the babies were in their nice clothes, and Tia Maria (the healthcare tia) was looking for help. Taking one sick child to the doctor is never fun, but three is nearly impossible! Volunteer Cecilie and I each grabbed a child and headed to the clinic with Tia Maria. The clinic was luckily nearly empty, and the kids were attended quickly.



The price of healthcare in Bolivia is realtively inexpensive, but the expenses do add up. The visit for each child cost 40 bolivianos, approximately $5.75, plus medicine. The nurses were very friendly, and helpful, and the babies enjoyed the extra attention... even if it doesn't show on their faces. :)

We are thankful for access to good medical care, willing volunteers, and wonderful staff committed to the care of these precious children!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Visiting Team from Denmark

For many years, Casa de Amor has been blessed by the visits and hard work of teams from Denmark. The team is called Alterna, and visits Bolivia for several weeks each year. Alterna is made up of high school students and teachers, and always comes prepared to love and serve! Many wonderful long-term volunteers have also come out of these teams.

This year, Alterna arrived at Casa de Amor and listened to a little bit of the history of the home.



After a quick tour, everyone got to work! The guys were a huge help with yard work that often gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list. They mowed, weed-eated, trimmed trees, and rooted out lots of weeds! 



The girls were a huge help with the babies, and also went through the toy collection to throw away broken toys and small pieces



After working hard all morning, the tias had cooked a delicious meal, and everyone sat down to eat.
As the older kids arrived from school, they were slightly overwhelmed but very excited about having so many visitors!

After lunch, the team presented several skits with the gospel presented clearly. The kids laughed and enjoyed watching the “silly visitors”! (Most of the kids, some of the younger ones weren’t fans of the clowns. J )  The kids even got to participate in some of the skits!




Thank you to the Alterna team, and to all who pray and support the children of Casa de Amor!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Water Fights!

Every year in Bolivia, the city celebrates carnival, and the entire city becomes a water war zone. Children and adults alike throw water balloons from passing cars, spray neighbors with mega size water guns, and look for anyway possible to get wet! 

The kids at Casa de Amor look forward to this time of year that they can escape from the heat, and participate in water fights from the safety of their own yard. This year the volunteers were good sports and played with the kids and Tia's until they were soaked! 



They ran out of water balloons, but buckets of water were more effective anyway. :) 


Back to School!

As of February 1st, the oldest 15 children from Casa de Amor are back to school! 

We are so thankful for the generosity of many people in providing school supplies, uniforms, and backpacks for the kids. Many of our kids struggle academically, so providing them with what they need at the beginning of the year is vital. They are able to start the school-year with a fresh start, feeling prepared and well- cared for!


Our three youngest girls... Be praying for their teacher!:)



First day of school ever for these four! Looking nervous....

M. Is looking so grown up!

First day of Middle School! 

Sisters!!

All 15 kids...with differing levels of excitement for their first day of school! 





Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Day #3



J. is our second to oldest girl and child at Casa de Amor! Just a few days ago she celebrated her 12th birthday. This year she is in 6th grade and has many friends at school. She loves going to church and enjoys reading her Bible. Her sweet personality makes her a great influence on the other children! ‪#‎20k20days‬
If you'd like to make a one-time donation toward her care or become one of her monthly sponsors, you can do so at this link:http://casadeamor.publishpath.com/supporting, or email Denise our child sponsorship coordinator at denise@casadeamor.org

Day #2



Many of you already know this little boy, but for our new followers, I’d like to introduce you to B.! He is 7 years old and has lived with us since he was a baby. This year he is in second grade and is learning how to read. He has some physical challenges that have made life a little more difficult for him, but he is overcoming these challenges every day. He is rarely seen without a smile! 
‪#‎20k20days‬

If you’d like to make a one-time donation toward his care or become one of his monthly sponsors, you can do so at this link:http://casadeamor.publishpath.com/supporting or email our child sponsorship coordinator at denise@casadeamor.org