Current Child Count

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year/Feliz Año Nuevo!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of our friends, near and far!
May your light for Jesus shine brightly from wherever you are in 2009.

December 30, 2008
M., taking her role very seriously during a special song with candles at our end-of-the-year "thankfulness and praise" program for the three was a beautiful time!

Not to us O LORD,
not to us but to Your name be the glory,
because of Your love and faithfulness.
Psalm 115:1

While writing this I received word of last week's donation deposit.....and it is enough!! We are fine through the month of January, PTL! Thank you to everyone who gives so generously.

"I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy." (Psalm 140:12)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Brother & Sister...

...together at last! (If you don't have a clue what that means, see

Here are some better pictures of both....

....when I could convince big brother that nothing would happen to him by standing for just one second by his baby sister.

See? He gets a terribly distressed look when we force ask him nicely to stop playing long enough to stand closer to his sister AND look at the camera (I know, I'm so demanding!! but I think that someday, they just might appreciate us taking the trouble).

Notice the chicken pox spots/sores on his face? Now Toddler J has it and possibly a few more...
(As for the spot on her face, that's from a pesky mosquito that got in under her netting the night before.)

"Ohh!! Another bad hair day!", says Baby C

(How she's changed since her arrival!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cute Babies

Today I was mainly alone in the office and the phone only rang a couple times so I was able to get an impressive amount of computer work done for once. I also wrote over a dozen bios for sponsorship packets until 10pm tonight, so made a sizeable dent in that project. Good thing, as tomorrow includes lots of errands and medical stuff, ending with a special end-of-the-year prayer/worship/giving thanks event for the homes.

So, in the afternoon while it rained and a complete rainbow spread in between the mountains in our Cochabamba valley, I was able to sit around and play with and enjoy the babies with my Mom and the caregivers. Ahh, heaven...

A few of the pics I got in that time:

The Baby Hilton, haha. The caregivers had prepared such nice padded spots for our youngest four, now they just needed that staff to come around for the milk service!

What a cutie! I think this is the first smile I've captured from Twin (girl) G, in my all time favorite baby sweater (I think it's Baby Gap--thanks to whoever donated it!!)

This time of year (i.e., extremely rainy) there are constant rainbows--double, full, ones that end right at our house, the pot of gold of course. =) This one was completely full but how to fit it in?!

Taken from the third floor office balcony

And these from last week:

boy twin G hanging out in the sling

and girl twin G having her turn

Aren't they sweet?!

Today I also finally caught the new siblings, B & C, awake and happy and caught it on camera!! But I'll show those tomorrow. Gonna get some shut eye now as I have social services on my doorstep first thing tomorrow to talk about the paperwork on a set of sisters.

Christmas & Twins x 2

This was too much fun!! We started the photo session after all the gift-giving in the homes on Christmas Eve. The babies were quite cooperative, even though one had been woken from a snooze (boy G) and another was still under the weather (boy E). But my parents were game to help out and we just went for it, until I had filled up the memory card and internal space on my camera.

We've never had them in identical clothes, since they are boy/girl twins and we work with donated clothes, but I found the matching red onesies in the storage room a few minutes before (maybe from our friend's twin boys?) and my Mom had bought the baby twins something to match (quite the feat to find here in Bolivia where everything is one-of-a-kind), so why not document the moment!

At one point my sister Emma walked in from playing with the toddlers and was like WHAT in the world are y'all doing?! Guess we did look pretty silly, standing on the bed and chair and doing all sorts of antics and sounds to get them to look the right direction and not get bored.

But if it's not one thing, it's another. I was really disappointed with the quality when I looked at them later. It was getting dark outside but the pics taken after turning the light on are even worse. Oh, well, can't be too picky.

Just had to go with a slideshow, there are so many. =) Twins E & E are 13 months old today and Twins G & G are about 3 1/2 months.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in Hogar de Amor I

Continuing the daily Christmas picture posts, here's more from the wild scene that was the Baby Home on Christmas Eve!

Handing out gifts:

Babies, babies, everywhere...

Ha ha, it's mine! i found it first!

Two gorgeous girls

That naughty volunteer Elizabeth, feeding the baby twins cookies after I TOLD her not to!! (Just jokin' =)

There are always lots of pics of R, our Mr. Personality Plus!

Toddler R and Twins E & E trying out the new ride-ons, provided by our accountant's organization (thanks, VivaBolivia!).

Here you can really tell that poor (boy) Twin E still didn't feel well after his bout with laryngitus and subsequent isolation, not to mention teething. He's getting better, just at his own pace.

And I had planned on getting a "Our First Christmas" shot with the youngest set, but that proved impossible with everything else going on and by the next day the red clothes were in the dirty clothes pile and I didn't have time to figure something else out. So this is probably the closest we have, although of course Baby V from HDA III is missing (turned 6 months on Christmas Day).

Minus Twin E, sitting at far left, and Baby B, rolled over onto his stomach (no face visible), the other six babies are our "First Christmas" babies. (We're down to just seven babies total under 12 months. Shew! If the gov't had their way, we'd have twice that many, but we need a breather from constant newborns not to mention that we're completely out of hands, cribs, and occasionally--patience! And when including the disabled and delayed babies, there are about 5 more under 12 months, developmentally speaking.)

And finally, Baby E said "too much navidad!!!" and fell asleep...briefly.

Si, my niños do speak/understand Spanglish, if you're wondering. ;-)

Next Christmas picture post, tomorrow: adorable twin photo shoot!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas in Hogar de Amor II

Racing down the stairs, with the ever-intrepid E leading the way!

I was as amazed as the kids at all the goodies packed into each box!

Look at the size of that dragon!!

Proudly showing off stickers from "Tio Grant"

My parents helping J master his new plane shooter thingy...

My sister Emma admiring J's new jacket and purse! (A special miracle is that J LOVES them. She's been a bit hard-to-please in the clothing area the past year.)

A moment of rest
and silence from the gift frenzy as the kids savored Mom's special Christmas cookies


A great big howdy HOLA to all the friends and supporters who provided such a special Christmas for our kids!!!

Chicken Pox, ahhh!!!

Ah-hem. An interupption in the flow of merry Christmas posts, for a little explanation of the other side show going on since Christmas Eve, before I'm posting pictures of cute-but-speckled babies here....
Christmas morning, right after opening presents with my family and volunteer Elizabeth, and fielding a call from Italy (yes, from my Juanito, what a huge gift!!!), a caregiver from the Baby Home called my cell phone. The night before I had silently suspected chicken pox on our newest little boy, but was ignoring it and pretending it would go away and that I was guessing totally wrong. Still, I planned to call the Baby Home around noon and find out if he had more spots and where. Well, he did. So they called me first. We've never had chicken pox in the Baby Home, and on Christmas week?! Sigh. With babies already down with coughs and colds and right in the thick of staff vacations, of course. (December--February are always our rockiest months medically at the Baby Home, to the point of hospitalizations every year.)

But this will extend far beyond Christmas season, if Hogar II is any lesson. Last year it was a good full two months of spots and sick kids (it lowers your immunities) before it passed through the 15. All that time I wouldn't let the kids be in contact between homes, precisely for A. M.'s safety (and other weak babies).

Picture titled "epidemic" from Hogar II, October 2007

Our first concern was getting our A. M. any special care she would need and then separated out. The first was more complicated since her doctor is on vacation and traveling, and the best ER in town wouldn't answer their phone...or anyone else in that hospital either. Finally I reached the pediatrician (he called me back when he initially missed my call, God bless him!) and he orientated me on what to do for Ana to prevent complications with her. Obviously we were upset that she was even exposed, and of course she's already become a main friend of the new one, but another pediatrician has since told me it's better she just get it now rather than when she's potentially more immune comprimised later.

Amazingly I was easily able to find the med on Christmas Day.

The next task: a safe healthy place for A. M. It was out of the question in our already-crowded home to expect a healthy, overactive, highly sociable two year old to stay put in one room for weeks or months. We put our heads together and decided to call in the cook/housekeeper (aka, thinks she's A. M.'s mom) currently on vacation, to care for her until she's back (Jan. 8) and then we'll go from there. She was thrilled and very excitedly accepted, God bless her!!

So far, New Kid B is super spotty and itchy but no one else. I figure now's as good a time as any, since we do not have any small preemies or even newborns in the home. We hope delicate Twin G (girl) weathers it okay if she gets it. Otherwise, it would be nice if they looked okay by the time the professional photographer is here in a few weeks. And of course we have several babies/toddlers who should be leaving fairly soon (2 or 3 adoptions + 1 back to his dad). We'll be doing our share to pass this through the city..... {grin}

Friday, December 26, 2008

Baby Santas

Before posting these pics, I should point out that many of my kids are clueless as to who Santa Claus ("Papa Noel") is, particularly all those at the Baby Home. I know the concern of many parents is that their kids would be too focused on Santa and not the real meaning of Christmas. Now I don't know if I should rather be concerned that my sheltered inquisitive children asked if clowns brought the gifts and if these were clown hats? Hmm...

But anyway, we had a jolly good time messing around with the toddlers and babies with these hats on Christmas Eve.

merry santas (my hat has been swiped)

hungry santa

beautiful santa

not-so-merry santa

chubby santa (my fav!)

joking santa

twin santas

sleepy santa

A Merry Christmas in Hogares de Amor!

Every day for the next few days I'll post some of the pictures we took on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of all the babies and kids. There are tons of cute ones!!

Here I'll begin with the group pictures:

Hogar de Amor III & the Alseth Family

The Alseth Family and crew joined my family for Christmas dinner. They used this picture for their Christmas card--wonderful, isn't it?

Hogar de Amor II

Christmas was a real delight this year at HDA II. The kids were sweet, joyful, and beyond thrilled with their amazing gifts from the Alseth family and another very generous family that cares a lot for our kids. Marcelo (3 years) aptly summed it up when he declared his box a "pinata". It was THAT full of treats and surprises!

Hogar de Amor I
(otherwise known as the Baby Home, for obvious reasons...)

Spilling over with babies!! This picture was a terrible interesting challenge to make with 18 babies, 10 of whom don't sit and/or walk. We were just keeping up the tradition of former years, in making a "stair picture" (although last year I completely forgot it, oops! the silly thing being I didn't even realize until this year...hmm). We all survived to then continue into the dining room to open gifts (pics later).

A peek at former Christmases:

Baby Home Stair Picture, 2005

Baby Home Stair Picture, 2006

I recently read a Dallas Morning News article a friend from TX brought me, and the writer stated that when adoptions slow down or halt in a country, the flow of abandoned/orphaned babies magically slows. HA! Wish she could see these pictures, and the flood of babies we've had this year as adoptions slow but abandonments rise! Obviously when there are no adoptions (one judge, out of two, has not completed an adoption in months), it creates havoc in our child-to-staff ratios, and I can't imagine what position we'd be in if we had taken in all the abandoned/removed babies of the past couple months. But we've had to say no to anyone and everyone and now have a waiting list for the Baby Home.

More pics to come!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hogar de Amor Children’s Homes Manger Scene, December 2008

It's been so much fun to read the responses from this year's Christmas "e-card" that I thought I would recreate it here for Christmas!

Dear Friends and Supporters,

This year we would like to share something special from the children of Casa de Amor Children’s Homes. May the following pictures and scriptures be a blessing to you during this season!

Go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways,

Present the offer of salvation,

the forgiveness of sins.

And these words shall be in your heart,

You shall teach them diligently to your children,

and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way,

when you lie down, and when you rise up.

The child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.

She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger

because there was no room in the hostel.

Unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given!

The shepherds left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.

Seeing was believing.

They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child.

The sheepherders let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen.

A band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East…to worship him.

They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place!
They had arrived at the right time!

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother.

Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him.

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,

Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

For a child has been born—for us!

The gift of a son—for us!

His names will beAmazing Counselor.

Strong God.

Eternal Father.

Prince of Wholeness.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear,

deep within herself.

My soul magnifies the Lord,

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior!

Celebrating our Savior’s holy birth, life, death, and resurrection,

Staff, children, and Thompson Family
Casa de Amor Children’s Homes
Cochabamba, Bolivia

Scriptures from the books of Matthew, Luke, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah
(New King James Version and The Message)