Current Child Count

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TWINS are coming!!!!

I AM SO EXCITED I WANT TO WRITE IN ALL CAPS!!! But that's not the most mature way, so I'll try to calm down and speak normally. Denise and I can hardly stop grinning. We were having a meeting about the child sponsorships when child welfare called and said they had decided to take the mother's abandonment request seriously. I was even told their names and a bit of the story but barely remember anything because my brain just started spinning when I heard "twins". (First she said "gemelas", so I whispered "twins...girls!" to Denise, then she changed it to "gemelos", so I said "no...boys!")

So, it's two boys and they'll supposedly come in two days!!! They are 13 months old.

Last week I was thinking about how every few months last year we got calls about twins (one pair ended up not coming) and it's been almost 9 months without any.

I'd been "planning" for a while to receive a newborn in July if one came up, which now I doubt since we're getting two at once, but hey, I'm not complaining! Katrina, are you happy now? You've really wanted twins for a month now. Any chance of you moving up your return trip? ;-)

Busy, busy...

Monday, June 29, 2009

and what a season this is....

Florence Nightingale Jennifer here again…

The health concerns are still taking hours of my time every day. I really love studying this stuff, but I do actually have other “director” things to do. If you’ve sent me an email and are still awaiting an answer….feel free to pray that I have a few hours of solitude this week to begin catching up! I also REALLY need to begin the next newsletter, which also takes some concentrated quiet time, something just not attainable in the office these days (or really anywhere, thanks to the constantly ringing phones and knocks at my door!).

And then today I visited CDA’s psychologist, who has been in the hospital since yesterday morning because of a miscarriage scare. When I got there, her face was glowing as she had just found out the results of the sonogram—the baby is fine! I breathed a sigh of relief to not walk through the death of yet another baby.

But all the other health concerns in this city currently….. I’m trying not to be stressed out and worried wreck over everything, but it’s taking all my will power! I keep (almost) daily track of changes with the H1N1 virus and now the government is encouraging everyone to use masks. From what I’ve read from the west, masks are neither necessary nor very helpful (as far as daily life activities). So who to believe? What to implement in the homes? In times like these, when everyone is looking to me for guidance and decision making, I really feel the weight of my responsibility. …39 children, 20 staff members and their families, 3-5 volunteers...

I’ve spent many hours, day and night, thinking through the model of the Baby Home and how to best protect them, then through CDA II kids who go out more and yet are bigger and in contact with far fewer staff members, then CDA III kids, who go out constantly and have gotten some pretty strange viruses this year.

As I print out information for the staff and keep them as informed as possible, and aware of signs of scarlet fever, Hepatitis A, and influenza H1N1, I realize that really taking ALL precautions is more expensive. Sigh. Apparently, the best hygienic habits fly in the face of saving money. As part of the recent cutbacks in the homes, we’ve started to tackle a surprisingly large area of our budget: cleaning supplies. Lots of soap, paper towels to dry hands, and hot water (really only possible at CDA II, but it’s v-e-r-y expensive to keep the water heater on) all adds a lot of expense. And yet, if providing all of that led to less sickness, it's totally worth it...and I'd rather spend money on prevention than medicine. The thing is, deciding and sticking to my decision so that all is enforced in the homes. I've already implemented an "all taxi" policy (versus crowded buses) for outings with kids.

The cultural differences are a constant challenge as well. In five years here I’ve learned to pick my battles, but one that we still have confrontations on is bathing when sick. I’d prefer a sick, well-bathed and clean smelling baby. They will not bathe a child for days and days on end if they have a runny nose or cough or any other sign of illness. It's better now in the Baby Home, but there are still times when I wonder how a dirty baby will be healthier when we're not in the countryside of Bolivia on the side of a desolate, wind swept mountain…?

And then there’s the whole area of hand washing. There’s hardly a meeting in our existence of nearly 5 years where I haven’t brought up good hand washing practice and it's importance at some point. But now I’ve come to realize via volunteers that whereas I think, in my busy run throughs of the homes, that the staff is washing their hands, they are not using soap {gasp!}. And since the water is icy cold right now (winter), well….they’re kinda just wasting their time. And the kids sometimes wash their hands in the same plastic container, as if we didn’t have the modern convenience of running water.

And I could explain about how little water they drink in this country, although in the homes we have easy sources of pure water and I constantly say "give the kids water!!"

(And yet, get this, they don't think twice about going outside in the frigid morning air with wet hair!! I'm not sure, but I think that few people own hair dryers.)

These and so many more "battles" both great and small can be quite the load. I just have to turn it over to the Lord daily and "consider it joy" as the shirt I wore today said! (Post coming soon on my new Wild Olive tees.)

Thanks to each one that is upholding us in prayer and sending encouraging notes! You all help me gain perspective. I have to remind myself that "this too shall pass", that's it all just a season. You never know when a time of trial comes before a season of blessing, right? Or so I tell myself. I just love each of these kids so much, it hurts! Tonight I had the blessing of being with most of the staff and about 20 of our kids during our annual staff party, and I savored all being healthy! (Minus baby F. with his bad cough, but tomorrow he returns yet again to the "cough doctor".)

Good night! I'm completely worn out. I also need an 8 hour rest from my new constant mantra "tell me the first sign of fever"....

~Not so fast...! As I was trying to go to sleep, Katrina called from Canada shortly after midnight. She peppered me with questions about all the health concerns until we lost connection, just as I was saying "don't worry about us...just enjoy your time in Canada."

~I had an email from friends in England this morning asking if we can't vaccinate our kids for Hep A. We have started to look into that option even though we've heard it's expensive (and times 39?!), but since it doesn't start to take affect for 4 weeks, it's not the perfect solution.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

a month already...

I've read the accounts of Jesus raising the dead in the New Testament many times. But I've never imagined how it would feel to be mourning the loss of a loved one and have Jesus walk into the room and raise them alive from the casket until this year. I mean...could there be anything more WONDERFUL?!

One month ago I wanted Jesus to walk into our dining room at the Baby Home so bad and raise baby Joel out of an awful box. But really, He had already raised him up, into His own arms rather than ours.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this with “everyone”, but today I feel like it’s time. Maybe it can comfort others, if just a little, who grieve with us. Most of you know that we had very few answers on May 28, as to why Joel and why so fast, and what had happened? I continued consulting with pediatricians and nurses and, finally, a US emergency room doctor currently living in Cochabamba. (I am so, so grateful for each one who took the time to talk to me or my family, as we sought answers and any way to prevent the same thing from happening again. Overall, each one was very encouraging and a blessing in a very hard time, saying that there was nothing we could have done and, "Don't feel bad, these things happen with babies". But of course you never think it would happen to your precious baby.)

So with what we understand now, and knowing that there are few options since he was so healthy before, it seems most likely that Joel's heart just stopped beating due to cardiomyopathy or an undetected congenital heart defect. That is the only answer that has made any sense to me, because from the first awful minute all I could think of was that something happened with his heart.

It was also relieving to learn that studies say babies do not die from aspirating vomit (much less when there was no sign of Joel having thrown up). The ER doctor who saw him at the clinic on May 28 was grasping at straws for a reason, and cardiomyopathy is not often considered in babies so other issues are blamed.

More than ever, learning all this reiterated that Joel had a set number of days to live and it thrills me that he was able to receive so much love and attention his 2 months and 2 days in our "family".

I really appreciate the kind words today at church from various missionary friends who have been traveling and are just now seeing me, and those who are worried and praying with us over this latest round of sicknesses in the homes.

For a little update on that, we had no new cases of scarlet fever over the weekend, PTL! First thing this morning I went to CDA III and cleared their kids to go to church, as all were happy and chipper...well minus L., but he's well on the mend. I took him some new itch cream to try, for which he was very grateful. Here's a picture I took, but his "sandpaper rash" doesn't show up very well here. Looks very irritating/painful. Volunteer Sarah, who's been with Angel since he became so ill 8 days ago, aptly summed it up when she told me today "I think I'd rather get swine flu than scarlet fever!!"

And now, signing off, for I must wrap bandages bake for tomorrow’s night staff party (which right now I am continuing with, but if plans change due to new cases or something, well, brownies will never go to waste!)...

Florence Nightingale Jennifer

Friday, June 26, 2009

la fiebre escarlatina...

Escarlatina: my new (Spanish) word for the day. Somehow, I was not aware that people still get scarlet fever. I mean, are we in the 21st century or not?!

This afternoon, after A. went to the hospital a fourth time and has seen at least two doctors [but never our great pediatrician] and multiple nurses, that's what he was finally diagnosed with. He has the strangest rash, and I was starting to wonder about the allergy theory. Now we see he’s had all the classic symptoms and progression of the illness.

I've rarely seen one of our kids so sick, especially a 5 1/2 year old. This has hit him HARD. I was upset to find him much the same yesterday afternoon when I was at CDA II. I had to spoon-feed him water so that he would take it! His ribs are practically coming out of his body he is so skinny after this very rough week.

I don't know if that's all normal and the recovery is usually so slow, but it does have a long list of symptoms (of which A. has had almost all for six days now) and a long list of nasty complications like rheumatic fever, meningitis, pneumonia, liver and kidney damage, and so on.

And since L. at CDA III also has the signs and has been sick for a few days, we've canceled V.'s first birthday party that was supposed to be tomorrow, and are taking all the precautions that we had in place December - February (during chicken pox) to limit contagion between the three homes.....although this is already in two of them! Crazy!

Within an hour of getting this diagnosis, I was floored to hear that the young son of one of the tías at the Baby Home has Hepatitis A. The pediatrician warned us today that there were outbreaks in schools, but I didn't expect it to already be so close to "home". What will we do?! I begged her to be careful and wash her hands when she arrives. As if dealing with the H1N1 flu in a developing country isn't enough, do we really have to deal with scarlet fever and Hep A, too?!

I had a blog giveaway planned for tomorrow, but things keep happening around here that dampen my spirit for fun. This weekend is going to be very busy as I check on sick kids and rehearse/play at church. At least we’ve got the week’s health concerns at the Baby Home well under control (respiratory infections, lice, eye infections, parasites).

Please pray that we will have great discernment in isolation of kids and quickly detecting any new cases, and peace as we deal with it all! By last night I was already so overwhelmed with how little I've been able to accomplish this week as far as replying to emails and many, many administrative tasks, and today was a three ring circus from early till late as I constantly answered the phone/cell phone and dealt with continually changing plans due to the health crises.

Speaking of phone calls, I just realized I'm really exhausted from the week. Since I'm often woken early Saturdays by the phone, I'm going to hit the sack. I believe the urgent tasks of the day are done, and there's always tomorrow...

But first, since I've had so many dreary, picture-less posts lately:

look who got their hair cut today and is sooo handsome (E. from the Baby Home)

And the adorable V. who turned one yesterday!! She arrived to CDA III one year ago tomorrow, a precious little bundle.

(Thank you so much Katie and Amber for your advice and help with my questions these days!)

toddler wearing help

A family from Texas is visiting us in a couple of weeks, and I would LOVE to find a good sling or carrier for my bigger babies.

Because while I consider this kind of babywearing heavenly...

I currently have 9 babies 11-24 months old who would adore it if I "wore" them while I worked, too.

But the slings I have don't work so well for older, ah-hem, chubby babies or toddlers. I'm thinking of something for the back or hip?

I've been looking at...

mei tai
mee up
ERGObaby carrier
maya slings
hip panda baby carrier
ring slings

...but they are PRICEY! It's nearly $200 for a kokopax back carrier, and many of these are around $100. And I know that everyone has their own preference. I'm not sure about spending that much for a carrier we {me and my babies} might not like, not to mention wasting my chance to get one to Bolivia. =)

Does anyone have a source for discount carriers? Or one they don't need anymore, perhaps?

I'd really appreciate your help. I need to decide this weekend so that it can arrive to the family in time for them to bring it to me.

Thanks in advance!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I love this kind of change

Yesterday "Eliana" turned 2!!!

I can't believe the change from when she first arrived, so malnourished and sickly. She's the picture of health now, in fact a bit overweight according to the height/weight measurements they took in the Baby Home today!
But that makes me happy remembering 15 months ago....

Shortly after arrival, skin and bones (9 months old, 11 pounds/5 kilos)

At 10 months
(I show this to current volunteers and they can't even guess who it is!)

Happy 1st birthday!

Happy 2nd birthday!

The "purse cakes" I made her the night before

So cute, huh?
Well not by the next morning when it fell over. On the good side. Sigh. All comes from not using boxed cake mix (just seems like cheating!).

She blew out the second candle by herself!

Biting the cake, a Bolivian tradition (she loved doing it!)

Good till the last drop!

Lord willing, our Eliana will have a loving family of her own by her next birthday...!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the lovely award

Today was a day of special blessings!

Our little boy A. at CDA II finally turned the corner. He had a terrible reaction to one of the medicines they gave him on Monday and was totally miserable by yesterday afternoon. After getting two phone calls in a row about him, I made the call to take him directly to the ER (while surrounded by at least half a dozen street people, sniffing their glue bottles). We were so worried, to the point where last night we were wishing the doctors had just admitted him, but finally he is on the road to recovery!

Today was also the amazing VISA DAY!!!! Five of six members of the Alseth family finally have their Bolivia residency visa after nearly 23 months of waiting and endless lists of paperwork. It's a long, long, long, LONG story people, and this is a HUGE answer to nearly two years of prayer! (And we paid absolutely nada in fines and yet all is legal, which is a total miracle.)

Then I learned I was blessed with an award waiting for me at "No Greater Joy Mom" ! Adeye lives in Colorado mothering her five children, including two special girls from China, although her heart is often in her homeland of South Africa. I appreciate her encouraging comments so much and how she says "my friend" all the time, just like my friends from down under. Thank you!

Now for the conditions of accepting the "lovely blog" award:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So, a glimpse of some of my favorites....

1) Reflections from Katie - we hope that Katie, a new nurse and sponsor of baby Gabriel (she herself is also a twin), will be able to visit us one day! Her blog is full of lovely ponderings and meditations and how God is working in her life.

2) Psalm 68:5, the thoughtful blog of Amy, a friend in Cochabamba with the extremely challenging calling of reaching out to the city's street population

3) The High Calling, a blog that's a joy to read because the mother truly embraces her calling as wife and mother to two young daughters

4) The Girl Inside, another beautiful blog to encourage young women as they serve the Lord joyfully, no matter what season of life we're in

5) Savvy Little Women OH SO CUTE!! This family of five daughters ages five and under (including two sets of twins) has a very uplifting (yet honest) blog.

6) Helping Street Kids One At a Time, musings of our friend Rehanna about her ministry and vision for young children living and/or working on the streets of Cochabamba

7) Home...Hands Full, HEARTS Full, Quiver Full! This family of 7 children adopted 6 within 4 years.

8) Joel's Journey, a really sweet "journal" of a mother of 13, where she opens her heart and shares from her journey since loosing her young son (one of a twins) a few years ago

9) Scraps of Starlight, a new friend in the UK with three beautiful daughters plus one in Heaven. Her blogs have lovely music...

10) Williams Family Blog - if I feel like we have lots of health issues, I only need to read about baby Jonah to gain a whole new perspective on life! His devoted parents are doing an incredible job raising (and loving) a baby with a very difficult disease.

11) The Mott Multiples, a blog I've just found. They have twins, triplets, and a singleton - fun!

12) There's Not One of Them I'd Swap , Janis often leaves sweet comments on my blog and I enjoy reading her posts on her family

13) The Lockwood Family, a missionary family with a dozen children ages infant to 12 years old in Mexico. They have had many challenges this year but their love for the Lord and each other pours from the words of this blog!

14) Bolivia '09 CDA Sponsorship Coordinator/Volunteer Denise's blog. (Of COURSE it's lovely, it has pictures of my babies!!)

15) And same as Adeye, I have to award "Transformed From Glory to Glory" written by a very God fearing missionary mother in Africa (7 children under age 6 with a sick baby soon to arrive from an orphanage), so count yourself doubly awarded! :-)


For those who are unsure how to add the award to their blog: Just right click on the award icon above, and save it somewhere in your computer (like a picture file). Then go to the dashboard of your blog, then layout. From there, choose "add a gadget", then the "picture" option. Give it the caption and/or title you want, and upload the little award logo there. Save it, then move it to where you want on your blog.

Wordless Wednesday

{recently spotted at the Baby Home}

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

two teeth

I just love it when babies get their first two little teeth...

Monday, June 22, 2009

what a relief...

It's so good to hear that 5 year old A. from CDA II "just" has swollen tonsils!!

The way the staff has been describing his symptoms to me since Saturday night, including this morning in my "wake up call", he had ALL classic signs of flu......and a bad you can imagine where that took me. Yesterday the headlines were all about the rapidly spreading H1N1 virus in Bolivia. But Katrina saw him yesterday and he was okay, so we continued waiting. Then Maria called me today on the way to the doctor with him, saying she was afraid he'd be admitted (although this is a child who greatly exaggerates when he's sick, so I was trying not to be alarmed). Still, planning out the day and week went on hold for an hour until I just now heard the news, that he's getting a shot and will go home.

When kids are really sick with something, it's interesting how it often causes diarrhea and vomiting as side affects, something I've been learning as we learn the signs of the H1N1 virus.

For the millionth time, I wish I were a doctor.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


That’s the word that’s been rattling around my head.

Yesterday in the chaos of the “tent raising" at kid washing (I had taken CDA volunteers to experience that ministry at a downtown plaza), I felt more than heard my phone ringing in my pocket. Denise told me, with lots of apologies knowing what a rough afternoon/evening I had on Friday mourning anew the loss of our two babies, that a 6 month old baby had passed away on the street. [I found out later that on Monday, some "street workers" were going to start the process of taking this baby away from her extremely abusive, irresponsible mother. But tomorrow is much too late and now she will never live with us.]

It was 4:57pm on a Saturday, and our friend Amy was facing dealing with it alone. Burying a baby here is not a one man job, and Amy’s parents are visiting her. I called her immediately and she sounded a little lost, not knowing how to go about getting the body out and how to do the paperwork. Terribly, I’ve “been there done that” twice this year. So I took a deep breath, told the volunteers they would probably be busing home, and set off, shoving my still raw emotions down so that I could be strong and do what needed to be done. In our cases at the Baby Home, I knew more or less what was going on through my grief, but the staff took care of the bulk of the paperwork side of a burial. Now I needed to do it.

Amy and I met up and began piecing together what needed to be done and trying to be a support to the distraught parents. And basically, that’s what I did for the next 22 hours. I didn’t even really sleep last night. I talked to my Mom from almost midnight to almost 1am. At 2am I was still checking the clock and slept lightly, worrying about getting a call from CDA II (my 5 ½ year old A. has a bad virus or flu), then got up early to continue getting the right paper to be able to bury today because 1) a lot of street people together (sniffing, smoking, drinking) can become dangerous and 2) Amy’s parents are here and they were all planning to travel Monday morning.

I went into the morgue full of bodies multiple times, saw the baby after the police-ordered autopsy, went to the funeral store three times, a lawyer, the cemetery twice, the wake three times (held in a public bathroom because the street kids/families were not welcome anywhere else), brought the baby in the casket from the morgue to her former “home” near a river in my car, and left my Bolivia ID card in not one but two places (one original, one a fake, ha!) because either the people I was with didn’t have one at all or not with them.

It was so unreal that I was doing this. Again. This makes 5 deaths of babies within 10 months: August (street baby), January (Gabriela), February (memorial service for good friend’s miscarriage), May (Joel), June (street baby).

And this weekend, adding in the factor of being with street people hurting even more than usual because of the grief, it was heavy. We were afraid for the mother’s life, because of so many accusing her of killing her baby (the autopsy left plenty to be desired in the way of conclusions), and there was a ton of fighting, arguing, and cussing. I was also with relatives of several of my kids, and would have been with several more except that some are in prison currently. They don’t know they live with me though, for security reasons, and I had to watch my words so as to not raise suspicion…and not act overly interested in their current babies.

Amy went overboard with gratefulness at my help, but really Amy, I was blessed more. To my surprise, I learned several things that were actually healing to me from Joel’s death just 3 weeks and 3 days ago, and it was a privilege to help and use some very difficult, hard-earned knowledge to help someone else. If it had happened on a weekday I might not have been as available, same as on weekends when I play at church, but it just so happened that because of a schedule change I wasn’t playing. I never made it to church actually…I got as close as the outside gate as I picked up volunteers to take Melissa to the airport (barely had time for that in the middle of everything, but God worked it out just right time-wise!)…but today we did “church” outside the four walls as some Bolivians helped who work with the street population and a few members of the Cochabamba International Church came to lead the service at the cemetery. They even dedicated the newborn to the Lord!

Just a few stories from this very very memorable weekend....

~Last night at the wake, while talking to the mother of two of my kids (although she doesn’t know they’re with me), she pointed out that she voluntarily abandoned her son. For some reason I asked “Why?” and her eyes bored into mine as she distinctly said “I took him in because I did not want him to be a clefero [glue addict] like me.” What a story to be able to put in his file, for his future adoptive family to tell him someday. This young but very damaged mother, on the street since childhood, let him go to a better future that she knew she could not provide.

~I didn’t go inside the cemetery for the funeral, because no one wanted to stay outside with the babies and their beliefs wouldn’t allow them to take the babies in to be near the dead. So since I was the weirdo who spoiled their plans of leaving their babies (ages newborn, 10 months, 15 months) IN MY CAR ALONE, I volunteered. After a bit the 14 year old mother of the newborn, who is related to one of my kids, came back out saying she was kicked out for wanting to sniff glue inside. She didn’t want to be alone with the babies and since she was high I agreed. At one point I left her with her sleeping newborn and took the two wiggly ones walking around by the flower sellers. That created quite the ruckus! People even wanted to give me a third baby, saying I looked so nice with two. I forget sometimes that it’s not normal to walk around with two babies at once—that’s just something we simply must do at the Baby Home. One flower seller asked me “Is that M.’s baby?” I had to say “excuse me?” because I thought I heard her correctly but I was just taken off guard. M.’s baby was the one being buried at that very moment!

~As about a dozen of them piled into my car to go to the cemetery (yep, my little car), I recognized a younger boy. I said “Hola J___!” and his face lit up and he started yelling with a big smile to those around him “She remembered my name! The senorita remembered my name!” Something so little and yet it touched him. I ended up buying him lunch after everything, even though I know it’s not good to facilitate their life in the street. I wasn’t hungry though and thought I could spend what would have been my “Sunday restaurant money” on him instead. I took the opportunity to lecture him good about moving back into a home or shelter or center somewhere, because if he didn’t want to stay on the street forever (he agreed he didn’t) he needed to study and change, and fast!

I spent the last 2 hours today before kid bedtime playing with the babies and then toddlers and just wholeheartedly enjoying them. I think I can honestly say that I have never been SO GRATEFUL for each and every one that is here and not on the street right now at winter time, and around all the toxins and violence and just...well, it's like being among the living dead. (When I got home this afternoon, I was barely seeing straight. Our friend Nate stuck his head in my car at the cemetery as we prepared to drive back to their "home" by the river, and said "You're going to be flying high as a kite by the time you get there" and boy was I! My head ached terribly and I was lightheaded. Even if they are not sniffing, they reek of it. I so admire my friends who work around that day in and day out. It's also a continual marvel to me how the kids/adults can actually INHALE it, when I am repulsed by the taste left in my mouth after just an hour or two being around them!)

So that was MY weekend..... Tomorrow morning I need to pick up my ID cards, the original baby's original birth certificate and death certificate (because today there wasn't a close by place to make copies), and will go as soon as I can to check on the baby's parents and take those documents back to well as a little stuffed animal left in my car today, no doubt by one of the babies packed in there earlier.

Thank you, Lord, for each baby we are able to take into to our homes! I am so privileged to be able to live here, do this, and provide a loving home for those who have none.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bolivia drivers license, installment #9....and last!!

After starting on May 21 to get my license, almost a month later I have it at last!


Almost got to use it the very same evening as police controlled near the Baby Home, but they didn't pull me over.

Why all these "installments"? Well, for one it seemed more fun. And secondly, to share a bit from our daily lives. In the weeks I've been at getting this license, we've experienced the same constant paperwork chases for 40 children, processing the first foster family, an international adoption, the Alseth family's 6 visas (of CDA III), opening a bank account and transferring money into it (also an incredible amount of paperwork - we've been at it all year), a construction project, and probably plenty of things I'm not remembering. All that on top of the day to day challenges! Blockades and construction detours, finding gas when there's a shortage, trying to find what you need in stores or markets, etc., etc.

Some days I handle it fine, but some days it's like "enough already!"

So, if you live in a country where you can obtain a driver's license in significantly less than 9 sessions and a lawyer who spent a lot of time on it too, then I'd suggest that you count your blessings! =)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We're a Team!

Thanks to…

Rick & Kathy’s (CDA III "parents") close observance of A...

Jen setting up the appointment at Neuro Center...

Katrina taking A. in for the ABR hearing test (involves lots of walking and a long bus ride with a wiggly toddler)...

Katrina taking A. in AGAIN, because the neurologist and anesthesiologist had an emergency the first time...

Jen picking up the results...

Maria picking up the receipt when it was finally ready...

Rene at Starkey Foundation for agreeing to help us again...

Suma, Starkey Foundation’s audiologist, reading the results and confirming the hearing loss...

Audiocien of Cochabamba for making the two custom hearing aid molds for A (for free!)....

Katrina taking in A. to be measured for the molds...

...and again when they couldn't make them the first time

Denise taking a picture of the hearing aids when they arrived so that they knew better how to make A's molds

Orphan World Relief's donation to cover Starkey's minimal fee for the two hearing aids...

Denise bringing the hearing aids in her luggage...

Denise taking A. to pick up the molds and get them attached to the hearing aids...

And the Alseth family learning how to care for them and use them...

Our beautiful A. has two beautiful hearing aids!!!!!

mystery letter

This got sent to us.....

...but the envelope got tossed and we're not sure who sent it to our PO Box in Texas.

Is it yours?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bolivia driver's license, #8

I got to transito at 10:30 this morning and had quite the shock. When I got to the 3rd floor I saw that a huge line snaked through several rooms…….and that it was my line! My jaw nearly hit the ground. I didn't have time for this!! There must have been 50 men waiting! Well okay, and two women. Just to make sure that it was really MY LINE, I asked two different police officers. When I finally joined it with a sigh, thinking I'd just see how it went, it was even longer!

But at that very moment they opened the window and started attending, and to my relief, within 10 minutes I got to the front, simply said my name and license category (“P” for particular, or private…versus commercial) and was sent to another line. That line was being formed by the same people from my line, so again I had dozens in front of me. That line moved almost as quickly, and soon it was my turn for another picture. A police officer called out our names and we took an official looking page with our picture, thumbprints, and other data.

Some people were paying 100 Bolivianos more but for once, no one asked me for money!

I was in and out in about 35 minutes. I was glad I got there an hour later than what they had told me yesterday, since they didn’t even open the window until then.

This isn't the first time I wonder.... What motivation is there to do things the legal way? Why so much paperwork for something as "simple" as a driver's license? If it was just a little easier and less bureaucratic, wouldn't the dozens of "anti-corruption" posters not be necessary?

While in line today, chuckling at a poster that touted the traffic police as modern ("your time is gold"), I decided that I could have been at this full time for a full week or more without the help of the lawyer. PLUS my time in driver's ed, which is a daily class for 1-3 weeks long, depending. Nuts!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bolivia driver's license, intallment #7

Today's 3pm trip to transito started much the same as yesterday' lawyer. And he PROMISED me yesterday he'd be on time today. Sigh.

BUT there was one big difference: this time I went with sister and brother S. (almost 5 years old) and A. (3 1/2) who l-o-v-e going out with me, and definitely make things more interesting. I sat them down on a bench outside and bought them fresh orange juice (cost: less than 30 cents), which they drank while chatting away, bringing a smile to more than one person within hearing range. S. experimented with using her hair clip in my hair (trying to remember if she is one of the kids recently discovered to be harboring lice??).

After 15 minutes I called the lawyer, because things were not looking good for me to get back to the Baby Home to pick up volunteer Denise, take her to CDA II to watch the kids there with volunteer Sarah, meet with Sarah about a few things, get the staff from there and bring them back to the office for a staff meeting…..all by 4:30 (and house II is not near anything!).

So anyway, he said give him 10 minutes. After 17, he arrived. We went to the 2nd floor and he did something in an office. Then he went outside to make yet another copy of my Bolivia ID. Then we went up to the third floor and proceeded to criss-cross it approximately 6 times. This made more interesting since I was a wide load, holding hands of kids on each side of me (both needing to go to the bathroom desperately but I had no idea where one would be and didn’t think the lawyer would like me cutting out to take them), and with at least 100 men in the middle room watching an instructional driving video. (Yeah, so, there’s barely a woman in this whole big building which I guess makes sense since few women here drive.)

I signed in 4 places
signed electronically
gave an electronic thumbprint
did old fashioned thumb prints (S. jokingly reprimanded me about the ink: “Tia Jenny, WHAT did you do to yourself?!” while A. defended me saying “The police did it to her, S.”)
got my picture made with A. squatting in front of me just out of view
showed my Bolivia ID to a few people
paid 100 Bolivianos ($14).

And ironically enough, although I brought both of my passports today (the old one with my visa and the new one that’s valid), no one mentioned it!

Twice while we waited, A. would say something like "Police have sticks. Those are for the kids." I had warned them before we left that we'd be seeing a lot of police, not their favorite people in the world, and they promised to not be afraid. They weren't but they weren't exactly getting near them either if they didn't have to.

I go back in the morning to get another picture taken, and it’s sounds like the whole thing might conclude in a day or two? What will I do with myself afterwards?!

Hm, I know.......begin the process to renew my Bolivian visa, because waiting in lines in drab government offices and shelling out so much cash is FUN!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bolivia driver's license, #6 (lots of progress!)

Installment #5 is here.

So last week I finally called the lawyer to see when we could meet at transito (traffic police station) and he said Monday at 3pm. Today I wondered if I should call to confirm, but I know how constantly lawyers' cell phones ring and didn't want to bug him (later he told me feel free to bug him...I will!) so I went on.

At 3:10 I called him and he'd been called into a hearing unexpectedly. Bummer. He said I could wait till 4 or come back tomorrow. Since I have important meetings in the morning, and I'd taken this book dedicated to us to read, I chose the waiting option. It was a risk....which I really started to realize when 4 came and went. Finally I was so tired of reading and waiting, I was just pulling out my cell phone to play a game on it (that's really desperate people!!)...and one of the leaders from Cochabamba International Church comes up, with a friend from Campo Chihuahua (this post is about my great visit there last year)! So I spent a good time talking to John Dyck while Poly did paperwork. His wife Mary called while we chatted about the ministry there and said hi. So today I talked to German Mennonites and Norwegians and Italians, all in!

Finally at 4:50 the lawyer shows! We race in and start entering different offices. I just had to wait in one line, the one for the medical report. I quickly passed the vision test (the elderly man who did it seemed surprised?), then a surgeon (?!) wrote down data from my Bolivia ID card and asked my blood type. Since I know it, I didn't have to get it tested right then and there. He said my hearing is great, everything is fine...and barely glanced at me! Oh, and I paid 50 Bolivianos (about $7) for the privilege.

By this time it was 5:30 and because I hadn't brought my passport (didn't know I needed to after doing sooo much other paperwork) or maybe because of the time, I'm not sure, we didn't get to finish. Bummer! I go back tomorrow for the pictures, then the next day I might actually have the license in my hand!!!!!

In other triumphant news, the Alseth family visas are very very close to being issued. I spent half my morning in immigration offices with a lawyer and the paperwork lady. The Alseths and paperwork lady spent much of the afternoon tying up loose ends, and will continue tomorrow. Keep praying!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

eat your greens

This is how I prefer my greens these days. Well, how I'd LOVE one of my Mom's amazing salads right now (particularly adoption salad, umm....), but in lieu of those....

Just stuff in your greens (in this case spinach and kale), add a frozen banana and/or apple for as a sweetener and thickener, and voila, your GREEN smoothie!

Goes down easy!

And each bag of greens cost all of 2 Bolivianos (that's 28 cents!) and has lasted me several green smoothies so far.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Toward the Sunrise

Keep Your Face Toward the Sunrise

I have gone ahead to prepare your way;

yes, through the darkness to bear a light.

I ask you only to follow Me,

for I will surely lead you in a safe path,

though dangers lurk on every hand.

Yes, I will be your protection.

I will be your comfort.

I will be your joy.

I will turn the bitter tear to sweet perfume.

Be My Spirit, I will mend the broken heart.

I will pour warm, fragrant oil into the deep wound.

For My heart is fused with your heart,

and in your grief, I am one with you.

Yes, I will fill the vacant place.

My arms shall hold you, and you will not fall.

My grace shall sustain you, and you will not faint.

My joy shall fortify your spirit

even as a broken body is rejuvenated by a blood transfusion.

My smile shall dispel the shadows,

and My voice shall speak courage.

When you are perplexed,

I will guide you in wisdom and in judgment.

By your light others shall be led out of the valley.

By your courage the weak shall be lifted up.

By your steadfastness he that wavers shall be stabilized.

Lo, the hour is upon you.

Do not look back.

Keep your face toward the sunrise,

For He shall rise fresh daily in your soul

with healing in His wings.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

he'll stay!

Five year old JK has been with us six days now. He's been fine, now eats as much as C (age 10!), but the first days there were a few thwarted run away attempts ("I'm not trying to escape!!" uh....YEAH).

Which made this even more special...

Yesterday I had just gotten to CDA II and tried to make pictures of the recently reunited JK and his sister E before dark (you can see I didn't quite make it)...

...when JK got my attention to say in a loud, firm voice:

Tia, I want to stay at this house, ya?



As what he said sunk in I said, "Oh, so you don't want to go back to the other house?" With his eyes wide open he said "NO!"

Ohh.....definitely a heart-melting moment!! And that he would even add "forever"?!

After his reaction to arriving in a new place last week, it nearly made me doubt what we were doing, bringing him to Casa de Amor because of his sister. But that put those doubts to rest! It was even more surprising because 1) Out of nearly 90 babies/young children through our doors, no child has ever taken the time to inform me like this, as if they had made a decision, 2) we weren't even talking about the subject, and 3) he's been very quiet so far, not saying much of anything.

Just thought I'd share that unexpected blessing from my day. =)

Wordless Wednesday

{gotta love that hair}
and oh, after a personal paperwork hang up, Luz (Baby Home caregiver) was finally able to start the adoption custody process last week!!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

where am I?

For a few weeks I'd been hearing around town, amongst the international-and-particularly-British-population, that some great food had arrived from the UK to a supermarket in town.

A few days ago I finally got to go see myself and WOW, yeah!

I felt faaaar from Bolivia and wee bit closer to London as I perused the titles and ingredients of the porrages and puddings and biscuit tins.

It was a delightful cultural experience, indeed! Lots of things we don't normally see here.
It was one of those cool moments when it was neat to live in Bolivia. =)

And this stuff:

...this cereal {with rice milk} is GOOD. Wonder how much came over on the container?!

And as I recall there were two other flavors......

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Nights

Monday evenings are special to me.

That's when a group of women gather at Cochabamba International Church for the women's Bible Study.

It's usually a Beth Moore study!

A fellow Texan leading us here in Bolivia ~grin~

Although we're now in our 5th location in 4 years, the group has been such a source of stability to me.

Now matter how nuts my Monday, I know where I'll eventually end up when I can get away:

in a group of radically different and yet similar women, watching a Beth Moore video or hashing out the week's homework, and lifting each other up in prayer.

Friday, June 5, 2009


My day started and ended with meetings with doctors. I love all the medical stuff (good thing - if I didn't I probably wouldn't like my job much!) but today was heavy.

First I went yet again to Cochabamba's largest baby home, with the two staff members who "won the draw", to listen to a doctor and three medical students share about the H1N1 virus. Knowing all too well how weak our babies are and how quickly we seem to lose them, it could easily freak me out to imagine this new virus sweeping through. very. very. easily. So the verse most on my mind today? "For I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind."

If I'm prepared, I can face anything. Well maybe not ANYTHING, but preparation and knowing what to expect are key. So off and on all day the staff and I have talked over precautions, telling the difference between teething (several getting molars currently), colds, common flu, and something more serious, and wondering why in the world we have to go through this now and WHY does it have to be winter here?! And then where to isolate babies if it comes to that - the house is so full! I think it will be my bedroom.

Here the conditions are so ideal for viruses spreading if you think about (and I hadn't quite so much till now): riding in buses packed with (often sneezing, coughing) people with the windows shut because it's cold, close living conditions (even many of my staff members live in one or two rooms with their whole family), the way we greet each other here (kiss on the cheek, often while grasping hands or touching the shoulder).

Adelaida (our childcare supervisor and nurse) and I asked 90% of the questions asked during the talk. Yeah, we want to know all we can!

Then this evening I talked to our favorite pediatrician for a long time. I needed to ask him for a letter to present in court related to the chicken pox epidemic in the homes earlier this year, we talked about the H1V1 virus, and then I asked if he knew about baby Joel. He did. He said he was called that morning but the baby was already gone so he didn't come in. Then we had a really good conversation. I mean it was terribly hard - remembering all the details again of Wednesday night, with a perfect Joel, and Thursday morning with a dying Joel, was horrible and as soon as I got out his door I was crying. But he wouldn't blame anyone, saying several times, "These things happen. We KNOW they happen with babies." (Yes, but not with MINE.....or it wasn't supposed to happen to mine.) He brought up SIDS before I did.

I asked some of my questions, searching for some way to prevent this, with my thoughts on it (such as making it a regulation that babies ages 0-6 months always sleep in the room with the night caregivers...even though Joel did and it still didn't matter) and he agreed with everything and just encouraged me that we're doing a great job. He said I'm suffering a lot, and to be calmer about it. Yep, he's observant.

I told him how this year makes me want to lift my hands and just...quit. It's just too hard to work with babies. He looked right at me and said "Look. I give my all and do everything humanly possible to save some babies, and they die anyway. Do you think I should stop being a doctor because of that? You all have helped so many babies who arrive in bad shape. And if you quit?" That little speech is still sinking in.... I feel dumb for wanting to quit. He's been in this way longer than I have, this business of trying to save babies.

And because a post without a picture is boring, and I've had too many of those lately:

Our eight youngest babies in August 2008. Aren't they cute? Definite motivation to press on. Two in this picture have been adopted and two more are now adoptable.

Addition, June 6

So interesting this would be the last phrase in my Beth Moore study this morning (Stepping Up):

On this mysterious pilgrimage we will find that when we do meet difficulties and sorrows, they were not meant to stop us but to form the character required for our great harvest in the coming season. Step into your future, Precious One.

Bolivia driver's license, #5

Continuing the tedius terribly exciting drama of getting a license in Bolivia.....

Today the lawyer called (finally...but I hadn't had time to track him down) and said I needed to come in with 1000 Bolivianos (equivalent to $142). Whoah! After battling traffic downtown, I asked him why so much? As he broke down the costs he wasn't admitting it, but it was obvious I owed 500 Bolivianos. Hm, some difference! I left 400 of it.

He says he'll call on Tuesday for what could possibly be the last step if all the right people are available?? I'm not holding my breath. =)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New addition to the family!

Today at 6pm, we - volunteers Molly and Melissa, and sister E. - picked up J. K. (5 years old) from the main baby home in Cochabamba. We requested his transfer a couple weeks ago since his little sister lives with us (one of the "triplets" of February 16).

J. K. and E. only lived together a few months before the mother abandoned J. K., and they don't have the same father, but it doesn't matter - we want them to be adopted together! And it's really ironic, because at least twice J. K. was supposed to come to Casa de Amor directly from his mother (on the street), apart from people requesting his transfer to us multiple times, but every time either she changed her mind or we were much too full.

To tell the truth, I knew him from the street and was a littttle nervous about his hyperactivity, and all the aggression he'd seen and experienced. So I find it quite ironic that God would send us his sister first so that, HELLO, we had no choice but to bring him here. =)

First sight of each other in 16 months (E. had just kissed him - she's a champion little kisser and yours truly taught her how!)

Saying bye to one of the caregivers

He had a rough start at CDA II, poor thing. I imagine he was pretty confused thanks to some odd things the social worker said as we left, and since he saw a picture the other home had of his mother.

Melissa let her heart be broken the first hour as she tried to comfort him in his sadness and confusion.

Hopefully he has a better day tomorrow and adjusts quickly! Kids are really resilient and I expect he'll be fine soon.

I told Molly and Melissa, we never know when receiving a baby if it's a two-for-one, or a three-for-one! Some might recall that we transferred siblings S. & A. over from the same baby home on March 2 & 3 so that they could be with their baby sister D., also one of the February 16 arrivals. And today while at Salomon Klein, they tried to pass off a one year old baby on us as an additional addition, yikes!

Other than a the little lost boy in December, this is CDA II's first new child in a long time. The kids there are really sweet and welcoming with new ones, so they'll have fun. I think this is also the first time ever they've had more boys than girls? It's been an even 6/6 since the last adoption from II in October.

I just realized that today I was in FIVE children's homes. All three of mine, plus a huge one for school age children run by the government (read: ridiculously overpopulated and few staff) and the biggest baby home here. That's heavy. That's somewhere around 300 children without the stability of a family and parents and pets and cousins and a home of their own to come back to when they're grown. And not much of a future for most of them. Lord, come quickly!!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Morning and Evening

A reasonable person might take a blogging break after a hard loss. But no, not me. Living here and doing this....well, writing has always helped me to process and work through things.

I’ve been thinking about this family lately at the blog We Love You Joel, dedicated to the young Joel they lost (one of twins).

Today when I checked the blog for the first time in several weeks, I was astounded at how fitting the mother's most recent post was, from a devotional by Charles Spurgeon.

Here’s a bit:

What our heavenly Father ordains is wise and good. What, then, my soul, is it best for thee to do? Learn first to be content with this divine order, and be willing, with Job to receive evil from the hand of the Lord as well as good….

Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises, and for the gloom of evening as it falls. There is beauty both in sunrise and sunset, sing of it, and glorify the Lord. Like the nightingale, pour forth thy notes at all hours.

Believe that the night is as useful as the day. The dews of grace fall heavily in the night of sorrow. The stars of promise shine forth gloriously amid the darkness of grief. Continue thy service under all changes. Every hour has its duty.

Isn't that beautiful? Reminds me of another favorite piece, "A Song At Midnight".

I don't know what I'd do without the hope we have in our Heavenly Father. We can KNOW that even when all is dark and confusing, HE makes sense of it all. He brings purpose into everything. No tear falls without His knowledge. If not a single sparrow falls without His consent and if we are worth more than many sparrows, how much more does He carefully consider the "fall" of a little one?

Grant us the grace to trust You, to rest in Your plan, as we die to the dreams we had for Joel. Your plans are to work a far greater purpose than we could ever imagine.

A fun picture of baby Joel, taken on May 26 by the newest volunteers

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16

Yet I Will Praise

Last night I got home from Bible study to emails by two dear friends sharing songs. I love music - everyone loves music! - but during hard times, there is truly nothing like it for healing, and accepting, and telling things to God that we might never verbalize on our own.

Kimber, in Cochabamba, shared the beautiful song "Yet I Will Praise" that I've never heard but is so appropriate. The music is even soothing.

I just wanted to share this song with you guys, and I'd appreciate it if you'd pass it along to anyone else that you think would be ministered to by hearing the words. I remember that I bought this cd right before 9/11 and would often be listening to this particular song as I would drive home from work and would cross over the bridge and would see the burning heaps of what was left of the Twin Towers. I remember having to sing it many times before I could actually believe it. At that point in time, we had no idea what life was going to be like and so there was a deep truth in singing these words, when we can't see where God is in a situation, but trusting him anyway, trusting him to be faithful no matter what, and that somehow in all of it, he remains worthy of our praise.

All of those touched by Joel's sweet life are in my prayers as you work through your grief and loss.

And Amber, who just graduated from nursing school in Texas, wrote me:

About a month ago a little 7 month old baby came to the ER not breathing. .........When I left the hospital that evening I was so angry that if that stepdad had been there I don't know what I would have done. I was mad at God too because what in the world was He thinking?? and he wasn't even my baby. I'm sure what you feel is even worse. Anyways, as I got into my car and drove home I was already crying and then the song "Always" by Building 429 came on. I had to make myself sing it. I didn't want to say that my Savior never fails because it felt like He had. But I did and it helped. Then as I was leaving the school Saturday after reading this email, the song came on again. It's like God is trying to really teach me to praise Him even when it's the last thing I want to do.

The whole situation still makes no sense to me....and I'm pretty sure it never will. But even when all hope is gone, He knows our pain and will be with us.

A clip about the story behind writing "Always":

Friends from all over the world are writing things like "I've been sitting here trying and trying to think of what to say and can't think of anything", but the emails above prove the contrary. It's not easy to be vulnerable and share stories like these or simply "I don't get it" (we certainly don't, either!).

And really, the most helpful is simply being there for us, to see that someone took the time to write and say "I'm sorry", although it hurts to know so many others are grieving this with us. On Sunday, a church in Scotland had the congregation stand in a moment of silence and then prayer, as a way of recognizing our sufferings at Casa de Amor. That is incredibly touching.

Many others have written me and are sharing in our sorrow in all different ways. Today I will share with the staff of the Baby Home as much as I can of what's been written to bless us during this time, and later I will post on more.


We could start a whole song collection with this theme! Elena, a volunteer to join us in January 2010, just emailed this:

My heart is heavy for the loss of one of your little ones, and the different challenges you are facing! While I served in Haiti I had to say good-bye to three precious babies and there are no words... Suffice to say I am praying for you and your staff and the other children! I noticed that some people sent you songs of comfort...attached is an mp3 file of the song that helped me grieve during my father's illness and death...Jeremy Camp's "There Will Be A Day".

Monday, June 1, 2009

Child History 10.0

Each child comes with their own unique story:
heart breaking, tragic, with conflicting details, many unknowns and doubts...or all of the above. Here's the story of another baby who came to us directly from a street canal.

I’ll never forget the night I first met Kevin. It was June 21, and I’d been to the canal where he lived with his teen mother and her friends. I got home and typed some cryptic notes through my grief:

What a sad experience going tonight with Skip [former CDA volunteer] and Dad. To see kids lives being ruined, and kids choosing to live that way (or being forced into it), it’s nothing short of heartbreaking. It hurts. A lot. When adults live like that it’s one thing, to ruin their lives, but these kids are no bigger than my sisters. It’s so bad. I can see why so many in the world feel called to work with them and do it with all of their hearts. It’s just unjust and heartbreaking and so awful to see. Sad. I’ve been to the Coronilla 4 times, but still. Not nice… They’ve brought me to my knees tonight. God, please lead us.

The visit was also memorable because I had a fleeting sinking feeling that I was going to be stuck there. I had jumped down into the canal with the kids (and don’t forget the mangy dogs), but getting out was another matter. I’m tall, but the sheer concrete sides were taller than me….but my Dad and Skip were taller. They lifted me out by my hands!

Skip had introduced me to Kevin’s mother, who was suspicious of who I was. I rarely talk to a mother on the street about letting her baby come to me, but from what Skip and Rehanna had told me, this situation was a little more urgent. While visiting, I could also see that Kevin was very sick and living on the street at wintertime wasn’t going to help anything. His mother consulted with her new boyfriend who said that she should let me take the baby. Since I don’t take babies that “directly”, we explained how she could turn over the baby to the home legally. It was hard to get Kevin and Gladis off my mind in following days (another little girl several people wanted us to take in).

On June 25, I started getting phone calls that Kevin’s mother had decided to voluntarily bring him in. We gratefully took him in and I carried him straight to the hospital. I thought he would be admitted but there the doctor said that his breathing was okay and that we could treat him from home, but isolated. Against my better judgment (what mother would insist that her baby be hospitalized?)…and we rarely use this hospital now!...I took him home. Back in those days we actually still had a room we could use for isolation. We set up extra precautions like putting on a hospital gown when tending to him. So you know what happened? Me and the nurse caregiver became extremely sick with what he had, passed it to the other kids, while two days after he arrived he was still hospitalized—for a CDA record of 14 days! Another complication was his refusal to accept our formula—milk not tainted with the toxins he had grown addicted to even at such a young age.

Kevin has suffered from environmental allergies (and thus rashes, lots of colds and ear infections, etc.), possibly due to his immune system getting a poor start as he was exposed to so many toxins and unhealthy living situations while on the street. However, he has a great appetite and expects to receive food on schedule!

One day we had quite the scare at the Baby Home when his mother's boyfriend had a fight with his mother and declared he would prove his devotion to her by bringing her son. Somehow he figured out where the Baby Home was and arrived high on glue, violent, and cussing us out, demanding to leave with Kevin. (Incidentally, I learned a couple bad words during that whole event!) Amazingly nothing worse than a beaten up gate happened, and the guards from the chicken factory next door "rescued" us women and children (the police arrived about an hour after the danger was over).
Kevin's grandfather was stabbed to death on the street last year, so we know of no other relatives besides his mother (who is on and off the street).

Now Kevin is a chubby 2 year old that is active but somewhat reserved. He really looks up to the older boys at CDA III, where he now lives, and will follow their lead on any made up game. His favorite things to do are ride on the toy cars, sword fight, and wrestle. We are working on teaching him speech skills (currently is in speech therapy), trying different types of food, what God is like, and how to use the potty. He loves to go for drives in the car and search for barnyard animals, then makes their noises at them out the window!

Kevin’s papers are in process in court for him to be provided with a loving and forever family.

*name changed

Pictures in post, top to bottom:

1) Skip bringing Kevin to the Baby Home, the day he arrived
2) really pale and sick, his first day in the Baby Home
3) Enjoying a gift, Christmas morning 2008
4) Happy 2nd Birthday! (Gotta love his dripping chin...we call him our St. Bernard!)

Help provide loving care for Kevin for $25/month through Casa de Amor's new child sponsorship program. Download THIS form to start!