Current Child Count

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas at CDA II

After the wonderful Baby Home Christmas on Christmas Eve, we had an equally wonderful time at Casa de Amor II!

Group picture! Or so we thought, until the oldest walked in from running an errand with a tia, oops! So the other 9 are here + two staff member children

Hot, rainy South America Christmases used to throw me for a loop, but I think I'm getting used to them

The pastor's son of our children's church is volunteering at the Baby Home during his summer school break. He is EXCELLENT with the kids, all ages!! Shouldn't surprise me because his parents, who have adopted, are the same (his mother has even given a course to our caregivers), but to see a teenage boy able to take charge of a group, or just wield a broom or chop veggies in the kitchen, all with a great attitude, is a real blessing.

So I invited Jonathan along to help with Christmas festivities at CDA II, and he immediately pitched in. As the volunteer with the best Spanish :) I asked him to read the kids the Christmas story.

Checking out the many gifts!

A prayer of gratefulness and blessing on our friends before present time!

Lots of joy!

B and return volunteer Katrina (from New Zealand)

What a scene!

I had a great time playing "monopolio" with our accountant David and oldest boy, age 11. At first David and I were chuckling to be handing play money back and forth, when every day we talk about real sums of money, LOL. The other kids gathered around to watch, advise us on real estate purchases, and roll the dice for us (or crawl all over).

Kitchen preparations underway....

Christmas Lunch!

Thanks to IMBA, everyone had their fill of donated chicken! (Minus yours truly, who held out for the Christmas party potluck at a missionary friend's house)

Also on Christmas Day without even trying, I actually saw all 40 of my children, fun!

I also loved being back in the international community of Cochabamba. On Christmas and the days surrounding it, I've been with people from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, and Scotland, besides Bolivia and the US.

This year's Christmas was practically perfect in every way! :)

brothers & sisters

On Christmas Eve, I took advantage of the identical outfits to update my stock of Baby Home sibling/twin pictures. This is not as easy as it looks, folks, but here are the best results of the impromptu photo sessions!

Siblings B (2 1/2) and C (16 months)

(crazy to get them both to be still a minute and look up!)

Siblings S (5), A (4), and D (2)

Sisters S (4) and B (2 1/2)

(Isn't B getting huge?!)

Twins E & E (2)

Twins P & A (19 months)

(love how they grin!)

Twin G (15 months)

sister not pictured because SHE celebrates with the Reason for the Season

And just for fun... Our "triplets" D, E, and A (2)

My girlies!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Special Baby Home Christmas

For all you die-hard fans, here are yet more group pictures, behind-the-scene footage, and even a blooper section of Christmas (Eve) 2009 at the Baby Home!

Disclaimer: I have approximately 275 pictures from this day alone! (Those here have taken all day to upload, thanks to our stone age speed internet, which has been off more than on today.)

Let the festivities begin...

After a special Christmas meal, the magical change from regular clothes to their new handmade matching outfits:

The 21 adorable matching, embroidered outfits are thanks to volunteer Savannah's grandmother and friend who made and sent these! I can't even imagine how much effort went in to doing this, and then making sure they got here in time....incredible!

It went quickly as many hands (and excited kids) made for light work!

Then, it was everyone to their places for the annual stair picture.

(My video of this torturous endearing event is not uploading, due to aforementioned terrible internet. Will try again another day!)

Packing them in...

I don't know whose idea it was, but I think the 4 x 5 + baby arrangement is brilliant! So organized, ahh. (Sometimes, you just have to take organization where you can get it!)

Definitely a favorite Christmas picture, and only ONE baby crying (he was a wee bit tired this day and thus slightly anti-social)

Then we moved onto the presents! Earlier that day, as I recalled the chaos of last year, Maria and I started planning and rearranging the dining room...

We have learned that you can't expect over a dozen toddlers to burst into a room full of presents and candy and other surprises and come out unscathed! So with a little bit of planning, everything went much smoother and I wasn't just constantly shouting orders over the din of children like last year. The staff pitched in much more to balance out the work. Very helpful!

But before presents....another group picture. Those outfits just deserve it!

I agree with my sister - looks like a private school! Oh so cute.

A picture with Savannah, who made the outfits possible

Present time!!

This year gifts was done a whole new way, and it practically made my 10 week trip away worth it just to see how my staff took the initiative to make sure that our kids had a happy Christmas even on a tight budget. After the mother of one of our babies (adopted in January) offered to obtain gifts for 10 of the children through her friends, they had the idea to prepare these for all 42 children...

...with pictures, data on the child, even a drawing, then disperse them throughout the city. Adoption representatives, lawyers, adoptive parents, pastors, and friends from our churches took at least one. Many took three. Even our former accountant got in on the giving, choosing our youngest and buying her a pink bassinet! The gifts were very generous and thoughtful. I was so blessed to see Bolivians sharing with our children, and over and over we saw how blessed THEY were to be giving, and how very willingly and joyfully they did it.

After the gift giving, we had a Happy Birthday Jesus party! Because even though I get a little worn out with the constant birthday parties and cake, the kids do not. Once I realized they knew full well that Christmas is Jesus' birthday, I decided to add in a special snack time after the gifts.

The three layer brownie-chocolate cake by Katrina and Savannah was fabulous!!

A special day indeed - the older kids got to play with/hold their new toys while eating.

All in all, thanks to the many many people who participated, a huge success I'd say!

The kids agree!


No day, even Christmas Eve, is exempt from a few memorable messes. =)

Working on the explosive, falling, cracking "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake! No worries girls - even if it did seem to have life of its own as I cut it, this masterpiece totally proved that messier IS tastier!!

Twin Girl E's favorite pose of the day. I have multiple like this. I'll just post one. You're welcome.

NO idea.

Twin Girl E again, caught red-handed in Jesus' cake while the rest played with their presents. (The scary thing is, she didn't act guilty at all. Probably didn't help that a crowd of us was laughing about it and snapping her picture as she continued to calmly pick off M & Ms.)

This is where you can be very glad that smell does not come through pictures. Twin Boy P had a top rate diaper explosion as I carried both down the stairs for the group picture. I could smell something going on but didn't know which it was......until someone squealed and I realized the deed was done! It was quickly all over my jeans, arm, hand, shirt (Katrina threw me down a new white shirt since there was an impasse of children at the moment), the floor, kids who were getting in it, and of course his outfit. Luckily the twin boys have similar outfits to the Christmas ones, so the group picture could proceed after the delay. At my earliest possible convenience, I threw on some fragrance but still smelled the rest of our happy afternoon.

So there you have it! Our joyful happy Christmas Even in the Baby Home! =)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cochabamba Christmas

I admit it, I'm obsessed. One of my favorite things to do is compare pictures - of a certain child as they grow, one of the homes from year to year, all the newborns we've had, different birthdays, holidays, whatever! Here are our best Baby Home group pictures from the years for a little walk down memory lane, particularly for the volunteers and those who know our kids and have participated in some of our Casa de Amor Christmases...

Christmas 2004
(the only Casa de Amor Christmas I have missed)

Christmas 2005

Christmas 2006

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2009

PS - Yeah, so I'm kind of stalling until I figure out WHERE to begin sharing our wonderful Christmas Eve/Christmas Day in the homes!!

Also, even though I am incredibly grateful that this has been the healthiest Christmas season for children/volunteers that I can recall (yeah!!), I wasn't expecting so many thoughts of Gabriela and the whole chicken pox trial which began on Christmas Eve/Day last year. Anyway...lots of posts to come, once things settle down a bit!