Current Child Count

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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Casa de Amor Concert: Latin Serenade!


You are invited to the Casa de Amor Fundraising Concert!


Latin Serenade with Carlos Sanchez and Matiz Latino

March 6, 2010, 7pm

St. Philip's Episcopal

6400 Stonebrook Pkwy

Frisco, TX 75034

Tickets: just $10!!

To purchase, call 469-358-2398

I am so appreciative of Carlos' initiative taking with this project. His wife is Bolivian and their heart is to serve children in need. I've always loved classical guitar music. Listen to his here on his website. Karyna, a Bolivian who lives with her family in North Texas, is also working hard to organize this event.

I'd love to hear if you plan to go - please let me know!

Friday, February 26, 2010

uh...not exactly what I was thinking

Today I'm writing February's e-update and was searching for a good verse for the end. While talking to people in the office, I accidentally typed into "Psalm 137:8". My eyes bugged out to see:

O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed,
Happy the one who repays you as you have served us!

Yikes! Those kinds of verses just don't cut it in our every day correspondence, do they?!

I had meant to look up Psalm 138:7, which comfortingly reads:

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.

What a difference two switched numbers makes, hehe.

Another funny happening this morning: I called my Dad on skype to ask him a question and he goes "HEY! Where are you?!" and I was like um.......Bolivia? He said the number showed up as local. I thought he thought I was another daughter or something, because me, well I'm usually here. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

making tracks

Today was a race from start to finish. It started off at 8am under the bridge and it's just now slowing down at 11pm. I compose blog posts in my head, but alas time for actually writing - even brushing my teeth for that matter! - is rather limited these days.

* Keep us in your prayers as Rosa (administrator/social worker) is hospitalized. A sonogram yesterday shows that they've lost one of the twins. Mercifully, they had only just found out there were two and she's just at 8 weeks, but it's still hard and brings similar feelings we dealt with 13 months ago at losing one of twins.

* Baby Home caregiver Sarin has gone to the hospital twice today with pregnancy related issues. At least she's made it to the 3rd trimester, but her baby needs to be patient a wee bit more...!

* This morning I took in a teen street mother for a sonogram. She was curious if it's a boy or a girl, I was curious if the baby had arms and legs! Seriously though, she's one of the street kids who sniffs glue the most, and she's so tiny it's very concerning. Not to mention that she turned 15 last week and her first baby isn't even 9 months yet. On Saturday I'll take her to a friend's clinic for a complete work up. I'm so grateful for Dra. Aida's interest and support!

* The same day of the first anniversary of taking in our "triplets", REAL triplets were born in Cochabamba...and abandoned, also all girls! Whoah, talk about shocking! The home where they are is always packed full and isn't too excited about them, whereas those I've told of our staff/volunteers nearly knock me over with their enthusiasm. Please pray that we would know if it's God's will that we open our doors (and hearts) to these preemie triplets.

* Today the court hearing went well for the family that works with us and is applying to adopt 2 or 3 of the kids. That was a huge answer to prayer, but there are many mountains left to climb so we all need grace and patience...and favor with lots of people!

* One of our supporting churches in Texas has decided to send a team of 30 young people to us this year as their student trip. Yikes!! Today the missions secretary called me to go over some of the details....some of the very first of many, many, MANY details.

* Tonight while giving baby F her bottle and talking to the tias, 2 year old B started talking a blue streak! He told story after story from the day as he tattled in detail about his "hermanitos" (brothers/sisters). There's no more secrets with B, ha!

* I took a half hour this afternoon and had a bit of stress relief in the kitchen with some fun tias, rolling out dough for the week's bread. Yum!

* For being rainy season in Bolivia, Cochabamba has seen relatively little rain and it's stayed very hot. Fine by me!

* It was a joy to pick up S today to visit her daughter J at CDA II. She hasn't gone since we moved so it was a happy reunion indeed! Now that the house is closer to her, and she knows where it is, she promises to begin visiting weekly again (as her health holds out).

* Although I've gotten more used to flea bites, Bolivian music blaring in my car, river wall jumping methods, nasty wounds, BO and glue fumes than I ever could have imagined before this year, I'm still not used to finding these lying around my car:

Tomorrow is packed and I still need to work on this week's praise team song list. Here's to hoping I don't trap a mosquito INSIDE my mosquito net tonight. Sigh. It's happened twice within a week and is not pretty. :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

one year with our triplets :)

So yeah...with internet going out and ME being out most of the week with street friends, I didn't quite finish this post in time. Here it is finally!

One year ago today, February 16, we were blessed with three little one year old girls. Brings a smile to our faces to remember. :)

The Everything Day...and THREE new arrivals!

las trillizas (6 month anniversary)

{Just see the February 2009 posts for several more posts from the tumultuous first days}

Arrival night (they fell asleep on us as we came home and stayed this way till we bathed/weighed/dressed them)

The same girlies, one year later, WOW! D (2 years), E (2 1/2 years), A (2 years)

The three have always been close, so I really hated to do this, but E's 5 year old brother lives in our CDA II, so we knew that eventually she would need to graduate to that home. That time came earlier this month after getting CDA II settled into their new house.

Moving to Casa de Amor II... be with her brother!

How I miss her being at the Baby Home where I can see her constantly, but I'm glad her brother is finally acknowledging her presence and looking out for her. :)

When I take the other "triplets" to visit, it's a joyous reunion!!

See what I mean?!

Oh what cuties!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

springing up babies, or "what's in the water?!"

Since 2004, we’ve never had more than one caregiver pregnant at once. That is, until now!

Now it seems like every week another staff member sits me down to tell me the news: you're going to be a tia (aunt) again!

At this point, here’s the rundown:

Psychologist Carmen gives birth to a second son, January 25, 2010

Baby Home caregiver/shift supervisor Sarin is expecting a boy, due April 2010

Baby Home cook Silvia, due August 2010

Baby Home caregiver/childcare supervisor Adelaida, due September 2010

Administrator/Social Worker Rosa (wife of our accountant David), due September 2010, and get this, WITH TWINS!!! (YES we are in shock!!)

Every time I get this news, I focus on receiving it on a personal level first, with hearty congratulations, big smiles, and lots of joy. I mean after all, we're all about babies here and each one is a blessing!

But unfortunately, then comes the "business" side of things....

~Way more paperwork for the next 21 months (pregnancy till baby is 18 months)

~Taking care of the tia's health as best we can in what's a very strenous, physical job. Often they are admitted to the hospital and I visit at least once.

~Finding a suitable substitute for the 3 months paid maternity leave

~Apart from the mother's salary, we pay the baby a minimum wage salary from the 2nd trimester until the first birthday (that adds up to nearly $100/month for 18 months!! and we'll soon find out if that's doubled for twins)

~Paying the sub, although there is some compensation for this with the health insurance

~Working out if the tia can bring the baby to work or not...and if not, pray hard that they find someone to watch the baby!

~We cannot fire the staff member until the baby is born...or maybe even turns 1 year (can't remember)?...because too many would do that to simply get out of paying the myriad of benefits
It's actually less expense for us to receive a new baby into the home than all the benefits for staff babies, ironically enough. That's Bolivian law for you! Of course, only the largest institutions/businesses are normally able to comply with all of this, but we are committed to legality here and trust that God will provide all that we need.

So as you can see, I would love to just be excited about a new child for these women who are like family to me, but thanks to the very heavy handed laws on the side of employees, and due to the nature of the work (kids won't wait for you like a stack of papers will!) there are plenty of ramifications.

And now 4 of my 16 female staff are expecting, and the 1 male too, considering it's his wife due with twins, ahhh!!!

It will be quite the year!! :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I love

Living in a mountain valley


My laptop

Anne of Green Gables


Hillsongs Music

Casa de Amor staff & volunteers


Colorful sunsets

Empanadas de queso (hot!)

Stimulating conversations

Texas thunderstorms

Movies that challenge and inspire


Ice cream in hot weather

Quiet mornings

Having three sisters


Licuado de durazno

Shopping at Saturday morning market with a few little ones

US History

Cochabamba’s international community

Fresh fruit smoothies

Toddler kisses

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken...says the Lord.
Isaiah 54:10

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our British Friends

When you live in Cochabamba, you meet people from all over the world.

And when you're in my line of work, you meet some really, really neat people.

Through the years we have been blessed by a lovely friendship Gordon & Evelyn Hutchinson, from Manchester, England. Originally from Scotland, they have enchanting accents.

Every year this couple with 3 children and 7 grandchildren makes the long trip to their second home (Bolivia!) where they give 2-3 months of their time ministering to children-at-risk.

They volunteer at two homes in particular, one for girls and one for boys, and also visit several Compassion projects.

When the Hutchinsons are in England, they champion their favorite causes amongst friends, churches, and at missions conferences. We have been blessed multiple times by the funds they raise!

They send me encouraging e-cards and emails throughout the year, and their Christmas letter which talks about their friends in Bolivia just as much as their own family.

Every year on their annual visit, they take out directors of homes/projects to a meal at their favorite restaurant in Cochabamba (a very nice one) just to be a blessing and to catch up a bit.

Last week it was our turn, and the Alseths (CDA III) and I had a lovely lunch with the Hutchinsons and Jade, here volunteering in Cochabamba thanks to their influence.

Thank you for EVERYTHING, and may God bless you abundantly in return!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

soccer, soccer, and more soccer

As I mentioned in this post about my friends at the bridge, soccer games have been a highlight of our best times together!

Now, I do not like soccer. I think it's highly boring to watch compared to basketball. I've only played it once in my life, in a Casa de Amor staff game years ago.

That said, I enjoy an occasional game of Bolivian soccer! When an interesting group of friends is going, I like tagging along to just chat while enjoying nice weather and mountain views. It's also a great cultural event to introduce to new volunteers. Just ask how entertaining it is to watch the drama of "seriously injured" players who are back on the field within seconds, and observe the many roles the police play at games. (Here, people take their soccer seriously!!)

Right now, Bolivian teams are competing to win the "Copa AeroSur", and the favorite Cochabamba team Wilstermann is in the lead!

25,000 tickets were sold for this game! Wilstermann won 3-1 against Aurora.

The first game we went to together was easily the most packed out, heavily guarded, craziest soccer game I have been to in all my years in Bolivia. And I had to bring over 20 volunteers, street friends, and children, just great!

I had NO idea how it was going to go with our street friends. My expectations and the guidelines were clearly laid out almost daily in the week leading up to the game (such as no glue) and the kids were very responsive, but beyond that I could only be hopeful.

Some of our large, rather out-of-the-ordinary group from the first game

Savannah with her dad in the last hour of his Cochabamba visit, and Caris with B (CDA II) and a new friend

First of all, I barely recognized the group I picked up at the bridge, they were so clean and spiffed up! Still, no one was more surprised than me when all went well at the game. The only part I wasn't prepared for was the police bullying, even towards me for being with them (such as where we were allowed to park). I thought I was never going to get a couple of the most recognized (or notorious?) through all the levels of security, but by vouching for them every step of the way we got in!

They insisted that I be their "bodyguard" the rest of the game when police came near, or when they wanted to go buy something. Interesting twist, me with no street smarts whatsoever, ha!

I love how carefree these four look here, which is not always the case

Pictures from the second game, which included hours of boiling hot sunshine rather than rain, (we decided we preferred the rain of the week before!):

(By the way, I actually do have great pictures of these people straight on, I'm just hesitant to post lots of them publically.)

Wilstermann won again against La Paz, 1-0!

There will be another huge game on Sunday but I'm not sure I will get to take them this week. And anyway, I haven't had more than an hour "free" in weeks and weeks now, so that would be really amazing.

For my friends sake though, GO WILSTERMANN!!! :)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Thanks to volunteers Katrina (the kiwi Katrina!) and Elena, we have a wonderfully welcoming entry way at the Baby Home.

For months now I've wanted to put the group pictures in chronological order...

The little labels under the pictures state the month/year of the group picture.

Que lindo!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


A normal day of cleaning supply deliveries to the Baby Home:

All this will last us a few weeks.

Monday, February 1, 2010

First Day of School

The day FINALLY came!

The world's most excited new school girl lives in the Baby Home!

I snapped a few pictures as she left with two tias, in the rain:

Don't let the funny faces fool you!

S just has this thing - when you get out a camera and say "smile", she can't quite remember how to do it. :)

Third time's the charm!

My favorite 5 year old girl in the whole world!!!

2/3/10 update: On this first day, S left her brother A behind in a puddle of tears. I spent some time comforting him, and also pointing out that he is 4 and needs to be 5 to go to kindergarten. The next day, some friends of mine asked him how old he was. As he gave me a sideways glance to see if I would notice, he blurted right out "5!!" Nice try...

Yesterday (Tuesday) someone asked S how school was. She said it was fine, but the teacher only spoke to her once, to say "Chau". We wonder if she realizes that all the teacher says up front is directed to her?! :)