That said, it has been an honor to witness the response from friends both here and abroad as they provide us support in all sorts of ways!
Below are a few I'd like to mention.
Once the triplets hit the news here, the first person to really step forward and offer a substantial amount of assistance was Nataly Veizaga, a 25 year old Cochabambina. Her family owns the bus station here, the Break & Donuts chain (the closest thing to US donuts in Cochabamba!), is building a huge supermarket center in La Cancha, and perhaps more. As the donated diapers, wet wipes, and formula runs out, Nataly is helping us with this expense. She also generously covered half the amount of the extremely high NICU bill for Victoria. And of course, baby #3 is named for her!
(As a side note: The first time she changed a diaper was here changing a triplet!)
Volunteer Melanie with twins Gabriel & Gabriela in October 2008
I know I've showed this picture a time or two already, and there really are others of Melanie, but since we're talking about multiples... Melanie has continued to play a part in Casa de Amor from afar even as she studied nursing. Shortly after the triplet's arrival, she stepped forward to be their first sponsor - for all THREE!
Amber giving Edgar a bottle in 2005
Another former (and repeat) volunteer, Amber, begged me to let her pay Victoria's hospital bill. Since Nataly had already paid half, Amber paid the other half (which was still substantial, believe me). And now Amber will probably be mortified that I mentioned this, but it's just so neat how everyone is pulling together that hopefully she'll forgive me. :)
Heather admiring her "new baby" A (our first micro preemie) in November 2008, right after she was realeased from the hospital. Heather cared for her around the clock for the next month or so.
Next, my sister Heather emailed me. Here's part of what she wrote:
Mom told me this morning about Victoria's hospital bill. And that Amber had offered to pay it. I was thinking earlier (before I heard about this) that I should give something... I haven't in the past because I've thought, "I give my time!" (replying to volunteers, donation list, and the checking account) so I've sent my missions money elsewhere. But it would be sad in the museum some day to have no record of a monetary donation from your dear sister.
Thanks, dear sister! And I'm sure you'd get special mention in the museum for all your investment of time.
Those who know us from the first earllyyyy days know that Casa de Amor started off as a ministry of Hospitals of Hope. (Get it? Hope, love...yep, I chose the name after reading that verse in I Corinthians 13.) Even though we're not with HOH anymore, we continue to collaborate and work together here in Bolivia. I mentioned to Iris, their volunteer coordinator, that if anyone would like to take overnight shifts with the triplets they were more than welcome.
HOH has come through and two or three times a week they send over two excited medical volunteers to work the night shift. This is a huge blessing because as I made April's schedule, I was about to break down and hire someone to work every other night, but now that's not necessary!
Baby Nataly receiving her IV treatment from her special cushion :)
Savannah, our volunteer and a nurse, has also been crucial to make all this work. For well over a week now, there have been 5 meds/day via IV for either Victoria or Nataly, so that would be a lot of trips into the clinic if we were not able to do it here (even though we've still gone multiple times...but that's another story!). Sav has worked around the clock making sure that they get the meds on time. I had fun (if I can put it that way) giving the meds too once she taught me how.
Tia Adelaida gave the triplets their first bath at the home (I love how it's "her thing"! I have so many pictures of her bathing our babies through the years.)
The tias also pitch in as they can, around their busy days caring for 20 others....
Tia Rosa (CDA adminstrator & social worker) taking a turn feeding one of the babies
...and even office staff! You should see Tio David carrying one or two on the days when the housekeeper needs in to clean their room, and we bring them all up to the office with us. He's even been spotted working on his computer while holding one.
Special mention also to Elena and Katrina who took night shifts the first couple of weeks even though they were also on nights with the kids of CDA II, and nights with the triplets are pretty intense!
Thanks to the concerted effort of everyone, the babies are growing quicker than anyone imagined and are doing very well.
Thanks to all!!!