Current Child Count

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

Friday, June 29, 2012


This week little A became our 9th child to be adopted in 2012!!

This Bolivian lady's family cared for A when he was found as a newborn on New Year's Eve last year, abandoned in a hostel in a more tropical part of the country several hours from Cochabamba. When A was brought to the city in January to be legally placed at Casa de Amor, the family moved to Cochabamba to be able to hire a lawyer and begin guardianship paperwork for A even though they wouldn't be able to visit him during the process.

While many Bolivians are interested in adopting, many are surprised by the long waits and all the bureacracy. A's papers had actually gone through several weeks prior, but due to one error on the final government memo, several steps had to be redone. During that time baby A got sick with rotavirus, was hospitalized, nearly re-hospitalized, and really struggled to get better.

Pray for our family at CDA III who really grew to love him, and for A's transition time to his new family!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Unveiling our NEW dining room...

Last week, some of our volunteers and Tio David took on a HUGE project.

Here are the behind-the-scene pictures and final results!

Taking down several years of accumulated artwork and displays

David tackling the ceiling, covered in tape from balloons and streamers from many birthday parties

Katrina working on a wall (this was all HER idea!!)

Work Zone!!

Beginning to paint!

Johanna and Katrina

A green beam to add "pop" to the room, in the words of Elena

A tree and birds...

...inspired by the cover of this journal, a birthday gift given to me last month by Kiwi Katrina! :)

The logo taking shape under Elena's skillful hand!

Canadian Katrina took on the tedious task of going back over all of Elena's artwork


...and after!!

What an amazing job!!

A lot of work and consultation went into choosing the colors and I REALLY like them!

It's not all that clear in these photo, thanks to the shiny washable background paint, but there are also two scriptures:

This is Luke 18:17 in Spanish: "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."

And James 1:27, another beautiful verse: "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."

Sprouting up flowers!

Thank you so much to everyone who collaborated on this big project! It will be a blessing to our children, staff, and visitors for many years to come. :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New addition!

Yesterday we got a surprise! In the afternoon we got a call about a one year old. The social worker said no. They kept begging, so she consulted with me. I said the tias would probably say no. So the social worker said no again. She was told it was temporary, two weeks. The social worker still said no, however reluctantly.

Then the social worker left, social services called back, and yep, you guessed it: I said yes.

After a long exchange, mind you!! Apparently when there was no home for the baby, a lawyer at social services was told to look through past inspections of homes, and in doing that they "discovered" that Hogar de Amor Baby Home supposedly had two open spots. Wow!! How interesting that I didn't know that Hogar de Amor Baby Home has two open spots, and I work here. (Not to mention I also live here.)

If anything, our papers say we should have up to a dozen and we actually have thirteen. I explained that the numbers do not matter to us as administration, but rather the workload, and that we have some special needs babies right now and that's why we're full.

How can anyone look at this picture of not even ALL of our babies (taken last night) and say it's too few?!

But they insisted it was just for two weeks, pointing out that they were now 8 minutes away from closing time and the day before a holiday (Happy Aymara New Year!), and the baby had been waiting in their offices all afternoon.

What would YOU do?!

And so this little cutey arrived...

She's kept our ears perked up in periods since her arrival with her strong healthy screams. :)

Getting hair fixed after a good warm bath

All of our oldest little girls look startingly alike (the newest is in the middle). They move a lot so even though this picture is blurry, it was the best.

Please pray for little R's future! In spite of the insistence by those desperate to place her that it's just for "two weeks", I strongly doubt it. Her mother allegedly sold her to another couple, although we have no idea when or of the circumstances. Neighbors reported the deed and the mother was detained. This is the second such case of the week here in Cochabamba and I know from reading news that the mother of the other baby did not end up going to jail, but we have no details on the mother of little R - not even name! Investigating her case will be our homework in upcoming days.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Birthday x 2!

On May 23, the Baby Home celebrated TWO first birthdays!

First was baby F, who arrived at exactly 24 hours of life - on my birthday! :)

Beautiful cake for our sweet F...

First taste!

Then it was boy K's turn!

It's hard to remember that K is the same age as F, because he didn't arrive to Casa de Amor until he was 6 months old (December 2011).
Happy Birthday, K!!

Party in full swing!

That's a lot of cake, folks...

Little G getting after those cookies!

C was quite happy :)

Baby P hanging out during the party
It was also little girl B's 5th birthday on this day! She arrived with her sister when she was just a baby. So amazing to watch all of our babies grow up!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mother's Day Seminar & Lunch

This year we "did" Mother's Day at Casa de Amor on May 30 with a half day of training and then a big lunch.

First, our blind little girl J's two teachers from FAPIZ shared with us about visual impairment, how they interact with J at school, and how we can support their work here at home.

After their presentation, I showed a youtube video of Christopher Duffley, a 10 year old blind and autistic boy with a singing ministry. Although it was in English, the song "Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord" is popular here in Spanish and the staff caught the significance.

Next, our speech therapist Mercy gave an overview of speech development for ages 0-2 and answered questions. We are so grateful for her loving dedication towards our children with speech delays!

Then a physical therapist shared developmental milestones and took questions. She is in charge of all the physical therapy students who visit our house most days of the week to work (and learn from) our babies!

To finish out the training, I showed another longer youtube video, this time of the testimony of abortion survivor Gianna Jessen. What a moving story!! I love it when she passionately declares the worth of those rejected and put down by society for being different, growing up without a family, or having a disability.

Meanwhile, Tio David had been slaving away in the kitchen....

As his gift to all the women he works with on a daily basis, he insisted on making the Mother's Day lunch while we were in the meetings, a very sweet gesture for a guy, and a Bolivian at that!

The lunch was paid for by a visitor to one of our houses a couple weeks prior. I don't even know the young man's name, but he pressed $50 into my hand as he said goodbye!

Volunteer "Kiwi Katrina" was asked to make a dessert for everyone and made THREE: brownies, lemon meringue pie, and fruit salad! Although Bolivians aren't nearly into desserts as we Westerners are, they sure lined up for Katrina's specialties and it was all gone in a flash!!

And there is no picture, but the entire day would not have been possible without the team of volunteers who cared for all 30+ children in three houses while the tias had this time away.

Our desire that it would be a refreshing, encouraging, educational time for all who participated seems to have been accomplished from the smiles on the faces and the positive comments on May's staff reports.

Thanks to all who participated! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Baby C!

We celebrated another May birthday party with our C, who arrived last year as a tiny newborn. Not so much anymore...!

What a cake!!!

Getting a boost from Tia Roxana for the candle!

Master chef Katrina cutting and serving up her cake!

Aw, that look!!!

AMAZING chocolate!!! Put a smile on everyone's face...

...even C's, a usually serious baby!
Of course, attention from Tia Katrina is pretty aweesome, too.

Post-party with her May-birthday-month pal, F! (Pics of her birthday coming up...)

Monday, June 11, 2012

families, families, and more families!

In true Katrina style, our "Kiwi Katrina" left all of these surprises on and around my desk before leaving for her plane...

She finished a project that has been in the works for literally YEARS as no one ever seemed to have time to finish it, and it was just floating around the volunteer room for the past year or two. I've always wanted to have a wall with pictures of the new families created by Casa de Amor adoptions.

Katrina actually brought more frames from New Zealand to add to the frames my family left (from Pottery Barn, USA!) to be able to complete the project.

So many beautiful families! It's such an encouragement to us to see the sheer number of them, and to remember each child and adoption.

View up from the 2nd floor...
...and looking down, from the office!
It's been rather funny - I'll be trotting up or down the stairs and nearly run into someone, a tia or volunteer or visitor is standing on the landing, mesmerized by all the pictures. Several tias have gotten stuck studying all the pictures, only to come to when they realize they're supposed to be doing something else, somewhere else! We've had a wonderful time reminiscing.
Thank you so much, Katrina, for carrying this project to completion for us!! :)