Current Child Count

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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Some of the babies

As promised in G's birthday party post, some pictures of the lovely party "guests"!!

Vivacious F., 13 months old

Big-eyed P., 4 1/2 months


Spunky O., 2 years, and quiet S., 5 1/2 months

Precious M., 7 months

Fun-loving J., 4 years old

Busy little R., 1 year and a few months

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Adoption of the Three!

We have NEWS!!!
These three much beloved Casa de Amor siblings....

...are now IN ITALY with their new adoptive parents!!!!

The new family!
S. will soon be 8, A. is 6 1/2, and D. is 4 1/2 years old

A few pictures from the first evening meeting:
Tio David giving a group bear hug to the three before the first big meeting

Tia Rosa, our social worker, greeting the couple and their agency representative

First hugs!!!

Brand new parents with three kids at once, WOW!

The photographers and onlookers
Some of us were a bit emotional! Katrina C. and I were reminiscing about February 16, 2009, when we picked them up after the street kid raid...

I didn't even know her name yet, but little D fell asleep on me on the way home and I was in love... (The other two in this picture were adopted years ago: E left with her older brother, JK, and A went to a local missionary family!)

The day A joined his sisters at Casa de Amor I (March 3, 2009)... How they've changed!!
See the posts from February 2009 posts beginning February 16 for the whole story and the difficult first days of the three as they transitioned from life on the street to life in our home.

Waiting in court for the big second hearing!!

Some sweets to help keep some busy kiddos calmer during the wait and anxiousness of everyone around them...

I could barely peel little D. off of me to be able to leave after the hearing. The gelato break gave me the moment I needed to get away... So hard! This is not our first older kid adoption where the kids beg to stay with us, or to return to the home even after going with their new parents. It's hard to know how to nicely say "Hey, even though we all love each other a lot, your best future is with a family, not with us, even if it's a hard change at first!"
The transition period for this new family of five is far from over! PLEASE keep them in your prayers!! I would say it's been the most difficult adoption we've ever observed that still "went through", although the most crucial court hearing was delayed an extra 10 days till the family felt more secure. Their biggest challenges were communication (the couple doesn't know Spanish, the three don't know Italian) and discipline. Anyone who knows these three knows that both of these areas are crucial!!
And, finally... post on "the three" would be complete without a picture of their favorite tia, Savannah! :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, G!

Some babies are just born SWEET!! Our little G is definitely one of them.

When he arrived last year at 6 days of age, he had been abandoned by a teen mother with her neighbor friend. That neighbor appeared on our Baby Home doorstep on July 25 wanting to drop him off. She had been feeding him pilfrut (cheap little bags of juice you can buy everywhere here).
Our accountant told the girl she needed papers first, that we don't just take in babies off the street, so lo and behold, she went to child social services and the very next day without a call or anything, he was back on our doorstep, now with the proper documentation. (I have to chuckle sometimes that it will be a shock one day, as accustomed as I am to the legal way of getting babies here, to have a baby of my own that comes withOUT papers, ha!)

Love the look on his face!

What a joy to have G his first year of life!

Everyone was so excited about the cake this day! Pictures of the "party guests" to come... :)

Happy Birthday, little G!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Casa de Amor Family Night

Bolivia celebrates "Noche de San Juan" a couple days after the winter solstice, saying it's the coldest and longest night of the year! Every year we either do something just for our older kids or for all the staff and their families, too.

This year, back in the huge house with large spaces for entertaining, it was Casa de Amor Family Night!
Tia Maria leading us in some favorite Spanish praise songs!

Watching the 30 minute film detailing Casa de Amor's work that volunteer/visitor Morgan created for us last year. So fun to watch the kids (and tias) see themselves!

It's tradition to grill on this night, and grill we did!! I won't even mention how many some of our kids ate..... They were HAPPY!!
Tia Sarin serving her son

There was a wild relay game, that involved peeling potatoes, water, diapers, and throwing around a baby doll...don't ask!!

Then outside, a friendly fire was roaring for warmth! (Bonfires are now prohibited on the night of San Juan, but this was actually the day before.)

Then there was some s'mores action!!

Bobbi-jo, Johanna and I were fearing for our eyeballs here - it was a lot of sticks manuevered by a lot of kids at close the dark!

Fun times!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Time for Family

I didn't plan to go back to the US this year. However, my family came up with a failproof plan to get me there: refuse to send Emma to Bolivia. Hrmph.
Emma herself sent a card all the way to Bolivia to tell me I needed to visit them in July, no matter what. So finally in April, I gave in. Okay, yes, I'm coming!!
It was the shortest trip back I've ever had - just 13 1/2 days, including travel and an overnight layover in Miami - so we made the most of it!
A few pictures of a very wonderful, relaxing trip full of great times with family and friends!

Visiting sister Heather's house. For some reason, the word "museum" always comes to mind when in her spotless, quite perfect room... (Yep, we're different alright!)

At my family's house, with Emma - now 13!!

Sisters! L-R: Sarah, Heather, Emma, Jennifer

Jennifer & Heather playing together for the first time in several years

And everyone all together! The Thompson family + Jake, a new friend who will soon move to Bolivia

Can you believe that there's not a single good picture of everyone, all smiling, no one being goofy... These are the best two!

A small little evening activity...

This picture insists on loading upside down, but now you can imagine how it was to piece it together from the wrong side of the table!!

Very enjoyable dinner with longtime Texan friends (and GOAL board member) Ben & Betsy Whisenant!

Jake & Jen by the Mississippi River

Visit to Mud Island on (a very hot) July 4th! But hey, I was escaping Bolivia in the very coldest part of what's been an unusually cold winter, so I wasn't complaining (too much!)...

And one of the events I was most looking forward to - July 4th in the US, ALSO my sister Heather's birthday!! Here we are at Collierville, Tennessee's celebration, with most of the town!

First July 4th fireworks I've seen in eight years and it was spectacular!! As many fireworks as I constantly see around town in Bolivia (they love them and there are practically no restrictions), there was NO comparison to these!

Sarah (left) is so happy now! The last time I was with my family, they had just moved and Sarah was struggling. She's a completely different person now!
So my briefest time back turned out to be one of the most memorable as we took advantage to the maximum! I'm not quite sure how the cookie stores kept running because my family only ran in and out briefly, spending the bulk of their time with me and our visitor from Washington state, Jake. It was like we were all on vacation. In fact, it was so nice, this has been a harder separation than usual. I love being back where I feel completely at home, Bolivia and Casa de Amor and the street kids, but sure miss my family!! I'm looking forward to their visits to me - after two years in a row of visits to the US, it's definitely their turn to come to Cochabamba. :)