Current Child Count

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Baby D's Heart Surgery!

For the first posts on Baby D and his condition, see here and here.


Baby D will be admitted to the heart clinic on Wednesday, May 7, for heart surgery on May 9! He is still about a pound shy of where he should be, but is currently healthy and progressing developmentally. Due to the chronic ear infections he has suffered through, he has been scheduled for auditory testing. 


We are so grateful for the dedication of volunteer Linnea to care for D around the clock and get him healthy and strong. She leaves Bolivia tomorrow morning to return to Canada, but return volunteer Lindsey is stepping in to fill the gap.

 Baby D with Volunteer Coordinator Elena
April 28, 2014

Last week when I sat down with our health coordinator, I realized how many details are involved. Maria had just spent the morning on 3 tests for the baby costing over $100. If that doesn’t sound like much, it’s a lot here in Bolivia. One of the things she found out is that we will need MANY blood donors. (An estimated 16?!)

Friends and volunteers in Cochabamba who are willing to donate blood: stay tuned for more details!

On the legal front, since baby D is a relatively new arrival for Casa de Amor, his official papers for his “shelter” in Casa de Amor had not yet been issued from the minors court. That’s normal but in this case we needed everything in line before the surgery. (By law, we have 72 hours to request legal shelter for each and every new arrival, but social services and the court can take months to process the papers.) Our social workers (Rosa and our new staff member Evelin) worked hard to get this loose end tied up so that we could present a report to the court with all the details of the surgery requesting permission to proceed. We expect a positive reply—this is more of a formality before embarking on major medical treatment.

We are very blessed to have two medical-minded volunteers arriving soon, our repeat volunteer "Canadian Katrina" and a repeat visitor to Bolivia, Elizabeth from Texas. They will be a huge help with all the special care baby D will need, and also our medical staff as they keep up with all of the other babies.
Financially, a HUGE THANK YOU to the TEN different sponsors of baby D’s life-saving surgery!! Every bit of what has been donated for baby D is going to baby D. Yesterday I transferred the first $3,500 to Bolivia so that our accountant can access it on time. All of the staff is marveling at how quickly we are able to move forward with this surgery!
We do need more to be able to pay for his post-op medications, tests, consultations, and anything else that might come up. Click HERE for information on making donations to Casa de Amor/GOAL. 

In summary:
~ Pray for baby D’s continual health and consistent weight gain

~ Pray for a sufficient number of blood donors (enough donors will reduce the total surgery cost)

~ Pray that the proper legal backing comes through in time

~ Pray that enough money comes in to be able to cover any extra expenses

A few more pictures of our volunteer get-together a couple of nights ago, thanking Linnea for her service to Casa de Amor:

My house looked like a second baby home, with quite the room full of babies - four babies ages 6 1/2 to almost 8 months!

 So fun! All of these babies can sit to some degree now.

And finally, we would be very grateful for any special donations towards health expenses in general right now. One of our newest babies, little boy E, was hospitalized twice at two different hospitals in the month of April with various illnesses that he has probably had since his arrival.
We have spent MORE THAN $2,000 on medical bills alone the month of April.  
Much of that was due to hospitalizations, but also because of the continual sicknesses we’ve battled at the Baby Home. Obviously, this went way over budget, and follows behind another high medical expense month in March. The babies are finally doing better thanks to a united effort on the part of the staff and volunteers, but it’s made it hard to meet other expenses like staff salaries and utility bills, now due.

Click HERE to see how to give via check or paypal.

Thank you to all of our supporters! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Baby D Update

It's time for an update on Baby D!

First of all, his diagnosis is a VSD (Ventricular septal defect) - and most of the symptoms associated with that - and a PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) .

Currently, he is on two medications indefinitely.

He has struggled with repeated respiratory infections, a common issue with heart babies. He narrowly escaped hospitalization last week thanks in part to a valiant effort by Casa de Amor staff and volunteers.

Baby D currently weighs 4.8 kilos but needs to weigh SIX kilos for his heart surgery to take place. Pray that he begins to tolerate more formula at each feeding!

From past surgeries, we know that a little one going through such an experience needs lot of extra TLC. It's also best if the least number of people possible are involved to provide the best continuity of care. That's why it was pretty neat when a nurse visitor to the Baby Home was captivated by our tiny Baby D and asked if she could change her plans and come back in May! (Read her blog post on falling in love with our baby here.)

NOW the trick will be getting D healthy enough and big enough by May for the surgery, plus coordinating with the doctors and Clinica Belga!

At least we won't be held up by lack of funding. As mentioned in my last blog post, we have been told to budget at least $13,000 for the surgery and post-op hospitalization and medications. Tia Maria, our health care coordinator, was able to obtain a pledge of 70% of the funding from a Catholic foundation in our city. That is an AMAZING portion towards the surgery!

Donations to cover the remaining 30% have come in from far and wide - Australia, Canada, and the US. All of the donations have been from current or former volunteers with the exception of one family who explained that they understand the costs involved as they raise their own "heart baby".

At this point, only about $1,300 is still needed to reach our goal (yes, Linnea, a little more came in since you asked me this morning)!!!

Little D is a much-loved baby!

PS - For a few recent pictures, see volunteer Linnea's blog post!