Current Child Count

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Difficult News

This letter has now arrived to our Casa de Amor mailing list. Due to it's importance and the rumors I am hearing, I am also posting the contents here. Please hear my heart, there is nothing more than what is contained here. I fully trust the local administration and admire them for their dedication in the face of so many challenges. Thank you!

Dear Supporters,
This is a letter I never imagined writing so it’s taken some time to gather my thoughts. Casa de Amor and Bolivia have been a huge part of my life since I was 20 years old—the memories are so special to me! Beginning in 2002, God established a two-continent team to build a loving home for orphaned and abandoned babies. The first newsletter of 2005 announced with joy, “Casa de Amor now shakes with the sound of children! God has blessed us with six beautiful children to love and care for, five boys and one girl.” (One of those boys is now my son!)

Casa de Amor Bolivia
Despite regular setbacks, Casa de Amor in Bolivia has been a well-funded ministry, able to accept any baby in need as long as we had a crib. We’ve administered three children’s homes, 24/7, for 11 ½ years. Since the economic downturn in 2008, however, we rarely have a large bank account balance, but money would come just in time to cover necessities. International adoptions also nearly ceased, and three of our biggest supporting churches stopped giving for internal reasons beyond our control. Still God provided.
The ministry was never supposed to be about me. I searched actively for years to find someone—anyone—willing to take over my role. Finally in late 2014, prospects appeared! The timing was none too soon as I was due with our 5th child (2nd biological). It had become increasingly complicated to run the homes well and care for my growing family. My husband and I made the decision to move near family in the states.
Mid-2015, after months of preparation and training and productive meetings, I excitedly announced to our supporters the new team God had assembled to replace me—a local director, two missionary
administrators, and a new missionary president for our Bolivian board. My heart was full, knowing the children would still be cared for, and I could focus on my family.
The joy was short-lived. Days before our September departure, the new US staff members within Bolivia resigned. They saw the shoestring support for themselves and became alarmed. The responsibility of overseeing funding for 30+ children, 15 staff members, and 3 houses was too great.
I did not expect my departure to mean decreased giving, but just in case, I heeded suggestions to restructure and reduce costs. Before boarding the plane with our family of 7, I oversaw and approved a new plan reducing our expenses by about 40%. Sadly, giving has plummeted since my departure. Giving since January has averaged 70% of our restructured basic operating expenses. Staff and board members in Cochabamba have given it their best, but also failed to find new financing.  Obviously, a continual lack of money when one cares for children is of huge concern! This was not the Casa de Amor we knew for so many years.   

Other Difficult Factors
We are accustomed to Bolivian authorities’ difficult mandates, but regulation is increasingly oppressive—and expensive. To list just a few:

  • Annual government-decreed wage increases, some years as much as 10% for our entire staff
  • Constant pressure to replace childcare staff with degreed professionals  (and no trial periods allowed)
  • Women not allowed to work over 40 hours a week—creating the need for an exorbitant amount of caregivers and insecurity with the children.
  • No publishing children’s pictures
Continually discouraging are the partially full Bolivian and US boards. People are just busy! We’ve not had a consistent volunteer coordinator since 2014, eliminating a multi-faceted source of support. No one leads vital communication to supporters, and our long-time child sponsorship coordinator moved on.
The final blow was a disgruntled ex-employee’s court case. We won in 2012, her employment term complaints proven false, but corruption saw her appeal unexpectedly granted early this year. We were ordered to pay her additional wages and court fees amounting to over $32,000. Appealing this judgment so our new director doesn’t go to jail has added expense, stress, and distraction from the ministry.

With growing dismay, Bolivian administrators and I began asking with an open heart, “What is God telling us?” “Has Casa de Amor’s time of ministry passed?” We had a healthy, growing ministry many years thanks to steady funding AND dedicated personnel. Lacking both meant excellence was no longer obtainable.
During this time of questioning, God did not open any floodgates. Trusted advisors who know Bolivia agree the climate is difficult. We’ve concluded the unthinkable—we must cease operations in Bolivia. 

Our desire is to bow out gracefully, leaving the best possible testimony. Caring for the children and staff is our priority!

The Current Situation
Even closing down in Bolivia is hard. There have been myriad details and legalities to consider. And of course, in the midst of it all, is the weight of finding Christian homes for 15 babies and 15 school-aged children. We have a couple possibilities, but pray for God to move on their behalf, to open the right doors!
There is a sense of urgency to transfer the school children during July’s short winter break. If the babies are also moved by then, we can release the staff the last day of July—IF we have the funds to do so without bringing down new court cases. We informed our Bolivian staff yesterday in a tearful meeting that we hope to have enough money by the end of July to pay them every bit of what they are owed by law.
The costs we are looking at between now and then include:
CLOSING EXPENSES (including a good finish with all staff members): $25,000
RENT HOUSES PAINTING AND REPAIR (3 houses, with owners we greatly appreciate): $5,000
TOTAL = $50,000
We seek a buyer for our main asset, a large van, and a few other items of value which are estimated to bring in around $10,000. All will be applied towards these expenses.  
This means we still need approximately $40,000 in the next 5 weeks—a very tall order, but vital.
Your generosity is greatly needed as we honor our Christian testimony in Bolivia to finish well! 

Checks can be mailed to our address in the US, or donations made online using PayPal (see below).
I am deeply grateful for all our financial sponsors, a group that began with my family’s Christmas card list, and has grown to include dear friends around the world. Thank you so much to each one who has given, from widow’s mites to large checks that made us gasp. YOU made Casa de Amor a place of love by your generous and sacrificial giving!

In Christ,
Jennifer Beaty (Thompson)
Casa de Amor Children’s Homes

PS--Once we know the new homes of all 30 of the children, we will inform everyone. I’m sure those ministries would appreciate the transfer of child sponsors and new support! Please contact me with any questions.

“And Jesus took the children in his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them.”
Mark 10:16

Mail checks made out to "GOAL" to the following address:

PO Box 357 
Collierville, Tennessee, 38027

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