By Cari Burck –
I will never forget my first trip to Guatemala, when I made it my mission to get a little guy named Lester to smile. I loved on him, devoted attention to him, and acted silly. Before leaving, I snapped the first-ever picture of him smiling.
On that trip, I left a piece of my heart at Dorie’s Promise. Our support of the home gives my husband, Bradley, and me dozens of children in addition to the two who live in our own home. In a modest way, we are helping to solve the world’s orphan crisis.
As I flew home after a recent visit, I thought of ways others in North America can play a vital role in helping orphans in Guatemala. This is true even though it’s been eight years since the country curtailed international adoptions.
To start with, anyone can sponsor a child. Providing 24/7 care in a safe environment is expensive; it takes $1,000 a month per child to meet Forever Changed International’s standards. FCI asks for a minimum pledge of $35 a month, which means it takes multiple sponsors to meet each child’s needs.
Thanks to e-mail, Skype, and other modern communications, you can maintain regular contact with your child, too. You can find out what’s going on in their lives as you help feed, clothe, and care for kids like Mario, Fabiola, Yojana, Alex, and Dulce.
However, don’t restrict your involvement to instant messages or video chats. Think about coming to Guatemala. Over the years thousands have. All return home with a familiar refrain on their lips: “This changed my life.”
It isn’t just helping the orphans at Dorie’s Promise that makes a difference. Participating in community improvement projects will help you get a better understanding of the conditions in the Guatemala City area. Making a difference in needy people’s lives will make a difference in yours.
Back home, you can take part in awareness activities. Churches have sponsored fun runs that not only raise money for FCI, but spread the message about our work. Others have sponsored garage sales or asked guests coming to their child’s birthday party to donate to Dorie’s Promise as their gift.
You can plan a fundraiser for your sponsored child’s community, too. Bake sales, yard sales, and dance marathons may seem like outdated activities. But when the purpose is helping the poor, old becomes “retro” and young people get as excited as their parents.
If your area gets blanketed by another storm this winter, why not use some of that time to read a book about global poverty or international adoption*? There are many titles that will increase your understanding of the deplorable conditions that have created the global orphan crisis.
When you take a reading break, consider jumping online to join FCI’s prayer team. Each month you will receive specific prayer requests and praise items. Prayer is an essential lifeline for this ministry. Or, if you just want to stay informed about developments, you can sign up for e-mail notifications.
Other ways you can help include:
- Consider giving a special gift. You can check the gift registry for the latest needs, or consider placing one of the children on your Christmas gift list next fall.
- Host a dinner. Invite good friends to your home, and after dinner make a short presentation on Dorie’s Promise. Tell others what this means to your life. You may attract another sponsor or two for the home.
- Engage your church. Many need some kind of missions focus. Letting them know about our Reach Out Missions could light a spark among the members.
- Tell others about sponsorship. Speak to the Rotary Club or other community organization. After all, if you sponsor a child, you’re an expert. You know what good this accomplishes and how it makes you feel.
Go ahead. Join my mission to let everyone know about the incredible things that are happening in Guatemala!
* International Adoption from Guatemala closed in 2008