By Heather Radu –
Many generous donors sponsor children, conduct fund-raising events, and give to keep Dorie’s Promise running. But we recently learned about the most unique fund-raising effort conducted in 2016: a former resident organized it.
Nine-year-old Maria* was one of our last children involved in an international adoption in 2008.
While her father sent us a check in late December for $1,000, he only recently shared the full story. Maria raised those funds by appealing to family, neighbors and friends for donations.
Originally, she told nearby residents she was raising money for children in an orphanage in Guatemala. When she and a friend set up a lemonade stand, Maria made a Guatemalan flag to attach to their collection jar.
“After that, she took the flag jar and went to some other neighbors,” says John, the sales manager for a small pharmaceutical company in their hometown. “With our extended family, we used a letter from Forever Changed to discuss specific needs. She explained to everyone that this was the orphanage where she was born.”
The fund-raising effort took two months. The largest single donation of $250 came from one of Maria’s aunts.
However, another one that really touched her heart came from a 22-year-old cousin. After she talked about the drive, he gave her everything in his wallet—twenty dollars. $20. She tried to return it, but he insisted she keep it.
While Maria felt good about her campaign, later she wondered whether she had raised enough. However, FCI’s letter of thanks that explained its significance helped her better understand her accomplishment.
“We are so proud of Maria,” her father says. “She has this huge heart and desire to help people, and talks about this quite a bit. We were not surprised when she decided she wanted to raise money for her orphanage. I suspect she will want to do it again.”
In addition, Maria has sparked interest among family members about visiting Dorie’s Promise. One of her cousins took a mission trip this spring; he had his choice of destinations and picked Guatemala because of Maria’s influence.
The family hopes to return, too, especially since their daughter has been asking about going.
“When we got the call about Maria, we knew immediately she was our daughter,” her father says. “She has brought tons of joy into our house since day one. We have friends who nicknamed her ‘Smiley.’ We can’t imagine her not being here.”
Such stories put a smile on our face, too.
*Name changed to protect adoptive family’s privacy.