Every child at Dorie’s Promise was created with unique gifts, amazing abilities, and the opportunity to be wildly successful. But, it can be really hard for them to believe in a successful future because they’ve endured a really painful past. Much like you do for your children, our job as the adults entrusted with their care is to guide and support them as they navigate their childhood and prepare for the future.
Think back to your childhood dreams. As a young child, what was your dream job—maybe a doctor, teacher, mother, or even an astronaut? Children have the amazing ability to dream big without limitations.
Trauma, abuse, and neglect affect every aspect of life, including dreams. Each of our children has experienced a traumatic event leading up to their time in our home. To varying degrees, their past experiences have altered what they believe about themselves and their future. For some, it’s hard to believe in the future because what they believed about themselves in their past was torn apart. Or worse yet, they believe the lies people used to tear them down.
Our responsibility to these children drives every decision we make. Mama Ingrid Gutiérrez is a champion of encouraging our children every single day. She inspires the boys in our home, reminding them of their strengths, even when they doubt themselves. Plus, she doesn’t settle for small goals, she encourages big, audacious dreams. For one boy, she encourages him to be anything he wants, even President of Guatemala.
Thinking about the future
As any parent of a teenager knows, helping them navigate the years leading up to adulthood is difficult. They are bombarded by excitement, doubt, choices, and questions. Success can mean a lot of different things and when facing so many options, it’s hard for anyone to choose.
For our children, the added difficulty stems from the loss and trauma they experienced with their biological families. Some have lost parents, others were abused or neglected, they all endured poverty. Sifting through their painful stories, their doubts, and the glimpses of hope feels overwhelming. Our goal is to help them remember their dreams, acknowledge their gifts, and take steps towards a successful future.
Moving forward with Ana Maria’s help
This year all of our school-age children have begun creating their life plan with the help of our psychologist, Ana Maria. Adapted for various age levels, our children’s life plans help them work through who they are, their personal purpose, their personal vision and mission, and future plans.
Ana Maria works with each child to help discover who they are as an individual. She encourages them to identify all the good parts of who they are. For our children who were abused or neglected, the lies they were told before living in our home can distort their personal identities. Answering the questions “who am I” and “what am I doing here” is both hopeful and therapeutic. Rediscovering their strengths and personal identity allows our kids to reclaim control of themselves.
For some of our children, these experiences with Ana Maria are the first times they have ever believed they were important and had a great purpose.
Before our children can have big, audacious dreams, they must understand who they are, believe in their value, and understand the unique way they add to our home and those around them. We build a foundation of confidence for them in these first steps.
Thinking about the future
Especially for our older children, the next two steps are the bridge between adolescence and adulthood. To bridge the gap and prepare them for the future, Ana Maria helps them define their personal vision, mission, and future plans. These are long term plans related to their identity and purpose.
Our older kids are starting to identify how they fit into our home and communities as independent young people. They have amazing insight into how they can make a difference in Guatemala and enjoy what they’re doing.
The best part for us is the variety of aspirations our kids are choosing. They talk about becoming doctors, chefs, and working with those in need. Their enthusiasm is contagious and inspires our younger children.
Ten years ago, we couldn’t imagine launching children into adulthood. We were still overwhelmed with diapers, potty training, and keeping up with preschoolers. It’s been a wild ride with a lot of learning and changing, but we’re excited about our home today. We’re proud of our kids and encouraged as we watch them make the transition towards adulthood.