Please note, Monica’s quinceañera was held earlier this year before any COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in the United States or Guatemala.
Family—it’s what every child wants, especially children in the family court and foster care systems. Everything we do at Dorie’s Promise focuses on creating a home where kids feel like members of a healthy, loving family. In February, Monica’s quinceañera was a celebration of family in every sense of the word.
Four years ago, Monica and her two younger brothers, Marcos and Ulises, arrived at Dorie’s Promise. Before walking through our doors, their lives were marked by the reality of poverty. Unfortunately, their story was very similar to what we hear from many children. Their father had died, leaving their mother alone. She wasn’t able to provide for them and often Monica was left at home to care for her brothers during the day. Eventually, the children were removed from their mother’s care and the court placed them at Dorie’s Promise.
Although their home life was a struggle, being separated from their mother and extended family was traumatic for the siblings. You can imagine what it would be like to leave everything you’ve ever known. For quite a while, Monica was confused, sad, and withdrawn. Luckily, her aunt remained in contact and spent time with the children regularly. Although she isn’t able to add three more children to her home, she loves Monica and her brothers very much.
For the last four years, the children’s case has moved slowly through the family court. Sadly, Monica’s mother passed away last year. We’re remaining hopeful the family court will connect with a family member who has the resources to care for Monica and her brothers. Family is what they want the most.
Bringing Everyone Together
We give our girls a good bit of freedom when they plan their special celebrations. Most often, they have a big party in our backyard and invite lots of friends from school. A few children have taken special trips to their hometowns as well.
Monica’s dream for her quinceañera was clear. She wanted her biological family, a few special friends of Dorie’s Promise, the other children, and our whole staff together for her party. Bringing everyone together would be amazing, but at first, we weren’t sure if we could make her dream come true. What if her family didn’t come? How would she feel? Would it be awkward for her if they did come? But, this was her wish and we wanted to make it come true.
We know God is faithful. Monica’s quinceañera proved his faithfulness to her. Monica’s grandmother, uncles, aunt, and cousins all came to spend time with her. Their love for Monica and her brothers has never wavered. Being invited to celebrate such a momentous occasion was just as special for them as it was for Monica. For that one night, their family was whole again.
A few very special friends of Dorie’s Promise joined us from the United States to celebrate as well. Each of these families was invited because they have a special connection to Monica. They have known her for several years, spent time with her, and their love for her is faithful. They are an important part of Monica’s family too.
And of course, our staff and children wouldn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate Monica.
A Celebration of Family
Monica’s quinceañera gave us a glimpse into restoration and love. Her family is not limited by genetics. She understands what it means to love and connect with people.
For this one night, we watched as her biological family received the gift of celebrating a special moment with her. Her friends were given the chance to understand how their faithful commitment and years of prayers have influenced her. Our staff witnessed her joy and saw the confident young woman she is becoming because of their dedication.
No one will forget the love that filled our backyard that evening. Monica’s uncle shared her first dance, an honor saved for the most important man in a young girl’s life. He was followed by each of her little brothers, who also prayed with her. Her aunt’s special blessing helped welcome her into life as a confident young woman. Every guest filled a special place in the story that is Monica’s life. We’re thankful for each person who has influenced Monica.
Monica’s quinceañera was a celebration of family in its truest form.