As our children have gotten older, we’ve increasingly faced the challenges of parenting both teenagers and young children. Our goal is to help our teenagers grow and learn while also allowing the younger ones to thrive. As you can imagine, there are many differences between childhood and teen years.
Hence our dilemma. How can we help everyone grow, guide them, and care for them in a better way? How can we adapt and prosper? Our solution – new year, new rooms.
Change #1 happened in Casa 1
One of our biggest blessings is the property Dorie’s Promise calls home. It’s safe, spacious, and offers a variety of uses because of our multiple houses.
As a staff, we knew it was time to make some changes in our houses for our children. The hard part was deciding how to meet everyone’s needs within the space we have. Everyone’s ideas, plans, and alternatives were discussed, and a plan was created.
Change #1: transform Casa 1.
For more than a decade, Casa 1 has been home to our visiting short-term mission teams. Now, this house is a toddler and kid extravaganza! Sixteen boys and girls from toddlers to tweens enjoy a home designed for the creativity and energy of little kids.
Choosing to transform Casa 1 from a missions house into our little kids house was a hard decision. We enjoy welcoming short-term mission teams to Dorie’s Promise. Being able to visit our home and meet our children is one of the best ways to show why we serve in Guatemala and help people truly understand the needs we face. But, our priority must always be what is best for our children.
Depending on the year, we welcome between 12 and 20 mission teams. By working with a small local hotel, we’ll continue to offer a wonderful experience for mission teams and give our children more space as well.
Although we anticipated many children enjoying their new rooms, especially the older kids, there were some unexpected benefits as well.
Since Casa 1 is home to all our younger children, some of our sibling groups are once again together and are delighted with the new arrangements. Sofia, Isaias, and Sebastian; Suleika, Edgar, and Dereck; and Helen, Mileydi, and David love being back together in the same house.
They have the best of both worlds—their siblings with them all the time and their friends.
Changes for our teens
The younger children aren’t the only ones enjoying the house changes.
Our teenagers are also enjoying the benefits of having houses for themselves, starting with bedtimes. Since the house changes happened during school break, sleep times were pushed a bit and sleeping in on weekends became a regular occurrence in both houses (we kept one for boys and one for girls).
In the girls’ house, even more opportunities arose. They organized in pairs to make breakfast on the weekends and have even taken on the laundry duties. You’d be amazed how excited they were to organize their closets and living areas. Our older girls are enjoying the opportunity to do more around their house.
As with anything new, change is hard, but our staff and Special Mothers are optimistic about these changes.
Not everything changed
These changes are felt throughout the day—at mealtimes, bedtimes, playtime, and of course during tv time (the older kids are not big fans of kiddie shows). But not everything has changed.
Casa 2 is still home to the administrative offices and homeschool classrooms. Our core team of staff members are here, caring for our children and supporting their needs. Our priority continues to be our children and creating a home where they thrive. The boys love playing soccer and basketball in the backyard. The girls listen to music and make up dances. Doc’s running club still makes loops through the neighborhood. And Silvia still loves sports more than anything :3
Although the older kids miss the little ones, they still get to meet up every afternoon in the backyard.
We’re thankful God has given us the space our children need. We’re also thankful for mission trip participants who prioritize the needs of our children and continue to support them by visiting as part of our new short-term missions program. Most importantly, we’re thankful for the opportunity to do God’s work at Dorie’s Promise.
We hope you’ll come visit us at Dorie’s Promise in 2023. Email Naomi today and learn more about participating in a missions trip.