Friday, May 29, 2015

Bienvenida, A.!

This afternoon, J.'s big sister, A., was released earlier than expected from the hospital and brought to us.   She was asleep when they dropped her off, and she woke up about half an hour later in good spirits. If you didn't know her history, then she would seem like a normal little girl. There is no sign of how sick she was or any type of abuse. She is chatty and very sassy and quickly making friends with the other toddlers. She doesn't seem to know how to feed herself and eats very slowly when fed, so mealtimes can be a bit of a struggle. She hasn't cried yet and has been obedient and polite with everything we've said to her… She's been a great new addition so far, and we're hoping her good behavior rubs off on some of our other kids! 

Although she does say that she has a baby brother, she doesn't know his name and didn't seem to recognize him when she first saw him. Now she will sit and play with him a little and tries to comfort him when he cries (which as you can see in the picture, he does quite a bit!).

We're not sure what the future holds for these siblings. As the days pass, more of the story of what happened is coming out. Now their mother has admitted to buying the rat poison and to being the one to give it to A. She and her boyfriend (maybe husband? He's J.'s father) were arguing and he said he no longer wanted to be with her and care for a child that wasn't his own. Together they decided to kill A., and she went and bought the rat poison to do so (they mixed it with soda and gave it to her to drink). They both remain in jail. All of the mother's family lives far away so it's unlikely (although always possible it seems) that they will leave in a family reinsertion with any of them. The mother says that A.'s father is unaware that A. exists so no one from that side of the family could take her. We're not yet sure if anyone would be willing to take J. from his father's side of the family. Adoption could be a likely possibility for these two!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bienvenido, J.!

This morning I was woken up just after midnight to someone banging on the outside gate. I thought it was all still a dream but then the doorbell started ringing, probably 10-15 times in a row and then more banging on the door. No one ever comes to the baby house at that time of night, so I was a little scared, to be honest. I attributed it to some drunk who was at the wrong house! It kept on for ten minutes. Whoever was outside would ring the bell about 10 times in a row and then beat on the door for a bit before ringing the bell again. Finally after ten minutes on non-stop noise, I got out of bed to look out the window. Several pairs of feet were outside the gate (and they clearly weren't going anywhere!), so I went upstairs and woke up Tía Lucy (I don't know how the tías were sleeping through all of this!). We went out on the balcony to see who it was… It was the Defensoría saying they needed us to take a baby in an emergency situation. While laying in bed trying to decide what to do, I'd actually thought it could be the Defensoría but decided it wasn't as surely they would have our phone number and could call us if we weren't answering the door! We called Rosa (CDA Administrator and Social Worker) who told us to tell them no and that they could bring the baby back in the morning if they still needed to. To make a long story short, they didn't agree with that answer and we ended up taking the baby. 

This baby's story is a really sad story and definitely one of the worst I've heard of since coming to Bolivia. His parents are in the news right now as they tried to kill his two year old sister by giving her rat poison to drink. There is some debate over whose idea it really was (we heard it was both of them but on the news, the mother blames the father), but when the little girl didn't die as planned, she started convulsing and the mother then took her to the emergency room. When asked what happened while at the hospital, she confessed to everything and said she was sorry for what they did. The hospital then called police who arrested both parents. The little girl is still in the hospital (we're not sure if she'll come to us after she recovers or not), and the baby was brought to us. It appears that he has been cared for, and we're not sure why he wasn't also given the rat poison. 

He's had a really tough transition. He screamed all night long and refused to drink milk (he's been breastfed so doesn't know how to drink from a bottle). We walked laps outside around the house until about 1:30am when he finally fell asleep. He slept but was pretty restless for the next two and half hours before he was up again and didn't go back to sleep again. He didn't want to eat breakfast but ate his lunch and dinner pretty well. He didn't want milk at all during the day and slept very little. It's taken him two hours tonight but he's finally asleep. We'll see how long he stays asleep! 

Keep us (especially Baby J.) in your prayers these next few days… I think we'll all need it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dia de la Madre (Mother's Day)

In Bolivia, Mother's Day is May 27. Because there is no school that day (tomorrow), our big kids' school had a big Mother's Day celebration tonight! S. and K. invited me to their pre-kinder class for the celebration. Unfortunately, K. has come down with chicken pox (we so hoped Edson wouldn't give it to the other kids, but K. and Matias both have spots now), so it was just S. and I. Her class sang some adorable songs about Mother's Day, we ate a feast, and then everyone went into the school's gym for dances and more singing. The electricity kept going out in the gym so it took forever to get the Mother's Day program going. We had to leave as soon as D. and B.'s 2nd grade class finished their dance, and I think it was pretty early. S.'s class was supposed to sing another song in front of everyone, but we left before they sang. She was pretty unhappy about the electricity going on and off so I doubt she would've wanted to go down with her class anyway!

Most of the pictures are from S.'s class but the others show the other kids with their special guests too!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Picture Update

 Crying because he doesn't want to chew his food… I mean really, it's soup… There's not much to chew!

Love spending time with these two!

3 silly girls!

Now that she's at House 3, I don't see her nearly enough!

 Mother's Day (May 27 in Bolivia) celebration this past Saturday at Horita Feliz

It's so fun when the kids know who their siblings are!

Sleeping beauty!

While at the grocery store one night, I told her she could pick a treat to take home for her good behavior. When asked what she wanted, she said (in all seriousness), "A beer, tía. I'd like a beer."

Putting this boy to work! He's 8.5 months old and usually screams if he's doing anything but laying on his back. This was a rare quiet moment before he realized what position I put him in!
Must be a yummy dinner!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

D.'s One Year Heart Surgery Post-Op!

One year ago today, Baby D. underwent open heart surgery to fix not one, but two holes in his tiny heart. When he arrived in January 2014, he was four months old and so very little… the size of a newborn. We thought it was due to severe malnutrition but soon discovered it was due to congenital heart defects that no one knew about. We were told he would need open heart surgery but at the time, he was too young and small. When he turned six months old, we were able to schedule the surgery for the next month. With the help of several dedicated volunteers (Kaley, Linnea, Elizabeth, Melanie, and Katrina to name a few), he had isolated, one-on-one care before, during, and after his surgery.

A year later, we can say that he has made a complete recovery! He is now 19 months old and absolutely WILD. He has more energy than I have ever seen in a baby and we joke that it is because he was so weak for so long that he is making up for lost time! His favorite hobby is beating up on the younger babies, and he's become quite the agressive little thing too. He LOVES to eat but hates to chew. As you can tell from his picture though, he doesn't miss a meal… He's a chunk! He still isn't talking, and from the time he was a little baby, he has screeched and squealed and screamed to make his opinions known. He still does it but now adds some finger-pointing too! Health-wise, he is one of our healthiest babies! When colds are passed around, he rarely gets them. People who come to Casa de Amor and don't know about his heart surgery are always shocked to learn about it as you would never know it by looking at him (except for seeing his scar). He doesn't seem like he had such a tough start to life. He has so many little quirks and is just an overall weird and funny kid!

So far, it's still unclear what will happen in D.'s future. Papers have not yet been processed for his adoption but we're not sure that a family reinsertion will take place either. Keep him in your prayers, that a decision is made quickly and he will one day live with his forever family!

Feliz Cumpleaños, K. y B.!

Birthday celebrations continued today with K.'s 4th birthday and B.'s 8th birthday! It feels like it was just yesterday that we were celebrating their 3rd and 7th birthdays… It's hard to believe a year has already passed! We celebrated with all of the boys and girls after lunch. They had another outing scheduled for about the same time so we had to make it quicker than we'd planned but we did have time to eat cake which is the most important part!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Feliz Cumpleaños, Tía Lucy!

This week we have 5 birthdays at Casa de Amor! Tía Lucy's birthday is actually tomorrow, but because she has the day off, we celebrated today! We celebrated with cake at snack time, but right before we sang to her, we made sure to get her with eggs and flour… Except this time she actually ended up with eggs, dried oatmeal and tomatoes in her hair! It all started with Tía Silvia of course. I guess Tía Lucy assumed that I'd be the one to put eggs in her hair since she did it to me on my birthday (you know that saying about payback?) so she was weary to come anywhere near me when I told her we were about to start the celebration. As soon as she sat down, Tía Mirtha snuck up behind her and smashed an egg on her head and then Tía Silvia smashed another one and put the dried oatmeal in her hair before running back into the kitchen. Tía Lucy tried to get revenge on all of us and went into the kitchen to put some of the egg/oatmeal into Tía Silvia's hair. Tía Silvia was peeling tomatoes and before Tía Lucy had a chance to do anything, Tía Silvia smashed the tomato she was holding into Tía Lucy's hair! It was the most intense battle I've witnessed! Haha Do you see the knife Tía Silvia was still holding in her hand during all of this?! The kids thought the whole thing was HILARIOUS and told everyone who came over for the rest of the day "Tía Silvia broke an egg on Tía Lucy's head!"