We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Valentina's Hogar

Following is a mass email I sent out to pretty much everyone I know. In order to reach as many people as I possibly can, I'm posting here too. Thank you in advance for reading and if at all possible, for donating.

Hello everyone!

I just received this email from Pedro. Pedro's mom Barbara was our attorney in Guatemala during Valentina's adoption and they own Hogar Luz de Fatima, the orphanage (or hogar as it is known as in Guatemala) that Valentina spent most of her young life before she came home. Their current hogar is very small and only houses about 30 children. As you may well know, international adoptions have ceased in Guatemala for more than a year. Because of this, a lot of hogars have either had to stop taking new children in or close down altogether. Countless children have been forced to live on the street now or have died because of this. This could have been our Valentina! This could also be happening to a biological sibling of Valentina, we don't know.

However, Barbara and Pedro have vowed that this will not happen to their hogar, their kids, our children. They are going forward with plans to open a brand new, amazing campus that will serve as a school and hogar. Pedro had talked to us about their hopes and dreams of this happening back in November 2007 when we picked up Valentina. The fact that they are doing this at a time when most hogars are shutting down is a miracle from God Himself. I am attaching the plans they have drawn up. Some of it is kind of hard to read so I will break it down a bit:

School - They hope to enroll up to 300 children in their new school.

Orphanage - They will have the room to house more than the 30 they currently have. They will have the room to house 100 children!

Self Sustainablity - The income from the school will help offset the cost of the hogar.

As you can see, their work plan and business plan is very solid. However, they still need our help. As you can see, the price of this is more than $500,000 USD, provided my currency exchange is close to correct. They need to raise this money but once they do they will be able to pretty much do it on their own.

What can YOU do to help?

My great, dear friends Julia and Kerry who founded Global Orphan Team ( http://www.globalorphanteam.com ) have set up a way that you can donate money to Project Valentina. Any and all monies that you send and request to go to Project Valentina go directly to help Hogar Luz de Fatima. If you go to their website, click on "Projects" you will see "Project Valentina". Global Orphan Team recently returned from a mission trip to Guatemala where they spent time at Hogar Luz de Fatima. I cannot adequately thank those who went and spent their money and time to do this.

Alternately you can also go directly to the hogar's website, http://www.asociacionluzdefatima.org/home_eng.html to find how you can donate money.

It is so easy for Norm and I to forget that Valentina is adopted but I cannot let her grow up and know that we did nothing to help improve her first home, that we did nothing for Pedro and Barbara, that we did nothing for the other children who lived with her and played with her. We do not know, if adoptions were still open, we could very well be in the process of adopting her sibling. We don't know if she does have a sibling. But I cannot sit by and not try to do something for these amazing, beautiful, priceless children. We owe our lives to Barbara and Pedro and I'm begging you to please help us. Even $5 helps! Trust me, $5 from a lot of people adds up! $20 adds up even faster! Some of you have already given money and I hate to ask you to give again, but I am. I owe it to these children to ask you again.

Thank you.

Cameo, Norm and Valentina

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