Monday, August 24, 2015

August 16, Day 1, Part 1, El Amor de Patricia

We arrived at our hotel Saturday night around 8:30ish or so. Kelli and her family were anxiously waiting our arrival. It was surreal to finally be there in Antigua, Guatemala. We quickly said hellos, went to our room and unpacked, visited for a bit longer, and hit the beds; which in my opinion were way to hard, but we each had our own bed in our room! (Sunday afternoon this opinion would change).

We were excited Sunday morning for our first big busy day to go visit Amor De Patricia Orphanage and go to San Bartolome to deliver bunk beds. We started our morning with breakfast at our beautiful hotel. The kids quickly met up with the other kids on our team while parents got to know each other too. I walked around and snapped several photos of the hotel. Beautiful flowers are everywhere and it is open not closed in.

I will be writing about each of our days and posting links at the end on where you can donate if something draws you in. There are so many needs. 

Nico and Maria getting in on the FRESH juice

Maria is a beautiful girl who is also adopted from Guatemala. She and Luca became good buddies.

This bistro is across the street from our hotel. Strike a post kids!

Sara is Maria's sister. Luca and her are the same age. They quickly hit it off (Luca then gravitated to Maria and Jacob). However they still played together through the week. No one was shy or afraid to talk to anyone.

Outside our hotel. 

Cell phones have no limit. They are everywhere.

 (My pictures are a little out of order) We loaded the bus with our donations for the first days stops which were the Orphanage and delivering bunk beds. Luca and Sara and all the kids rode on one bus while the adults were on the other. Such an amazing group we had! It was a real long drive to get to the orphanage while driving there I kept remembering when I picked Nico up 12 years ago from the orphanage he was taken to. (He was in foster care until 3 months before I was able to pick him up). Nico's orphanage had concrete floors, one large outdoor area with a large window, and the baby area with beds was a totally dark area with beds stacked next to each other. I remember the armed guard standing at the gate to let us in. El Amor de Patricia is a gated orphanage but so bright and cheery! Immediately after the buses pulled in and the kids unloaded they started interacting. Not only were our kids excited to see the little ones, but the little ones were excited to see us. The littles remember the people in OUR Guatemala as they are there often, but in no time they gravitated to us and our kids.

While we were there other adults were coming in. Some of the kids in care here have family who come to visit. They are there because the families cannot provide the proper care for them in nourishment, housing, the parent's have to leave to find work, etc. (many different circumstances). Others there were up for adoption but only to Guatemalans. One sibling group which included Maria was going to live with their grandparents and left later in the week. Another girl was being adopted and her adoptive parents were there visiting.

For the first half of the day we had the option to stay at the Orphanage and play with the kids or go deliver bunk beds. I wanted my family to have to opportunity to do both. So while the little kids were wound up and ready for visitors in the morning we quickly chose to stay and play with the kids while the other families went to deliver the first 12 sets of bunk beds at the first village. I am glad we were the family to stay, as well as Maria and Kahleah staying with us.
Nestor from OUR Guatemala

This is a sibling group in the orphanage. The rooms were clean and bright and cheery.

The baby's room

The nanny sleeps in the same room as the babies.

A nice yard for running and playing. There is a trampoline, wooden swing set, and climbing bars. I believe the trampoline and swing set were donations from other teams that have been there.

Laundry was done almost non stop. Thankfully they had a modern washer and dryer. The kids were kept in clean clothes all day. One little girl Maria had 3 different outfits on while we were there. 

Nico couldn't wait to hand out toys to the kids. Troy Family Dental donated 72 toothbrushes and little toys. The kids liked the little cameras.

Looking into the little camera

I can't remember all the kids names but this is little Vico. The kids loved the new toys and I loved that they were being repurposed in a beautiful way for these kids.

This little girl was telling me all the animal names in Spanish of course...the book is in English. The kids were very bright and well taken care of.

Maria, one of the twins, instantly took to Mike. They had snacks when we arrived. She graciously offered some of hers to Mike. She stuck with him most of the day. When he would put her down she would be right back on his lap. The kids loved the cuddles, hugs, and interaction.

Luca interacting with the kids. 

This little sweety let me pick her up and tote her around. I was told she just doesn't go to anyone. She is a quite little girl and stayed with me and chomped on her cookies.

Luca making the kids laugh. We all know he is quite the character and the kids enjoyed him.

It doesn't matter what language you can still show the love and care within you.

Nico tried to interact with all the kids.

Again, I enjoy seeing our items go to a good place.

Maria soaking up the cuddles.

Maria liked the babies. She spent most of her time inside the orphanage while our family was outside with the toddlers and older kids.


There is a visitor bathroom and in the little room next to it is this little painting room.

Kahleah, who is part of OUR Guatemala, was at the orphanage with us. She helped us translate and learn the kid's names.

Nico and Angel ended up make an amazing connection. Angel liked Nico's iPod and flipping through pictures and learning to play games.

Luca getting close with Vico. Luca would say Yes and Vico would say No.

The little boy in orange came over and plopped on Luca's lap. 

Sweet smiles from Maria

The fun of a beach ball. Too bad it had a hole in it and wouldn't hold air.

The orphanage

Nico and Angel swinging and chatting

This little guy was sneaky but adorable and had the best laugh. Luca and him together would be Trouble with a capital T. 

Maria had fun with Mike learning to cross the bars.
This was loading up the bus in the morning with our donations

The kids like Nico's Guatemalan bracelets which he had purchased at MOGUATE. He kindly gave each of them one off his wrist.

At lunch Luca joined in on the prayer.

She showed us how well she could jump rope.

The look on their faces. I know Nico wanted to bring him home. He would be a perfect sad adoptions are closed there.

Immediately Luca started interacting.

Ready to hit the road.

Rena, an amazing, fun woman on our team. She came without her daughter and husband. She was quickly known for being Everytime we went somewhere it was said, "Is Rena here?"

Ladies everywhere carry their goods.

The spectacular view from the hotel. This is the upper balcony so we had to walk up here each day to get the view. 

Many memories came flooding back about my adoptions of Luca and Nico. That evening at the dinner table as a group we went around and told about what touched us the most or how we felt about the day. I broke down in tears as I listened to Nico go before me and tell how he liked interacting with the kids. In his eyes I could see the love he had with Angel and just wished he could help him more. So for me the first half of our day brought a deep fulfilling to see my kids be with children who are like them but now don't have a family all day everyday. 

(The orphanage had plenty of clothes and blankets but what they really need is diapers, formula, and goods for the children. They are a non-profit organization. You can make donations to El Amor de Patricia and click on orphanage. You can read a bit more about it. When you make your donation note that it is with Team Inspire.

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