Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giving back to those who gave so much to us ....

With thanksgiving just behind us, we’d like to take this opportunity to let you all know how thankful we are for your support and to let you know that our Costa Rican Orphanage Project is about to take off and fly!   So many of you are about to make a real difference in the lives of some very special children who are waiting to be adopted and loved.  With so much generous support, we partnered with our not-for-profit adoption agency, Gladney Center for Adoption, and collaborated with one of the largest orphanages in Costa Rica to help them create a sustainable effort to care for the children.  Check it out: 

La Pandería y Más! (The Bakery and More!)
Seventy children, mostly girls, are living in humble conditions at the Hogar Cristiano (“Hogarcito”), a children‘s orphanage in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Like most orphanages, the Hoagarcito depends upon the goodwill of others to help provide for the children. La Panderia y Más is a project to build a bakery and more to help the Hogar’s caretakers provide for the children. $10,000 was raised for this effort.

Bread, Eggs and Meat

Project Pandería y Más creates a sustainable effort to help the Hogar’s caretakers feed the children. Through the purchase of an industrial oven, uniforms and its equipment, the project will assemble a bread-baking bakery, Pandería Hogar Cristiano. The Bakery will help feed the children, earn extra money for the Hogarcito and train the older children who may never be adopted in new, marketable skills – planning, baking and selling the bread. The project will also purchase 40 hens for the children to help raise and the Hogarcito to use for meat and eggs.

Color My World

Fifteen Costa Rican and North American volunteers, at their own expense, will come together for one weekend in February 2013 to paint the “casitas”, or little houses, where the children live. Volunteer artists will also work with the children to create two murals on exterior walls, while others engage the children in play activities for the weekend. The project will also help support the local economy by hiring nine local laborers to fix, patch and prepare the walls for painting.

Clothes, Treats, Sheets, Toys

Needed items from across the U.S. are being donated by individuals and corporations. A Costa Rican Brownie Troop of ten girls has “adopted” the project and will put together personalized care packages for each child.  If you'd like to donate any gently used or new items, please contact samandsjg@yahoo.com!   

Life is good....

Citizenship Day -- September 2012
So many photos to choose from and I choose this one. Why, I don't know.  This was taken when we celebrated Citizenship Day back at the end of September with their primas who also recently became US Citizens.

Our first year together.  Amazing.  There have been so many firsts.  First birthday celebrations together.   First days of school. First Halloween.  First Thanksgiving. OH!  And first snow!!  (A big deal to our little Costa Ricans.) 

Well, it's been six months and counting.  It's amazing how well the kids have adjusted to their new lives.  It's also amazing that we are all still standing.  For sure, we've had our ups and downs.  It hasn't been easy and there have been a lot of tears, meltdowns, tirades (and that's just from the parents! Only kidding.  Well, not really.) But through it all, it's been an incredible process of discovery.  Evelin and Jose have delicious, delightful, sassy personalities. They have really become the loves of our lives and are loved by so many in our lives.   

We can't believe how lucky we are.  I regret not keeping this blog/diary alive for them and I keep promising Evelin that we are going to start their "Lifebooks"  pronto!  So a quick recap:  we hunkered down for the rest of May and June.  We introduced them to people slowly.    When we exposed them to too much stimuli, we had problems (as we were aptly forewarned by, Gladney, our adoption agency).  Grandparents played a big role and my Mom stayed with us for several months, as Scott and I adjusted back to our work routines. 

By the end of June, they were both going stir crazy, so we enrolled them into day camps for the summer.  Smartest thing we ever did.  It completely prepared them for school in the fall.  Both are in school now and doing very well. 

And we are planning for our first trip back to Costa Rica!   We are all so excited and this will be a very special trip for us.  Initiated by my Aunt Ellen who wanted to make a donation to the orphanage where Evelin and Jose were cared for while they waited for us to arrive, we worked with our adoption agency to raise $10,000. Now a wonderful group of volunteers, which includes our cousin Heidi, have come together to collaborate with the orphanage to create an incredible project, La Panderia y Mas! 

We head down in February to spend a long weekend with Costa Rican and Norte Americano volunteers to brighten their world and build them a bakery. Imagine that!