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Visiting Orphanages


Cindy and I were blessed to ride along with Shane and Brooke Burkholder, directors of Orphan Resources International (ORI) in Guatemala.  They are trying to meet the demands of the several orphanages receiving children from the Hogar Seguro tragedy.   See last blog post “Where’s the Church” for details.  I have a positive correction to last blog.  There are 40 girls dead not 41 as reported over the weekend.  They found that last ‘fatality’ had been moved to the USA for treatment.  We heard today there are now 9 being treated in the USA.  I leave much unsaid but this has triggered an overdue criminal investigation.

The Burkholders looked a little tired as the work piles on.  Neil and Oscar also on staff are hustling too.  New beds are being ordered, food supplies reassessed, bed, linens, being quick to partner with so many ( Our Guatemala, Nuevo Reto, others) trying to help.  ORI provides beans, rice, sugar, salt, and share donations that come from Price Mart.  They got about a ton of avocados from another donor last week.  I carried one of those 120 pound bags up the hill at one orphanage…. about did me in.  Shane got to carry the rest!  I start working and forget to take photos.  Here are a few from that day.   No photos of children from that orphanage to not offend the children or the government in the midst of this chaos.

We visited Los Gozosos Joy Filled Home.  This home specializes in special needs children.  I have heard there were 100 – 150 children in the special need wing of this now closed facility.  Homes we are familiar with are at capacity.  Los Gozosos have been assigned six – one arrived so far.  Extra staff is hired at the homes expense NOT the government, food, diapers, etc.  Canada, USA and GUATEMALA are opening up and giving.  Some Guatemalan friends dear to Vine International have given and collected from friends, even encouraged volunteering at Los Gozosos.  Bunk beds made by a youth ministry in Antigua area and high chairs, and cribs were donated.  We filled every free space in the truck with donated diapers and other needed items.  With tears, there are NOT enough homes.  Not enough beds.  All the special needs children not taken by the available homes have been placed in Cadanino, another government facility in the city… also over capacity and the numbers are staggering.  Personal presence, volunteering will mean more to some of these ministries than anything else that can be done.

I continue to encourage the opening of international adoptions.  It will NOT take care of this situation but in time may help to decompress some of the overcrowding.  When international adoptions were stopped 8 or 9 years ago and increased regulations were brought to bear there were about 300 private children’s homes in Guatemala.  These are estimates.  I admit the numbers could be off a bit.  In that first year almost 100 homes folded their tents.  They could not afford compliance with all the regulations.  In the intervening years the number of homes are down to 130.  Some are phasing out, keeping their kids until they ‘age out’ at 18 then will change their mission or go home.  The dynamics looking forward are that care of orphans will be in turmoil.  If you are supporting homes in Guatemala, talk them up.  They are doing battle for those God gives them.  Inspectors/agents for the government seem to always find something wrong.  It justifies their job. Need to fix your screens, put up emergency exit signs, buy more fire extinguishers, don’t let them call you mommy and daddy, get your paper work in order requiring multiple trips to the capital city to multiple departments to be told you need this form from still another department….. fuel, time loss, quetzals/dollars going to BURROcracy instead of stretched food budget and medical bills.  I am not sure of the percentage of homes that have received formal recognition/licensing but suspect it is very low.  It takes a very special type of person to care for and love on these kids while battling this beast, but they are here and more than ever need your support.

I worked with a pastor Thursday that is receiving 8 of the teenagers, added to 16 they were caring for before this tragedy.  El Bario Para Cristo needs a two washing machines, propane dryer and a freezer.  It will take 2,000 US dollars to purchase and INSTALL the machines.  If you are called to work on a project like this, please think it through to the end.  As an example, your church buys the freezer – does the home have adequate electricity, safety against machine being accidentally unplugged, generator backup etc?  Invariably someone is going suggest industrial strength washers and dryer.  I did.  Good idea.  They don’t have the space/they rent the building/landlord won’t allow changes/probably won’t allow upgrading electricity to 220v and the list goes on.  Please communicate with the people you are supporting.

By the way we have $250 toward that $2,000 already available thanks to some old Vine family Dennis and Doris Rice.  (Old – grin)… Orphan Resources has enough on their plate.  The Vine family would like to ask that our supporters take on this project.   If you desire to give send a note with check earmarking the donation for El Bario Para Cristo we will follow thru on this end.  Pay Pal is an option on our website and the mail address is Vine International, P.O. Box 52086, Knoxville, TN 37950.

Pray for Cindy and I please.  We have helped feed and played Santa Claus to these kids and this loss is personal and upsetting.  We thank you ahead of time for any and all help.

Just a note about the last blog.  It is the largest response to a blog post in the 8 years with over 2,000 hits (about 1600 viewers as some of those hits are people coming back a second time) in 25 to 30 countries.  May God bring beauty from ashes as His word promises – Amen.

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 17/03/2017 14:27

    Thanks for your posts as they are great updates. Fundaninas girls home outside Mazatenengo were able to take 17 young girls.
    The BCMM will help them. Thanks for all you are doing.


    • 17/03/2017 15:00

      Outstanding Dianne,
      Taking 17 at once will stress their budget I am sure. We are grateful for all who are stepping up to this need.
      In Christ,
      Dennis McCutcheon


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