Dear Friends

I thought it was about time I kept you up to date with events in the Esperanza Foster Home in Asuncion. Firstly, a big thank you to all those who purchased the “Present Aid” Christmas cards that we made with Paraguayan lace snowflakes. We were really encouraged at how much we raised (over £1000 ) and are planning to do the same again next Christmas so do bear us in mind as you approach the end of the year!

The funds are certainly necessary as Esperanza is back up to its full quota of 5 children following the adoption of Alexis at the end of last year. In fact, for a brief time there were 6 children in the home as a local Judge insisted that a 3 month old girl be cared for in Esperanza while she found her a foster family. Thankfully this has now been achieved which is unusual for Paraguay where it is very difficult to find foster families as there is no funding available. The child who has replaced Alexis for a longer stay is a 2 month old boy called Santiago (James). He is doing extremely well and has grown considerably in the short time he’s been there, but a child of that age is very demanding for Juana and Mariela, her niece, who now works full time in the home. Actually, I know that Juana adores babies so she is probably delighted despite the extra work.

When I last wrote to you I mentioned that little Jose Antonio had missed out on the chance to have surgery on his cleft palate. Teresa wrote a few days ago saying “Operation Smile” were in Asuncion again and she was hopeful that Jose could now be included. The State has now declared him officially “adoptable” but she is worried that no prospective parents will come forward due to his special needs.

The legal situation of the remaining children, Barbara, Victor and Sebastian has not improved since I last wrote, in fact Teresa tells me that in one case Social Services have decided to begin the entire assessment process again.

If the birth parents are in prison or struggling with addictions or in psychiatric institutions it is very difficult for decisions to be made about the children’s future, hence the need for the loving care that Esperanza offers. If you pray, we would very much appreciate your prayers for resolution of the cases of these 3 children.

Every now and again it is possible to see how valuable time spent in Esperanza can be, as some adoptive parents are keen to keep a connection with the home. Teresa wrote last month of being invited to lunch with a family who adopted 2 brothers from Esperanza. She was thrilled and moved to see them doing so well in their new family.

Murray is still hoping to go to Asuncion in July. There are plans for him to get together with short term volunteers from “Mission Paraguay” (run by the Anglican church) to do some redecorating in the home.

As always, it is a challenge to raise sufficient funds to keep the home open on an ongoing basis. If you know of anybody who might consider starting a standing order or doing a fundraising event for us, I have lots of copies of our leaflet that I could send you.

Wishing you every blessing

Penny & Murray Metcalfe