Sunday, January 6, 2013

Me-he-co!

My dad has been involved with A Child's Hope Foundation for several years and has fallen in love with this orphanage in La Mision, Baja California, Mexico called Door of Faith Orphanage.  He took Anna and Raquel there 4 years ago to work and has been wanting to take the rest of us ever since.  I will talk more about the orphanage down lower. 
I didn't take my big camera, or small camera for that matter.  So all the following pictures were taken by my mom's point and shoot or Anna's. Thanks, guys!

We left early the morning after Christmas.  Here we are in San Diego in our 15-seater van rental.  It was pretty sweet.  

We crossed the border fast and easy, and noticed the LONG LONG (like miles and miles, would have taken 2-3 hours) line to get back into the U.S. and dreaded coming back (but on the way back, being New Year's Day everyone must have been hung over because we drove right through the border! Not a single car in front of us).

We drove about 45 minutes to a little place called La Mision to a beach house we had rented  (between Rosarita and Ensenada).  It was beautiful!  The beach house was perfect... all except that it had no heat besides a fire in the downstairs and we had no idea it was going to be as cold as it was!  But what a view!  It was amazing to wake up to the ocean right outside the window. 


Thursday we hung around on the beach:







Uncle "Tiago" and Claire:


SISTERS!!



(That's our place with the green porch)


And later that day we drove to Ensenada for some food and shopping:

We had lots of this:

And lots of this:



 




I was nursing Alex when all of a sudden one of the cute waitresses came up and asked to hold him, in a split second he was being held by the owner and developed a crowd. Everyone loved Alex.

Games (poker with tree leaves) and hanging out:

Friday was our first day at the orphanage.

We all took a tour given by the man who runs it, D.J.  He showed us the whole grounds, all the dorms; from the nursery with the babies to the older kids.  They all have their dorms (with bunk beds) and each dorm has its own kitchen and living room and live-in "parents" who take care of them.  They are in charge of getting them cleaned and ready each day for school, helping with homework, cleaning, cooking, etc.  D.J. said that they have an orphan who has made it to law school and one to medical school.  He and his wife left California 19 years ago and took over this orphanage. They've been running it every since. There are about 115 children there right now.


The mission of this particular orphanage is this: 
  1. To provide family atmosphere for the children. 
  2. To prepare our children for life after Door of Faith. We want our children to have a strong education so that that when they move on from the orphanage they can be healthy and productive members of society.
  3. To live Christ’s example of a life of service. To give back to the local community through service, outreach and compassion.
Read more about this orphanage on their site


My family worked on building walls, painting, moving rocks, etc while my mom and I got to just hang out with Claire and Alex and the orphans on the playground. I'd say we lucked out:)  This little Angelica latched onto my mom the whole day. She is 4. 

This girl's name was Fernanda. She was adorable. She is 13 and loved Alex so much. 


Everyone LOVED "Boo boo" and thought it was so funny that we called her that.  They loved saying it in their little accents and she loved all the attention.


This is Raul and his brother Joel.  My dad fell in love with him on his last trip (now he is 8 and his brother is 9).  If it weren't so hard to adopt children in Mexico ($60,000 dollars and at least 5 years), they would be adopted into our family. 

Joel was adorable with Claire. He was so mindful of her and would tell other children to be careful with her. He'd help her around, play little games with her... it was precious. 


This is Daniel. He couldn't speak, but loved little Alex (too bad he still has thrush and wasn't happy at times).

Angelica with my mom in the back.

Joel:


Sunsets were to die for.  It was too cold for this mamma to get in, but Raquel, Brad, James and Brooke got their wet suits on several times and went to play. 

Brooke took some awesome pictures.  I didn't take a single camera (too much else to worry about), so I relied on my mom, Anna, and Brooke's point and shoot. Not too shabby!

Saturday we went to the orphanage again and worked. We got to color with them for a while:



and ate dinner at La Fonda. DELISH. 



Sunday we went to a local church (FREEEEZING), it was sure entertaining! 

Awesome music and awesome babysitters. Claire was attached to her "Bobby" the whole trip. Thanks, Bobby for letting her be all over you the whole time! 

She's out:

Then they went and played some soccer:




we did some more of this...

And found 24 on one of the T.V. channels and got HOOKED.

No photoshop:

Monday, the girls hung around the beach house and the boys got to go deep sea fishing! They had a blast.



They caught tons of fish, saw several whales, dolphins, and seals (Ben even caught a couple!), and poor Brian was puking his guts out the whole time. What a trooper though--always a good attitude!

Monday evening was New Year's Eve so we had another group at the orphanage from Utah come play games with us at our beach house. It was A BLAST!! We played the funnest games; mafia, an orange game, snaps, etc. We stayed up all the way till 10pm and celebrated with some sparkling mango cider-delish. Happy New Year!

On Tuesday, we sent Anna and Brian off to Chicago (tear) and had a few hours to kill. We hung out on some rocks while watching some surfers and then went on the USS Midway Museum tour. Very cool. 



What a great trip!  I wasn't expecting to see such a well-run orphanage. It is beautiful, clean, and organized.  As we were there the first morning, I looked around and every child I saw was doing chores and having fun doing them.  The children are all very nice, well-mannered, and polite.  They are adorable.  This experience opened my eyes to orphans.  It seems they get forgotten, not only by their parents but by me and the rest of the world.  There are so many out there.  And this is how they will spend their whole lives.  Pray for them. I know God has a special place in His heart for these children.

4 comments:

Julianne Howes said...

What an amazing experience!! I would love to do something like that someday. We call Amelia boo boo.... That's dang funny.

Lindsey and Tony said...

Looks like you had a blast. The sunsets are beautiful! What a fun family memory.

Kelley Howe said...

What an amazing trip. So glad you got to go be apart of that, so special. Even better to be able to do it with your fun awesome family :)

Where are my Mary Jane's? said...

love all of it! awesome pictures, esp. all the sleepy ones. Miss you guys!