Imagine for a moment what it would be like to be a child in constant competition for love, care, and attention — not with a few siblings but with 120 other orphans. This was Elizabeth’s** plight for years while living in one of Paraguay’s largest orphanages.
Understandably, Elizabeth began to withdraw. But thanks to the work being done by our partners in Paraguay, last year things changed drastically for the better for Elizabeth.
A main priority in Paraguay has been working with the government to reform child welfare laws and develop best practices for orphan care. Although the government has acknowledged the inherent right of every child to a family, childcare workers and legal advocates need to continue to learn how to give children like Elizabeth the opportunity to be legally adopted. Paraguay recently hosted a national seminar to train their judges, public defenders and specialized prosecutors in how this can be done.
As paradigms have shifted, our partners have had more opportunities to promote Orphan Sunday and even preach in churches across the country! In a small church on the outskirts of Paraguay’s capital, a family asked how they could become foster parents. Our partners were able to connect them to an orphanage that had recently caught the vision of placing orphans in families. In fact, just this year they started their own foster care agency. And guess what? It was also the orphanage where Elizabeth lived!
Because of the new vision being cast in Paraguay- the vision of families instead of orphanages- hearts are changing, the church is rising up, and institutions are changing their models. Today, Elizabeth is in a safe, loving family! She no longer has to compete for attention. She is just Elizabeth, protected and loved. Won’t you pray with us that many children like Elizabeth will find loving, forever families across Paraguay as more individuals and institutions catch the vision for family-based care?
**Name and photo changed to protect the child’s identity