After our house parents, Esteban & Gaby, left in mid May, we received a crushing disclosure from the supervisor of the Accreditation Department. She, in effect, notified us that she would not be issuing operational permits for the two new homes we had planned to build in Phase II. We were told that we would have to find a new model. We were shocked, to say the least, and left scrambling to come up with a new plan. Over the past few years, Costa Rica has been moving toward a trend to deinstitutionalize children in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. These agreements promote kinship care and foster care. The idea is that children are better off in these settings than in an institution. In the future, Costa Rica plans to reduce the number of children in institutions. This news came to us just as we were renewing our operational permits for our two existing children’s homes. PANI is requiring us to make certain adjustments, changes that we are not willing to make. These changes would impede our ability to carry out our mission and our vision in the way we feel the Lord is leading for this ministry. We found ourselves at a crossroads with few options available to us.
… A new Beginning
During this period of transition, we had the privilege of meeting some staff from Buckner Children and Family services in Dallas. They visited the AP in the spring and we were able to tour their ministry in early May. Buckner works directly with single mothers (18 years or older) and their children to help restore, rebuild, and transform their lives. They offer programs to help reduce barriers to self-sufficiency. After visiting their ministry in Dallas and after much prayer and counsel, we decided to adopt this concept as our new model here in Costa Rica. Six of us will be traveling to Texas in September to receive a week-long training session from the staff at Buckner. We will learn how to choose the candidates for our program, the different types of training offered, such as: parenting skills, money management, communication skills, conflict resolution tools, spiritual mentorship and accountability, and more. We are excited that we will be expanding our vision to not only work with children at risk, but also work with single mothers who find themselves at risk. This ministry will impact these families in a greater way, as we teach and train the mothers to care for themselves and their children, .
Fortunately, we have been able to make adjustments to our drawings and are already constructing the foundations of two buildings. Instead of a single dwelling, the new plans are to have 4 single apartments in each building.
In regards to the existing children’s homes, we have asked PANI for a transition period so that the 7 children we currently have can leave the AP in a natural fashion (adoption or family member).
Obviously, this will present us with new challenges along the way. Nonetheless, God is sovereign and we are confident that He is putting His perfect plan into action.
Change, as hard as it can be, is essential for us as we move forward. We covet your prayers as we embark on a new beginning. We trust God will provide the people and resources to accomplish His plan in the lives of these families! Thank you for your continued interest in the ministry God has given us to fulfill.
A crossroads is a place of decision that will affect the course of one’s life.