January 26, 2015

BPD Volcano Challenge - PLEASE HELP!

As you may know, I am on the BOD of a phenomenal organization that works to reduce the causes of chronic childhood malnutrition in rural, indigenous communities in Guatemala. For obvious reasons, I have a huge amount of passion for the cause. The name of the organization is/has been Behrhorst Partners for Development (BPD) but it is changing shortly to ALDEA, which means "village" in Spanish.

Our Executive Director and the Executive Director of our sister organization are working to raise $25,000 in honor of the 25th anniversary of the passing of our founder, Dr. Carroll Behrhorst. To do so, they will be climbing two volcanoes in Guatemala, totaling 25,000 feet. I have committed to raising at least $2,500 of that and I NEED YOUR HELP! If they can climb a volcano, you can spare a few bucks.

(You will need to copy it and paste into your browse, I can't get links to work anymore for some reason)

Posted by Kevin at 01:16 PM

December 05, 2014

"Giving Back" story in Adoption Today

I recently had the opportunity to write a story on "Giving Back" for Adoption Today magazine. What I am most proud of is my daughter's contribution to it.

Download file

Posted by Kevin at 10:46 AM

August 13, 2014

Are you a web design or social media guru?

I hope there are still some folks stopping by from time to time! As you know, I now sit on the BOD of Behrhorst Partners for Development (www.behrhorst.org).We are looking for volunteers so help us develop an improved website and to improve our social media strategy and presence. I don't have big bucks to offer, but I know that the satisfaction and good karma I get when I visit the communities we serve is compensation enough.

So if you have the skills, please let me know. We aren't looking for magic, an uber-website, or anything spectacular and it is a great organization.

Posted by Kevin at 03:38 PM

November 12, 2013

World Toilet Day November 19th!

Did you know that 1 in 3 people worldwide do not have access to a clean toilet? Or that one tiny piece of poop can contain 10 million viruses and 1 million bacteria? World Toilet Day is only one week away and we NEED your help to support our goal of raising $1,000 to purchase latrines for indigenous Mayan families in rural Guatemala through BPD!!!


Simply hang the attached poster on your fridge (made so your little one can color and decorate it)! Then count your flushes on November 19th…World Toilet Day! We encourage you to donate $1 per flush to BPD and note in the memo it is for FLUSH FUNDS! With everyone’s support we can reach that goal of $1,000! Your donation can be made online at www.behrhorst.org or mailed to BPD, Dept. 116234, P.O. Box 5211, Binghamton, NY 13902-5211.

Posted by Sonya at 04:48 PM

October 24, 2013

Giving Back... And Looking Forward!

I am thrilled to join the Guatadopt team to share my experiences over the years with giving back and share opportunities for you to make a difference looking forward. Over the years, Kevin and Kelly have posted many opportunities to give back to organizations that impact the lives of Guatemalans--many of those opportunities related to the work of the Cincinnati Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption (FTGA). I thought I would take a moment in my first post to share the history of FTGA's Giving Back program and then give all of you information looking forward on how to keep the Guatadopt community aware of future opportunities to give back!

Where It All Started?

As many of you may know, our son Marty is adopted from Guatemala and our process took place during the Hague of 2003 experience. Needless to say, his case was not a quick one. He came home at 13 months old and I had visited him five times during that long year of waiting. Little did I know that would be a blessing in disguise as I spent each trip also venturing out to learn more about his birth country. I knew I would fall in love with my little guy but I never anticipated my love for the people of Guatemala! By the end of that year, there was not doubt that I would be forever connected to the people of Guatemala.

I didn’t even make it a year before I returned. This time I took the trip with good friend, fellow adoptive mom, and founder of FTGA Aimee Davis. We spent 10 days visiting 14 non-profit organizations doing great work throughout the country. Our mission—learn about the organizations so we could come back to share our knowledge and experience with local families with a request to find just one organization that “spoke” to their family and support it long-term.

Well, we met that goal and so much more! In the last 10 years, we have led numerous Moms on a Mission, Teens on a Mission, and Reconnections trips back to Guatemala. We have raised well over $500,000 with the support of local families, foundations, and participation of adoptive families from all over the US in our giving back projects. Most of all we have raised awareness of many organizations doing fabulous work in Guatemala.

Looking Forward…

As you may know, I am also on the Board of Directors for Behrhorst Partners for Development (www.behrhorst.org) and Kevin and I will continue to share opportunities to get involved with projects that support the work of BPD. I will also share other giving back opportunities connected to FTGA.

My hope is that Guatadopt will also become a place for others to share local events happening in your area of interest to the Guatemala adoption community. If you have an event you would like posted on this site related to a gathering of adoptive families or a giving back opportunity, I invite you to email the information to me at sonya_fultz at yahoo.com and I will post it to the site. Together we can keep our children and families connected to a country that means so much to all of us.

I look forward to seeing the impact we can collectively make to improve the lives of those in need in Guatemala.

Posted by Sonya at 10:39 AM

September 27, 2013

Donate to BPD and WIN!!!!

There will be more to come between Guatadopt and BPD. I am now on their Board of Directors and am trying to get back into the groove of bringing back Guatadopt. I do owe our old readers an explanation of what's been up!

For now, here is a chance to support Behrhorst Partners for Development and get a chance to win two roundtrip plane tickets anywhere in the US. It's only $10 a ticket and trust me that it goes to a good cause!


Download file





Posted by Kevin at 08:07 AM

November 28, 2012

FTGA Holiday Giving Back Program

Impacting One Guatemalan Star at a time!
Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption invites you to join our 8th Annual Holiday Giving Back Project in conjunction with Behrhorst Partners for Development. BPD works in respectful partnership with Mayan Guatemalans to have a positive impact on the problems associated with Guatemala's history of violence against indigenous populations, natural disasters, poverty, illiteracy and disastrously high rates of infant and maternal death.
You have probably heard the story of the Star Thrower:

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

It’s your turn to Save A Star! Every day 110 children will die from preventable diseases in Guatemala and malnutrition is the most significant factor contributing to these high death rates. The issue of chronic childhood malnutrition is 4th highest in the world in Guatemala—the very country that connects so many of our families through adoption. At night many of us have the joy of tucking our little one into bed knowing yes we did make a difference in this child’s life. Now you can help do the same in Guatemala.

Today BPD invites you to make the difference in the life of a child or a family. Your donation of $40 for one child or $200 for a family will help provide direct support with improved access to water, sanitation enhancements, nutritious food and education focused decreasing malnutrition.

BPD recognizes they cannot change the life of every child in Guatemala but they are committed to make that change village by village, family by family, child by child. At the end of each day BPD is confident they make a difference in rural Guatemalan lives.

Let’s come together as adoptive families all over the US to once again support the FTGA Holiday Giving Back Project and for all of the Guatemala Stars that deserve health and well-being! Making a donation in someone’s name is a perfect holiday gift and you will receive a card with the photo of a Guatemalan Star to share!

You can use the attached document to make your donation or visit http://www.behrhorst.org/ and click on More Ways To Help to find the FTGA Holiday Project page where you can donate online. Thanks for your support again this year!

FTGA Planning Committee

Download file

Posted by Kevin at 11:13 AM

November 14, 2011

FTGA 7th Annual Giving Back Project

Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption invites you to join our 7th Annual Holiday Giving Back Project in conjunction with Behrhorst Partners for Development. Each year families like you help to change lives of rural Guatemalan families! This year we are funding the installation of and training on the use and maintenance of fuel efficient vented stoves. As a thank you to any family who funds a stove, we will send you a child's Guatemala soccer jersey so that each time it is worn it serves as a reminder of another family's life changed by your family's generosity!

So how can you help?The total cost of an installed stove and training on the use and maintenance of the stove is $150.Please click on the below to download your pledge form and learn more on how you can give. We thank you on behalf of the the families in rural Guatmala who will benefit from your generosity.


Posted by Kevin at 10:27 AM

November 27, 2010

FTGA Holiday Giving Back Project

FTGA is at it again thankfully with their annual holiday giving back project. And this year it's easy to give your friends and family a great gift through it - the gift of kowing that because of them someone in need is being helped! And isn't that more of hte true holiday spirit. Below you can find the forms that describe the great projects. Click on more for a note from the organizers. It's a great porject for a great cause!

Order form in word: Download file

Order form PDF: Download file

As we start the Thanksgiving celebrations in our homes this week and begin to think about upcoming holiday season our thoughts surely go to the people of the birth country of our children. 2010 was a difficult year for families in the rural Highlands of Guatemala. The eruption of Volcan Pacaya, tropical storms and heavy rains that caused mudslides and severe loss of crops continue to plague many areas with food shortages and continued issues to recover from damage. It is more important than ever we give thanks for the blessings are are given and reach out to assist those who are less fortunate.

Adoptive families from all over the US have been so generous over the years in participation of the FTGA Holiday Giving Back project in partership with Behrhorst Partners for Development and we are confident this year will top all others! Please review the attachment that details the giving options this year. The focus will be funding fuel efficient vented stoves in villages where BPD works to complete Healthy Homes projects in process. As you will see the benefits of a stove impact families in several ways!

For those of you who have been blessed to visit a home in a rural area of Guatemala you know that it is difficult to stand in the home using an open fire to cook for more than a few minutes. The difference between our experience and the experience of the family owning that home is we get to leave. Without support, they continue to live with the daily risks of falls in the fire, upper respitory infection which is one of the highest causes of death in Guatemala, and a host of other devastating results of the open fire. Help make that change for a family this giving season!

Thanks for your continued support of the 6th Annual FTGA Holiday Giving Back Project! If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sonya Zumbiel at szumbiel@yahoo.com.

FTGA Planning Committee

Posted by Kevin at 10:10 AM

October 06, 2010

FTGA Personalized Pens - They're Back

FTGA is again organizing an order of personalized pens made by the weavers of MayaWorks (www.mayaworks.org). The cost of a pen is $2.50. Half of the cost goes to the women who weave the pens as a "fair trade" cost. The other half will be donated to Worldlink Partners on behalf of the Let's Be Ready Preschool Programs in rural areas of Guatemala! See the order form and informational sheet for more information and to consider making an additional donation for these programs as well as placing your pens order. Orders are due by October 23rd.

Please contact Sonya at szumbiel@yahoo.com if you have any questions. These make great teacher gifts, birthday party favors, stocking stuffers, etc... and you support two great causes in Guatemala.
FTGA Planning Committee

Order Form in Word: Download file
Order Form PDF: Download file

Posted by Kevin at 04:31 PM

July 06, 2010

Vote to Help Kids In Guatemala

Posted on behalf of all the folks that sent it to me..

An organization called Miracles in Action is in the running for one of those deals where people vote for a cause and whoever wins gets a grant. The funds, if they win, will be used to rebuild a school that was destroyed by the mudslides.

So please click on more for the details...

Dear Friends of Miracles in Action and Guatemala,

Most of you know, we are seeking votes from Facebook Friends to win $20,000 to build a school in Guatemala that was destroyed by mudslides.

This morning, a generous donor offered to match the $20,000 winnings, but only if we win the Chase Community Giving contest.

Now your vote counts for $40,000!!!

We can't do this without you and your friends. Please forward this email, and FB message all your contacts.


Simple steps to vote:
1. Go to our website www.MiraclesInAction.org
2. Click on the "Support Us" Vote box.
3. Click on: "Get Started to Vote" in Green
4. Request for Permission to Access Basic information – click on "Allow"
5. Pop up window asks you to "Like" Chase Community Giving – click on "Like"
6. Verify you are still on the Chase Community Giving Miracles in Action page
7. Click on VOTE. If you are not on Miracles in Action's vote page, go up to "Search and Vote"

and enter our name in the search.

Thank you for your vote, and spreading the word, Penny

P.S. Please view our video with the "Story of Miracles in Action". Here is a YouTube link:


Posted by Kevin at 05:09 PM

March 29, 2010

Want to sponsor a child??

NOTE: I think I've sent Nancy plenty of sponsors so no need anymore. Thanks to all!

I'm posting this on behalf of Nancy Hoffman, who many of you know from her various adoption oriented services.

If you'd like to help out wiht this child, just say so in a commment and I will put you in touch wiht Nancy...

"The granddaughter of a client is 5. I had a sponsor for her to go to school. Through a (bad) set of circumstances and miscommunications, the sponsorship fell through.

I have paid for her inscription and her first 3 months of school (Q400. / $50. per month, though the exchange rate is dropping...) I am looking for a sponsor or a bunch of sponsors to cover the rest of the year (april - oct = $350.) - any extra would be great, but that is my basic need."

Posted by Kevin at 08:58 AM

February 09, 2010

FTGA - Personalized Pens

Posted on behalf of FTGA
FTGA is again organizing an order of personalized pens made by the weavers of MayaWorks (www.mayaworks.org). The cost of a pen is $2.50. Half of the cost goes to the women who weave the pens as a "fair trade" cost. The other half will be donated to Worldlink Partners on behalf of the Let's Be Ready Preschool Programs in rural areas of Guatemala! See the order form and informational sheet included for more information and to consider making an additional donation for these programs as well as placing your pens order. Orders are due by March 8th.

Download file

Posted by Kevin at 02:49 PM

January 22, 2010

Calendar Donation Proceeds

I just had the extreme pleasure of having checks cut to support five organizations in Guatemala providing direct aid to children. These organizations were chosen for their services and not their religious affiliation or adoption philosophy. In the end, we're sending out $9000 which leaves about $800 left in our bank account for misc. fees and any needs that come up. As such, each of these organizations is receiving $1800 from the Do Good Charitable Foundation:
1.) Semillas de Amor
2.) Amor del Nino
3.) Hogar Luz de Fatima
4.) Friends of the Orphans
5.) Orphan Resources International

Posted by Kevin at 04:33 PM

November 08, 2009

FTGA Holiday Giving Back Project

Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption invites you to join our 5th Annual Holiday Giving Back Project in conjunction with Behrhorst Partners for Development (BPD). This year the project supports 75 rural Guatemalan families living in Mocolic Xot Bajo which is located near Patzun, Guatemala. When fully funded, this project will provide a comprehensive basic infrastructure package creating healthy homes for each family. Creating a healthy home consists of completing a village water project as well as installing a stove, latrine, and grey water filter in each of the 75 homes.

So how can you help? The cost to implement the basic infrastructure package is $75 per person. How amazing that just $6.25 per month would meet that cost! To sponsor the cost of a family is $450. Please consider making a donation to fund individuals or an entire family!

Here’s the impact of your donation:

Women and children spend 2-4 hours a day carrying water from contaminated sources. BPD will work with a village water project committee as well as the municipality to design and install a spring fed water filtration system that runs from a main tank in the village to individual homes. Villagers provide all manual labor to dig the lines to each home.

Clean latrines go a long way toward eliminating diseases that plague rural people, especially children. The vented latrine removes bad odors as well as improves sanitation conditions for the family and the villages. The family commits to the digging of the latrine pit and with your gift BPD provides all materials necessary for construction as well as education on the maintenance of the latrine.

A vented stove makes an immeasurable impact on the family’s lives. The most impressive differences are significantly less smoke and CO in the home leading to longer life expectancy and better child development as well as decreased risk of serious burns. Long term environmental benefits include 70% less wood consumption per household. The women of the households gain the equivalent of two work days per week because they need to haul much less wood; this means more time for family and economic opportunities.

Gray water filters collect water as runoff after it has been used for washing and then filters the soap and grease such that the residual water flows downhill to irrigate trees and other plants.

The FTGA Holiday Giving Back Program will focus for the first time on the needs of one village to improve the lives of all villagers as a package. The village is ready and willing to start working as soon as funding is secured. Please consider putting the villagers of Mocolic Xot Bajo one donation closer to starting work on basic infrastructure needs in their village to create healthy homes! You can even take part in a BPD tour in early August 2010 which will include inauguration ceremonies in this village!

Please download the document below to learn more on how to make your donation! Please also forward this message to any other individuals or groups you know who would be interested in supporting efforts in development work in rural Guatemala! Thanks for your support. Together we will make this happen!

How to donate: Download file

Posted by Kevin at 09:37 PM

September 09, 2009

FTGA Fundraiser

Posted on behalf of FTGA..

Hello All! FTGA is once again working with MayaWorks to offer Personalized Pens. Please see the attached order form for more details. Hurry to place your order as all orders must be received by September 23rd so the orders are picked up on a trip to Guatemala in late October and mailed to you the first week of November.

The pens make great holiday gifts for children, teachers, friends, and family. Enjoy!

FTGA Planning Committee

Click here for the order form: Download file

Posted by Kevin at 02:00 PM

May 02, 2009

Behrhorst Challenge Grant

{Posted on behalf of Sonya Zumbiel for Behrhorst Partners for Development}
BPD Receives $50,000 Challenge Grant received from Family Foundation connected to Guatemala through adoption! Read more to find out how you can make the funds triple!

View Printable PDF File

The entire community works together to lay pipes to bring running water into homes.

My name is Sonya Zumbiel on behalf of the board and staff of Behrhorst Partners for Development (BPD) I am pleased to announce BPD has received a challenge grant from a family foundation connected to Guatemala through adoption. The foundation will match any organization funds received for water projects, vented stoves, latrines, gray water filters and other projects up to $50,000 in 2009. Proposals will be submitted to foundations, businesses, individuals and civic organizations (such as Rotary Clubs) in the hopes that we will be able to meet this challenge within the next few months. If you know of any person or organization that would be interested in helping us meet this challenge, please contact BPD at BehrhorstUS@yahoo.com or me at szumbiel@yahoo.com.

So now here is my personal appeal to the adoption community: One family foundation has made a $50,000 committment to the birth country of our children with the hopes that it will double through donations from other foundations. I would love to send a personal thanks back to the foundations that have made this happen through a rally of the entire Guatemala adoption community and I know we are capable of doing it!

If 500 donors make a $100 donation now we will raise another $50,000 to triple this challenge! Please consider making a donation to Behrhorst by visiting http://www.behrhorst.org/how_to_help. You can also help by forwarding this to any adoption community you belong to or other interested group. Let's get this into the inbox of every Guatemala adoptive family!

Our community has risen on so many occasions to make a difference in the lives of not only our children from Guatemala but the lives of people all over Guatemala. As a board member of BPD and a frequent traveler to villages in rural Guatemala I can attest firsthand the need is so great. I invite you to be a part of this exciting challenge that will allow the BPD staff to meet those needs. Together I know the adoption community of which I am blessed to be a part will take on this challenge and meet it! What a way to say thanks to this family foundation that has reached out in great ways to our children's birth country!

Sonya Zumbiel
Proud mom of Marty Jose, age 6
Behrhorst Partners for Development board member

View Printable PDF File

Posted by Kelly at 08:44 AM

November 27, 2008

FTGA Black Friday Shopping Palooza

BLACK FRIDAY BEHRHORST JAMBOREE...shopping for a great cause!

Click on More to learn how...

The Turkey has been stuffed, and so are we.
The next thing you know we will be hanging lights on the tree.

We all enjoy the holidays, family, and food galore---
here is a challenge to do something more.

We are all very blessed with prosperity and health.
It's the year of Joe-the-plumber!! Let's spread the wealth!

At the strike of midnight, black friday begins.
We will hunt bargains, and maybe go shopping with friends.

But if you are too full from your Thanksgiving feast--
Just sit at your computer, at the very least.

www.behrhorst.org is the place to start..
There you will find a way to give a gift from the heart.

You can make a donation to give as a gift--
The kind of gift that gives every spirit a lift!

A latrine for family, or maybe some school supplies...
We can help so many families if we all try.

Giving back to the country we all hold so dear,
Will help other families and fill our hearts with good cheer.

We wish you the best for 2009--
now quit reading this email, and check us out online!!

**A special thanks to Maria Wright for her creativity in writing this! The information is attached or you can visit www.ftga.net or www.behrhorst.org to give.

Thanks for you support! Happy Shopping!

FTGA Planning Committee

Posted by Kevin at 06:00 PM

September 11, 2008

Click for Miracles in Action

While our Do Good Charitable Foundation did not make the Top 25 in the AMEX giveaway, another worthy cause that supports people in Guatemala did. Please click on more to read about it from Sonya Zumbiel of FTGA and cast your vote!

Miracles In Action made the Top 25 list in the American Express $2.5 million giveaway to worthy organizations doing great work!

American Express is giving away $2.5 million to organizations doing work around the world to the top 5 organizations voted on by the public. A great organization that serves rural Guatemala made the top 25 called Miracles in Action! Now let's bump them up to the top 5 and watch them really change lives!

Simply visit http://www.miraclesinaction.org/ and click on the link to the American Express project and cast your vote! Then send this link or forward this email to everyone you know so they can do the same and watch the lives of rural Guatemalan change!

As the donations coordinator for Cincinnati Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption and a member of Moms on a Mission, I can speak firsthand of their successes as I have been inside a school built by Miracles in Action and they follow through on all they do. They are top notch! Some of you will remember when FTGA funded building 100 desks for a school several years ago...well that was a school built by Miracles in Action.

We know their work is making an impact on the lives of children from our children's birth country, so now it is time for us to make an impact! Thanks for taking the time to do your part for our children's lives. They will thank you too...

American Express card holders can vote for the project for funds of $100,000 - $1.5 million. We need votes. Please pass this on to all your contacts who want to make a difference for the children who were not fortunate to be adopted from Guatemala. Our project is called "Helping Poor Mayans to Help Themselves". More info is available at www.miraclesinaction.org or the site below. It costs nothing and only takes a minute to vote. Here is the link:


Thanks so much!

Sonya Zumbiel, FTGA Donations coordinator

Opening day School #9. Dr.Subczynski (donor) is there w/ students of La Pila, Guatemala

Posted by Kevin at 06:25 AM

November 18, 2007

FTGA Holiday Giving Back Project

Posted on behalf of FTGA:

This year, FTGA will again offer the FTGA Holiday Giving Back Project in conjunction with Behrhorst Partners for Development. This year the focus of the projects offered are to strengthen the economic opportunities of rural Guatemalan families who work with BPD in their Strong Family Centers. Each of the four levels of giving have a micro-credit component to allow individual families the ability to strengthen their family's ability to support their own family as well as add community support on behalf of the Stong Family Center that serves their family and community.

Whether you choose to sponsor a family garden, a chicken farm, four fruit farms, or an embroidery cooperative for ten women, you are impacting rural Guatemalans!

We are excited to share the project with everyone and encourage you to participate and to pass along the opportunity to anyone else who might be interested. Feel free to also forward the information to other list servs or groups that might share our passion for the people of Guatemala. You will again this year receive a card representing a family who could benefit from your donation for each project you sponsor. You can indicate if the card is to give as a gift.

Please visit www.ftga.net for further information and to get started or visit the file attached.

Posted by Kevin at 11:40 AM

September 15, 2007

Help Save An Adoption Heroine's Life

The plea below (click on more) comes from an adoptive mom who is also an MD. She has become close to her child's former foster mom, who is suffering from a horrible disease and in need of a surgical procedure she can not afford. Guatadopt has made arrangements through Hands of Hope where you can make a tax deducible contribution to help this women get the life saving surgery she needs. We can assure you that this is legitimate and encourage everyone to give as much as she can. As soon as the needed fund have been raised, we will let everyone know (though we still recommend donating to Hands of Hope at any time).

To make a contribution, click here: http://www.justgive.org/giving/donate.jsp?charityId=5240& In the field that says "Designate my donation", type in "For Claudia" and the donation will go towards her surgery.

Thanks in advance!

From Kristen Lehberg, MD
I am writing as a mother of two children - my son, Jonah is 2 and my daughter, Isabel, is 9 months. We adopted them both from Guatemala and are forever grateful for the opportunity to be their parents. We are also forever grateful for the choices that their birthmothers made and for the excellent care given to them by their foster parents. We parents of Guatemalan-born children all know that the real heros of Guatemalan adoption are the foster parents, whose loving care allows us, in most cases, to bring our babies home healthy, happy, and relatively quickly.

We got a call on September 7th from Jonah's foster mother. Her name is Claudia and she is 37 years old. She has two children - ages 13 and 8. She is married. She worked as a foster mother in Guatemala for years and did an exceptional job. We met and visited with her family on three of our five trips in the last 23 months and have maintained regular contact since bringing Jonah home in January 2005. She loved our son and took really good care of him - she still calls him "amor" and really holds him in a special place in her heart - we truly believe that he wouldn't be the dynamic, hilarious and loving little boy he is today had he not had her loving care for the first 6 months of his life.

During that phone call on the 7th, Claudia told that is dying, as she cried and talked about how she is not ready to leave this world. About 3 months ago, she sustained a blood clot to the brain and now has hydrocephalus, or water on/swelling in the brain. She needs to have a shunt (VP shunt) placed to displace this fluid into her bloodstream or her brainstem will eventually herniate out of the base of her skull and she will die. The shunt allows the fluid to escape into the bloodstream and leave the body through the kidneys/urine as all other fluids do. It is a relatively simple and common surgery and works quite well for this problem. This surgery is not done at the public hospitals and costs $6000 (40,000 quetzales) to have done at the private hospitals. This may seem like a trivial cost for surgery in this country, but there, as we all know, this is an impossible expense. And because of this process, for the last 3 months, she has not been able to work - she has terrible headaches, and is having frequent seizures. She is taking seizure medication.

We want to help her ourselves but we are unable to pay for the whole surgery ourselves and we are therefore seeking donations to help her get medical care. Now, I wish I could promise that this surgery would result in great quality and quantity of life - of course, I cannot. I would hope, in a country with such limited resources, that it would not even be offered if she did not have a fighting chance.

If you are interested in donating, any amount would be appreciated. We have already collected pledges or funds in the amount of $1000 so we have $5000 more to raise. Luckily, we are able to raise this money through Hands of Hope, which will allow for a tax deductible donation (a receipt will be given) for anyone who wishes to contribute.

Thank you SO MUCH for your consideration.

Posted by Kevin at 05:30 PM

August 28, 2007

National Make a Difference Day

Posted on behalf of FTGA

National Make A Difference Day is on October 27th this year. The Cincinnati Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption (FTGA) group has participated in Make A Difference Day for the last 3 years - we were even selected as one of Ohio's "Top 40 Projects" in 2005. For the last three years we have done work projects....this year we are trying something new --- we are planning to encourage FTGA members to patronize a Guatemalan business on Make A Difference Day. We have asked our members to let us know of any Guatemalan businesses in the greater Cincinnati area and online. But we thought, why stop with just FTGA?

So we wanted to also ask you to send information for any Guatemalan owned or operated businesses you know of--either in your local area or online. Please email the name of the business, a description of the type of business, the address, contact info, and website if there is one. Send the information to ftgamakeadifferenceday2007@yahoo.com and we will add your information to our list.We will post closer to Make a Difference Day a comprehensive list of all the businesses on Guatadopt as well as our website (www.ftga.net) and we will also post a reporting link on our website for everyone who participates to report back their efforts so we can see just what a collective difference we have made!

I know in years to come it will matter to our son that we have made a conscious effort to stay connected to the people of his birth country. I invite all of you to support this project as one way of staying connected and making a difference.

Sonya Zumbiel
FTGA Donations Coordinator

"Never doubt a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Meade

Posted by Kevin at 10:34 PM

May 22, 2007

Teens On a Mission... At it again :-)

The Teens on a Mission Group of FTGA (Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption of Cincinnati) is selling personalized hackeysacks and pens made by the weavers of MayaWorks. The cost of a hackeysack is $3.00 and a pen is $2.00. A portion of the cost goes to the weavers as a "fair trade" cost. The remainder of the cost will be donated to an organization working in Guatemala chosen by the Teens on a Mission Group!

The teens have chosen five US registered non-profits to visit and receive the benefits of their fundraising:

Women's International Network for Guatemalan Solutions WINGS - Reproductive Healthcare for Every Guatemalan
Open Windows Open Windows Foundation
Orphan Resources International
Behrhorst Partners for Development
Cooperative for Education

These teens are traveling to Guatemala this summer for a week to spend time with each of the non-profits working alongside the staff and clients and learning all along the way about giving back! The group includes 8 teens (and five moms) including one Guatemala adoptee, one teen adopted from El Salvador, and others with Guatemalan siblings. Their connection is strong to the country and giving back to the people of Guatemala.

Their goal is lofty as they want to raise enough funds to donate $2000 to each of the organizations totalling a goal of $10,000! They are working hard to get there and never cease to amaze us with their energy and efforts.

This is one way anyone can support them in placing an order for pens and hackeysacks--which are so cool since you can personalize them! We have many families ordering them for party favors, gifts for kids on a team, school spirit hackeysacks (with school initials on them), "team" names, gifts for grandchildren for a holiday or birthdays, etc... Be creative and share your ideas here to spread the creativity.

I know many of you have ordered the pens already. I hope you enjoy the new order of hackeysacks too! 100% of the money goes back to the non-profits as the kids are all paying their own way totally on this trip! Very cool to watch come together!

To order, go to Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption and click on special offers. Then click to get to the actual order forms for either the pens or hackeysacks at the bottom of each write up about them. Feel free to email the teens group if you have any questions at teenmission@ftga.net to have them answered.

Pens order form: Download file

Hackey Sack order form: Download file

Posted by Kevin at 11:46 AM

November 14, 2006

Stove Project

{Posted on behalf of Sonya, FTGA}
Last holiday season, many forum families participated in the FTGA Stove project through Behrhorst Partners for Development. We wanted to share that we are again working to impact rural Guatemalan families who need so much year round, but our generosity in the season of giving can directly impact their lives!

For a second year, FTGA has decided to offer the Holiday Giving Back project through Behrhorst Partners for Development www.behrhorst.org. We are excited to again offer the opportunity to purchase a stove for a rural family in Guatemala. New this year, there are three other levels of giving also. We hope this offers a level of giving that all families can contribute at their comfort level. What an impact if each and every family would decide to contribute at one of the levels to this project!!

Please visit www.ftga.net and read about how to participate in the project. Last year's project raised over $16,000 for Behrhorst and we hope to top that level of giving this year!

Again this year, this giving back project can be used to make donations in honor of someone as a gift. Please note a card with a photo of a representative family will be sent to you to thank your family if this is not to be a gift. If it is a gift, a card will be sent to give to the person for whom the donation is made. This year, there will not be specific family photos given as the staff of Behrhorst's time can be better spent working on the projects instead of the many hours that went into the photos last year.

All donations for this project are made to Behrhorst Partners for Development which is a registered 501C3 non-profit organization.

Feel free to email through the website if you have any questions at all.

Posted by Kelly at 10:14 AM

August 28, 2006

Teens On A Mission

Posted on behalf of Sonya Zumbiel

Hello all. I like to pass along opportunities to benefit non-profits in Guatemala. Well this one is somewhat unique.

Many of you know that the Cincinnati Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption group started a Moms on a Mission group that just completed our second year of moms going down to Guatemala for a week in the summer doing mission work as well as raising over $40,000 in donations (cash and in-kind) this year alone. Well, now we have Teens on a Mission.

The group is starting small and working to plan a mission trip for summer of 2007. I am so proud of this group of kids who really get the meaning of "giving back" at such a young age. They kicked off their first fundraiser of pens orders this spring and raised almost $1,000.

They are again offering personalized pens from Guatemala for sale. The cost is $2 per pen. Half the money goes right back to the weavers from MayaWorks who are making the pens (which is a fair trade price). You can learn more about MayaWorks at www.mayaworks.org which is a registered US non-profit.

The other $1 per pen will be donated to a non-profit chosen by the teens group! The teens have chosen five US registered non-profits to visit and receive the benefits of their fundraising:

Women's International Network for Guatemalan Solutions www.wingsguate.org
Open Windows www.openwindowsfoundation.org
Orphan Resources www.orphanresources.org
Behrhorst Partners for Development www.behrhorst.org
Cooperative for Education www.coeduc.org

The orders have to be received by September 15th. We will ship pens ordered, but read at the bottom of the order to add $3 for shipping costs. All pens will be shipped the last week of October.

Feel free to visit www.ftga.net and go to special offers for more information. I know several of you ordered last time, so please share your thoughts also and help keep this bumped!

Posted by Kevin at 08:42 AM

May 05, 2006

Teens on a Mission Fundraising

{Posted on Behalf of Sonya, Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption}

Hello all. I like to pass along opportunities to benefit non-profits in Guatemala. Well this one is somewhat unique.

Many of you know that the Cincinnati Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption group started a Moms on a Mission group that is currently gearing up for our second year of moms going down to Guatemala for a week in the summer doing mission work. Well, now we have Teens on a Mission.

The group is starting small and working to plan a mission trip for summer of 2007. I am so proud of this group of kids who really get the meaning of "giving back" at such a young age. They have just kicked off their first fundraiser.

They are offering personalize pens from Guatemala for sale. The cost is $2 per pen. Half the money goes right back to the weavers from MayaWorks who are making the pens (which is a fair trade price). You can learn more about MayaWorks at www.mayaworks.org.

The other $1 per pen will be donated to a non-profit chosen by the teens group! If you would like to learn more about this opportunity to purchase pens for a good cause like the one below, you can visit www.ftga.net and go to Special Offers.

The orders have to be received by May 22nd though. We will ship pens if ordered and you are not from Cincy, but read at the bottom of the order to add $ for shipping costs. If you have any questions, you can also email Sonya at szumbiel@cinci.rr.com for more information.

Pen photo.JPG

Posted by Kelly at 06:13 PM

April 05, 2006

2006 Moms on a Mission

A local group of mothers who have adopted children from Guatemala is planning the second annual "Moms on a Mission" trip to their children's birth country this summer, from July 15-July 22.

Most of the moms are part of the Cincinnati area group, Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption.

Right now 24 people have signed up to go on the trip, where they will visit and work in orphanages and special care facilities. This year's trip will have a special focus on occupational and physical therapies.

"All members of this year's mission trip are required to only take a carry on bag for their personal items. They will then check 2 luggage items needed in the orphanages and clinics, such as medicines, vitamins, bath/personal items, clothing, toys and school supplies," Grega said. "We are also conducting fund-raisers to purchase larger ticket items needed for the orphanages such as cribs, refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers. Please see Families Through Guatemala Adoption's website at www.ftga.net where you can read about this year's trip and the beautiful afghan throw that is to be auctioned to raise funds for the Moms on a Mission trip.

For more information about the trip or to contribute donations, please contact Moms on a Mission 2006 coordinator, Michelle Hanavan, at missiontrip@ftga.net.

Posted by Kelly at 10:10 PM

April 04, 2006

Traveling soon? Please help!

Mary Jo McGraw is an adoptive mother who recently organized her daughter's girl scout troop to collect new and slightly used shoes to be given to kids in Guatemala. Now she needs help getting the shoed there. If you are travelling to Guatemala soon and would be willing to bring down a small box of shoes with you, please e-mail her at McG1208@earthlink.net. She will have somoene to pick them up at your hotel in Guatemala City.

I am not going to open the comments on this as all correspondence on this should go directly to Mary. Guatadopt is only spreading the request.

Posted by Kevin at 08:55 AM

November 23, 2005

Project Recovery - about giving thanks

While we give thanks for our many blessings, its also a time for thinking about those who are suffering. As many of you know, we are donating 50% of the profits of the calendar sales to charity benefiting children from Guatemala. But this year, Hurricane Stan prompted us to find a way to direct funds to those affected by the Hurricane. We had many emails from adoptive parents and adoption professionals looking for a way to help. So, Guatadopt.com has joined forces with The Johnson Foundation and Hands of Hope creating a fund ESPECIALLY for the children orphaned by the mudslides. While we recognize and even praise the way other organizations have addressed the crisis, this was our way to earmark funds for these children. We have already identified some of the children in need and will be sending assistance shortly. I will also be periodically updating you with general progress of our project in the months to come.

Read more about Project Recovery | Make a Contribution

Posted by Kelly at 12:55 PM

May 09, 2005


While Guatadopt ordinarily tries to stay clear of promoting commercial endeavors, I decided to make an exception here. Below is an e-notice developed by MayaWorks describing what they are all about. I have in the past bought a number of items from them and have always been happy with what I received as well as the work that they do

MayaWorks is a collaboration of families from Guatemala and North America
whose mission is to empower Mayan women to end their cycle of poverty and
improve their lives. Giving women an opportunity to earn an income from
their skills gives them self-confidence and hope for themselves, their
children, their family and their village. Here are five ways you and your
family can interweave your lives with the lives of families in Guatemala:

1. Organize a sale in your community!
MayaWorks volunteer sales provide income for families meeting their basic
needs: food, healthcare, schooling and shelter. Holding a sale is an easy,
fun way to make a difference! Volunteers across the U.S. organize sales in
their homes, offices, schools and houses of worship.

2. Tell the story
Learn more about MayaWorks by visiting our Web site and sharing with friends
and family about MayaWorks mission. Give MayaWorks items as gifts. Help
MayaWorks make connections with foundations, donors and corporate giving

3. Make a contribution.
As a family or on your own, you can make a commitment to supporting
MayaWorkss vision. Consider a gift to the MayaWorks scholarship fund, the
microcredit fund, or an unrestricted contribution. Ask your employer about
matching gifts. You may also donate frequent flyer miles to help defray
staff travel expenses.

4. Continue your journey with a journey.
Treat yourself to the experience of a lifetime! Join a MayaWorks journey and
see first-hand the difference being made in the lives of the artisans.
(Although MayaWorks journeys cannot accommodate children at this time, we
are happy to offer advice on arranging a kid-friendly visit to Guatemala.)

5. Give a gift of time and hands.
Do you live in the Chicago area? We need volunteers in our warehouse or for
local events. Live elsewhere but want to give a few hours? We can help find
a volunteer seller in your area who needs assistance.

For more information on MayaWorks and how you can help create economic
justice in Guatemala, visit us online at www.mayaworks.org, call 773-506-4905 or E-mail info@mayaworks.org
MayaWorks Distribution Center
Interweaving Lives, Discovering One World

Posted by Kevin at 02:48 PM

February 28, 2005

Taxation on Donations

A week ago, I heard from several charities that Guatemala is wanting to impose a tax on ALL containers of donations. They have stopped all containers until March 15th when new rules will be announced. The tax could be as much as 30% and would be devastating to the many charities and missions relying on donations from the US.

Tomorrow, March 1st, Gregory Giagnocavo will be talking about this new tax on Good Morning Guatemala 7:00AM to 8:30AM. You can listen to the show through supercadena.com.

Spanish speakers are encouraged to call the show and stress the importance of keeping charitable contributions unburdened by this tax. The number is 502 (2) 421 5376.

You may also email comments before the show to gmg977@emisorasunidas.com

Lets hope and pray that they will reconsider the consequences to the many charities who depend on outside contributions.

Posted by Kelly at 05:39 PM

January 31, 2005

Spotlight on Casa Aleluya

I have been asked many times about sponsorship programs, charities and project fundraising. Generally speaking, I find that adoptive parents are likely to become attached to their child's birth country and want to give something back. I often wonder if it is more pronounced for those adopting from Guatemala....is it the proximity? the beauty? the circumstances of our own birth families? the resemblence to our own children? or the respect for our children that bring us back?

Whatever the case, Guatadopt.com will try to spotlight some organizations that I think are amazing.

So, lets start with an amazing Children's Home called Casa Para Nios Aleluya.

Like many others, I started researching sponsorship programs in Guatemala. A friend and adoptive mother, Karen, told me about this organization and I wonder if mere words can describe what these people accomplish each and every day! Casa Aleluya is a Christian based organization, but it is not affiliated with any particular denomination. Since this is an adoption information site, I should make it clear that this home does not do adoptions. They are not against adoptions, but it is not their focus. In any case, many of the children would not be eligible for adoption and others would have to fight the abandonment process to become eligible.

During my last visit to Guatemala, I arranged a visit to the home the last day of my stay. In the spirit of Central America, I also had a bit of a time arranging transportation when I needed it. However, I finally made it to the home and into the facility. They have too much to do to handle drop-ins, so I arranged a visit well in advance. Even then, being tardy was inconvenient to the home. Moreover, I was exhausted from the prior weeks activities and the FOA Conference (which we will talk about soon). Even so, Dottie was so kind to give me a tour and arrange some time with my sponsored children.

What I found, was an amazing organization who was managing to provide a home to over 420 children of all ages. As you come in the home, you see a number of dorms, the kitchen/dining building, the educational buildings and right in the midst is Mike and Dottie's home (the founders). The children call Dottie and Mike, Mommy and Pappy. I was so amused at the children who lost a tooth running to Dottie to collect a coin. I was also warmed by their home where children came in and out for the special priviledge of watching Toy Story. I doubt I could do Casa Aleluya justice in a short description. But it is easy enough to get an idea of what is going on there by subscribing to the site and signing up for Mike's Daily journal. I hope some of you who are researching sponsor programs will take a look at this Home.

I learned quickly that sponsoring a child is much more rewarding than simply helping with a few expenses. My whole family has become involved and have adopted these children into their hearts.

I visited my two sponsored children (age 16 and 6). My oldest is Ludy who is a beautiful, sweet, shy teenager who would like to be a secretary. After meeting her, I am determined to do what I can to see that her dreams become a reality. I brought what I figured would be the most appropriate teenage girl items....CLOTHES!!!! Yet it was apparent that she was not used to this kind of attention and gifts (at least from an outsider). I was also impressed to have a fellow dorm roomie translate for me!!!! I am sure that as time goes by, I will get to know her better and vice versa.

The biggest surprise was my youngest, Maria 2 who was found abandoned near Antigua. She would not talk and the staff suspected that it was because she was traumatized and possibly, only knew one of the Mayan languages. But recently (I'm sure after she warmed up to the staff), they realized that she had a significant hearing loss.This darling child has not spoken because she doesn't hear well. She apparently came to the home with restricted language skills. You have to remember that some of these people lack such basic education that even things we consider workable are missing from their day to day lives. While I do not think it is fair to speculate WHY this child was separated from her biological family...this handicap *could* have been the reason.

I was so shocked to have this little girl come to me and sit in my lap. She was beautiful and is apparently, very sharp. Even so, her life has left some faint scars. Her face has many tiny scratch scars from either bushes or from unattended nails (prior to her coming to the home). Those of you with dark skinned children understand that they seem to show even the slightest mark for months from minor scratches and boo-boos. Maria is learning Spanish (which is spoken loudly so she can hear) and she has made some friends who *assisted* her arrival by dragging her to the living room of the dorm house.
She was thrilled with the clothes and the toys. But the highlight for her seemed to be bringing each item for the house mother to put her name on (with a permanent marker). These small things we take for granted...and here is a child who is thrilled to have a few items she can call her own. As we went out to the courtyard, many of the other children came running (2-6yrs) to hold my hand. But this little girl ran up to me giving me a bear hug and informing the
other children that I was HERS!!! I was floored...

Unfortunately, there are still many children in the home who do NOT have sponsors. I hope that many readers who are looking for a child to sponsor will consider Casa Aleluya. Get your church involved, get your family involved!


Posted by Kelly at 08:26 AM

January 30, 2005

Dreams Turn To Reality For Moms On A Mission!

About a year ago, some moms from FTGA (Friends Through Guatemalan Adoption in Cincinnati) were talking and joked that they should all go to Guatemala for a week--and it became Moms On A Mission! Now, the trip is six months away and the moms are working hard to accomplish as much as possible!

So, Aimee Davis and Sonya Zumbiel, two moms in the group, went down in November to network, see where the group would stay, and understand the work that would be done on a mission trip. They went down with so much to give--literally and figuratively--and came back with so much more: a passion for the people of Guatemala, an understanding of daily life, an appreciation for enjoying the simple things in life, a sense of needing to slow down in life, and a true love for their children's birth country.

Last week the group offically had seventeen people register to go on a week long mission in June back to Guatemala which fills the trip. There is a lot of talent and heart to the group--an internist, Dr. Staat from the Int. Adoption Clinic in Cincy, three teen boys, three OT's, and a bunch of great moms! It should be quite a trip.

They are working with Gregory of Hands of Hope and Rod of Orphan Resources to implement the trip. The group will spend time at the medical clinic and at hogars with little affiliation to adoption where the need for support is highest!

Everyone going has agreed that all checked luggage will be filled with donations which are being collected by FTGA families, friends, and area adoption groups. That is over 2,300 pounds of donations!

Yet, so much more is needed that won't fit in a suitcase. And they are a group that dreams big! Some of have asked how to get involved in this mission. Well, the Guatemala adoption community is filled with people forever connected with the country of Guatemala. One of the missions we all hold dear to our heart is a connection back to our child's birth country.

FTGA invites anyone who wants to get involved to help accomplish so much more, come on board. What they really want to do is be able to provide the means to purchase the things that cannot be carried down that are so needed. If you personally want to support this effort, or if you belong to a group--adoption or otherwise--who wants to get involved, contact Sonya, donations coordinator of FTGA, at szumbiel@cinci.rr.com.

Here are some challenges that groups could conquer:

How many diapers could we purchase at $150 per 1,000 diapers? Could we raise the funds to purchase 10,000 diapers?

Wouldn't a washer/dryer set (industrial size) be an amazing gift for an hogar who is now washing all things by hand? Can we raise $1,100 to do just that?

How many pounds of rice can our group raise the funds to purchase at $220 per 100 pounds?

Or beans at $130 per 100 pounds?

If groups went together, the accomplishments could be amazing! All donations can be tax deductible. FTGA has until May 1 to see what can be accomplished. Imagine adoptive parents all over the US and even further working on this mission!

Group founder's words and a great thought: We are not traveling as the heroes. We are going as humble friends to serve the Guatemalan people.

Posted by Kevin at 06:13 PM

November 08, 2004


Hey want to do something really great for the kids of
Guatemala this holiday season?

Looking for The Perfect Way to Share Joy with
Needy Guatemalan Children?

Check out this link: www.ProjectHappiness.org

Project Happiness is affiliated with Gregory & Anita Giagnocavo and their crew at Hands of Hope in Guatemala. The goal of Project Happiness is to provide needy Guatemalan children with Holiday/Christmas gift bags that contain appropriate toys and gifts. To achieve this goal, they would like to hand out 5,000 gift bags. In order to do this, Project Happiness needs our help. A donation of only $9.85 will provide one Gift Bag to a child (of course, you can purchase as many gift bags as you want). Payment is easy on the website: just use a credit card or a PayPal account. A tax deductible receipt will be issued by Hands of Hope, which is a registered 501(c)3 charity.

Each child will receive a quality Gift Bag based on gender (check out the link to see what is in each bag). The Project Happiness team worked hard to choose appropriate gifts that fill each bag. The children who will receive the bags are those in a number of orphanages as well as the kids that Hands of Hope assists. Again, check out the www.ProjectHappiness.org web page for more info.

Instead of giving the usual gift to your friends and relatives this year, why not give those whose lives have been touched by our Guatemalan angels (you know who they are Grandma, Grandpa, etc.)? A gift that they will be proud of a gift that gives back to the less fortunate kids in Guatemala. Give a donation to Project Happiness in their name(s).

Please spread the word about Project Happiness. From their website, you can download and print promotional flyers and posters promoting this worthwhile project. Maybe you could post the website link to the various adoption lists that you belong to. There is also a web ad that you can download and place on your website.

We hope to update you on the success of Project Happiness in future posts.

Happy Holidays!

note: Special Thanks to Jen V. for spearheading this initiative for Guatadopt

Posted by Kevin at 11:41 AM