My wife and I have been given a special place in our hearts for homeless children around the world. We have had the privilege of visiting homes in India, Kenya and now Ecuador. We go to these homes to document life there via our photography. We raised funds from some very caring and loving people in the United States and we’re able to make a significant donation to these homes. More than anything it is our honor to be able to see and experience first hand the work that is being done to care for these kids and to give them an opportunity for a better life and to provide a family environment until each child is connected to a family of their own.
During our time in Ecuador we immersed ourselves at Hogar Para sus Niños (For His Children Home). Many of the kids in this home have special needs and they require special and sensitive care which the Tias (spanish for aunt) are very well equipped to give. It was a privilege and honor to be able to experience the care and love that is given to these beautiful kids. We hope to give you a glimpse into this home with the 18 beautiful children who call it home and their most amazing caretakers, tias, who care for them each day. Our good friend and incredible photographer Tomas Flint joined us in documenting life here. We’re grateful for Tomas opening up his heart and giving of his time and incredible talent to come with us and spend time with these beautiful kids.
For His Children (FHC) was founded in 1990 in Quito, Ecuador by Clark and Melinda Vaughn. Since then FHC has grown to include a second home in Latacunga, Ecuador. This home was began in 2005. Our efforts in documenting life at FHC was focused in Latacunga. For the privacy of the kids their names on this blog post have been changed.
This beautiful home includes 14 rooms, with plenty of space for children, tias, guests, preschool, counseling, and physical therapy!
The rooms are always kept clean in order and we loved the personal touches to each bed for each child (teddy bears with kids names on them and personal name signs above their beds).
Tias are on rotating shifts with the kids. There is a morning to mid afternoon shift and then an evening with overnight shift. The same tias always work with the same group of 4-6 kids so the kids are able to bond well with the tias. A morning tia helps baby Joshua (age 10 months) drink his morning smoothie.
Tia feeding the newest edition, Isabella (age 4 weeks), her bottle.
We were amazed at the effective and attentive health care the children receive. Little Natalia (age 2) gets a breathing treatment to help with her constant stuffy nose.
Healthy lunchtime! Wishing we could get our daughter to eat like this! HPSN makes it a priority that the children eat healthy and well-balanced meals as well as receiving the snacks and occasional treat that every kid needs!
Ana (age 12) is such a sweet girl who cannot communicate verbally but don’t let her fool you she is so smart and communicates so much love with her joyful expressions and big smile.
Pablo (age 9) does not communicate verbally either, but he is so funny and had us cracking up all week. He is extremely motivated to work hard in school and he is learning so much.
The teacher working with Ana and Pablo on communicating through pictures. They use pictures to put sentences together.
Miguel (age 5) and Jose (age 9) working together in Preschool.
Edgar (age 7)
HPSN has received iPads to help the children with learning needs. The iPads are used each day for lessons and game play. It is also a great communication tool for the children who do not communicate verbally.
Even the little 2 and 3 year olds receive circle time and lessons each day from an interning teacher. Natalia (age 2)
Pablo loving a walk with his tia. Daily walks like these help to exercise Pablo’s legs and they are a lot of fun for him.
The tias are so great about spending quality time with the children. All day we found tias all over the house and grounds with the kids, reading stories, playing games, making jewelry, painting pictures, jumping on the trampoline, and taking walks.
Not only is the trampoline a ton of fun for everyone (including the tias) but also it is a great place for sensory play with the balls and a safe place for the children in wheelchairs to stretch out and play.
Sweet Gabriella (age 5), enjoying time on the backyard playground.
We had so much fun with Jose! He was such a joy!
At Hogar Para Sus Niños we were always amazed at the fun energy of the Tia’s! They loved a game of soccer just as much as the kids!
Jorge is the only male on staff at HPSN in Latacunga. He serves as the guard and maintenance worker, but his role includes so much more. He has been deeply touched by the needs of the children and he has become attentive to them in any way he can. Often he assists the Tias to carry the children in wheelchairs up the stairs or to pick them up onto the trampoline. His life has been changed by this home and his gratitude is evident.
We were so impressed by the physical therapy room and care offered at HPSN. The room is fully equipped to meet the needs of the children and the staff is so attentive to the care each child receives.
Sofia receives massages over all her muscles and joints.
Veronica (age 18) receives a massage on her jaw and facial muscles.
The Tias also work hard with the older girls in the home who are Tia’s in Training. Teresa is very high functioning and she loves to care for the other kids in the home. She is also very helpful with the responsibilities of the Tia’s. In the physical therapy room the Tia’s are training Teresa on how to properly massage and stretch the muscles of the other children.
After the hard work of therapy, all the kids are ready for some fun and laughter!
Miguel’s story is very special to HPSN. He is in the process of being reunited with his father after being abandoned by his mother as just a toddler. Currently his father receives weekly visitations with Miguel at HPSN until the courts will release Miguel into his father’s and new step mother’s care.
In order to prepare Miguel for the transition of leaving his home at HPSN and joining his father’s home, Miguel receives weekly counseling from a children’s psychologist. In this photo, Miguel is role playing the new family members he will receive when he leaves HPSN.
The child’s psychologist also works with the other children addressing issues of their emotional, physical and relational well-being. In this lesson, Gabriella is learning how babies are born.
Our favorite experience with the children was a walk to the river. These adventurous Tias are willing to take about 11 playful children for a long walk to the local river for some fun in the sun, fields, and water!
Valeria (age 2) is so sweet and fun to play with!
Edgar (age 7) is one of the sweetest little boys. He has a huge smile and loves to play!
We also had the opportunity to join in on a birthday party bash for Gabriella and Ana. This party was so special for the girls, complete with dancing, games, cake, presents, and party hats!
We loved how all the children are taught to serve the plates of food to everyone at the party, especially the birthday girls!
The birthday girls feel so special in their party dresses and receiving birthday gifts. Tia Elizabeth is the main manager of the home in Latacunga and loves the children very much.
An important program in the life of the home is Tias in Training. These two young ladies Teresa and Veronica are trained by the house Tias to do chores and small tasks relating to the care of the other children in the home. The girls are thriving under the instruction and responsibility.
We loved how the kids get plenty of free time to do activities that interest them. A lot of the kids are really creative and enjoyed coloring or crafts.
Ana loves making her own jewelry with one of the Tias.
Moises (age 10) watching his favorite show Barney in the late afternoon.
No matter where we are in the world, there’s just nothing sweeter and cuter then kids in their PJ’s before bed.
One of my favorite things to do at the homes is to take some ‘formal’ portraits of the kids. We get all sorts of looks and smiles and reactions from each of them. Below is a selection of many of them:
Moises (age 10)
Luis age 12
Maria age 19
Andrea age 19
It is one of our great joys in life to be able to visit these homes and document the children’s lives here. These kids are precious, loving, and if you ever get a chance to spend time with any of them they will steal your heart. What HPSN is doing in Ecuador in both their homes in Quito and Latacunga is nothing short of miraculous. The way we saw these kids being cared for, loved and educated is an incredible inspiration. In particular I think of the dream and calling that founders Clark and Melinda Vaughn had and responded to 24 years ago. They moved their lives from California to Ecuador believing that they had a role to play in loving homeless and at risk children. More than 700 children later their lives are a testament of living out their faith and following a dream that was given to them with full abandon. My heart is fuller and my life is richer because of the time I was able to spend with the tias and children of this beautiful home.
For more information and if you would like to sponsor a child or even a tia please go to their website!