The Many Faces of Family

When he was six years old, José’s impoverished single father left him at Hogar de niños Fátima, one of Wide Horizons For Children’s partner orphanages in Guatemala.

The staff at Fátima believed that his relinquishment was temporary; so did José. But José’s father never returned. Eventually, José’s hope shifted from reuniting with his father, to becoming part of a new family through adoption. Instead, José was caught up in the unexpected and complicated moment when international adoption from Guatemala was eliminated, and he watched his wish dissolve.

But José was not left alone. Hogar de niños Fátima is an embracing and warm home, and the staff, along with the children they care for, are a family. José had landed well, and although his early days were difficult, at Fátima he was loved. Over time, José grew from a silent and timid child into an independent, self-assured teenager filled with curiosity and enthusiasm. His smile was captivating and his goals were far reaching and dynamic.

orphan boy grows up in Hogar

José, who lived at Fátima for 11 years, always held interests that were diverse, and his curiosity was limitless. His dreams were fostered and supported by Fátima’s caring staff and buoyed by his desire to leave behind his difficult beginnings and create a new, bright life. He studied English, took yoga and weight-training classes, and learned how to drive. As he grew older, he volunteered to join in Fátima’s day-to-day operations, supporting the staff who loved him, and helping to care for their shared home.

When he was 18, José decided that it was time to follow his dreams beyond the hogar. It was bittersweet for the community to see him go. The director of Fátima said, “He’s an integral part of our family and he’s eager to continue learning, growing, and experiencing new adventures. We’re so proud.”

a quote from director of Fátima

José left Fátima as a strong, confident young man, ready to move into his adult life, aware that although the family that raised him wasn’t the family he’d anticipated, he was supported and loved.

Over our 50-year history, we have seen the many faces of family and are grateful to exceptional orphanages like Hogar de niños Fátima for their infinite capacity to be a family to children like José.

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