Caring for San Miguel Children in Need
By Jesús Aguado
To take care of defenseless young girls, a Corazón Valiente (Brave Heart) is growing in this city to provide care for them when, for personal or legal reasons, they are not with their families.
Brave Heart is the Casa Hogar now being built in San Miguel. It is a place where abandoned, abused, and uncared for girls will have integral development based on a model of family and community. The organization emerged in 2014 after the hard work of Bárbara Rueda and Rodney Dye in other orphanages. They also worked in the city, where they were able to assist some girls. But Rueda and Dye realized that the girls needed more than just a safe place to live. They also needed psychological, educational, and health attention so they could become healthy, stable women in the society.
Bárbara Rueda told Atención that Amigos of Children of San Miguel, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Texas, has been helping abandoned girls here during the last four years, “and they will keep doing it through Corazón Valiente.”
When asked what makes Corazón Valiente different from other orphanages, Rueda said that the attention here will be “integral and based on a family and community model” because it is important for the girls to have a place with love, health, and wellness where they can develop family and confidence ties.” The home, said Rueda, also offer will the girls the tools that will help them to grow intellectually and emotionally.
Currently, the building is 75 percent completed. It is expected to open (with public and private investment) in August of this year, sheltering 48 girls. For more information, go to www.corazonvaliente.org.mx.
Minors by Numbers
The last census from INEGI (National Institute of Statistics), conducted in 2010, showed there were 657 thousand children living in the 753 orphanages (Casas Hogar) across the Republic. A study conducted by the national DIF stated that in 2007, there were 1.6 million orphan children and 703,000 of them were living in public and civil Casas Hogar. Since then, the statistics have not been updated.
This year, according to the state DIF (System for Family Integral Development), 23 children were adopted, three of whom were taken to Spain. The State DIF director Alfonso Borja Pimentel told Atención that currently the number of children living in orphanages in Guanajuato is unknown. He remarked that the state DIF provides financial support to 35 civil organizations, and the number of those benefited is up to 1500 people. “That does not mean that all of them are children, because some of these organizations work with elderly or disabled persons,” he noted.
Borja remarked that the national DIF is working. The proof of that is the passing of the General Law for the Protection of Children and Adolescents. Currently, he remarked, the state has its own law, and municipalities like San Miguel de Allende have their regulations and counsels. That helps, said the director, because the national and state DIF will work with a system in the municipal DIFs that will keep records “in real time” of the children who arrive and go out of those public and civil institutions.
In San Miguel de Allende there are two orphanages: Casa Hogar Santa Julia, sheltering 44 girls from infancy to 18 years old, and Casa Hogar Mexiquito, sheltering 27 boys from three to 15 years old.
Rita Álvarez is the General Attorney of the Municipal DIF. She shared with Atención that six children in custody of DIF are available for adoption. Five of them (two boys and three girls) are brothers and sisters, and the oldest is a 16-year-old boy. Álvarez assured that although the children can be adopted, it is a complicated case because all of them need to be adopted by one family, and the four oldest of the siblings have neurologic problems.
Attorney Álvarez also commented that six months ago a woman abandoned her newborn child at the general hospital. After the legal processes, the mother lost parental authority over the baby. DIF had to apply its family networks program, and the baby boy is with his mother’s cousin but available for adoption. Álvarez said that the baby went to the cousin because it has been proven that when the minors are sent to a Casa Cuna (orphanage), they can experience stunted intellectual and emotional development in the future.
Alfonso Borja commented that the reasons why the parents lose parental custody of minors are many, and they are defined by Judicial System. After that, the children go to DIF and later to an orphanage. The state DIF is actually rated as one of the best institutions in the country for issuing Certificates of Parental Suitability for those interested in adoption, said Borja.
“Everybody would think that getting the certificate is a very complicated process; however, it is very simple and, within six months, those interested [in adoption] get their document. It is a very easy and possible process,” remarked the state director.
When potential adoptive parents go to the state DIF, they must fill out several forms so that the institution can analyze their legal, psychological, and social situation. Over six months, DIF pays visits to the potential parents’ home until the process is completed. After getting their document, couples can fill out other documents in order to be part of the data base of interested adoptive parents. “The profiles of the children must match with those of the couples. We have had a successful program, and all the adoptions have worked very well,” he added.
Borja Pimentel commented that 23 children have been adopted during 2016. Twenty of them stayed with Mexican families, and three of them were given to Spanish families. “We always try our best to keep the children in the state or in the country, but when the profiles do not match with the Mexican families, adoption is open to outside families that meet the international agreements we have,” finished Borja.
The fourth annual Ventanas de Oportunidad Golf Tournament is a charity event that San Miguel Angels for Education has organized to raise money to offer the Corazón Valiente girls a quality education. Previously, the funds went to other organizations, but from now on they will go to Casa Hogar Corazón Valiente. For more information about the tournament, prizes, and fees go to www.ventanasdeoportunidad.org.
The tournament will take place on July 2 at Ventanas de San Miguel Golf and Resort. Afterwards, there will be a luncheon for the golfers, guests, and all those who want to support the girls’ education. Tickets, including food and beverages, cost 750 pesos. The music will be live and performed by the Los Hijos de Frida band from Mexico City. For more information, call 415 415 153 5420 or 415 152 7474.