Finding Family in Paraguay

Little *Sofia was born in Paraguay almost a year ago and in her short life has already known three mothers:

  • Her birth mother, who has struggled with addiction and yet still loves little Sofia.
  • Her foster mom, who opened her arms to provide a temporary home when Sofia was in need and then lovingly said goodbye when it was time.
  • And finally, her aunt, who has now received Sofia and has plans to adopt her.

It’s a complex story for an infant’s first year of life, and yet thanks to the advocacy of WWO partner Paraguay Protects Families, Sofia has been protected each step of the way!

Shortly after her birth, Sofia had to be removed from her family due to her mother’s drug addiction and the unsafe environment in which she was living. Sofia was fortunate to quickly be placed into a loving foster home. Thanks to Paraguay Protects Families, a movement dedicated to raising awareness for foster care and adoption, a family was found to provide care for Sofia through PPF’s private foster care network.

The lawyer who put over the case shared that Sofia would very likely be eligible for adoption because of the high level of risk in her immediate family. However, because the government didn’t have the needed resources and was severely understaffed by social workers and psychologists, Sofia’s case was placed on hold.

Paraguay Protects Families kept in touch with Sofia’s foster family, as well as the government authorities in charge of her case, to see how they could help. PPF discovered that baby Sofia was thriving in her new foster home, but they wanted to ensure that a permanent home would be found before Sofia completely bonded with the foster family.

While working with the foster family to give them training and support, PPF’s team also carried out the pending family reunification assessment work to determine if it would be safe for Sofia to return home.

The initial visits with Sofia’s birth mom and other family members in the slum neighborhood were heartbreaking. The birth family wanted Sofia back, but after explaining more about her needs and what the court required for her safety and health, it seemed that reunification was not going to be the best option. Through tears, Sofia’s birth mom expressed that she would support adoption for her daughter. The PPF team encouraged her to get into a drug rehab program so that she would not face having her other children taken removed from her care.

Understanding the crucial role of family connections, the PPF team got the contact information of the birth mother’s sister. She had moved away years ago and was living in a rural part of Paraguay. Amazingly, when the PPF social work team visited Sofia’s aunt, they were thrilled to find a stable, healthy, intact family who was eager and willing to care for and even adopt Sofia.

As a result of PPF’s involvement in the case, a court held a hearing to review their recommendations. Sofia’s mom, mom’s cousin, Sofia’s aunt, the individual lawyers, and PPF’s team all attended the hearing, where it was determined Sofia would indeed be going to live with her aunt. Right after the hearing, Sofia and her aunt met for the first time in the foster care program’s office. It was a priceless and beautiful moment of the first meeting and initial bonding.

As a result of PPF’s efforts, baby Sofia has now gone home to her aunt and is living in the beautiful Paraguayan countryside. Sofia is now HOME.

Stories like Sofia’s are possible through partners like Paraguay Protects Families and organizations working towards family as a solution for every child.

Your support of World Without Orphans is equipping Paraguay Protects Families and national initiatives in 38 countries to make a difference for millions of children like Sofia. Thanks for continuing to make stories like these possible!

Originally published on The World Without Orphans

(c) World Without Orphans, used with permission