IS RISE AN ORPHANAGE?
No, actually, the Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza (RISE) is a shelter for children who are for the most part still connected in some way with their family members, but who have been placed with RISE temporarily by DIF, Mexico’s social services. In most cases, the children have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or have been living in extreme poverty. RISE offers the children a safe, clean and loving place to live with opportunities for a good education and emotional support, while their families work out with DIF what needs to be done so that the children can return home.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF TIME A CHILD LIVES AT RISE?
This is a difficult question to answer. Some of the children have lived at RISE since they opened their doors ten years ago (2001). And some children stay for only a few days until a family member can be found. What is experienced is a continual flow of some children leaving and some new ones arriving, which is always a challenge. The children, however, do an amazing job of welcoming new children and making them feel a part of this big new family. There are currently 55 children ranging in age from six months to 17 years. During the summer, there were 5 children who returned to their families, and 16 new children joined the Refugio.
ARE SOME OF THE CHILDREN AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION?
Adoption occurs only very rarely since the Mexican culture values strong family relationships. Most of the children still see their parents or extended family members regularly. DIF’s goal is to reunite children with their family, whenever possible. If reuniting the child with a parent is not possible, a grandparent or older sibling may act as guardian. Adoption becomes an option if all family members sign a legal document stating that they relinquish guardianship of the child. Presently, the Mexican government appears to favor adoption to Mexican families over adoption to foreign families. One Refugio child has the necessary paperwork for adoption: David, a sweet loving six-year old with Down syndrome.
MAY I VISIT OR VOLUNTEER WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY?
Absolutely! Please visit our “How to Volunteer” page to learn more.