Background Semillas de Amor/Seeds of Love
Seeds of Love, established in 2001, is a United States based 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit, charitable organization with a board of directors who live in the United States and Guatemala volunteer their time and services to the Parramos Children’s Village Project. Volunteers have for the past six years written three World Community Service Rotary grants, published biannual newsletters and maintained correspondence with and collected donations from former and current adoptive families, friends, adoption agencies and other interested donors. The board is committed to building and maintaining the future operation of the Parramos Children’s Village.
The Children’s Village is a dream of Founder and Executive Director, Nancy S. Bailey. After a successful eleven-year social service career in the United States, Nancy has devoted more than a decade of her life to helping neglected and abandoned children in Guatemala.
Nancy’s career in the helping profession began when she, as a high school drop out and single mother of two young sons, put herself through college and graduate school. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology at California State University at Hayward.
Nancy spent many years counseling drug addicts and alcoholics before going to work as a vice president for a San Francisco based corporation. In 1985 Nancy developed an internal employee assistance program for the corporation and under her direction and supervision the department grew to include managed mental health care, health promotion, volunteer programs, pre-retirement services, child/elder care, commute alternatives and other employee services. In 1990, Nancy founded her own business, Employee Health Plus, to provide EAP services externally to a variety of corporations, including the corporation that she left in order to start her own business. During Nancy’s tenure as an EAP professional, she was elected to serve on both the national and local EAP professional’s board of directors.
In November 1992 Nancy’s life changed dramatically when she visited an orphanage in Zaragoza, located in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. She found 45 children, ages 2-12, with little adult supervision and no play activities. The children were needy, dirty and lice-infested—just wanting to be loved and held. After several more trips to volunteer at the orphanage, she realized that her visits could never provide the type of help these children desperately needed. They needed consistent, loving adults in their lives, and they needed activities to stimulate their learning and creativity. By February 1994 Nancy decided to spend one year in Guatemala developing an enrichment program for the children; she soon realized that she would not leave.
In October 1995, a young man carrying a tiny bundle wrapped in towels arrived at the orphanage. Thinking it was a loaf of bread, Nancy peeked inside and instead found a baby. A doctor told Nancy that the baby girl would not survive. She agreed to take her home since the orphanage was not equipped to care for such a fragile child. Feeding her with an eyedropper, within days the four-pound baby began to revive, and Nancy decided to adopt her. She named her Gabriela Maria. Today, tweleve year-old Gabriela is Nancy’s constant reminder of the tremendous potential of the children in Guatemala and inspired her to found the Semillas de Amor Children’s Home, currently located in El Panorama, Antigua, Guatemala.
While Nancy engaged in the process of adopting her daughter, she also fostered children for other adoptive families. After learning much about the world of international adoption, both its benefits and its challenges, Nancy realized that she could provide better care, the kind of care orphanedchildren deserved. She opened Semillas de Amor Children’s Home in 1997. Then, the home cared for a small number of children, and over the years that number has grown. Within two years Nancy was providing care for twenty children, and today Semillas de Amor has between 75 and 80 residents each month.
Over the years Nancy has taken care of children with Down’s syndrome, children who are HIV positive, and many older children. She operates one of the only homes in Guatemala willing to take on special needs or otherwise challenging adoption cases. In addition to providing first-world care for these children, Nancy has employed, educated and empowered a Guatemalan staff of 50 nannies, three office employees and a physician. Since 1997, she has facilitated hundreds of international adoptions, building relationships with and earning respect from government agencies, courts, judges, police and lawyers. As well as many wealthy Guatemalan families. A strong base of former adoptive families continues to support Nancy’s work with orphaned children, giving generously to Seeds of Love and Semillas de Amor. However, the Children’s Home financially operates on its own through the work of adoption.
Nancy has maintained a dream about starting a Children’s Village – a place where she could raise and educate children within a nurturing community. Her vision extends beyond adoption, for so often she watches adopted children leave Guatemala with few ever returning. Instead, Nancy’s vision for a better Guatemala means that more children will stay in Guatemala, that educated children with the opportunity to impart positive change for their developing country will in reality be the only route to sustainable productivity for Guatemala. And so Nancy remains steadfast in her dream. In 2001, Seeds of Love was established with a board of directors. Nancy Bailey is the president of this board and lives in Guatemala.
In 2000, Nancy located an ideal piece of land for sale in Parramos, Guatemala. She knew this would be the perfect location for the Children’s Village. Through a donation, the land was purchased. It has been maintained over the past eight years as fundraising for the village began. In 2001 a guardian’s house was built. In 2003, a World Community Service Matching Rotary Grant funded the building of a cistern for water storage and a pump house. In May 2005, Seeds of Love built a concrete wall around the land in order to provide security. In August 2005, an iron gate and stone entrance was built through a second Rotary grant. A 600 foot well was drilled through a third $40,000.00 Rotary grant.
In 2007 The Helen Bader Foundation donated $95,000.00 toward our $350,000 building fund and in January 2008 our 9000 square foot children’s home and school was successfully completed.