Caring for God’s Children at Tat’s Place
Tat’s Place welcomed 36 children in 2022. Five were returning children they had cared for at some point before. Scott and Tracy Blackburn have cared for 70 children until now, and every one of them has blessed this children’s home in Puerto Maldonado!
God did all of this!
Why is all this so exciting? Scott Blackburn says, “Many of our children come from tough circumstances. They come to us broken and hurting. Separated from those who were supposed to be their constant, their protector, but at some point, they were failed and discarded. We get to pick up the pieces and watch as God puts them back together, and we are so blessed that he allows us to be a part of their journey. The children play and learn and grow spiritually and physically. The babies come completely dependent, and we get to enjoy those first hours, days, weeks, and months as they grow and develop. We get the snuggles and the late night/early morning feedings as we bond with them and become the first love they experience…”
A Real-Life Cinderella – Marisol’s Story
Marisol is one of the children who aged out at Tat’s Place, after her 18th birthday in June, she started working at Tat’s Place full-time. She is a fantastic co-worker! She continued high school while working here and graduated in December with full honours and won a full scholarship to university.
Scott spent a week in Bolivia last November to take Marisol back to her hometown. Marisol’s lost her mother at the tender age of 12 to a ruptured appendix, leaving her in the care of her stepfather. He quickly found a new lady, and she did not want Marisol around. They would hit her and not feed her. Her stepmother spoilt her own children while shunning Marisol. Little Marisol had to hide and eventually left home to escape the abuse. Her town had very little to help children in tough situations. She found work to pay for food. Her stepfather sold most of what should have been her inheritance. This was indeed a real-life Cinderella story with the mean stepmother!
When Marisol turned 15, she moved into town to keep working, rented her own place and stayed in high school while supporting herself. She knew she had a biological dad but didn’t know his name, and she had other siblings, but she only knew their first names. At 17, Marisol attempted to search for her family in La Paz, Bolivia but wasn’t successful. She had saved some money, so she moved to Peru to find work. Travelling as a minor was difficult, but she eventually found her way to Puerto Maldonado through Ecuador. The police caught up to her one day and discovered she was a minor.
Miracles at Tat’s Place!
Marisol was placed into child services and then came to Tat’s Place. She was turning 18 in 4 months and told the Blackburns she wanted to stay and finish high school there. Child services wanted to send her back to Bolivia, but she would’ve had no life there! Scott asked the director to ignore her file until she turned 18, in 4 months. He was supportive and contacted a friend of his at immigration who got her a Peru residency so she could stay on.
A hundred things could have gone wrong throughout Marisol’s journey, starting when she was 12. She could have ended up in the wrong place, with the wrong person, drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, and rape. Street kids’ stories are usually not pretty. Looking back, it’s clear that Marisol was not walking this journey alone.
God’s Hand at Work
Scott and Marisol had travelled to Bolivia because she wanted to see if she could sell the land her mother had left her to pay for university. The day they arrived, they discovered from the landowner that the stepfather was trying to sell the land out from under her. The landowner was fond of Marisol, so he stopped the transaction. Good friends helped them find a lawyer, Milena, to help Marisol protect her inheritance.
The following day, Milena petitioned the court for an order to put the land in Marisol’s name as the rightful owner. The judge ruled on this within five minutes! After her mom passed, her stepfather burnt any files and photos, so Marisol didn’t have even one picture of her mom or any records. Scott and Marisol visited a couple of government offices and met with some amazing people who, when they heard her story jumped through hoops to help them find what they needed. They were able to locate the original certified copies of her birth certificate and her mom’s birth, wedding, and death certificates, which showed her biological father’s name and her grandparents’ names. This was the first time Marisol had access to any of this information. Marisol was so excited that she looked up at Scott and said, “I have grandparents!”.
They now had all we needed for the courts to finish the land documents over the next couple of weeks. Marisol signed a power of attorney with Milena so she could complete everything. Milena is a wonderful Christian lady, and she was so moved by Marisol’s story and her strength as a young girl on her own that she cut her fees in half!
There are many more details, but this story will give you a picture of one of the many lives you are part of. We know one day, Marisol will find her prince! Amen!
Why Do We Do This?
We are grateful to have stories to share about changed lives. This is why our partners do what they do. This is how we get to watch God working daily through the ministry at Tat’s Place. Scott says, “Because He called us to this place for this very purpose. These children so bless us. They show us a resilience that so many will never experience. They show us that no matter the circumstance, you can rise above it, God will heal you, and your life will have meaning and purpose.”
If you would like to pray for the kids, see the children’s profiles here.
Video: Marisol with 11 month old Betzabe.
Praying for Provision
The Blackburns strive to work hard to be faithful stewards of the work God leads them to.
Several local businesses have stepped up as the ministry grows to help Tat’s Kids. This past year they have seen high inflation rates, with food and fuel costs increasing by 30-50% and propane costs increasing by 100%! God has faithfully met their needs so far but moving forward into 2023, and we ask that you consider supporting this home.
Your prayers, encouragement, and financial assistance sustain these children who were once abandoned but have now found hope and comfort at Tat’s Place with the Blackburns. To learn more about this home, click here.