2015 had quite the finish with heaps of fun as our volunteers Tony and Joy finished their time with us and headed back to England. Grandmum and Grandad Cook from England gave us a visit over the Christmas and New Years holidays as well.
Tony and Joy hosted a fun sports day as their final goodbye. The children very much enjoyed relay races, fishing for ducks, knocking down cans, taking photos with the board specially designed by Tony, and of course the inaugural Hope Home Grand National! Children had practiced riding their hobby horses for days leading up to the big day! While a winner is hard to determine, everyone had their share of fun racing, throwing, jumping, and catching at all the different events!
Only one day passed between Tony and Joy’s departure and Grandmum and Grandad Cook’s arrival at Hope Home. What a nice treat to fill the space left by their departure! The children enjoyed lots of grandparent love, shared meals, and of course being spoiled in the best of ways with icecream and fun!
Of course, we also had a lovely family Christmas! Our traditional neighborhood Christmas party was held in the backyard with two other foster homes and a nursery school as well! This year Kame and Tadpole had special roles in the Christmas pageant as Mary and Joseph. They were very diligent in their practice and though Tadpole fell ill right before the big reveal we were very proud of them! Others of us made appearances as sheep and shepherds. Christmas day was also heaps of fun with church in the morning, presents galore, a very international family meal, and most importantly time spent PRESENT together! The children enjoyed all bits of the day as we celebrated the birth of Jesus who is our reason for HOPE and the ONE who makes us FAMILY.
2016 is already off to a quick start and we cannot wait to see what the year ahead holds! Thank you for following along with us, we are excited to share our new year with you!!
During the month of November we were able to once again make the journey to Yindee’s village in Phrae Province. It was a wonderful experience not only for Yindee to spend some time with her mum and meet her newest younger brother but also a fun adventure for some of the other children and staff. This time around Yindee had a great time visiting family, happily spending time with Mum, brother, and her grandmother the entire two days!
The opportunity to keep Yindee as involved as possible in her family and community is a high priority and true joy for all of us at Hope Home. It was exciting to see Yindee enjoy her time with her family and community, participating in the daily life of her tribal group and simply sharing precious time with her mum and brothers. This time since Laap was recently discharged from hospital and still needing oxygen and Little Guy needed to share the medical suction machine Laap, Little Guy, and LeLe (also a bit ill) had an at-home Camp-out and were unable to make the journey but had heaps of fun at home and hopefully will take a trip soon! The rest of our small entourage (Dontri, Kame, Tadpole, and staff and volunteers) were able to also experience the excitement of nature, adventure outside of the city here in Chiang Mai, and get to know people of another people group!
Tadpole found the village to be his natural environment! Running up and down dirt hills, stomping in the creek, and barking at all the dogs. If you’re ever in Thailand and someone talks about a two-year old boy who speaks dog…that would be him! Kame found the dirt and dust a bit too much at first but eventually jumped right in and found joy and fun in the outdoors!
In January, we were blessed with volunteers from the University of Wollongong, Australia who worked both at Hope Home and a neighboring organization. The group of early childhood education students worked with our children for two weeks and shared their knowledge and experience with our staff. The activities they shared were a huge blessing to Hope Home children and staff, especially to LeLe, Tadpole, and Kame!
Upon return to Australia and their studies, the group wanted to remain connected with Hope Home and has done so in incredible ways. Through sending books, new activity ideas, and other goodies in the mail the relationship continued to develop! Recently, the team concluded a term-long fundraising drive for the two organizations and was able to bless us with a TRAMPOLINE for the children! Given that many of our children have a need for higher levels of sensory input this gift was absolutely perfect!
While a big hit with the kids right away, trampoline skills definitely had to be practiced! For Kame who has low muscle tone and troubles with coordination as well as Tadpole and LeLe who are strong but have lower coordination as well it has been an incredibly fun way for them to grow and develop their muscle skills all while PLAYING! In the beginning there was a lot more sitting and falling than anything else but now it’s a totally different story. Not only have their trampoline skills increased dramatically but we have noticed an increased ability in their strength and coordination as well!
Now they are jumping and bouncing all over the place! It is not just our jumping children that enjoy the trampoline though, but the whole family. Whether it’s while laying down and feeling the vibrations, watching others fall down in funny ways, or making silly faces we are certainly one big bouncy family!
THANK YOU to our friends for their generous gift of this trampoline as well as sharing your encouragement and knowledge!
Laap came to live at Hope Home at the age of 6 months old. With a severe brain condition, cerebral palsy, as well as other disabilities there has never been a road map for how Laap might progress or what kind of expectations could be held for his future. However, with his sweet personality and easy-going disposition, Laap has easily made his way into the hearts and lives of all our staff and children!
With cold season approaching in Thailand, many children around Chiang Mai are sick and our home has definitely been affected by colds and other minor illnesses as well. Laap became sick and was able to hold his own for a few days before one evening when we felt it best to take him to hospital as his symptoms seemed to develop. Unfortunately, within the span of a few hours in hospital this illness seems to have hit Laap quite hard and he was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Three weeks later after treatment for his respiratory infection and following attempts to help Laap off the ventilator have been unsuccessful, this week Laap will have a tracheotomy. While it is a major procedure and our hearts ache at the necessity for him to transition to this as well as feeding with an NG tube we are confident in the incredible care he is receiving in the PICU, the doctor’s wisdom, and the Lord’s plan over Laap’s life. We ask that as you pray in this time you would pray for healing for Laap, especially as he has his tracheotomy this week, strength for staff, understanding for the other children about all these new tubes in their big brother, and praise God that Laap has received EXCELLENT medical and personal care over these past three weeks. At Hope Home we are blessed with the personnel (a nurse, experienced staff, and many other compassionate and teachable hearts) to care for Laap’s increased medical needs following his discharge from hospital. It is our blessing to journey through life with each child entrusted to our care and Laap continues to bless us daily!
Volunteers Tony and Joy arrived in Chiang Mai in mid September and have already made a major impact on the environment of Hope Home as well as in the lives of the children and staff. The couple comes with a wealth of experience in caring for and educating children with different needs and have also brought with them amazing artistic talents. What began as a thought to fix little bits and pieces of walls and gates with a fresh coat of paint has led to the two buying up the inventory at many DIY stores around town.
The first project they have taken on is the redecoration of the children’s bedroom. Once painted with dark blues and a simple scenery, years of leaking and use had left the room feeling dark and the design was wearing away in places.
They began by repairing holes and a fresh coat of light paint, but then the mural came forth…and the children loved watching the drawing phase and eventually the painting phase as the beauty developed.
The real treat has come as the final product was presented and sealed for protection from little hands and fingers which might want to explore its walls. It is definitely a good thing too, as our kids have not stopped barking, chirping, meow-ing, ribbit-ing, and more as they discover the different animals along the walls!
Thank you Tony and Joy for making our home more beautiful and providing us with a bedroom that is not only fun but educational too! We cannot wait to see what else you do!
Hope Home has long been blessed by the generosity of supporters from around the world. We truly rely on the donations of individuals and organizations to continue providing high quality care for our children. This month we have been especially blessed by DSG International for their donation of 15 boxes of nappies! That’s over 1,000 nappies that will keep our kids clean and dry for quite awhile!
Nappies for the children can be a large expense of our monthly budget, and the kids need them especially in order to go on outings in community without having to worry about bladder control issues. The children and staff love being able to go to physio therapy, hydrotherapy, school, and church on a regular basis as well as other special events. We are very excited to have this donation to help support our daily care of the children!
LeLe can’t believe these are ALL for us! Though the staff may be the most excited around our house for this blessing, the kids did have a lot of fun watching the truck pull up, drop off the nappies, and then drive off as well! Thank you DSG-Baby Love for the donation as well as the exciting experience!
With seven residential kids and more in the foster or respite care programs, we get the opportunity to celebrate a lot of birthdays throughout the year! It is our desire for each child to know they are special. Special because God made them and special because of the place they hold in our hearts! This love is shown year round through actions, words, and deeds but at least once every year each child gets a big reminder of just how special they are!
In September we have a total of 4 children with birthdays, and even more staff, so this year we decided to have an extra special party!
Wentaa is a former resident now living with her permanent foster family down the street! She had an absolute blast at her 9th birthday party!!
Dontrii is celebrating his fourth birthday this month and was a HUGE fan of the cake! Maybe too much of a fan….
Little Guy is turning one and had a blast playing, eating, opening presents, and of course trying a bit of cake!
Last but certainly not least we celebrated Garfields 11th birthday! He may be in Bangkok and therefore unable to attend but we used this stuffed animal in his place and hope he knows he was celebrated from afar!
Overall, it was a night of great food, dancing, and just good old-fashioned family fun! How will we celebrate in October? We can only wait to see, but for now we celebrate our September birthdays and pray that God would bless each one with a year of joy, growth, and experience of His love.