School Days

This school term we have been very pleased to have four of our residential children in school as well as seeing our community family member Smile transition to a new schooling setting. It makes for an exciting morning at our house as we prep four littlies for two different schools and pile into two different vehicles off to three locations!

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LeLe and Tadpole are continuing at the local government special needs centre one full day and four half days a week. Both are in preparation level classes and our hope is that in conjunction with at-home afternoon programming these small setting opportunities will help them develop further. Smile has moved from her school to another government special education centre and appears to really be thriving in her new setting. This half day program is rather intensive and includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and a speech class.

This school term Little Guy joined Kame at her school, a private, bilingual Christian preschool and kindergarten. While the beginning was a rough start the two are now very much enjoying going to school each morning and have made lots of friends as well. We are so excited these two were accepted into a mainstream schooling setting and hope that the positive, rich environment will continue to promote their development. Little Guy is in the twos classroom and Kame is in the first level of Kindergarten. They are learning their Thai and English alphabets and lots of interesting songs we sometimes struggle to decipher at home!

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Our other children continue on in their physical therapy programmes and specialized education from home. All of the children enjoy coming together in the afternoon to our “home school” to further their learning together. We are very grateful for the educational opportunities made available to each of our children and thankful for the many supporters, sponsors, and friends who help make it possible!

Around the World with Hope Home

Each month we select a theme and try our best to tailor our learning and experiences to support that theme. This past month we have focused on Heritage and Culture. We are a very multinational home with caregivers, volunteers, visitors, and children from all different countries, tribal groups, regions, and therefore, cultures. While this can certainly bring about its challenges, this month we wanted to take the time to celebrate the rich diversity of each member of our home. So we closed our eyes and off we went on a pretty amazing adventure!

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We switched up the routine just a bit and a couple of times a week had staff members lead a lesson on their people group, or on the people group of one of the children in our home. Our “passports” are full of great adventures in Southern Thailand, Myanmar, Northern Thailand, England, Australia, and with the Hmong, Mlabri, and Karen people groups as well!

Each time we boarded an airplane, bus, or motorbike parade and had great fun traveling to our destination nation. Overall, all of our travels…but especially our airplane experiences were a bit more turbulent than most! (Bumpy plane rides are much more fun to act out!) We were then greeted in the local language, saw the clothing and the important sites of the area, we heard and saw music and activities from the culture, and last but certainly not least we tasted the foods!

While the food was certainly the highlight of each of our travels we also enjoyed an early Songkran in Phrae, Thailand, got tattoos and face paint in Australia, spread Thanaka on our faces in Myanmar, made handicrafts in the Hmong Village, saw Nang Talung (a puppet show) in Southern Thailand, and so much more!

Not forgetting our spiritual hertiage and yet another look at global cultures our Education Centre days were spent focusing on the Egyptians and the Isrealites. We created deserts, rivers and skylines too as we explored the story of Abraham and the story of Moses.  The kids loved counting the stars in the sky, taking Abraham on a big long walk, and of course floating Moses in his basket down the river to the Pharoah’s house. Then we dove into rainbow rice and talked all about the different colors of our world and how beautiful they all are!

After exploring the world within our walls and discussing color and beauty we thought we’d go out for even more immersion in our great big world! We took a trip to the Royal Gardens and the World Gardens Exhibits to see the gardens of Thailand and beyond! The kids and staff had a wonderful time as we took a tram around the world gardens and then in person to the gardens of Korea, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Laos, and many more places!

Overall, it has been a very fun month full of big adventures right here in our own house, our own school room, and within our own family! We hope that this month has given each of our children and our staff a deep appreciation for their own culture and identity as well as the identity and culture of others around them. We are so proud of each of our staff members for their hard work in planning and executing a lesson plan for the children, and so proud of each of our children for their enthusiastic journey around the world!

2017: Our New Year in Our New Home

The renovations have been underway since July, and we’ve been living there since September but we are very excited to be starting this brand new year in our home. We are simply amazed at how it has come together to be a beautiful, accessible, and functional home! Last March when we first learned of the impending need to find new premises we viewed it as a setback, a challenge, and a disappointment. Now, however, we are very grateful for where we are. We see this move, this new home, as a blessing. We are ready to share with you a simple tour of our wonderful home!

Welcome, come on in!

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Here is our main sitting room, many races have been held and stories told in this room already!

The medicine/nurses room is very important in our house so we are so very thankful for this space right here…

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Now onto LeLe and Chaay’s bedroom. These two have been very excited to have their own space and we’re seeing great improvement in LeLe’s ability to sleep at night now that he has a much more calm-sensory environment.

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Then of course the other children have their bedroom as well, and it’s the perfect place to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” just ask our Little Guy!

img_2566Another great addition to our home has been our activity room! The extension of our education centre located down the road in the office here is the place for crafts, speech therapy, sensory projector time, writing practice, and much much more!

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As we move out the back, we’ll just walk through our storage room which holds everything we could possibly use in the course of the day and of course it’s where you can find the coffee (and milk if you’re so inclined)

img_2570The rest of the house didn’t even exist in July so we are amazed at how it has come together! We not only have two new bathrooms and a shower room…

but also an incredible physical therapy space for our children, including a mega-sized therapy ball pit!

img_4033These cupboards are full of adventures in occupational therapy or physical therapy!Much fun is had as we pull out activities and play together!

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As would be expected we do quite a bit of washing at our place so this area may be slightly less exciting but it is important and so very helpful to us too!

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Then of course we will meander through the kitchen, a focal point of any house tour and a great place to stop for something very yummy. Just ask the kids! (We’ve even put in new tiling here since the photos were taken, making it even nicer and much easier to clean!)

Once you’ve made the food, eating it is quite important and probably most of the kiddos favorite part! So here’s a lovely place and a wonderful family-sized table for just that!

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We are so very thankful for our new home and grateful for all the hard work Po Boonmee has put into planning and building it for us. We are also thankful for the many many people all over the world who have helped to make this possible! Come back anytime 😉

Christmas Week at Hope Home

Just last week we shared some photos from our annual Community Christmas party, and that was just the start to our holiday events. The children were also able to attend a special field trip outing at a local elephant camp with the physical therapy clinic! Staff and children enjoyed not only seeing and learning about the elephants, but also had a great time connecting and sharing with other families of children with special needs in our community!

img_5772Unfortunately, the evening following our elephant adventure Yindee was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She had been battling an illness for awhile and while treatment had been working, she reached a point where she needed some more intensive medical intervention. We continue to pray for her complete healing.

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Kame’s school, which she has been attending for the past month and a half, had a Christmas program and performance. We have been very proud of the way Kame has adjusted to her new schooling environment, studying in a mainstream Kindergarten 1 classroom and were very happy to see her with her friends and teachers.

Given that Yindee is still in Intensive Care over the Christmas holiday, we decided to take the opportunity to learn about giving to others and to bless the many other families going through challenging medical issues. Our children helped to assemble baskets of stuffed animals, toys, snacks, wipes, books, bibles, and homemade Super Hero bracelets for the other children in PICU with Yindee. We were also able to put together a coffee and hot cocoa basket for staff as well as some extra medical supplies we had been given. It was such a blessing for our children to give to others as we receive so much ourselves! It was also a blessing to see the nursing staff of the PICU and the other patients encouraged on Christmas day!

Christmas Eve night and Christmas day were all about the meaning of this holiday, the birth of our Savior! On Christmas Eve the children donned their comfy pajamas and read the Christmas story together and sang Christmas carols together before sleeping. Then on Christmas morning we were able to attend an international church service held at a local school, which was not only a fun and interactive service but also a great chance to play on a playground as well! From there we had a lovely Christmas dinner together of Chicken, Sticky Rice, French Fries, Sweet Potatoes, and Chinese Cream Buns for dessert! It was an incredible way to share in the miracle of Christmas, which is our Hope in Christ, which is what has ultimately brought us all together as family. Big naps were had and then much fun opening presents sent to us from all over the world. It was beyond sweet to see the children sharing the presents out to one another, celebrating each one with a spirit of genuine thanksgiving to those who have blessed us through His Love. We want to thank everyone who helped to make this Christmas, and our everyday, very special. Here’s a few snapshots from our Christmas Day.

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Scenes from the Hope Home Christmas Party

Each year, we have the pleasure of joining with a few other foster homes in our village to host a Christmas party. As always it is a great time of fellowship together with others in our community and outreach to our neighbors as well.

As is tradition, we were able to have a nativity pageant with all our children taking roles in the performance.

It was very fun to see the kids effort in practices come together alongside our neighbors and friends for one very unique and meaningful Christmas Nativity play.

Our children worked very hard this past month on their own special performance of The Little Drummer Boy. Their performance was one to remember and awed the crowd. We are very proud of their hard work and their excellent performance!

 

Happy Christmas to you and yours from our Hope Home Family!

Welcome Brave!

This week has marked one month since our newest family member joined us! At only 5 months old he’s the youngest among us and definitely has everyone captivated!

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Brave was born 3 months preterm. His first weeks on earth were not easy and he spent some time in the NICU. His only remaining symptoms though are anemia and a very slight developmental delay. We are very blessed with the opportunity to have Brave as a part of our family, to help him receive quality treatment in these early years such that he can develop well and succeed in whatever path he takes!

The other kids have been extremely welcoming and are learning how to love gently now that they have a baby brother around!

Brave has undergone a lot in his short life, and still has a long way but he has a wonderful personality and easy going temperament. Though his face says it all…we have no doubt he’ll be getting into his fair share of trouble soon!

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Diving into Learning!

Our learning environment is all about discovery. Meaning that we want children to explore, experience, and ultimately discover for themselves rather than simply being taught information. We believe that every single one of our children has the potential to learn and this is the best means we can facilitate that learning! This month we dove into the wonder of the deep blue ocean! We have been utilizing our interactive sensory classroom to explore the ocean through playdoh and other sensory activities.

The kids have been discovering Bible stories related to the ocean, including Jonah and the calling of the disciples. We had lots of fun imagining what it might be like to live in the belly of a whale for three days and of course acting out the sounds of a big fish spitting Jonah out into Ninevah! Moments like this are priceless as we see the Bible come to life for our kids right here and now.

Through various other activities we learned about how fish move about by swimming, tried to decipher the mysteries of water through science experiments, learned about sharing through the story of Rainbow Fish (conveniently available in Thai!), and of course became fish face experts…particularly Tadpole and Kame!

We even learned how to make fish on a charcoal fire, and of course how to eat fish!

To wrap up our month long learning discovery of oceans we made the trek to the Chiang Mai Aquarium and saw it all up close! Intimidated at first by the fish tanks at their level and the massive size of the fish, the kids eventually became captivated by seeing everything they had learned come to life right in front of their eyes!