Hope Home staff and children are all extremely grateful for the work of Shelly Faucett and her family for the past many years. Shelly has led music therapy activities for our children, helped staff and children during hydrotherapy, and also served as our Volunteer Coordinator helping many individuals from various countries and backgrounds have a great experience at Hope Home. Her family have come along on many outings and assisted with a number of activities at home. We are grateful for all of her support, and while we will miss her and the rest of the Faucett family; we are excited to see how God uses them in their new adventure! THANK YOU Faucett Family for being a part of our Hope Home Family!
23 year old Becca Schafer moved from her home in Indiana with a vision to change the lives of disabled children. With a degree in psychology, a certificate in disability ministry and a thesis dedicated to disability in developing nations, Becca wanted to create a curriculum that would put her background to good use.
After learning about the children, Becca began to create lessons that would cater for each child’s physical and mental needs. The curriculum consists of a story based activity, a sensory activity and a project for the children to try.
The new ‘discipleship series’ as she calls it, will combine cognitive, spiritual, emotional and physical development through Biblical stories with the aim to get the children into education.
The curriculum which caters for all of the children from 2-8 years old, will be broken down into chapters of the Bible, starting with Genesis. Each unit will be covered over the course of one or two weeks.
“We then played a fishing game, I made to catch fish (gross motor skill practice) and I made the fish different colours so that kids would try to catch a “red fish” to help them learn the colours.” Becca explains.
So where did this idea begin? Becca had been teaching Hope Home orphan, Phil to count and noticed his enthusiasm towards this compared with other physical areas of development.
“For a kid who wasn’t excited about doing his physical therapy or really working, he would get SO EXCITED by songs, stories, and games.” Becca explains.
She searched for resources and contacted several professors and heads of disability ministries from America, however there were no materials for this specific purpose.
“I want to see our kids develop to their full potential, but I also want to share the things we’re learning and developing with whoever wants so that they can help other kids with special needs as well.”
All of Becca’s lessons will be available on our Disability discipleship resources page.
Donate to Hope Home and help fund development exercises like this.
“I ensure someone sleeps near him but there’s always the risk of a fit not being seen.”
Sainam is a four year old boy who is blind and sleeps up to 23 hours of the day, only waking to be fed and washed. Judy is not sure exactly what his condition is, but says “someone once described his brain as being like a piece of cheese with lots of holes in- nothing quite works together.”
Judy explains how despite the healthy appearance, Sainam has the mental age of a three month old baby. He came to Hope Home at seven months old after being signed over by his mother. His four older siblings had also been signed over to Vieng Ping orphanage from birth.
“Sainam is profoundly disabled and unlikely to get any further with development.” For Hope Home, it is about maintaining his physical state, fighting his fevers and ensuring he has the best quality of life possible.
Judy encourages weight baring practice and massage to avoid Sainam’s limbs becoming fixed in the wrong position. They ensure Sainam is well nourished and Judy treats any symptoms of illness. However he is often sick and hospitalised.
“Sleeping is his most dangerous time which is obviously not good for Sainam.” Judy has taught the staff how to cope with Sainam’s fits, medicating him and bringing him out of the fits through massage, as they happen a few times a week.
Judy explains that the danger is when the fit goes unseen. “I worry about him a lot, any illness could, potentially, actually, kill him, if it’s not spotted early enough.” She ensures a staff member is always by him when he is asleep as she worries that in the morning he could have died.
Unfortunately, children as severely disabled as Sainam are unlikely to get adopted, so it is important that Hope Home is well funded to care for him for life.
“Most children with Sam’s condition don’t live past their first birthday,” says volunteer Rebecca Schafer.
Becca started off as a volunteer in July 2014 and now works closely with the Hope Home children and staff to maximise their development. Becca has used her degree in psychology combined with her specialist disability qualifications to help understand Sam’s disabilities to further his progress.
Stephanie Balloo talks to Rebecca Schafer about Sam’s life story and how she has changed his behaviour.
Sam was given up from birth by his 18 year old mother, “presumably because of his many needs.” He has been diagnosed with Multicystic Encephalamalocia, cysts on the brain causing scarring to the parts which control functioning. As a result, Sam is blind, has cerebral palsy and heart problems.
“But the amazing thing about Sam is, he’s a fighter.” She explains that he has lived to see far more birthdays than most with his disabilities, and has even shown signs of development, which is unheard of.
Sam was known to be incredibly grumpy, rarely smiled, cried a lot and banged his head due to painful headaches. He is exploring more, getting used to the physiotherapy sessions and starting to enjoy social interaction too.
“While in previous months he kept getting grumpier and grumpier he is really starting to be a happy, giggly little guy.”
“There’s a big hole now Phil’s gone, he’s been here since the beginning.”
Phil began his life in Chiang Mai’s Government orphanage and was recently taken to Bangkok’s orphanage after a new law in foster care came into place. Phil’s mother and father died when he was a baby, leaving him a disabled orphan with no family.
When he was three when Hope Home took him in, a boy that could not sit, talk or feed well at all. Judy recalls the impossible task of feeding Phil.
“He never kept his head still, it was a three person job- one to hold his head, one to hold his arms and one to feed him.”
Now, after seven years of breakfasts, lunches and dinners at Hope Home, Phil can be fed by one person. She admits things like that took a while to develop, but the important thing is that it did.
“He couldn’t sit or anything, he would lie on his back and move around in a circle to get anywhere.” Now Phil moves to the Government orphanage with the ability to sit independently.
Hope Home did a lot of work standing Phil in his walker, tilt tables and giving him the opportunity to play football and ride a bike. Due to his disabilities it is unlikely he will ever get the chance to do these things again at his new home.
Although Phil cannot speak, he can communicate with his feet, as well as painting and colouring with them too.
The law changed in 2014 to state that any child who has special needs and is not in direct family care needs to be moved to the large Government orphanage in Bangkok on their tenth birthday.
“He’s being cared for but he’s probably in a room with lots of other children and Phil doesn’t cope well with that.” Judy says Phil copes better with one on one consistent care like he was receiving at Hope Home.
“All the paperwork is there for adoption. Birth certificate and disabled card all sorted.”
The name, Namchock, means Lucky boy in Thai, which some would say is debatable given his past. The nameless baby was left outside Vieng Ping orphanage with nothing. They guessed the abandoned baby to be about four months old.
“No guess as to who his parents are, no name, no date of birth, no nothing.” At eight months old, Namchock was taken in by Hope Home and is now walking, climbing everywhere and feeding himself.
“He giggles and laughs, but doesn’t make appropriate noises.” One of Namchock’s eyes sees short distance and the other long distance and so “he tends to bump into things. We are in the process of getting him special glasses.”
He attends a special school that helps with his concentration and gross motor skills. At Hope Home they are currently working on his hand eye coordination, balance and potty training.
“We taught him to feed himself, that was hard, he was stubborn enough not to want to do it and I was stubborn enough to want him to.”
Judy says he says he is very mobile, loveable, and likes to explore Hope Home’s play area. He loves to be held, jump and spin around, “normal three year old things really. Everyone falls in love with Namchock.”
Namchock was almost adopted, however it fell through because the ‘father’ was under 25. “They are choosing not to see him now because it hurts too much to see him and know it’s not happening.”
“He is active, determined and loveable.”
“We helped him feed himself, helped with toileting, dressing, social skills and developing speech; he’s probably speaking German now!”
Sam was a two year old boy with autism when he came to Hope Home and he stayed for four years before being adopted by a German family. Like Paradon, he was physically very able but his speech was delayed. Sam attended a “normal school” and his speech and behaviour developed to the point that it was almost “normal” too.
Through an organisation that match children to families, Sam was paired with a couple from Germany, and after meeting him, they fell in love.
“We had him from before he was really feeding himself, before any speech, when he was unsociable. We helped him to develop those things so he could be more adoptable.”
Judy says the ultimate aim of Hope Home is to create success stories like Sam’s. “Helping children to be more adoptable because they are easier to manage, that’s our goal.”