We have had the pleasure of getting to know some very lovely people from all around the world. Thailand, England, America, Australia, and now France too! Victoria Perros came to know Hope Home when she was volunteering at the government orphanage on term break. During her time at Vieng Ping Victoria met Little Guy and when Little Guy came to live with us at Hope Home she expressed interest in keeping in touch! Thailand and Little Guy had grabbed her heart…a very typical reaction to our littlest fellow!
Over the past year Victoria has become a close friend of Hope Home, sending gifts for all the kids at Christmas, and a whole pile of nice new shoes as well! We were especially blessed, however, most recently by her visit with us! She enjoyed helping the children with various activities and she even taught some French lessons as well!
We are incredibly grateful for Victoria, and our many friends like her that do the “extra” to provide quality care for our children! There’s a saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” and we are blessed that our village spans the globe over! Thank you Victoria and we hope to see you again soon!
What’s crawling around your garden? Is there something flying through?
Our garden never seems to be lacking in excitement! In addition to seven little ones running and rolling around the garden, there seem to be quite a few other creatures that like to join our midst. Often the creatures are met with mixed reactions. Typically this involves Kame squealing and yelling as far a way as possible and Tadpole and Little Guy going in as close as can be. We can have quite the variety on the premises.
The neighborly birds do like to come for a visit from time to time. Dontrii is a big fan!
More than the aviary friends we also have reptile visitors who come walking and hopping around from time to time. All greeted with great interest!
Sometimes the creatures are not always still living…but that does not seem to hamper our little Tadpole’s excitement! Though, we must report we are not very enthused by this sweet trick. All another excuse for a hand washing lesson though! Scrub. Scrub. Scrub. Scrub. Scrub. More. Scrub. Tadpole.
Then of course the creepy crawly insect critters seem to always fascinate our youngest two. Real or fake, needless to say Little Guy has a real knack for grabbing them by the wings!
There is never a dull moment inside or outside the four walls of our home. We never quite know what is around the corner, and what visitor will come next. (We just hope it is never the dreaded snake visitor!!!) Our children, however, remind us to love and embrace our Creator’s world with fascination, wonder, and compassion! Oh to be like a child!
Each holiday that comes throughout the year brings with it excitement, and probably most especially, the Easter holiday. The anticipation of Christ’s resurrection and the excitement of celebrating His resurrection. This year, as with many others, our children joined in the festivities and truly celebrated the resurrection of our Saviour and Lord!
The kids started out by discovering the Easter story through sensory exploration and various activities. They all truly enjoyed following along in the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Special joy was found on opening the tomb and revealing that Jesus was no longer there! In addition the children had great fun with many cross activities and remembering what Jesus did for us.
On Easter Sunday, we joined together with other foster homes in our community and celebrated with the Easter Story and of course the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Much fun was had and everyone rejoiced in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus!
Culture and tradition are extremely important on a number of levels. Not only do children need to learn to live in their own society appropriately but strong cultural ties and traditions have an impact on each individual’s individual and social identity. Our lives often tick around the clock of cultural tradition, with Thanksgiving for Americans, Summer Holidays in the UK, Chinese New Year, and of course the Christian holidays of Christmas, Easter, and more.
As a home of children and adults from different tribes, ethnic groups, and even continents we are very intentional about increasing our children’s exposure to Thai culture, their own ethnic culture, and awareness of cultures and traditions all across the world. Not only does this help them develop their identity as ‘Thai’ but it also provides a foundation for understanding culture and tradition wherever they may go in the future.
We, therefore, always strive to give the children every opportunity to learn and grow in their own cultural identity. The National Anthem is heard over the neighborhood loud speakers every morning at 8:00 and every evening at 18:00, the sound brings everything to a halt and our children are learning to stop and stand straight or sit still to show respect to the Kingdom of Thailand. Often in schools and public places this is tallied with the raising and lowering of the National Flag. As not all of our children are able to attend a school setting yet, we have made a new addition to our home in order to develop this strong tradition in each of them as well!
The children all loved watching and helping build the flagpole. The big hole was of great interest and of course watching the cement come together from water, sand, and more was a big attraction as well.
Now that construction is done and the flag is in, we are able to participate in this special flag raising ceremony every morning and flag lowering ceremony in the evening. The children are truly enjoying each time and learning how to work the pulley system to move the flag up and down. It may seem like a small thing in the grand scheme of helping the children lay down cultural roots, however, not only will this be a part of helping them form their identities as Thai children but will also help them to enter into the school and social setting appropriately.
So think of us at 8:00 and 18:00 Thai time as we send the flag up and bring it down!
Language and literature has often compared children to ducklings…as they grow they emerge from their shells and develop quickly into the grown-up duck they’re designed to be! We definitely see each of our little ducklings bursting forth from their shells and developing in many new exciting ways…
- Kaew is starting to mimic words from adults much more clearly…even for those who don’t know him!
- Yindee’s neck strength is greatly increased this month.
- LeLe is clapping along to every beat…and properly too!
- Laap is getting stronger than anyone expected and now really likes to scratch his head and smile!
- Dontrii loves swinging on the swingset and has started saying dta-dta-dta-dta…a new sound!
- Kame is now walking across balance beams and the top of the monkey bars…the girl who couldn’t stand up on her own a year ago!
- Tadpole is starting to say everyone’s names…and many other words as well.
- Little Guy is an adventure man and increasing his energy level and climbing skills daily!
In addition, this past month we have had some very real ducklings come to join our family! Mum Duck and Dad Duck had 14 baby ducks! These little ducklings have been the center of attention since day one. The youngest was quite weak at first and had to be cared for separately for a day. The children ADORED “kap-kap” (the sound a duck makes in Thai) and did a great job caring for kap-kap that first day, Kame especially loved trying to feed kap-kap water with an eyedropper. Little Guy, however, learned a very important lesson in being gentle! Every day since we have little ones running toward the duck area or watching from afar as they are simply stunned and amazed to stand and watch all the ducklings grow and develop…We are happy to report that even kap-kap is thriving!
Given that the children have become so interested in the ducklings we decided to do some special studies! The children truly enjoyed learning about the basic duck life cycle. Egg…cracked egg…duckling…duck! Then a number of various activities to help build fine motor strength, gross motor skills, counting, and so much more! These activities have been a huge hit at our house in addition to standing and watching the real life ducklings grow and develop!
Though our children may not develop as quickly as our little ducklings–who were already swimming and climbing at just days old–they sure are growing and developing. We are amazed and blessed to watch as God develops them into their grown-up duck selves, and are so very grateful that somewhere along the way they landed in our pond! So little ducklings, grab your umbrella (the English word Kame and Tadpole say best) and go for it! We cannot wait to see the beautiful person you each become!
This past weekend we had the privilege of joining in a celebration for the Vieng Ping orphanage’s 30 year anniversary. As a foster home under the Vieng Ping orphanage it was our pleasure to join in celebrating the great difference the place, and all the people who have worked there, has made in the lives of many children, families, and communities.
This ceremony involved children and staff dressing in traditional Thai clothing. A task that was incredibly fun for all involved. It is of highest priority for our children to understand and appreciate Thai culture and tradition. This outfit is the traditional outfit of Northern Thai “Lanna” people and while no longer worn everyday, is still traditionally worn on Fridays and for special ceremonies such as this one!
We gathered at the orphanage in mid-afternoon and before the festivities started the kids were able to enjoy some time on the playgrounds and grounds of Vieng Ping! We do not often get the chance to discover new playgrounds, there simply aren’t that many within our access, and the kids absolutely loved trying out new equipment such as a Merry-Go-Round, rounded monkey bars, a super high slide, and so much more!
When the formal festivities began there was a lot of FOOD. Little Guy was a particular fan of this bit, but it is safe to say Tadpole, Kame, and LeLe also ate heaps of sticky rice, curries, treats of various kind, and more than one type of ice cream!
There were awards presented to many individuals and groups that have made an impact on the Vieng Ping orphanage as well as the social welfare system in Chiang Mai. Then many presentations of traditional Lanna Thai dancing by children currently at Vieng Ping or other Social Welfare Homes through the Vieng Ping system. Tadpole, Wentaa, and Kame especially enjoyed trying to dance along to the performances.
Overall it was not only a great chance to show honor and respect to the system which takes care of so many children, which blesses us to care for our seven children, and the people who we work with everyday!
Valentine’s Day may be now a largely commercial holiday but this year we decided none of that mattered. Any day that gives us the excuse to give and receive love is a day worth cherishing! At Hope Home we are blessed with a core group of caregivers, lovely women who give of themselves day in and day out, or night in and night out, in order to give each of our children top quality care and genuine love.
We wanted to use this day as a fantastic opportunity to simply say “WE LOVE YOU.” In the week leading up to Valentine’s Day we snuck off to the Education and Development Centre, brought out the paints, glue, and hearts, and in no time the kiddos had created cards which were beautiful masterpieces and expressions of their love. Every child had a role in the creation of the cards and the whole project was tied together with their fingerprints in a heart…our most simple way of showing that all of us are grateful for the hard work of each caregiver and the love they show us daily.
So with chocolates, fake roses, and these most beautiful cards we were able to show love to those who love us, we were able to give when we so often receive, and we had fun reminding each caregiver that their job is important…that they are a loved member of our family.