Art is a gateway. A means of expression, a method of processing, and a journey through which our children begin to discover the world around them and even the world inside each of them. Because of this we find it very important for art to be a fundamental component of our work. One way in which we have been blessed to do this is through weekly workshops hosted by our partner organization Art Relief International (ARI). Hope Home has enjoyed a long relationship with ARI, a project of Cultural Canvas Thailand which allows us to offer art and music therapy to our children on a weekly basis.
Whether it’s Tadpole or LeLe diving into the paint buckets, Yindee laughing as bubbles appear from nothing, Dontrii squirming with delight, Little Guy splashing away, or Kame very cautiously approaching the activity at hand each ARI workshop is a priceless opportunity.
An opportunity to explore and discover; a new painting technique, percussion, sensory activity, or videos and dancing from around the world. Each workshop provides children the opportunity to look, touch, and experience something new. The world becomes wide open from behind our own little gate.
And of course, an opportunity to express. As many of our children have limited communication, art is an incredible opening of expression for them. What cannot be said in words, can come out in color, in sound, or even in taste!
Thank you ARI, your directors, and each and every one of your volunteers! You help make our kids week more exciting and we love seeing the way that your workshops bring out the brilliance in each one of them!
With the big move for our family in process we continue to be extremely grateful for the support of churches, organizations, and individuals worldwide who continue to support, encourage, and move us forward. While moving is certainly an unexpected obstacle in the life of our family, it is one that the Lord still uses to afford new opportunities and advancements we could never expect to come so soon.
Almost two years ago we dreamed of an education centre for our children to learn proper social and educational skills in the classroom. Our dream was that this would help the children develop themselves and also potentially be accepted into a mainstream school environment, or an appropriate special education school. We began with the stable in our back garden and the kids began learning and practicing their skills.
The move has prompted a bigger move for the education centre to be separate from the home. Children will now have to walk to school, study in the classroom, and then even play on a separate playground.
This school room is already ready and the children are making daily treks to school, as we hope this will provide a sense of stability as they transition to the new house down the road. Of course, none of this could be possible without the support of many people! Central Christian Church in Indiana and Kid Central Preschool donated more materials than we could have ever imagined making it not only a school room, but one with proper activities that will make teaching and learning easy for all our students and staff! Then of course we would be lost without volunteers Matt & Stephanie Deinlein and Clare MacDonald put many hours, hard work, and their collective experience together to create a beautiful and functioning room.
Classes have already started and the children are adjusting and learning classroom etiquette bit by bit while even still learning a few educational lessons! One exciting feature of our new room is the corner of the room devoted entirely to our “World Exploration” curriculum developed by us at Hope Home to help children discover Christ through the world and the world through Christ. It’s all sensory fun exploration and storytelling merged together and the kids are truly enjoying it so far!
Thank you to everyone who has made this part of our move a smooth and easy transition. Not only are we relieved to have a new education centre to serve as a consistent point in the move but we are blessed that it will be an incredible place of learning, exploration, and development!
Recently two of the Hope Home children, LeLe and Tadpole, were able to compete in the Northern Thailand Special Olympics event held through the special education center. It was a fun morning as all the children from various special education centres across Northern Thailand gathered in Chiang Mai to showcase their athletic skills! Before the competition even began Tadpole was finding amateur wrestling opponents and LeLe definitely could have taken the gold medal in running across the stage when no one was watching, had that actually been an event. Needless to say, the excitement was in the air!
Tadpole was able to compete in an obstacle course competition as well as the balance beam, and LeLe competed in the balance beam and ball throwing competition. You could say our events got off to a slow start, because Tadpole did start about 1 minutes after his competitor in his first event but then once he got the concept down he actually false started for his next one! LeLe of course was highly skilled on the balance beam per usual but the whole event was a bit too much excitement to get that ball throwing accurate!
We are so very proud of both our boys for their determination and development to this point. They work hard and play even harder! We were thrilled to see them celebrated as we celebrate them everyday; to our medalists, Tadpole and LeLe, you’re always gold to us!
Take a look at some pictures from their Special Olympics…
On the morning of June 7, 2016 in Chiang Mai, Thailand Sainam took his last breaths in the comfort of loving care at Hope Home and into the loving arms of his Heavenly Father. We were beyond blessed to have cared for Sainam since he was six months old; he defied expectations time and again, showing resilience and strength.
Sainam’s five year lifespan seems very short, but we take solace in that he lived his life well. He was known for his uncanny ability to sleep during the day (especially when he was supposed to do physiotherapy!) and to remain awake at night! We at Hope Home loved “working” the night shift because the time we got to spend with Sainam was precious and priceless! In fact, while many visitors saw the amount of care Sainam needed in the past eight months and admired our staff, it was truly our blessing! Each and every moment with Sainam was a moment of inexplicable joy! His smile was incomparable and if he wasn’t sleeping, he was most likely smiling! Some of his favorite activities included listening to Bible Stories, cuddling, and playing with his hands.
More than all of that though, Sainam made an impact on the world around him that was much bigger than his small figure could ever convey. Sainam may have appeared unassuming in his earthly body, he was blind and had many other disabilities, but his spirit, strength, and personality were able beyond belief! He taught us to be content in all circumstances, to have faith when you cannot see the future, to love unconditionally, to forgive quickly, and to be a peacemaker. It was these qualities, and the most adorable laugh possible, that stole the hearts of many caregivers, visitors, and of course the other children along the way!
While Sainam is gone from our home and we miss him terribly, he is not only forever in our hearts but he is now safe and free in Heaven above. We imagine that he is running and making mischief up there with his other Hope Home friends who have gone before. We will all await the day of our heavenly reunion and rejoice in the time we had with him.
WE LOVE YOU SAINAM.
Your mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters.
The difference between a house and a home is often hard to distinguish, but for us “Hope Home” has very little to do with the four walls we have called our “House” for the past 5 years. For us, Hope Home is our family. It starts with our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ and expands down into the men and women who make up our staff and volunteers, and of course our children. It is the environment of love, acceptance, empowerment, and hope.
We have been blessed to be at our current location for many years, our premises not only put us in a great community, a comfortable place for children to live, a place for our staff, an expansive physical therapy room, an education centre, and afforded us the ability to offer a playground to our community. Over the years volunteers have come in and beautified our premises with murals, fresh paint, and repair work as needed. Without a doubt many memories have been made, Little Guy’s first steps, Sasikan on the swings, Chaay’s handiwork help, and so much more! Certainly many have lived here, some have died here, and our memories will last a lifetime!
However, due to our current landlord’s decision our time at this property is coming to a close and we will soon be making new memories at a new house. We have been able to secure time at our current property until September and much work will need to be done between now and then in order to move out of the old house, and to get the new house ready for our children! We will begin moving the staff in the next couple of weeks where they will be primarily located above the Hope Home office in a separate location providing them not only a chance to have some space for rest but also a place of their own.
Unfortunately the new house location will not allow us the chance to continue offering a playground to our community, but we trust that God will provide new ways for us to reach our community in the new house. We are looking forward to the many memories and milestones our children will make in the new location. In addition, we are extremely grateful that we have a worldwide family that will be supporting us in this transition.
Ways to Pray for the Hope Home Family:
- Pray for the kids to adjust with security in their hearts and minds
- Pray for the staff to adjust well to their new home and support the kids well in this transition
- Pray for the renovation process of the new place
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!