History of Hope Home
“God opened the doors to Hope Home”
Stephanie Balloo interviews manager and founder of Hope Home, Judy Cook.
Hope Home first began as a vision from one extremely determined woman. As a devout Christian, Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) worker and general nurse, Judy Cook found herself working as a missionary in Thailand helping people affected by a very prevalent virus, HIV.
It was here at Agape Home in Chiang Mai, that Judy met Sasikan, the child who inspired her to create a place for special needs children to be treated the way they deserved.
She saw this one year old child with severe cerebral palsy left alone whilst staff ran after the other twenty mobile toddlers. Judy was caring for Sasikan (Link to profile on Sasikan) at Agape every day and soon fell in love with her.
“Although she was being well cared for, there was no physical care there for Cerebral Palsy.”
Shortly after, Judy decided to foster her, giving Sasikan the special care she needed.
Two years later and to Judy’s delight, the application to foster Sasikan long-term came through, which meant she had a new resident at her Chiang Mai bungalow.
“Hope Home wouldn’t be without Sasikan.”
“It was the natural motherly love for her along with my faith. But God opened the doors to Hope Home.”
Judy was then asked to act as a respite carer for two older boys, Mai and Ut (Links to profiles) as their guardian was struggling to care for them. After six months of taking the pair back home every night, Judy could no longer stand it.
“It started getting harder to take them back there.
I would pick them up in the morning in the same nappy I’d left them in.”
She was given permission to care for Mai and Ut full time which meant a larger home would be necessary.
The government were happy to open a new foster home funded by an American adoption agency, which got Hope Home off the ground for the first year.
“If it wasn’t for the generosity of the churches, individuals, families and big sponsors, we wouldn’t be able to do the work we do.”(Link to activities)
Gradually the children and staff increased to the size it is today.
In 2013, Hope Home grew to include a second home which serves as respite for families of children with disabilities in time of need. It also provides housing and care for older boys with special needs.