Sunday, May 24, 2015

NDNorth: Learning how to Dance!

For children with special needs, sometimes the simplest things are a little more challenging. Things like eating, playing with toys, and even dancing take a bit more work.

Our kiddos have been working super hard these days, and one of the new things that they have learned how to do is to dance. Now, all we have to do is turn on some fun music and say, "Come on, Kristiana, let's dance!" and then, well... just look at her!

(psst... you'll also see another thing that Kristiana can do now, which is wipe her nose with a tissue. She's pretty proud of all of her new accomplishments.)


Emerson can dance too! He got a bit shy when he saw the camera, but you can see his arms waving around in the first part of the video. Stephanie thought that the two of them were hilarious.

Aren't they impressive?

Friday, May 22, 2015

When Ben Met Olivia

Olivia recently moved from the baby room to live downstairs with the big kids.  These pictures capture the moment when she was introduced to Ben, and we think you'll agree that they are beyond adorable!

Neither of them quite knew what to think...

Olivia was in awe!

Snuggles already?!

"Her skin is so soft..."

So there you go, Olivia.  You've made a new friend already!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

NDSouth: Oh, The Places You'll Go

Well, if you recall from last week's post...

...we shared that Chloe had taken her 1st steps!

However, the excited did not stop there!

We weren't expecting it at all, but Evelyn all of a sudden stood up...

...and with a huge smile on her face reached out for her Ayi...

...and took her 1st tentative step.

Well if you thought we were clapping and cheering before when it was Chloe...

...we were shouting and praising when it was both girls!

Evelyn we are SO proud of you and all your milestones!

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!” 
― Dr. SeussOh, The Places You'll Go!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Transformation Tuesday: Lukas

Lukas arrived at New Day Foster Home almost exactly two years ago, just two months before his first birthday.  This is what he looked like then...

Adorable, right?  He definitely still had that squishy-baby look.

These past two years, Lukas has been doing a great job of growing up, while still retaining his 'adorable-ness'.

Finding cute pictures of him to post has not been a problem at all, especially when he's with Annabel (which is...everyday).

Okay Annabel, we get it...enough cute pictures of Lukas!

In all seriousness, a 'Transformation Tuesday' post doesn't necessarily mean that a child is going to be leaving to join their forever family soon.  These posts can simply be an opportunity to celebrate some beautiful transformations that we're seeing.  However, sometimes a 'Transformation Tuesday' post is the last time you'll get to see a child on this blog.  The rest of their transformation, from abandoned orphan to beloved son, will take place in their new life, and it will be even more beautiful.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sweet Friends: Hannah and Rosie

Did you know that Rosie and Hannah arrived at New Day on the same day?  That day was just over SIX years ago, and these girls have now been here longer than any of the other kids.

They are less than nine months apart in age.  Hannah turned 7 this January, and Rosie's birthday is at the end of September.  They both have neurological issues, but Rosie's more serious delays mean that she still attends the morning preschool class, while Hannah is in the backyard school.

Both girls have been matched with their own forever families and we hope that they will be able to join them before too long.  For now, though, they are very sweet together.  It looks like Rosie really admires her 'jie jie' Hannah, doesn't it?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

NDNorth: Special Mamas

 A few weeks ago we decided to take advantage of the "New Year, Fresh Start" mentality and make some changes in the structure of our activity room. This is the room where seven of our older children spend most of their time, and in an attempt to make it more home-like, we moved the sofa from the children's bedroom into their playroom. They really only use their bedroom for sleeping, so having the sofa in there really wasn't necessary. 

We are always trying to think of ways to make the room more home-like. It's one of the questions that we ask ourseleves all of the time, "Can we make this more like a home than it is now?"

Kristiana and Stephanie were in their standers while we moved the sofa, as it was their regularly scheduled standing time (from 8:30-9:30am). They watched the action while playing with some cause-and-effect toys. 

After the sofa was moved, Brian had a meeting with the nannies. He encouraged them, and challenged them.

"The children you are caring for are not like other children, they are different, which makes them special! It means that you must also care for them differently than you might normal children, and this makes each one of you a special mama; and not just special, but very capable, because you must learn many things in order to help the kids."

"Your most important role is not as a teacher, nor is it that you can work as a therapist... your most important role is being a mama. And because you are mamas for special needs children, you are very special mamas."

"The three most important things that you, as special mamas, must help the children understand is:

1) I am loved
2) I am safe
3) I can do it.

This is all that we are asking of you."

"If a child is never given love, they will begin to believe, 'no one could love me.' If they never feel safe when they are this young, then when they grow up they will have trouble believing that they could ever be. If they do not believe, 'I can do it!' then they never will. 

You are here to tell them the truth, and then to teach them to believe it."

Since the training, we have seen a lovely transformation in both the nanny's dedication to their work, and also in the children's development and in their spirits. Before the training, our nannies were indeed doing incredible and hard work, but since then it's like something has clicked. Teach them that they are loved. Help them feel safe. Remind them that they can do it. The most important lessons that any mother can teach, and that a child can ever learn.

Love grows here.