2017 Goals Revisited

Wow! 2017 has flown by already! Brittany and I sat down and made goals back in the beginning of the year and as the year is almost half way over I wanted to re-evaluate where the kids are and see where they can go moving forward. Plus extra time with good wi-fi gives me time to work on some new ideas and plans for the kids. And as per usual we’re always open to new ideas and tips!

Emerald

Pretty much Emerald’s goals are to keep being a baby and hitting appropriate developmental milestones! She should be getting a g-tube placed in January and a cleft palate repair in December of 2017.

Emerald got her g-tube placed and has been eating some solid foods recently! She does appear to have some motor delays that we are trying to figure out but she’s a very curious baby who likes to play with her toys and see what is going on! 

Goals

  • Gain weight Emerald is a chunk now a days! She’s growing like crazy and outgrowing clothes and cloth diapers like crazy! 
  • More tummy time Emerald hates tummy time but we power through. She’s lifting up her head and is able to roll over to get out of tummy time! 
  • Sit up independently Not there yet. She wants to but doesn’t have the strength. 
  • Continue to hit developmental milestones Emerald is babbling and making some different noises! She discriminates strangers and those she is comfortable with and is overall making great progress in every area but motor

Moving forward: Our goals with Emerald are to continue to work with her to reach motor and developmental milestones. She is still primarily feed by the bottle but I’m hoping to really push her eating more solids in the next couple of months to get ready for her palate repair as she won’t be able to take the bottle after surgery for a bit. 

Shiloh

Shilohs’s goals for next year is to thrive! Although she is still severely malnourished we are hoping that we can see her make some progress this upcoming year once we get her body out of survival mode. We recently got an MRI done that showed extensive brain damage but she’s still young so the brain has some plasticity during the first 5 years that we are hoping to take full advantage of!

Shiloh is really doing well! She has a great caregiver who works with her and has gotten her eating much better. She’s even drinking from a open nosey cup and is not taking quite so long to eat. Shiloh is much more content and is even able to be on the floor and play with toys without crying. She’s smiling much more and overall is much happier! 

Goals

  • Sleep through the night She’s getting there! Shiloh is a much better sleeper then she used to be and isn’t up crying as much in the night 
  • More physical therapy Shiloh gets physical therapy from our therapist, her caregiver, and myself or another volunteer almost daily! We’re working on strengthening her muscles so she can sit up and she’s trying to reach for objects. 
  • Better eating in a better seating device. Figuring out tongue thrust and sensory aversion. I’m very excited that I’m bringing back a tumble foam chair that someone donated to me to use with Shiloh! It will be a much better position for feeding and playing. Her feeding is so much better and she’s eating faster and better then she used to. 
  • Gain weight. 2 snacks a day (morning/afternoon) with more protein. Shiloh is gaining weight and eating 2 snacks plus she’s drinking formula now! She’s even got a little belly. 

Moving Forward: Continuing on her current path! Shiloh is doing good and we’re hoping to see her continue to make good progress!

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Shiloh and Emerald

Josephine

Josie is pretty much developmentally on target so we would like to see that continue plus see more gross motor skills develop. Last night she said her first word- mama! She continues to be an incredibly happy baby who loves food! No weight gain goal for her 🙂

Josie is also doing really good! Shiloh’s caregiver used to be Josie’s caregiver and she along with Josie’s current caregiver like to team up and make her do physical therapy! Josie hates it but she is making some good gains even if she has to have food during physical therapy to cut down on some of the tears! Josie is talking more and is generally a very happy child! 

Goals

  • Crawl/bear weight Josie is holding 4 point crawl for up to 10 seconds and does this inchworm crawl that is probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. 
  • Saying simple words Josie is saying several words but still needs some more work on saying words instead of crying to get what she wants
  • Sit up independently (She can currently sit up but can’t get into that position by herself) Josie mastered this is May! 
  • Finger/self feed food Josie can feed herself snack like a champ! 
  • Drink from a sippy cup- no more bottle! We need to bottle wean Josie. I’ve been working on open cup drinking but she still prefers to tote her bottle around. 
  • No more diaper rash Not much progress on this one but some ideas on how to proceed 

Moving Forward: We would love to see Josie start crawling and building her upper arm strength. And getting her using a cup instead of her bottle. She’s starting to attend class with our in-site teacher so she can continue to make progress with her language and developmental skills!

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Josie’s Ayahs making her doing PT

Abraham

Abe has come so far from the tiny baby I got in Delhi! He’s currently bearing weight and we hope that 2017 is the year he walks! He has some global developmental delays but he’s been consistently making good progress so we’re excited to see what 2017 brings for this silly boy.

Abe is quite the funny kid! He’s walking independently when he wants to but still prefers to scoot as its the fastest method to get from point A to B. I think he will walk once he learns to run! At the beginning of the year he was having a lot of sensory regulation issues but its been getting better and he’s not struggling as much in that area as he used to. 

Goals

  • Walk He can but only when he wants to 🙂 
  • Eat non-mixey food consistently Abe has been eating crackers, popcorn, and cookies! He will also eat curd rice but not curry rice so we’re mixing a spoonful of rice into his mixey food to work him up. 
  • Tolerate more textures He’s still not a big fan of different textures but we continue to work on playing with different textures. 
  • Start saying simple words and requesting more. Abe is saying about 15 words, some meaningful, some not. He needs more work in this area as well! 

Moving Forward: We’re hoping to get Abe walking consistently, eating a variety of foods that aren’t pureed, and speaking more. He also needs to gain some weight as he is still a tiny kid!

Caden

Caden is also in the beginning stages of learning how to walk! He’s bearing weight and starting to show limited interest in walking. He’s also going to start attending an outside enrichment class this week along with Julie and Cara. Caden is a ham inside the house but as soon as we get outside he gets scared and starts crying. We’re hoping to widen his circle and allow him to get over some of his social anxiety.

Caden has been doing great recently! He’s really starting to blossom and is getting closer to walking. He’s been interacting more with the other kids and is not as fearful of strangers as he used to be. Caden is tolerating being way from me and is forming a strong bond with his current caregiver! 

Goals

  • Walk Caden is pulling up to stand and will cruise around his crib or outside on the railing! He’s a bit fearful but he’s made a ton of progress 
  • Talking more with words Caden is saying up to 50 words and even stringing 2 words together. 
  • Gain weight Slow and steady on weight gain! We met with a dietitian in Bangalore and got a better tube feeding schedule in place. 
  • Complete independent feeding Caden rarely eats by mouth now a days but he is good at drinking from an open cup and feeding himself cake!
  • Bath 2x week and fingers wrapped individually We’ve got both of these integrated into his routine and they are being done!
  • Counting up to 3, identifying colors and shapes, preschool concepts Caden is counting up to 3 and saying animal noises! Still working on the rest in his preschool class. 

Moving Forward: I’m looking forward to seeing what else Caden will accomplish this year! He’s in a developmental spurt and making tons of progress. I’m hoping we can get him walking soon and continuing to learn preschool concepts. Overall he’s been pretty healthy and hopefully we can keep him that way.

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Cara, Abe, and Riley

Penny

Penny’s goals for 2017 are to be more independent! We would love to see our sunshine girl standing, eating by herself, and communicating with us.

Penny sure is happy! After a rough time with rehabbing her broken elbow she’s finally getting back to bearing weight on her left arm and starting to use it again. She hasn’t made much progress with her picture communication but we continue to use it and keep trying with her! 

Goals

  • Independent eating Penny will feed herself snacks but will not feed herself rice! We need to try again with introducing this concept to her
  • Standing with Orthotics Penny need orthotics! Anyone want to sponsor them?
  • Wearing glasses everyday We need to get back to having her wear them consistently. 
  • Using picture communication consistently. We try to use her pictures throughout the day but she hasn’t made much progress in this area! 
  • Increasing attention span We’re working on this in our normal daily activities and I’ve seen some small improvements in this area

Moving Forward: I’m hoping to try to get back to working with Penny on independence. She self feeds snacks but not rice so we need to try some different approaches with her and just be consistent with whatever we try to do.

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Cara 

Cara had a pretty major year in 2016 when she learned to walk and finally got her surgery! For 2017 we’re hoping to get her completely healthy again and more independent as well. And get her comfortable outside the home- she’s enrolled in the same class as Julie and Caden!

Cara has also been doing really well this year! She attended a summer day camp in May and did great at her first experience away from the house without any of the other kids on our floor. Snack time appeared to be a favorite for her at summer camp but she’s still a very picky eater. She’s been pretty healthy up until May when she had a short hospitalization but we’re working to get her back on track! 

Goals

  • Walk outside of Anchor Home independently She’s got this one (mostly) down. She’s not afraid to walk by herself in the mall and even walk away from us! 
  • Climb up and down stairs If she’s holding onto the railing with both hands she can go up and down stairs. 
  • Preschool concepts Cara is pretty smart and able to grasp a lot. She’s counting up to 3, can identify some colors, and has an ever expanding vocabulary. 
  • Gain weight- 2nd snack, eating more at mealtimes Still working on this one. 
  • Better behavior (eating meals sitting down, no beating other children) And this one is also still a work in progress. Those terrible twos…
  • Appropriate peer interaction Riley and Cara have become good friends over the past couple of months when Riley has been staying with us. Cara and him play together really well and some of that has carried over with her interactions with Caden. 

Moving Forward: Cara is a little sponge and soaks up everything! We’re still working on better behavior with her and trying to get her to eat more to gain weight. She’s got a couple of medical issues we’re trying to get a handle on and figure out how to best move forward to keep her as healthy as possible. She’s so smart and does well in her preschool class and is on her way to being even more independent!

Katherine 

Sweet Katherine had a rough year in 2016! We put a lot of hope into her cochlear implant and then it got infected. Hopefully in 2017 we can get her reimplanted and get her back on track! We are also considering a hip surgery for her to address her hip that is out of socket.

We’re still working on Katherine’s cochlear implant. We sent off her application to the government program so now we just have to wait and see of they approve it or not. We’ve decided against the hip surgery for the time being and will just monitor that hip. Katherine hasn’t been making much progress but she does love her 1:1 time with her teacher and is growing and getting so big! 

Goals

  • Increase time in vision room (1 on 1) Katherine gets into the vision room a couple of afternoons a week with me. We’re working on tracking objects and she’s been doing really good!
  • Eating non-mixey food I’ve been introducing some crackers and veggie sticks to Katherine. She’s not a huge fan but she tolerates them for a bit. She’s also started using a nosey cup to learn how to drink from an open cup. 
  • Increased tummy time We have a better routine so all the kids get tummy time right after circle time for 30-45 minutes! 
  • Sensory integration Always ongoing for Katherine! 
  • Getting a better seating device Still working on this one. She has the car seat that she sits in but she’s too young for a big wheelchair but too small for the other seating devices we have!

Moving Forward: Hopefully we hear something positive from the government program about the cochlear implant soon and can get it reimplanted this fall! I would like to see Katherine eating more solids and drinking more from her nosey cup so lots of practice with chewing in her future.

Valor

Valor’s main goal in 2017 is to get a plan in place for his scoliosis and get communicating more! Valor’s new favorite thing is laughing when people cough. Luckily for him we have lots of that in Anchor Gold.

Valor is (finally!) straight! He got his surgery in March and has been doing great post-surgery. He’s able to sit up for much longer periods of time and his pain has decreased. We haven’t been able to work much on his communication with all his surgery and recovery but I’m hoping to reintroduce that! 

Goals

  • Afternoon snack to increase weight Valor has gained over 5 kgs since the beginning of the year! 
  • Sensory Integration Always ongoing 🙂 
  • Communication device Valor is using his two-sided switch to request songs during circle time and choose between two objects 
  • Switch activated toys/activities Still working on this one! 

Moving Forward: We would like to see Valor continue to gain strength after his surgery and hopefully be able to engage a bit more with the world. Valor understands a lot of what goes on and I want to tap into that as much as possible!

Thomas

Thomas’ goal for 2017 is to be happy! The big man of the house loves to sit up in his wheelchair and watch the world go by.

Thomas has had an up and down year. We’ve seen an increase in chest infections with him, leading us to believe that he may need another surgery as his fundoplication may be loose allowing him to aspirate. But overall he’s still happy and really enjoys his 1:1 teacher Puri and her work with him! 

Goals

  • Sitting up in wheelchair Thomas sits up in the morning and afternoon in his wheelchair
  • Less “junky”- more suctioning and nebulizers Having a few setbacks on this goal. Hoping to get to the bottom of it though! 

Moving Forward: Our goal with Thomas is always for him to be happy and healthy! We need to figure out a solution to his recent rounds of aspiration pneumonia. He continues to enjoy his classes and circle time and generally just being around everyone in the house!

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Julie 

Julie Baby’s goals for 2017 are to be more independent! She currently tells us when her huggie is wet so I think she’s ready to begin the process of being potty trained. Julie is also going to start going to an enrichment class with Caden and Cara and potentially start a school if we can find one that would work well for her!

Julie is slowly working on her independence goals. No movement in the potty training yet but she did enjoy her enrichment class and was always asking for the car. That class has finished for right now but she enjoyed her time there! I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated with Julie recently as she seems to have plateaued a little bit but I’m hoping to refocus on her and see if she can get back in the swing of making progress! 

Goals

  • Bearing weight Julie is currently bearing weight with our physical therapist! She also need braces- anyone want to sponsor those? 🙂
  • Preschool concepts  Julie is identifying most animal noises, is expanding her vocabulary, and is working on colors 
  • Dressing herself Julie can get her clothes half-way off but then needs help with the rest! 
  • Potty Training Not yet but I hopeful we will get there! 

Moving Forward: I’m hoping to get Julie potty trained (or at least attempt to potty train her!) I think she can but it’s just a matter of doing it. I’m also hoping to refocus some of my attention on teaching her more self-help skills and getting her more independent!

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Julie, Caden, and Cara

General Anchor Gold Goals

  • Oral hygiene Also a work in progress! 
  • Bi-weekly ayah training We were good about this for a while but now its become more on the spot training 
    • Feeding
    • Oral hygiene
    • PT
    • Helping children reach developmental milestones
  • Monthly ayah meeting Also hasn’t been happening as much but we’re in a good place with good ayahs so not needed as frequently
  • Get more kids sponsored We’ve increased our sponsorship to having 72% of the house funded! I updated all the totals needed per kid on this page if you’re interested!

Whew that was a lot! If you made it all the way through congratulations! It’s always good for me to process where the kids are at and where they need to be going, especially when I’m back home so I can refocus and talk with people to get better plans in place for them. Rest is good but I’m also excited to get back and put some ideas that are swirling in my head into place!

We are raising $300 for Penny and Julie to get orthotics! Use this link if you would like to contribute towards this need.m

The Next Steps

When I came to SCH in May of 2015 I made a one year commitment to be a house parent but in my heart I knew it would be a two year commitment. While this May is the end of my two year commitment. In the fall I started applying to graduate schools for my Masters of Social Work, a career path sparked by my time in India and a desire to see all children in families and not institutions. This spring the decision letters started coming in and I was paralyzed with indecision. I felt like I either needed to leave in May or make a significantly longer commitment to SCH. I prayed but it was half-hearted, I didn’t really want to know where God was leading me because either way the answer scared me. I stopped blogging and spent most nights trying to avoid thinking about my next steps.

About three weeks ago the thought of deferring graduate school crossed my mind. I brushed it off at first because I felt like I needed to either leave or stay much longer than another year but it kept nagging at me. Finally I made time to really pray and discern what my next steps where and I felt peace about deferring graduate school until Fall of 2018 and staying in India for another 9 months to wrap some things up here and leave well. As hard as I tried I could not see myself or the children transitioning out well come this May and it’s so important to me that I leave them in a good place and finish out some things that I started. One of the main things I feel is so unfinished is Katherine’s cochlear implant. Katherine was the first child I fell in love with at SCH and I feel so strongly that a cochlear implant would improve her quality of life in the long run. We’ve had quite the struggle with it this past year but we’re pursuing a scheme that could pay for the implant and hospital fees and either way I plan on making it happen before I leave as I feel that it’s a huge part of why God called me to India.

So what does that mean for the next year? I come home in May for a month break after being away for a whole year. A time to see my brother graduate, attend a friend’s wedding, and hopefully reconnect with people. Then I will head back to India in July and work on being fully present and transitioning out. Come March I will leave a bit of my heart behind and head back home to take some time to process these past couple of years, find a job to make some money, and head to the University of Texas to start my Masters of Social Work program. (Hook ’em? Swore I would never be a longhorn but here I come) Leaving behind the kids and India will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The decision to come to India was easy but the decision to leave is not. I spent many nights crying about this decision and I’m tearing up even writing this blog post. If I could I would stay forever but it’s not what I’m being called to do, which can be a hard pill to swallow. But ultimately I know that these children were only given to me for a season and that God will take care of them. They are in good hands at SCH and I will now get to play a different role in their life by advocating for them from the States and continuing to pray for them and share their stories.

However a big part of my decision to commit to another 9 months at SCH is finances. It’t been a huge blessing for me to be able to live off my savings and the occasional gift from generous donors but my bank account is running low and living off my savings is no longer an option. I’ve hit the point of needing to actively fundraise for my last 9 months here. I need funds to cover my plane tickets, living expenses, room, and board. I don’t get a salary from SCH because truly every penny goes towards the kids. If you’ve been following my time here in India would you please pray about supporting me so I can finish out my work here well? As I’ve said all along it takes a village to raise these children and now I need a village to help me finish out strong in my time here in India. The link below is a tax deductible way to donate towards my remaining 9 months here in India. I need around $6500 to finish out my time here and would love to chat with anyone interested in one time or monthly reoccurring donations to help me out.

Link to Donate to Colleen (scroll to the bottom to see me!)

Also will you join me in praying for some specific intentions?

  • For families to step forward for some of the children. There are several children in particular that I will have a hard time leaving and knowing that there are families coming for them would make leaving them so much easier.
  • For Katherine’s cochlear implant surgery. This deserves a while blog post but we’re applying for some government funding for her implant. My hope is to get the surgery done in the fall so we can start getting her back into the routine of wearing them and making some progress.
  • For Caden to walk. Caden has played a huge role in my time here in India. He’s a very special child to me and he has overcome so much in his short life. I would love to see him independently walking before I leave. He’s getting there and I firmly believe that it’s possible!
  • For more local staff to come alongside our home that I can train to take over some of the duties I do. Specifically a teacher to help continue on our morning preschool and a nurse to learn how to do Caden’s daily care well.
  • For wisdom and patience as I figure out how to transition out of my roles here at SCH well and for understanding for the children.

Thanks to everyone who has come and followed along with my time here. Thanks for everyone who has bought items off our wishlist, become a child sponsor, donated to a surgery or one time need, prayed for us, encouraged us, or shared these stories. Your support has meant so much to me and the children and adults of SCH. Thank you.

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