2017 Goals

This past week Brittany and I have sat down to write some goals and do some planning for the new year. With 11 kids it can be really easy for some to get lost in the shuffle so we wanted to make sure every kid had a clear goal that they were working towards for the new year. Looking over all the goals I think our overall themes¬†for 2017 will be independence, social skills, and weight gain. In 2016 the kids made some great progress and we’re looking forward to what 2017 will bring!

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.

Goals

  • Gain weight
  • More tummy time
  • Sit up independently
  • Continue to hit developmental milestones

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!

Goals

  • Sleep through the night
  • More physical therapy
  • Better eating in a better seating device. Figuring out tongue thrust and sensory aversion
  • Gain weight. 2 snacks a day (morning/afternoon) with more protein

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 ūüôā

Goals

  • Crawl/bear weight
  • Saying simple words
  • Sit up independently (She can currently sit up but can’t get into that position by herself)
  • Finger/self feed food
  • Drink from a sippy cup- no more bottle!¬†
  • No more diaper rash

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.

Goals

  • Walk
  • Eat non-mixey food consistently
  • Tolerate more textures
  • Start saying simple words and requesting more.

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.

Goals

  • Walk¬†
  • Talking more with words
  • Gain weight
  • Complete independent feeding
  • Bath 2x week and fingers wrapped individually
  • Counting up to 3, identifying colors and shapes, preschool concepts

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.

Goals

  • Independent eating
  • Standing with Orthotics
  • Wearing glasses everyday¬†
  • Using picture communication consistently
  • Increasing attention span

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!

Goals

  • Walk outside of Anchor Home independently
  • Climb up and down stairs
  • Preschool concepts
  • Gain weight- 2nd snack, eating more at mealtimes¬†
  • Better behavior (eating meals sitting down, no beating other children)¬†
  • Appropriate peer interaction

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.

Goals

  • Increase time in vision room (1 on 1)
  • Eating non-mixey food
  • Increased tummy time
  • Sensory integration
  • Getting a better seating device

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.

Goals

  • Afternoon snack to increase weight
  • Sensory Integration
  • Communication device
  • Switch activated toys/activities

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.

Goals

  • Sitting up in wheelchair
  • Less “junky”- more suctioning and nebulizers

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!

Goals

  • Bearing weight
  • Preschool concepts
  • Dressing herself¬†
  • Potty Training

General Anchor Gold Goals

  • Oral hygiene
  • Bi-weekly ayah training
    • Feeding
    • Oral hygiene
    • PT
    • Helping children reach developmental milestones
  • Monthly ayah meeting
  • Get more kids sponsored

We’re so excited for everything 2017 holds! The beginning of the year always holds so much hope for what can come. In order to reach some of these goals we need some help.

  1. Purchase an item off our Amazon wishlist! This wishlist ships directly to us and has items that will help us.
  2. By helping us pay for Julie, Caden, and Cara’s enrichment class. We got a discount but it’s still $160/month for them to go. If you would like to help with this cost please email me at colleen at icmin.org!
  3. By sponsoring a child! 9 of the 11 kids still need sponsors. Check out My Indian Family for more info about which children need monthly sponsors!
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Goals Revisited: Part 2

If you missed the first part of this post check out Goals Revisited: Part 1

Valor (Old Goals)

  • Gaining weight¬†Still working on this even with me giving him extra calories. Recently several of our adopted children have tested for a certain parasite so we are starting to test children who have problems gaining weight, like Valor. I have a feeling his test will come back positive and hopefully with some meds we can clear it up and get back on a better track
  • Working on a resting hand splint to get hand in neutral position¬†He wears an arm brace daily. Also currently working on getting him a back brace to help with his scoliosis¬†
  • Weight bearing on arms¬†Although he hates this we try to work on it a couple times a week¬†
  • Basic communication. Choosing between 2 objects and using switch to make choices¬†Valor has started using a switch to request more, which is huge!¬†
  • Better positioning while laying on bed¬†He is spending more time in his bean bag which puts him in a better position¬†
  • Getting out into community more¬†He has gotten out more recently! Still something I need to work on but getting strollers into and out of autos is hard!¬†

Moving Forward: Valor is making some good progress in the communication area and I would love to see more progress in that area. I need to figure out what the best position is for his switch and explore getting an iPad with a Bluetooth switch to use for him. Also he still needs to gain weight! He’s so skinny despite my best attempts.

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Julie (old Goals)

  • Gaining weight! Figuring out emotional or physical reasons behind refusal of rice.¬†Julie is finally gaining weight! She’s even got a bit of a belly and I love it
  • Self feeding 50% of the time¬†She self feeds 100% of the time now!¬†
  • Learning more English words and alphabet¬†She says about 20 English words and understands more. She’s got A, B, C, and D down in the alphabet.¬†
  • Counting to 10¬†She can count up to 4 when she feels like it¬†
  • Building strength back so she can hold her head up for more than a minute¬†Julie blew this goal out of the water as she is crawling around everywhere!¬†
  • Figuring out where she stands academically and a plan for her schooling¬†She is still so stubborn it can be hard to tell where she is academically but she is attending an afternoon enrichment class that seems to be good for her!

Moving Forward: Physically I would like to see Julie start gaining more strength so that she can move around better with either a walker or some other device. She is getting there and we have a great physical therapist working with her. I also need to enroll her in a extra curricular activity because now that Darren is gone her only play mate is Caden and I’ve noticed recently she has regressed to his level. Ideally she needs someone a step ahead of her to challenge her as she is just so stubborn!

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Julie helping me bake a cake! (WordPress insists on turning these photos sideways despite my best attempts)

Darren (Old Goals) 

  • Looking into schools for him
  • Working on standing more and building leg strength
  • Mastering alphabet and spelling his name

Darren was making some great progress with school and standing but his mom (one of my caregivers) choose to leave. It’s a complicated situation with many layers to it¬†and my biggest fear is that he is in danger due to the choices of others. I’ve been praying for him and his mom every night and hope that we will hear from them at some point to know they are okay.

House Goals

  • Switching completely over to cloth diapers¬†We are using cloth diapers all the time now!¬†
  • Better cleaning and organization¬†We’ve been better at sanitizing toys and making sure that everything is more clean. As far as organization goes we try. It’s just not my strong suit.¬†
  • More outings with kids¬†I think we did better this past 6 months!¬†
  • Taking more photos of the kids¬†I got a new camera and I have been better at getting photos of the kids
  • Get all the kids 50% sponsored (or more)¬†We have gained several child sponsor but many of my kids still need monthly sponsors. Please visit this post for more information about being a sponsor!¬†

Moving Forward: Now that my house has hit a stride of sorts my goal is to work on quality so every child is getting everything that they need.

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Personal Goals

  • No more weird infections:)¬†I made it to this point with just some stomach problems and one cold so I think I can say I accomplished this. Also my foot is 100% healed and I do not appear to have any long term problems!¬†
  • Being better about having personal time and sticking to it¬†I failed at this goal which is probably why i’m so exhausted now!
  • Better nutrition. More fresh fruit and veggies for me and the kids¬†I have been better at getting fresh fruit and yogurt which has made a big difference for me!¬†
  • Blogging more¬†I’ve been averaging about a blog a week which is pretty good for me!¬†

Moving Forward: I have to get better about guarding my personal time. I have a plan for how to do it and now I have to stick to it!

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The past 6 months have flown by! I leave to go back home for 5 weeks in a week from today. Although I’m very ready for some rest and good food I am not ready to leave the kids. Initially I made a year commitment to SCH but now that I’m at the end of my first year I can easily say that God is not done using me in India yet. Although its hard and some days I just want to quit at the end of the day I know this is exactly where God wants me for this season.

I will be back home for 5 weeks and as per usual will be collecting donations to bring back with me I have an amazon wishlist here and also need:

  • Books (I get so tired of reading the same ones over and over again to the kids)
  • EB wound care supplies (Mepilex, Tubiafast, Mepilex borders, etc)
  • Sturdy, easy to clean toys and puzzles
  • Craft supplies
  • I would love to bring a bigger special needs stroller (like these) back to take my older kids on outings more easily. If anyone has any connections for a used one please let me know!

And I would love to meet with you, get coffee, chat about life, and show you so many photos of my children in India. I’m so thankful for all the support everyone has shown me over the past year, friends, family, and people I’ve never met in person. Thanks for being the village for these kids!

Goals Revisited: Part 1

Back in December I posted my goals for the next 6 months with my kids. And as crazy as time flies it’s already been 5 months! I head back to the states for a visit in a little under month so I’ve been evaluating where each of the kids are so I can figure out where to go next and try to get some things in place for while I’m gone. Sometimes it feels like my kids aren’t making any progress but looking back at where they were and where they are now I can see that they are all moving in the right direction! I decided to break them up into 2 blog posts so I can really record where they are and get a good snapshot of what they are doing. Mainly for my own records but I figured I would share for all their fans out there.

Penny (Old Goals) 

  • Basic Communication. Simple signs or choosing between 2 choices on switch.When I made this goal I did not know Penny was deaf! We’ve ¬†tried signs with little success and after talking with a speech therapist I’m going to switch over to picture communication as I think it will click better with her.
  • Self feeding 25% of the time¬†She’s self feeding about 20% of the time. Mainly snack foods. She can feed herself mixey food with maximum assistance.¬†
  • Addressing her lazy eye and swallowing issues¬†Her glasses are helping with the lazy eye and most of her swallowing issues have self resolved. We have to give her very small sips of water but overall she’s fine.¬†
  • Working on army crawling. Purposeful movement to get an object she wants¬†No army crawling yet but her rolling skills have improved. We are working on core strengthening in physical therapy and she’s holding 4 point longer than before
  • Building play skills¬†She will play purposefully with a rain stick and balloon. Most other toys she still rolls in her hands and stims with. She could still use some work in this area.¬†
  • Strengthening arms with weight bearing¬†She’s getting much better strength in her limbs! Her weight bearing is definitely improved and I’m hoping with some more physical therapy we will see more improvements.¬†

Moving Forward: One area Penny really needs some concentrated help in is communication. Signs have not clicked for her and do to her level of hearing loss any device that relies on hearing is out of the question. I’m hoping to spend some time creating some picture communication for her that I can introduce when I get back. I’ve seen some improvement in her strength and physical development recently with consistent physical therapy but now I think it’s time to really concentrate on communication. Also trying to get her as independent as possible with feeding.

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Katherine (Old Goals)

  • Attempting a better sleep and nap schedule¬†We are still not there! Maybe with the cochlear implant but that might be wishful thinking¬†
  • Looking into cochlear implant¬†Looked into, got her approved for a free one, raised the surgery fees, got the surgery, and it should be activated at the beginning of May!¬†
  • Getting an in depth assessment of her vision to see how she can best use what she has. Using a light box to work on the vision she has.¬†We got an official diagnosis of cortical vision impairment (basically its her brain not her eyes that can’t see). We’ve been doing vision therapy with a light box and have seen some improvement with her ability to track.¬†
  • Sensory integration (spinning, bouncing, etc) and exposures to different textures¬†We do this almost everyday! She’s still adverse to new textures but we’re slowly working on it.¬†
  • Drinking from sippy cup or open cup (no more bottle)¬†When Sarah, the OT, was shadowing in my house we were working on straw drinking. The straw we were using has since disappeared but I’m hoping to get my hands on a new one while I’m in the States and work on this goal again!¬†
  • Using an object schedule¬†Katherine has an object schedule but it’s been a challenge to get her caregivers to implement it daily. I’m still trying to decide how to proceed, especially once her cochlear implant get activated.¬†

Moving Forward: Similar with Penny¬†communication is going to be a huge area for us to work on in the upcoming months! I’m meeting with some auditory therapists while I’m in Texas with the hope of getting practical advice for doing therapy with Katherine to train her to hear. The first year of getting the implant is important so doing daily therapy will be a major goal these next couple of months.

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Caden (Old Goals) 

  • Setting up room to do his dressing changes in that can be sterilized and kept clean.¬†We never did get this done but we have been better about storing his supplies and keeping everything clean!¬†
  • Getting necessary documentation and funds to take him to EB clinic in Bangalore.¬†There was not a clinic is March but the plan is to take him to the clinic in July. I did get the chance to skype with the doctor who runs the clinic and I’m hopeful for the practical advice and resources he has. I’m also talking to him about potentially placing a g-tube in him when we go to the clinic as his throat and mouth have been blistering bad recently and its affecting his weight gain.
  • Working on crawling or movement to get toy out of his reach.¬†He is finally scooting around to get what he wants. He’s gotten good at getting around and I’m thinking he will skip the crawling stage and go right into walking!¬†
  • Switching off rice and curd and onto food that has more nutrition.¬†I’ve switched over to making more of his food so he gets more fruits, vegetables, and Pediasure.¬†
  • No more bottle! Drinking from sippy cup or open cup¬†Caden is the master of the sippy cup! He loves to drink out of it and gets upset when I try to do it for him!¬†

Moving Forward: Medically this has been a rough year for Caden. He’s been hit hard by infections and set backs. We really need to eradicate all the infections and get his nutrition better. I think getting a g-tube can help with getting him the nutrition he needs (he needs more than the average child because of his EB) and helping keep his body stronger against infections. Also he’s ready to start some preschool concepts soon as he’s a very bright little boy!

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Thomas

  • Basic communication. Eye gaze for yes/no questions¬†Still trying to figure out if Thomas is capable of this. I’m hoping to work more on communication.¬†
  • Better positioning in wheelchair and more time on tummy¬†Before it got so hot Thomas spent most afternoons outside in his wheelchair! He seems to tolerate it pretty well
  • Weight bearing to strengthen arms and stretch wrists.¬†We worked on this for a little but but it made him so uncomfortable that I stopped for right now and just us the splints.¬†
  • Working on a resting hand splint to get hand in neutral position.¬†He’s wearing his splints almost daily except for when I forget to put them on¬†
  • Gaining weight!¬†He’s been steadily gaining weight and is relatively healthy at the moment
  • Getting out into community more¬†He has made it out almost once a month! India is not wheelchair accessible so it can be a bit of a feat but we’re working on it!
  • Better pain management¬†Physical therapy 2-3 times a week has helped with some of his pain. He still has some struggles¬†

Moving Forward: Maintaining our recent progress and continuing to explore different means of communication. Trying to figure out how to fully tap into Thomas and getting him a more portable wheelchair for outings.

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Abraham

When I originally wrote goals back in December I had an inkling I would take another child at some point but I thought it would be an older child with physical challenges. Instead I ended up with my little peanut Abraham. We’ve mainly been trying to get him healthy and get a good understanding of all his medical needs. Thankfully they’ve determined that he won’t need heart surgery! Moving forward I want to get more weight on him and get him sitting up on his own.

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So many great steps (both large and small) in the right direction these past 5 months! Around here we celebrate success in all its forms, whether its using a switch to ask for more time in the hammock or learning to crawl! These kids blow me away every single day with their perseverance and how they knock expectations right out the window.

 

The Next 6 Months

On December 6th I will be getting on a plane to head back to India! It’s been a good time of rest and rejuvenation but I’m ready to head back to my rooftop. And I no longer have a giant hole on my ankle. American medicine is a good thing! One of the best things about being home is that I have time and good wifi to research and make plans for my kiddos. I’ve been able to talk to professionals about my kids and research some ideas. I’ve made some new goals for all my kids that I wanted to share mainly so I don’t accidentally lose all the pieces of paper I’ve written ¬†them on! If you have any feedback or ideas on how to work towards these goals please let me know! Also I’m still looking for a PT who is willing to look at some videos I have of Penny and give me some advice on how to deal with her joints.

Penny

  • Basic Communication. Simple signs or choosing between 2 choices on switch.
  • Self feeding 25% of the time
  • Addressing her lazy eye and swallowing issues
  • Working on army crawling. Purposeful movement to get an object she wants
  • Building play skills
  • Strengthening arms with weight bearing

Katherine

  • Attempting a better sleep and nap schedule
  • Looking into cochlear implant
  • Getting an in depth assessment of her vision to see how she can best use what she has. Using a light box to work on the vision she has
  • Sensory integration (spinning, bouncing, etc) and exposures to different textures
  • Drinking from sippy cup or open cup (no more bottle)
  • Using an object schedule

Caden

  • Setting up room to do his dressing changes in that can be sterilized and kept clean
  • Getting necessary documentation and funds to take him to EB clinic in Bangalore
  • Working on crawling or movement to get toy out of his reach
  • Switching off rice and curd and onto food that has more nutrition
  • No more bottle! Drinking from sippy cup or open cup

Thomas

  • Basic communication. Eye gaze for yes/no questions
  • Better positioning in wheelchair and more time on tummy
  • Weight bearing to strengthen arms and stretch wrists
  • Working on a resting hand splint to get hand in neutral position
  • Gaining weight!
  • Getting out into community more
  • Better pain management
  • More time in arm splints to make hands more functional

Valor

  • Gaining weight
  • Working on a resting hand splint to get hand in neutral position
  • Weight bearing on arms
  • Basic communication. Choosing between 2 objects and using switch to make choices
  • Better positioning while laying on bed
  • Getting out into community more

Julie

  • Gaining weight! Figuring out emotional or physical reasons behind refusal of rice
  • Self feeding 50% of the time
  • Learning more English words and alphabet
  • Counting to 10
  • Building strength back so she can hold her head up for more than a minute
  • Figuring out where she stands academically and a plan for her schooling

Darren

  • Looking into schools for him
  • Working on standing more and building leg strength
  • Mastering alphabet and spelling his name

House Goals

  • Switching completely over to cloth diapers
  • Better cleaning and organization
  • More outings with kids
  • Taking more photos of the kids
  • Get all the kids 50% sponsored (or more)

Personal Goals

  • No more weird infections ūüôā
  • Being better about having personal time and sticking to it
  • Better nutrition. More fresh fruit and veggies for me and the kids
  • Blogging more

I’ve decided to start sending out a bi-monthly email newsletter with photos of the kids, news about my home, and prayer requests. If you would like to receive this newsletter please sign up here

Also Rescue Home (the home I live in) is selling these cute onesies to raise money. They make cute Christmas or baby shower presents.

Thanks for following along and caring about my kids! It takes a village to raise my kids and I’m thankful for all the support I’ve gotten along the way.