Thursday, May 28, 2009

Keely and Kelly Update

Week Two


It has been a productive week. Its amazing how much…and how little…we get done everyday. The majority of the week, we have been conducting developmental screens of all the kids 4 and under. Many of the infants have presented with sensory and motor delay. We are using the
information that we have gained to put them into appropriate motor groups. One thing that has really amazed us is the increase in initiation of movement and engagement in play just during the
evaluation. At the start, most of the children are laying motionless on their backs in the cribs. By the end, we notice increased reaching, interest in toys and self-exploration and overall more
active movement. This has given us a lot of hope for the potential ALL these kiddos have.

We also developed a questionnaire for the caregivers at both Kechene and Kebebtsehay so that we can begin to better understand their difficulties and questions so that our educational programs will be relevant and worthwhile for them. We have started to work through their responses. As we were already keenly aware, their significant limitation is resources: diapers, formula, limited number of caregivers and medical treatment. We are going to work in the next week to better understand their current system such that we can help them get the most out of the resources they do have. This is a very challenging task- the balance of reality and optimism!

Yesterday, we had a surprise opportunity to spend time eating lunch with several adoptive families and their new children. It was a very rewarding opportunity for us to see the possibility that exists for these kids. There was a swirl of emotions for these families and children. As one husband and wife put it, “we are on day three of parenthood!” What an amazing and exciting time for them as they learn to adjust to their roles as parents to these incredible Ethiopia children.

Tomorrow we are going to assist the Gladney Center for Adoption by going to their foster care centers and helping perform personality updates for 40 children in their system. These updates are sent to adoptive families every 2 weeks to help keep them up to date with their child. We are both very interested to see the condition of the foster care centers to see how the care provided differs from the orphanages. We hope these personality and picture updates offer hope and excitement to the adoptive parents and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to provide them.

We are looking forward to the weekend and sorting through our evaluations to see where we’ll go from here. Thank you for your continued support and love.

Keely and Kelly

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Superkids in Ethiopia

Kelly and Keely Update


Beautiful Children

We basically hit the ground running in our time here at Addis. After quickly getting settled in (buying groceries and a cell phone), we spent the last two days getting acquainted with two of the government orphanages: Kababitsahay and Kechene. We are so excited and have tons of beautiful kiddos and great projects to tell you all about, but first a quick introduction to the orphanages.

Kababitsahay houses infants through children aged 12, both girls and boys. Kechene has a small number of young children under the age of 12 but is primarily a home for young women 12-18 years old. All the children in the orphanages are finishing up school and about to begin summer vacation.

Basically the last two days we have been holding lots of babies and playing with kids in order to perform a very VERY general physical therapy triage to see what kids are in the most need of our services. We have also done a lot of observation of the caregivers and the structure of the orphanage to better understand the children’s routine: including their positioning, feeding, sleeping and play patterns. What we do know is that they all love to be held and cuddled. It is heartbreaking to let go of one even if it is to pick up another.

These observations and discussions with the director of the orphanage have given us a lot of great ideas. Our programs will aim to improve the movement and the development of the children as well as educate and supporte the caregivers and other orphanage staff. We hope to
have a more solid outline of these programs in the next week, but for now here is a glimpse of our plans:

1. Direct 1 on 1 care: There are currently 5 children with physical impairments limiting their participation in all activities. We are confident that we can positively impact their functional abilities with physical therapy interventions. We will develop and implement treatment plans which we will teach caregivers to continue upon our departure. We were delighted at the spirit of these beautiful children. They are all full of life and smiles and love all this new attention. Very soon we will introduce you to them individually.

2. Caregiver education: We will implement several full-day training sessions for all the child care providers. These programs will include education in: proper positioning/holding/lifting, feeding guidelines, hygiene, the importance of play, promoting bonding, behavior modification and tips to help caregivers with body mechanics and scheduling to ease their burden as well.

3. Age matched play groups: We are going to have play groups of 3-4 similar aged children and work on developmentally appropriate play, movement and peer interactions. We can’t wait to see their faces as we slowly begin to introduce all the toys we have brought to share!

4. Jewelry Program: Gladney provided jewelry and craft materials such as beads. ribbons and threads which we will deliver to the young women of Kechene. They will make jewelry and crafts that we will bring back to the United States and sold to support the children of Kechene. (so save your Christmas money!!!)


Thank you endlessly for your support of Superkids- Ethiopia. We are so excited to have the opportunity to serve these children on behalf of all of you! Since being here, we have had the opportunity to realize the enormous impact that Gladney Center for Adoption has on the welfare of these children. We are amazed at the breadth of support they provide to orphans and the orphanage system including: education, nutrition, clothing/shoes, shelter, medical needs and the list goes on and on. It is truly an inspiration to be involved with this organization that is invested in these children with such integrity and love. We will carry this vision and your support in all our interactions with these wonderful children!!

Kelly and Keely, DPT

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Brighter Futures Camp Update

Meet a fourteen year-old Chinese boy who received his wish for a forever family.

http://www.wfaa.com/video/nspparent-index.html?nvid=363243

http://www.wfaa.com/video/nspparent-index.html?nvid=363241

I suggest you have some tissues on hand!


Lauren and Lisa have arrived in Harbin, China!

Duke University undergraduates, Lauren Kelly and Lisa Du will spend their summer in Harbin, China working with orphans at a local welfare institute. They are doing well, catching up on sleep, and looking forward to meeting the children. Stay tuned for updates.

(Lisa)

Keely and Kelly are on their way!!!

Yesterday Keely and Kelly left for Ethiopia. Below is their update from London.

(Keely)


(Kelly)

We are sitting in the London Heathrow airport waiting for our last leg of the flight to Addis. We are both excited, yet a little sleep deprived already! We have packed 98 pounds (yep, 98!!!) of toys and therapeutic necessities, donated of course by Superkids, the Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2009 and the Strasburg Presbyterian Church in Strasburg, Colorado. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to deliver these items and can't wait to begin working for the next seven weeks.

Stay tuned for more updates!