Monthly Archives: September 2017

My niece’s neighbor is ready to come home {Advocating}

It’s hard to understand why some children get matched right away while others wait and wait and wait. There’s no sense in it really.

Three years ago, in a little room full of babies in the middle of China, a boy captured my heart. He captured all our hearts actually.

We noticed him right away. He looked like a typical 6-month old baby, lying in a crib, sucking his fingers, intently watching the happenings in the room, particularly these strange women with big noses who were smiling real big and laughing with his caregivers. His eyes lit up and his smile was as big as ours when we’d simply turn and talk directly to him. His whole body got excited when he was picked up, which made all of us and his caregivers giggle back.

His “next door neighbor” was a sweet baby girl doing much of the same, a little girl who became my niece. Two years ago. My niece Ava has been home two years. She’s loving life in a family. Meanwhile, the boy who laid beside her in that room still waits.

Last year, when volunteers returned, he was in a new room where children were no longer laying in cribs but running around the room and playing on colorful mats. He is both entirely different from when I met him and entirely the same. He’s full of energy. Responsive. Bops to the beat he constantly makes with his toy instruments. Runs. Thinks he’s jumping. Feeds himself. Scribbles with a marker. Puts puzzles in place and celebrates when he does.

Whoever created his file and prepared his papers for adoption knows him well. They described him as a handsome boy who is obedient and clever. They said he is active, loves to play outside, especially in the little car that he can drive around. When he is spoken to, they said he seems to have a mischievous expression when he answers. They said his hands and feet that are different than other kids are why he’s there. They are why he waits. Yet, they aren’t holding him back. He carefully builds block towers, taking a block in and out of a cup, and carefully turns pages of a book.

He’s so ready to come home and be someone’s boy.

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Interested in learning more about this sweet little guy? He’s currently available for adoption through WACAP who is offering a $3,000 grant to the family who wants to make him their son. Contact info@sparrow-fund.org to learn more about where he is and our experience with him. Contact wacap@wacap.org to request to review his file.

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Jennifer lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband John and their three children Maddox, Evangelyn, and Harper. She is a stay-at-home mom who volunteers with Love Without Boundaries. They believed their family was complete after the birth of Evangelyn, but the Lord had much bigger and better plans. After Jennifer traveled to China in 2014 to volunteer in orphanages, and she knew that they had a daughter in China. In May 2017, they brought their youngest daughter Harper home. Jennifer’s heart was broken for children without families and those without a voice; ever since, she has been advocating and sharing their adoption story.

Our favorite classroom-friendly sensory tools

Trauma and the way children handle sensory experiences are intimately connected. Simply put, traumatic experiences are primarily handled in the same parts of the brain that process sensory input. And, when that part of the brain is affected by trauma, sensory processing can be affected too. As we support children in the context of relationship to navigate trauma, we can see significant changes in what had been challenging in terms of sensory processing. Likewise, as we support our children’s sensory processing, we can also set them up to better learn, meet expectations, and connect, mitigating significant symptoms of their trauma.

As you consider the way your child processes sensory input, we recommend Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals by Angie Voss as well as all of Carol Kranowitz’s Out of Sync Child titles.

And, given how often we’re asked for recommendations for tools children could use in a classroom to provide opportunity for sensory input and, therefore, increased support for focus and learning, we’ve come up with a list of some of our favorites to share with you.


Stretchy bands for children to put around chair legs so that they can keep those feet moving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bouncy Bands is a brand personally recommended by an OT for how easy it is to take on and off.

 

 

 

 

Adhesive velcro strips to simply stick inside or under a desktop for little fingers to touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boinks marble/mesh toys are great quiet fidgets and our favorites of our teams to take to orphanages.

 

 

 

 

 

Stretchy toys are another quiet option that can meet the needs of some kiddos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A spiky sensory bracelet your kiddo can wear all day long.

 

 

 

 


An inflatable wiggle seat is a good option as long as a teacher doesn’t mind some wobbling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chewigem makes some great chewable necklaces that are incognito and come in oodles of colors and designs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These sensory-friendly pencil toppers are moveable and reusable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite classroom-friendly sensory tool? Let us know what it is so we can share it!