Jan 4, 2021

Transition Homes Update

Christmas at Heather's with all the kids/siblings
Christmas at Heather's with all the kids/siblings

Well, 2020 has been a bit different than we anticipated in this area as in every other area in the world! We anticipated working more with the Chiang Mai orphanage in providing care to children transitioning home or being adopted to other countries, but both those programs were impacted by COVID-19. We did work with Faithful Heart Foundation to provide transition homes for 4 teen girls. Two of the girls lived with Butsaba and Jay and transitioned to a long term foster home in May, where they are doing well. 

The other two girls, May and Ben, lived with Heather. The day after Thanksgiving, May moved in with her older sister and brother-in-law and has been enjoying their time together. We worked with Faithful Heart Foundation to provide a water system consisting of a water pump, a tank and a filtration system so they can access clean water for showering and washing clothes. We also provided assistance with household items such as a stove, a sink, a bathroom water heater and even helped paint the house so it feels like new! We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with the family as part of our Building Family Dreams program for 2021. 

Ben will live with Heather until she finishes 9th grade in April, when she will transition to living with her sister Uiy and niece and nephews (including baby Kam Pii, born on November 25). Her sister and the baby spent the Christmas holidays with them while the other kids stayed with their grandparents. Uiy is nearly done with a sewing course and has become an amazing seamstress so we are sure she will have no problem getting work to sustain the family will continued assistance from Faithful Heart Foundation and our Building Family Dreams program. 

We anticipate more short-term placements in 2021 and thank you for your support!

 

Sincerely, 

Heather, Jay and Butsaba

Sep 10, 2020

Ups and Downs of citizenship

Fang trip
Fang trip

This update has ups and downs just like all things in life. 

After several years of trying to go through the system to get Andrew* his citizenship, we have come to the end of possibilities. We had hoped that we could do a DNA test with his aunt to prove his relation and thus get his citizenship granted. However, we recently learned that even if the DNA test comes back positive, which is unlikely given that they are different genders and generations, because of the way in which his aunt got her citizenship, he will still not be eligible. For a nephew to follow a non-parent, they must have been born in Thailand, not moved here and then gotten citizenship after 30 years of being in country, as his aunt was. So, now we are putting all our efforts into getting funding for his spinal surgery to correct his severe scoliosis. Without citizenship, the costs will be significantly higher. We were able to get Andrews resident card, however, so if he continues his studies until he graduates college in 10 years, he will then be eligible to get his citizenship that way. 

Now for the good news: We have two other cases we have been working on, one of a mom and her 3 kids registered in Mae Fah Luang province, and another mom with two kids registered in Fang.

We started working on the Mae Fah Luang case about one year ago, and the mom got her citizenship card in June of 2019. Then, we were able to start on the case of her three chidlren. We got all the paperwork in for the kids in July and they scheduled interviews with the village chief and elders for November, so we will return then. The travel to MFL is 5 hours each direction, so we usually hire a van to take us all so we don't fall asleep on the trip! 

We also took the family of one of our foundation's staff to see whether we can get her kids citizenship. It turns out that the mom has been in Thailand long enough to have gotten citizenship for herself, but she missed the deadline to apply. Luckily, her kids are still eligible. Her daughter was born at home so doesn't have a birth certificate. We got a form to do a DNA test, and just have to wait for the results to come in. Her son has all his papers in order, so once the DNA comes back, both kids will get their citizenship cards. This is actually our easist case so far! This is our first case in Fang, which is about 3 hours from Chiang Mai. 

Aug 27, 2020

Foster Care Update

Thank you to those who have supported this project. Much has changed since our last report. (**Please don't share or forward photos**)

 

The two girls who were with Jay and Butsaba have settled into their new home and seem to be doing well. One of the girls has ODD (Oppositional Definace Disorder) and is receiving counseling services for the first time, which has helped her and the family immensely. Both girls started at a new school and are doing well there. 

The two girls who were with Heather both have positive updates to report. Martha, who graduated 9th grade in the spring, will be moving in with her older sister next month! Her sister and brother-in-law moved from their studio apartment to a 2bed/2bath house not far from her sister's work. The best part: it's actually less expensive than the apartment! The downside: It was completely devoid of any time of furniture, including a kitchen sink! Through donations from a few amazing supporters, we were able to outfit them with a washing machine, kitchen sink, fans, kitchen table and various other household items. Along with Faithful Heart Foundation, we are planning to have a move in day celebration when Martha officially moves in next month. 

Hannah is still staying with Heather as she finishes 9th grade, and her sister recently moved down to Chiang Mai. She is expecting a new baby, but the goal is to provide assistance to her when the new baby arrives and have Hannah move in with her sister after she graduates 9th grade. Hannah's sister spent a week with Hannah and Heather before she found a new place, and it seems like this will be an ideal housing situation for both of them. The best part of foster care for us is family reunification and seeing the kids end up in a place where they can thrive. In addidtion, both Martha and Hannah's sisters have joined our Building Family Dreams program, so we will be able to provide support and follow up care for them for about a year beyond their reunification. 

Finally, one of Heather's former foster daughters, who went to the US as an exchange student, graduated high school and stayed with Heather and Hannah for a month before starting college in Chiang Rai Province. It was fun to have her and bittersweet to send her off to college, but we are all excited for this next chapter in her life. Statistically, fewer than 50% of foster kids are able to attend and graduate college, so this is a big deal for her. 

Thank you for your support as we continue to assist children through transitions in their lives and help prepare them for new placements. 

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