This is Hannah. She’s our little miracle. She may never understand how big of a role she plays in Hope Station’s story, but it will always be true.
Some of you may remember that in June of 2016, I (Rebekah) sat down with the orphanage Director and a colleague to talk about a new therapy program. She was surprisingly open to our ideas and asked lots of questions. My colleague and I felt good about where things ended, with her approval to let us try out our therapy program (victory!). But we still hadn’t signed any papers, and with all the past no’s we’d received, I was hesitant to get my hopes up. To my surprise, she followed us out of her office and downstairs to sit with the kids and continue chatting. As we sat there together with the children, she asked us a question I’ll never forget:
“This girl,” and she pointed to a child sitting near us, “She’s never been diagnosed, and we don’t know what to do with her. Can you help her?”
The story of fulfilled promises doesn’t end there...
I’ve been doing therapy with Hannah for 6 months now. We play a lot, explore a lot, run a lot, and eat a lot. I learned a lot about her lack of communication skills and daily living skills, her need to put everything in her mouth, and her love for all things plastic. She has a lot of needs, a lot more than what I and Hope Station alone can give her.
Can we just get real for a moment? I was thrilled that the director asked us to do therapy with a certain child, but I was not expecting Hannah to make very noticeable improvements. And when we started out spending time together, I kept telling myself that even if she doesn’t learn anything, I am still showing the orphanage that I want to hear and work within their suggestions and ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in therapy. I believe that play, and attention from a loving adult, and human interaction can work miracles in a child’s life. But Hannah’s needs were pretty intense and still mysterious.
A few months in, I started noticing little victories. She was more attentive to me in our sessions. She remembered where I kept her favorite things even if they were out of her sight. She started to learn our therapy routine and became more physically comfortable being around me. To my amazement, the nannies started noticing changes too. “Every time she sees you through the window, she starts smiling and running around the room.” “She is looking at me more these days!” “She is grabbing my arm and leading me to where she wants to go!” It was unbelievable music to my ears. Truly miraculous. I also started making connections between her behavior and potential diagnoses. I am not a medical professional who is qualified to diagnose special needs, but I have been able to make educated guesses that help me find solutions for her unique behaviors and needs.
Hannah has changed everything. And even more importantly, Hannah herself is growing and learning. Just as her name represents, she is a fulfilled promise from the great Promise Keeper.
A note from Rebekah...
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to start a nonprofit from the ground up, to open a home for ORPHANS with special needs in Asia, you've come to the right place.