Welcome to our blog! I can’t wait to share the more personal side of Embrace International through these short narratives.
Let me jump right into our most exciting upcoming project: ETHIOPIA!
In a matter of weeks, 3 occupational therapists will be traveling to the capital of Ethiopia to help the staff in community orphanages and the private transition home of America World Adoption Agency (AWAA).
How did this come about?
Well, I had been doing some parent and staff trainings at AWAA on Sensory Processing Disorder. Frequently children who grow up in orphanages often lack the sensory nourishment their bodies need for proper nervous system functioning- sensory processing. It is important for parents and staff to understand typical development so that they can look for warning signs if things seem a little “off”. (Don’t worry about these details, I’ll be writing a lot more about sensory processing disorder in future posts.)
Over the years we (Embrace International) wanted to collaborate with this organization on a more international level. It was decided that this was the year to make it happen. AWAA has been extremely helpful and inviting as we organize ourselves for this volunteer service trip.
What will we do there?
AWAA has identified some basic needs at their transition home in Addis Ababa. (What is a transition home, you ask? It’s where children live pending adoption.) We’ll start by doing a needs assessment. Essentially, we’ll be observing daily routines, the environment, the interactions, and participating in interviews with the staff.
At the same time, if they are willing, we hope to be in the local community orphanages doing the same type of observations and interviews.
As we become more familiar with their daily life, we’ll begin to fill in with activities and education to help them nurture the kids towards developmentally appropriate milestones in crawling, walking, playing, eating, and dressing (just to name a few).
We’ll have FUN! We will be engaging through play with lots of toys, but facilitating the kids along the way…finding the just right challenge. There will be crafts, bubbles, balls, fidgets, shape sorters, I SPY Bags and more. (Thanks to Giggle Junction and numerous families for your donations!)
The babies, toddlers, school-aged kids, and their caregivers will touch us.
We know we will take away so much from this experience, yet it’s impossible to predict the exact nature and shape of these lessons.
Follow our journey on this blog to find out what we do with the kids, how we feel, and what we learn. There is so much to come, I hope you pop in from time to time to hear our stories.
Before I go on, let me recognize all those who’ve helped Embrace International become more than an idea. Please check out our Special Thanks page to learn more about those who have supported us.
There are so many others not formally recognized on this page…you know who you are. My sincerest thanks to all.
11 days till Ethiopia….
P.S.- I’ll introduce the volunteer occupational therapists on the next blog.