The Story of KaoHawm
Our second Sunday in Pattaya (Pot-tee-yah), Thailand, we went to a church that was planted by the Thailand Methodist Mission Pioneer Pastor Program. As we were waiting for the service to begin, God called KaoHawm (cow-hahm) and her mom, Nui (new-ee) to sit in the seat right behind us.
As we turned to speak to her, we saw a child who was totally void of any muscle control. KaoHawm was a limp noodle sitting in her mom’s lap. Because Carol worked in the field of Occupational Therapy, all of her therapy bells and whistles went off. After church, Carol got our translator to ask KaoHawm’s mom if she could come and visit them and play with KaoHawm.
Arrangements were made and God’s plan for this little one (and
We thought KaoHawm was about 18 months old, only to find out she was 2 1/2 years old. She has Down Syndrome and is deaf.
She was unable to roll over or move. Her mother was in a hopeless situation. She lives with a single mother, Nui, who sells trinkets to tourists on the streets of Pattaya to pay for the rent and their food.
Nui has made many hard decisions. In Thailand often there is a stigma on persons with disabilities. They might believe that KaoHawm is the way she is because of bad choices she or her ancestors made in previous lives and therefore was deserving of her situation and to interfere would be to alter karma. But thanks be to God, Nui is a Christian, she did not throw KaoHawm away to an orphanage but chose to keep her and love her. When faced with the choice of being homeless and hungry, she chose to leave KaoHawm safely locked in their room, on a mat, on the floor, with a fan blowing on her as she went to sell.
KaoHawm had so little muscle tone, she often aspirated liquids into her lungs resulting in pneumonia. God’s blessings were abundant, as Carol began working with KaoHawm. She became stronger and healthier. She began rolling over, holding her head up, sitting, scooting, crawling,
pulling herself up. Nui suddenly had hope and a problem. Now, what is mom to do? Mom’s sister came to help with KaoHawm and they traded off their time selling.
After eight months of working with KaoHawm we had to move to a small farming community six hours away. A couple of months after we moved the tourist trade plummeted because of a military takeover of the government. Nui is unable to feed herself or KaoHawm so she moves KaoHawm to her mother’s in the north and goes to work in South Korea. When she returns six months later she began looking for an institution or school that would take KaoHawm so she can make progress.
What to do?? After doing the math--when Carol is 70 KaoHawm will be 18--mmmmm. We fall on our knees before God. He is the faithful God, you know, and He speaks clearly to Vicki, saying, I did not bring this little one into your life to abandon her, and He told Carol, You silly person, this doesn’t have to be forever! So, we told Nui we would take KaoHawm for a year.
When she came to us she could not walk, dress herself, feed herself and toilet herself. God again blessed our time with KaoHawm and we began looking for the best future plan for KaoHawm. We learned that there is a school for the deaf in Pattaya, where her mother is living again. After six months we take KaoHawm to the school to see if she can attend. Although she can walk, she is unable to independently dress herself, feed herself, or toilet herself, Unlike the schools in America where they work on independence they told us that because of her inabilities she cannot go to this school. We take her back to Nonsomboon with us and continue to strengthen her and her skills. As God
intertwines life to fulfill His plan, a door opens for KaoHawm to attend school with typically
d eveloping children. This propels her development to the next level--independence.
After one more trip to Pattaya to get KaoHawm in the school for the deaf, we were encouraged to
keep her one more year. The leaders of the school believed she would develop more with another
year of one-on-one learning than they could provide at their school. However, we were promised that she is enrolled for the following year.
She begans school May 15 2017 Thanks be to God.
God placed KaoHawm in our path so that we could learn about the hopeless plight of children with
disabilities and the lack of support for parents of these children in Thailand. God touched our hearts
deeply by the hopelessness and helplessness of these uneducated and impoverished people.
He called us to use our skills and gifts to open a center for special needs children in the heart of the
largest city in the poorest region of Thailand. And so the birth of Special Blessings Korat.--A place of
Hope and Help. Thanks be to God for this calling.
She is getting so big and doing so well. We are praising God for her life and her growth. Please continue to pray for Kaohawm.