Sunday, February 7, 2010

Urkaine Bound....

We’re headed for Ukraine! As of last week it became official, I will be joining a team of therapists, and others who are excited about an opportunity to help children who need it the most. A team of therapists from Children’s Therapy TEAM, including 2 physical therapists, 2 occupational therapists, and 2 speech language pathologists, a trip coordinator and an equipment supplier with knowledge of building customized equipment for special needs children, will be leaving for Ukraine on April 10th and returning April 18th. Our mission is to share our knowledge as well as provide supplies for the orphanage caregivers, doctors, hospital staff and parents to help improve the lives and future of special needs children in Ukraine. We will be visiting two orphanages as well as a hospital with a NICU unit, to work with the kiddos and staff. We will also be setting up a clinic at the hospital that will assist parents who have opted to keep their special needs children. We will be providing assessments, developing treatment plans and supplying equipment to those in need.

Typically, children with any kind of disability born in Ukraine are given up at birth to be raised in orphanages. The lack of education and understanding of the needs of special needs children leads to a system and mindset that prevents children from growing and developing, even when they have great potential. Special needs children are separated within the orphanage from other children without disabilities, and are commonly overlooked during adoption proceedings. If a special needs child remains in the orphanage to the age of four, they are moved into an institution. The prognosis for a child moved to the institution is very dire and it is not uncommon for a child to be placed into a crib or bed and have no interaction with other people. The mortality rates of the institutions are very high and the life expectancy of these special needs children is significantly reduced once they are moved to the institution. Our goal is to keep as many children as possible out of these institutions by providing the caregivers and doctors at the orphanages with the training, knowledge, and supplies that are needed to improve the quality of life for these special needs children.

These are a few pictures from the TEAM mission trips over the past few years. To read more about last years trip to Ukraine, please go to Carmen's, Kate's, or Karen's blog. With each trip, the TEAM has seen a transformation in the orphanages as new techniques are implemented and the children’s skills develop. The plan is to continue making these annual trips and help where we can, as well as raise awareness of the situation in Ukraine.

I am so excited to be a part of this TEAM and can’t wait to see what GOD has planned for us. Please pray for our group as we prepare for this trip. I will continue to update with details of the trip along the way, so be sure to check back. Thanks. If you are interested in supporting our mission trip, here's a list of supplies that are needed as well as how to make monetary donations.
  • Exercise balls all shapes and sizes
  • Small inflatable balls for catching
  • String beads
  • Pop beads
  • Small blocks
  • Massage lotions (gentle & fragrance free
  • Teethers
  • Hardback books with simple pictures and minimal words
  • Crib mirrors- unbreakable & washable
  • CD's - instrumental, no English language
  • Small (used/new) orthotics -feet or hands
  • Hand-held massagers
  • Preemie sized pacifiers

In addition to the items listed for donation, we will be purchasing specialized items and buying supplies for building specialized equipment to be used in the orphanage and hospital.

Monetary donations are 100% tax deductible.

If you are interested in making a monetary donation: Please make checks out to "New Heights Church" with "Ukraine Trip" in the memo

Donation items or checks may be mailed to or delivered to :

Children's Therapy TEAM

2474 E. Joyce Blvd, STE#2

Fayetteville, AR 72703


**If you are interested in donating supplies, we have a detailed Wish List Registry at Wal-Mart. To locate the registry on Wal-Mart's website please search by:

First Name: Ukraine

Last Name: Team

Month: April

State: Arkansas


Seriously Though said...

I was surfing the blogs while watching the Super Bowl and landed here.This post made me cry. I want to follow along to see what happens in Ukraine. I knew a couple little darlings who had great challenges in their short but joyous lives. Thank you for being a therapist.

Ross and Kate said...

So excited for you to go!! I wish I were going with you. Maybe we'll get to go together in the future :)

Jen said...

I'm a Speech Pathologist in Magnolia, AR. I came across the link to your post on Kelly's Korner. What an amazing opportunity to use your skills for God's glory. If I didn't have a newborn at home I would love to go with you all. Please keep me informed of the plans for next year's trip at

Brooke said...

Wow, this is awesome! You will make such a difference in the lives of these little ones!

I am a OT and would love to do something like this in the future. Thanks for sharing this!

MJ said...

Hi there! I came across your blog from a link on Kelly's Korner. We live in SW Missouri and my husband, a youth pastor, is taking a team of senior high students and adults to Kiev in June! Kelly mentioned that you need supplies - I'd love to know how we can help! Feel free to email me or leave a comment on my blog to let me know what we can do!

Lindsey said...

I'm glad I found your blog! I hope to go sometime in the future. See you at work tomorrow!

Kendra said...

I'm a SLP and an adoptive mom. HOW can I get involved? How can I go help these children and make a difference in their lives?

Amye Jo said...

I am the mother of a special needs child and this post broke my heart. I would like to donate any supplies that I can. Please let me know what y'all will need for your trip.

mc richie said...

Hi -
I found your blog from following Kelly and Harper. I am a Special Education teaching in Texas...I teach a Lifeskills class of 7 kiddos ranging in age from 6-13, so this hits close to home. It also touched my heart that on April 10th we will be walking here in Texas in the March of Dime's march for babies...almost a year ago, my liitle boy, Beckham was in the NICU for a on the same day we will be headed to 2 totally different places, but to help those kiddos who need a NICU or have other special needs. I would be happy to help with supplies or however I can. Please post items that you will need. I will be praying for y'all. Glad I found you tonight...Good luck! Molly

The Garners said...

I followed a link from Kelly's Korner, and was so moved/heartbroken by the photos of these precious children. I would love to know how I might could help in some way with supplies, etc. that you mentioned? Please feel free to email me ( or leave a comment on my blog. I will be praying for your trip.

Tara G. said...

Hi Christie,
We're currently living in Ukraine for the 2nd time(w/US Embassy Kyiv) and if we can provide any help to you, please do not hesitate to contact us. I don't know who your team is working through, but we have some medical missionary friends here who work with children in the orphanages (he is a ped. dr. and she a nurse) and could certainly put you in touch if that would help in your preparations. You can contact me via Have a wonderful trip and I know you will be a blessing not only to the children, but to their caregivers and prospective adoptive parents. God bless!

Tara G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
April said...

I found your blog from Kelly's Korner. Our family is currently in the process of adopting a little girl with Down syndrome from Eastern Europe through Reece's Rainbow. I am so excited to hear about your missions trip. It would be wonderful if more parents would not only keep their children born with special needs, but to have the resources available to them. We will be praying for your team.

Lee said...

Over the past few weeks, I've been posting photos of my own past trips to Ukraine. I've worked with orphans in that country several times and it's heart breaking to see the conditions in which they live. I can only hope that something we've said or done has make a fraction of a difference in their lives as they've made such a difference in mine.

I'll be posting tomorrow about your trip in an effort to spread the word. I pray that your team will be blessed with all the supplies and above and beyond your expectations.

Get ready to have your lives changed forever.

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