Monday, February 6, 2012

Our son is deaf and that is okay.

Yes, Sammy is profoundly deaf, but he is not broken and certainly does not need to be fixed.   He is fearfully and wonderfully made by an awesome creator who does not make mistakes.  God knew what he was doing when he placed Sammy in our family.  Not only did He put amazing people in our paths to educate us about ASL and Deaf Culture, He also gave us a year to research raising a deaf child.  Sammy being deaf is not a mistake and neither is God's plan for him to be a part of our family.

We knew Sammy had a profound hearing loss in November 2010 when we chose to inquire about adopting him.  We knew this when we signed the papers promising to love him as our own.  We knew this as we flew half way around the world to bring him home.  Having an official diagnosis changes nothing!  We never expected him to come home and miraculously be able to hear.  He is our son and we love him.  Having a deaf son has done nothing but bring joy to our lives.  We are learning a beautiful new language and have met the most incredible people along the way.

 We had a year to research all our options.  We spent that year in constant prayer, exploring every option available for hearing amplification and language development.   We also took that time to explore Deaf Culture and start learning American Sign Language.   We have chosen to let Sammy decide when and if any interventions will be put in place to amplify his hearing.  His first language will be ASL.

Sammy didn't choose us, we chose him.  It is our responsibility to bend to his needs not him to ours.  He needs us to effectively communicate with him.  ASL is the easiest, most gentle, way for communication to progress rapidly.  He has had way too many changes in his short little life for us to try and force him into our hearing world.  That just isn't fair.   The few tests he's had done have brought on major regression.  We will not be pursuing  anything further until we are fully able to communicate what is happening to him.  Right now needs to be a time of healing and bonding.  A time to learn what it is like to be part of a family, to be loved, and to love in return.  That is what our focus has been and will continue to be until Sammy has attached to us.

I have spent the past month being raked over the coals for our decision not to intervene to make our deaf son "hearing."  For the record there is nothing that can or will ever make my deaf son hearing.  Cochlear Implants will give him sound and along with YEARS of intense therapy he MAY speak and hear well enough  function in the hearing world.  Hearing aides may be able to amplify what little residual hearing he has, but NO interventions will ever make him hearing, he will ALWAYS be deaf.   There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  To insinuate that he is any less of a person because of his inability to hear is appalling.

I am so disappointed by the treatment we've received over the past year because of our decision not only to adopt but to adopt a deaf child with no intention to intervene and "make him hearing."  Every family is different.  What works for us doesn't work for everyone and that's okay.  God made us all different for a reason.  Just because we are choosing a different path than what some may feel is the "right" path doesn't give anyone the right to belittle our decision.  Those who have been the most vocal about cochlear implants and hearing aides have no experience with hearing loss.  Please educate yourselves on both sides of the issue before forcing you opinions on my family.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sammy Update

I know it has been awhile since I've updated this blog.  Sorry!  Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!!  I hope everyones holidays were great.  Life has been busy, crazy busy.  Five children is a wonderful blessing and a lot of work!

Sammy has been such a blessing.  He is adjusting wonderfully.  It's like he's always been a part of our family.  We have experienced very few issues and what we have seen have been more our issues, not his.  He is an early riser (like 5am early) which has been a HUGE adjustment for this night owl mommy. The others still sleep until 9am.  I'm really hoping he catches on to the family sleep schedule soon. Thank God for coffee, but I'm not sure even the amount I'm drinking can keep me going much longer.  Any helpful tips on how to get him to sleep later in the am?

When he first came home we thought he had a milk allergy, but it turns out it was Giardia (FYI other Shanghai families)  We treated him and he is doing great.  He can now have dairy and has grown so much. He is growing and thriving!  He weighed 19lbs in Guangzhou and  is now 24lbs!  He loves food and will eat almost anything.  He hates italian food which is totally funny given where his dad works, Carrabbas Italian Grill.  He still refuses to eat most cold things.  We finally got him to eat ice cream last week and it was like we were torturing the poor guy. He liked it but acted like it was fire in his mouth.  He was done after about 4 bites.  The big kids were happy to let him feed them the rest.  Raman Noodles is still his favorite food and tries to get us to make it for every meal.  I

He is really picking up ASL quickly.  He is scary smart.  I'm sure it won't be long before he knows more signs  than we do.  He mimics many signs and can understand most things I sign to him. He can follow simple directions and very clearly signs no when he doesn't like what we're telling him to do.  He and Malachi have gotten into a few silent arguments signing no repeatedly back and forth.  It is adorable watching them communicate and very peaceful.

Sammy has a very gentle spirit.  He is so very sweet and is always happy.   I can not wait to see what God has in store for our little guy.  Here's what I know you guys really want to see, pictures!  Unfortunately we had some technical issues with the computer recently so most of the photos are from my phone.  The next update will have better quality photos.

Family photo 2012

Addie and Sammy

Sammy's 1st time playing in the snow.

Handyman SAmmy

1st Christmas (sadly this is the only picture from Christmas because of computer problems)

Happy guy
1st time at the park

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shanghai Part 2

Here are some random pictures of our time in Shanghai.  Andrew took most of these pictures.  It was fun going through his pictures and see China from his perspective.  I think I may have him do a post on his experience.        

Lion are everywhere.

There were sculptures and art everywhere.  They really take pride in beautifying  their  city.  I'm not sure this can be said for all of Shanghai though.  We were in a very affluent area and they may have made a huge difference.  
A little park close to our hotel.  A few grassy areas and several ponds and waterfalls.
They use bamboo for everything.  Not sure I would feel safe standing on this.  
We saw several people carrying enormous load on bike and motorcycles.    I wish we would've taken a picture of one carrying water because it was amazing.  They load 10-15 5gal water bottles on a bicycle and manage to balance it perfectly.  
This was a frequent sight.  A large group of men gathered together for some card game.
Someone asked about street signs.
Danny and Andrew were fascinated by this building.  I'm not sure why, but since they devoted so much of our time at People's Park talking about it, I figured it was worth a picture.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shanghai Part 1

Shanghai was a lot of fun.  Sammy really didn't like being indoors,  so it was easy for him to be on the go.  Originally we were told we would have a guide our entire time in Shanghai but that wasn't the case.  Our guide was only available for adoption related appointments. We met another family there who adopted a 2 year old little boy from Sammy's orphanage.  We spent most of our time exploring Shanghai with them.  They also had their 3 year old daughter with them. She really liked Andrew, and I think having her there helped Andrew not be so homesick.

It was definitely an adventure.  Many people speak English but few speak it well.  The language barrier seemed more of a comic relief than a frustration.  The driving in Shanghai is terrifying and there are no seatbelts available.  Those who know me well know that we always wear seatbelts, and I'm a little crazy about carseat safety.  That being said we managed to cram 8 people into a cab each time we left the hotel. Each adult had a child on their lap.  We survived and there are surprisingly few accidents in China considering how aggressive they drive.

We visited a Buddhist temple, not sure which one, right as it was closing.  It was within walking distance to our hotel.  It was funny to watch people worshipping in this beautiful place with huge billboards and skyscrapers in the background.
The temple is in the background.  

Sammy wasn't used to walking a lot yet, so he hung out in his stroller and people watched.  

The next day we went to People's Park.  It is a beautiful place.

Andrew thought these were so cool

There was a Pixar event going on while we were there.  Disney characters were everywhere.  Malachi would have loved to see it. 

When we followed the signs to the Children's Park we found an amusement park.  We followed signs to the "playground" in hopes the kids could play and found an adult exercise area.

The Zoo was probably the highlight of the Shanghai for the kids.  It was huge, full of beautiful open areas, and lots of animals we'd never heard of before.

Andrew was  tired of having his picture taken, can you tell. 
Add caption

 It amazed me how clean and beautiful the city was.  The pollution was terrible, but the the city itself was very clean.  We did stay in a very affluent area that may have made the difference, but I was very impressed.  I had prepared myself for a lot worse.  I'll have to do two posts on Shanghai because I have way too many pictures.

The view from our room

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gotcha Day Pictures

We are home and everyone is doing well.    Here are some more pictures of Gotcha.  I will try and post pictures of our trip over the next few days.

Signing the paper work.

Here he comes.

Meeting Mommy


Meeting Daddy

Family Picture

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gotcha Day

Sammy is doing great. He came to us with a smile and has been happy most of the afternoon. We had a few tears this evening when we went to the lobby of the hotel and he saw other people. He adores Danny and tolerates me as long as I have food. He thinks Andrew is pretty cool. He loves to eat and man can this boy eat. We are having fun navigating Shanghai on our own. Aside from almost being run over 50 times and not speaking the language, we doing fantastic:)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

We're here!

After 25 hours of traveling we made to our hotel last night around 10pm. Thanks for all your prayers. Our flight from The Springs to San Fransisco was HORRIBLE, but our iternational flights were awesome with no turbulence whatsoever. I much prefer flyin over the ocean to land now:) We found out last night we are sharing a guide with another family while we're in Shanghai. We just met them and they are very nice. They sre adopting a little boy from Sammy's orphanage. I'm sure it will be nice for him to have a familiar (maybe) face to see. We leave in one hour to go get him. I'm hoping I can figure out how to post pictures from my iPhone to my blog. Does anyone know? I hope to update with pictures next time.