Our First Birthday Together!

January 14, 2010 BAHA, Education, hearing loss, homeschool, Laine, microtia, older child adoption, speech delay, speech therapy 4 Comments

Last year she celebrated with her beloved foster mama…

but this year she celebrates with her forever mama and forever family! 😉 Thank you Jesus!

We brought our 7 year old, Candie, home on Halloween of 2008. Her birthday is 8/23/00. Her special need is bi-lateral microtia/atresia. Candie is a happy little girl and for that I am very thankful. Most of the time she is kind, caring, helpful, and content. What a blessing!

Do not believe that it is all sunshine and roses though. She has her moments like all kiddos. Actually, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past 11 months with her…

When we first adopted her, the transition was perfectly seamless. She fit right in with our crazy bunch. Even though she couldn’t hear well at all, she seemed to understand our gestures and our communication consisted of mainly that –gestures. I knew she couldn’t hear within normal limits (Candie’s SN is bi-lateral microtia/atresia) until she would be fitted with her BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid) and so I never pushed her to speak clearly or learn a whole bunch of words. Her speech was unintelligible even by our Mandarin guide in China and translator that we had here in the States.

So…what’s a mom to do? We grinned and bared it. And we played and smiled and yelled so she could hear us.

In March she was fitted with her BAHA and in April she began speech classes. The speech therapists at the HEAR Center for hearing impaired children assured me she was at an infant/toddler level of speech because her “hearing” age was so low… she had only been hearing well for a month or two. While wearing her BAHA, her hearing is well within normal limits. So subtract one negative impact on her development… she can hear now! Hooray! But her speech would take a LONG time to develop. On top of that, she’s learning a whole new set of vocabulary….in a whole new language. Whew!

I contemplated sending her to school instead of homeschooling her. I felt like her needs may be more than I could help her with… but the school therapists suggested I home school her. They said she would be placed in a 4th grade classroom and be SO BEHIND. (wow, they were SO right)

So May came and went and I did Candie’s speech homework with her faithfully. I also tried teaching her some academics but her vocabulary was so low, she just wasn’t ready. I resigned that I would begin her in Kindergarten in homeschool in the fall. Candie continued attending private speech therapy all summer and we worked diligently with her at home. DILIGENTLY. ALL of us. It became a full time job for the family. Teaching Candie English.

In August she resumed her speech therapy at the elementary school putting her up to four speech classes a week. We do lots of speech homework everyday. And I will be honest, it’s taxing. Downright frustrating at times. I know her auditory processing skills are “off”. She cannot repeat what we say if it has more than two syllables. She cannot recall verbal directions. I know a lot of this has to do with her “hearing” age. She has never really had to listen closely to anything in her whole life. Now that she CAN listen, she has to be TAUGHT to listen. To hang on every word.

She doesn’t like having to learn new things. She pouts and shuts down and gets very discouraged. And so do I, frankly! I want her to persevere and try… but she is so content staying in her world of playtime and not school-time. I knew academically that she was very behind, but since starting kindergarten work, I’ve really been hit with the reality of it.

I have a 9 yr. old daughter who only knows half the alphabet, can’t count to 20, and can’t hold a conversation.

BUT THANK YOU GOD…she is home. She is with her family. We love her too much to allow her to remain the same little deaf girl that she was in China. We push her, we make her try, and we reward her greatly for her efforts! We tell her we love her and that we want her to be able to talk and learn and succeed! We go over and over and over and over and over her speech homework until she “gets” it. Even if that means we are late going somewhere. We don’t give up on her. We desire her not to give up on herself.

Hmmmm…as I’m typing that, I’m reminded of how much the Lord does that for us. What a parallel.

Me: “Candie, I don’t want you to be complacent about your school – (not like she understands that word…but I did tell her that one day b/c I had to get it off my chest, ya know?)
Jesus: “Laine, I don’t want you to be complacent about two areas of your life that you have left undisciplined”

Me: “Candie, I’m helping you learn this because I love you. Sometimes it’s not easy. You just have to try.”
Jesus: “Laine, I’m helping you learn this lesson because I love you. Sometimes it’s not easy. You just have to try”

Me: “We are going to keep going over this until you get it, Candie!”
Jesus: “We are going to keep going over this until you get it, Laine!”

Me: “Candie, I love you too much to let you play around and not keep trying.”
Jesus: “Laine, I love you too much to let you stay the way you are.”

Me: “That complaining is not acceptable. You need to be thankful, Candie.”
Jesus: “Your complaining is taking your eyes off of me, Laine…be thankful in this.”

Me: (to Rob) “I’m so tired of having to correct my daughter’s speech all day long”
Jesus: “I will never get tired of sanctifying and refining you, daughter.”

What a Mighty God we serve! How He shows us our own heart issues through our children! Thank you Lord. What love…

To sum up this post, I will say that the first six months of Candie’s adjustment have been much easier than the second six months. Her attachment to us is still strong and sweet as ever, but the academic and language issues have been a hurdle we’re learning to jump over. We may fall down, but we know with the Lord’s sweet Hand as our guide, we will pick ourselves up and keep trying!

(Just to add, this post was written in September 2009…and now, just four months later, she can now count WAY over 20, knows ALL her letters AND sounds, is reading three letter words, can understand more of what we say and can make 4-5 word sentences! But most importantly, she is gaining confidence, assurance, and security in her abilities. GO GOD!)

4 responses to “Our First Birthday Together!”

  1. TanyaLea says:

    Thank you Jesus!! Oh how wonderful to hear an update on your sweet Candie! I vividly remember reading this post last fall. What a difference a season makes! Go is so good…SO faithful! PTL that we can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives us strength…ALL THINGs!!

    Laine, you are such an encourager and one of my favorite bloggy roll models. You are not only a follower of Christ, but you are a servant, a friend and an amazing teacher/leader for Him! I am so glad to know you and look forward to all that God is going to do through you in your famiy and to reach others! You have so much to share!! Your family is SO blessed to have you, and I can't wait to see Kevin added to the mix!

    Blessings and Hugs, dear friend!! <><


  2. Debby says:

    I've gone through much of this with my daughter. It does get easier & easier & as their confidence builds, they are better equipped to try what seemed so impossible just a short time before.
    Continued good luck…..

  3. Kristi says:

    Beautiful parallel!

  4. kyungmee says:

    How wonderful! I was about seven years old when I was adopted and had celebrated my first birthday here..at tleast I remember it as my first birthday! It was soo special! Wonderful touching story..thank you! All the best!

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