1. Sign Language: It is somewhat controversial to teach a hearing impaired child sign language when that child has the ability to hear through hearing aids. One of the thoughts behind this is that a hearing impaired child will tend to hold on to signing and will not want to use their voice. A non hearing impaired child will drop the sign language easily and talk.( I am sure there is a ton of research and info out on this topic and I am just skirting the issue.) So we had a decision to make a while back - to teach Maggie sign language or not. Her Auditory/verbal teacher felt Maggie had just as much ability to speak as she did to sign. But, she left the decision up to us and also Maggie is not your typical child. She has other issues: orphanage,severe lack of stimulation as a baby and developmental delays due to orphanage. There's no nice color coded chart that tells us what to do with Maggie. It has all been trial and error so far.
We decided to slowly introduce Maggie to signing. Communication is very important and she had no way to tell us anything - except crying and taking our hand to show us something. It seemed cruel to not teach her a way to communicate while we wait on her language development. I see sign language as a bridge to speaking. Plain and simple.
We started with one word - milk. Then we added more and all done. The following are the words Maggie can sign on her own using the correct context:
rock the baby
shhhh ( or night night)
2. Speech : It has been a long road to get Maggie to talk. Sometimes I thought she would never talk. When she played she was so quiet and she babbled off and on, but not a lot. In November she started saying ahhh
with a good open mouth sound. I was reading to Maggie one day about colors. I said "red, red you say red", and she said ahhh. I know, it sounded nothing like red, but it was the first time she copied me and tried to repeat a word. From then on anytime I asked her to say the name of something she would say ahhh. For example, yel-low would be ahh-ahhh, blue would be a short ah. Very exciting for us and for Maggie. She's trying to talk.
Last week she started saying baaa consistently and when asked to say blue now she says baa. Oh, she's so close ! Sometimes she actually says the word. I have heard her say purple and apple. Random I know.
Here's a list of words Maggie can say all by herself and in context:
ma-ma ( more)
gu-gu ( dog)
That's a terribly short list of words for a two year old, but we are so proud of our little girl. She is working so hard and is really making huge leaps and bounds toward catching up developmentally. Tonight she danced and danced and laughed. I was caught up in watching her joy for life and her happiness was almost too much to take in.
God has done so many Miracles for Maggie and for us. Just the fact that she is in the living room twirling and dancing is a huge miracle. So, we are rejoicing at this small little list of words Maggie is saying. It is our Big Christmas miracle this year.
Maggie loves books. Well, love doesn't even to begin to describe her relationship with books. She needs books, craves them. I spend hours everyday just rocking Maggie and reading her books.
The picture above is a stack of books I read her this morning. She signs please-more after each book. Her little fingers point to the pictures and she loves to know the names of things and the sounds they make. I ask her to point to animals,apples,colors,shapes and she knows exactly what I am talking about. She knows so much, I believe, because of books.
Her mind is a sponge right now, taking in everything and learning so much lately. She even wants to sleep with her books and reads them when she eats.
Even though Maggie is not yet talking up a storm, her receptive language (the listening and understanding of language) is amazing. She intently listens to the stories I read and knows exactly when it is time to turn the page. It is easy for Maggie to pay attention and sit for an hour sometimes when I read to her.
There's so much that is happening as we read together : Bonding, vocabulary and knowledge building are just some. And the best source for building up her brain with words and sounds is reading.
Two books I love that explain the importance of reading to children and also have detailed lists of books for different ages are:
Honey For A Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.
I love these books and they stay on my nightstand and go to the library with me.
I am still doing adoption paper work one year later.
In the state of Alabama, you have to apply through your local courthouse to re-adopt. The re-adoption will then allow us to get Maggie an Alabama birth certificate.
Personally, I think it is crazy to have to re-adopt my child that is fully adopted and fully my child. Crazy !!!
But, since I am at the mercy of this insane governmental laws right now, I spent most of the day yesterday doing paperwork and gathering the necessary forms so that we can re- adopt our already adopted daughter.
I was told you don't have to have a lawyer in order to re adopt in Alabama. So, I just did all the work myself.
I figure if I can put a Dossier together for China, I can fill out a couple of forms. And I did. It was pretty easy and the clerk at the courthouse said it looked fine. So, I am not sure why some people use a lawyer and spend hundreds of dollars ? Let's pray I did everything right and we will not have to hire a lawyer.
In 30 minutes our social worker wil be here to complete our one year post placement adoption paper work that must go to China.
One year? Does time really go by that fast ?
Almost one year ago, we met our beautiful daughter. She was a shell of a baby, unable to use her hands, she had no language or communication, no desire to eat, no hearing, and no concept of love.
She had many signs of being in an institution (self soothing) - looking at hands constantly, rocking back and forth, wierd rolling of her eyes and head banging. And oh ! How we loved her at first sight !
And so began the loving and nurturing of Maggie.
Also lots of therapy, hearing aids, prayer and time. One year. Our baby is so different now. So special and so sweet.
Ok, I'll have to finish this later...the door bell is ringing.
Maggie may not understand why there is toilet paper in the trees, who Cam is or what exactly War Eagle means, but she had a great time walking around downtown Auburn today in her new pink coat ( holding a random spoon in her hand that she wouln't leave in the car).
I am not sure where you are from, but in the South, we send Christmas cards. Not just any cards mind you. We send Christmas Cards with pictures of our children ( usually dressed in their Christmas best, beach family photos, or even cute poses with funny Christmas hats). The cards are wonderful gifts that we love to get in the mail. It is so fun to walk to the mailbox during the month of December. Will I get a card from my college roommate and see how big her children are now ? Or will it be my sweet nieces from Birmingham all dressed in their matching outfits ?
We display our cards in a card tree during December, then they go in THE BASKET after Christmas. The Basket holds all the past and present Christmas cards for us to go through all year long and look at. The boys love to sit by the fire and rummage through it, looking for pictures of their friends and family and seeing how they have changed over the years.
Our favorite cards to send are simple photo cards like this one or this one or this one. OK, Shutterfly has too many cute ones, it will be hard to pick this year.
Oh, and send me a Christmas card this year. We love them and we don't throw them away either !
Go here To get 50 Christmas cards free from Shutterfly.
Hi !This started as a blog to keep our friends and family updated on our adoption process. Now, I blog about our life with two boys and our adopted, hearing impaired daughter. You won't find professional,touched up photos or life changing quotes. Just real,fun life.