Sunday, July 29, 2012

Two Ears to Hear With?

So its been a while - but I feel like giving our bloggy friends a little update.  On July 5, Lori recieved her second implant and the surgery went well.  After giving it 2 weeks to heal - they turned it on last Thursday.  She gave very little indication that she noticed it being turned on - maybe a little look toward the computer - very anti-climatic.  Typical Lori. 

So, we worked up the volume scale this last week and went back on Thursday.  The team worked very hard with Lori - trying to pull out information from her.  They look for anything - a head turn, a grimace, eye movement, anything - to determine if she hears the sounds they are pushing through her head.  She gives them almost nothing.  They have often assumed that maybe its her personality.  But, I felt like the tides turned a bit this week, they mentioned that they "arent't throwing in the towel just yet".  They said they had talked about her and think she may actually be the only kid ever that they have seen who showed almost no interest in her implants.  They would expect this if she had other issues or her MRI showed reason to believe that her inner ear/auditory nerve anatomy were inadequate.  But they are ok. 

So......where do we go from here. 

If we only speak to her and she's not picking up the spoken words - then we are missing out on valuable language learning time.  If we sign to her - then we are limiting her need to learn to listen to the spoken word.  Blah Blah Blah.  We've been presented with all the research telling us that children who sign have lower test scores and run the risk of not functioning well in our hearing world.  We've been cautioned that her speech may sound "deaf".  We have a team of 4 professionals working with her and they don't agree with each other on which approach we should take.  Let me just tell you that that is VERY frustrating.  Sometimes I want to just stop the madness and just let her be.  I've questioned why we even implanted her.  What's so bad about being deaf - that's the way with humans - we're always trying to fix everybody. 

Jay and I have had some heart to hearts lately about this.  Much to the dismay of at least one part of our "team" - I think we are choosing to pursue the TC approach.  This stands for Total Communication - meaning she will learn both signing and speech simultaneously.  We run the risk of limiting her speech - but seeing that she doesn't speak at all right now - I'm really not too concerned about that.  She signs beautifully and it seems to come very natural for her.  I'm ok with that.  I don't know a lot of sign - but we are learning, learning, learning.  She's deaf.  I'm ok with that, too.  I don't feel the need to fix her.  I want to give her all the opportunities I can - but I don't want to pretend that she's not deaf.  The frustrating part of all this is that even if she were to hear with the implants - at night, in the bathtub, in the swimming pool, anytime the implants are off - she's still and will always be deaf.  We are ok with that.  We knew that coming into this.  I guess you could say that we signed up for that.  It's everyone else that doesn't seem ok with that.  Again, this lends itself to frustration.

So, another part of this puzzle, is that since coming back to Miner Baptist last year - every Sunday I see this posted in the front of the church about bringing the gospel to Deaf people around the world as I sit next to a little deaf Chinese girl.  Hmmmmm - it makes me wonder if God orchestrated this very frustration so that we would learn sign, so that Lori would learn sign, and hopefully reach her people, and other deaf cultures for the Kingdom.  When I think about it that way - I'm ok with that, too.  Really ok.  This week - because of Lori - we were asked to teach a Sign Language Class at Vacation Bible School.  Only because of Lori and her deafness were we able to tell 40 children about the gospel through sign and hopefully plant the seeds in each of them to learn more sign and encourage them to become missionaries to the deaf world.  Statistics show that only 2% of the Deaf people in the world are Christians. 

We have a heart for missions.  Lori came to us.  We fell in love with China.  China has a huge deaf population that needs to hear about Jesus.  The implants aren't working.  We have been forced to learn sign.  Loris loves learning sign which leads us to learn more and more and more to keep up with her......Did God set all this in motion?  As I study His Sovereignty - I must say "Absolutely".  And I'm ok with that, too.