Friday, February 12, 2010

Educational Visitors

Some of the things God has brought to fruition in this journey have been beyond comprehension, today was another one of those moments.  Before, we brought Faith home, I received an email from a Professor of Deaf Studies at Holy Cross.  She was very interested in meeting Faith, and would like to make herself available to me for whatever help I needed in making sure she had whatever necessary to acquire language.  In addition, she has someone in her department that teaches ASL, that just happens to not only be deaf but also Chinese!  She even knows Chinese sign language -- which was cool to learn that Faith's thumbs up sign is actually Chinese Sign for good!!!  Neat!!  The connection had come from my cousin's sister in law -- you just NEVER know who God is going to use in His plans!! 
Well, after we got home, I emailed Professor Fask to update her on our return and progress thus far.  She invited Faith and I to Worcester, but being winter and so much going on trying to teach the boys, make all Faith's doctor's appointments and work my own part time jobs I was having a hard time finding time.  She emailed and asked if they could come to us!!  Wow!!  Some people's generosity of time and kindness of heart blows me away!  I obviously agreed, and today was our much anticipated visit.

It was so wonderful-  they were both amazing woman, a wealth of information for me.  The biggest question I have been struggling with is what language to teach Faith - ASL?  Signed English? Oral Language?  There are remarkably many options.  They were so good in explaining the benefits of a visual language (ASL) for deaf, especially someone with profound deafness like Faith.  She suggested eating dinner with voice off, and seeing how much Faith misses - as she tries to figure out who is speaking, what is being said, and if there are 2 people speaking at once,or if the conversation volleys quickly, as it can -- she is only getting bits and pieces.  The oneness on deciphering the conversation is all on her, which is pretty stinky for any one, but esp. a little kid.  I am even more determined to master ASL - and they have provided me a resource for Family Sign classes, where the person comes here and even better at no cost to us!!  God rocks!! and continues to be faithful to his promise to help us if we just agreed to trust Him and bring this beautiful child into our lives!!

They had so many amazing suggestions - finding a deaf babysitter, playgroups and socials for the deaf - that we as a family can attend, and I am grateful of the respect given to our home school lifestyle.  The bible says, God calls you to it, he will guide or lead you through it.  Although I have always read that in regards to troubles, I can see now that it can also relate to the missions He puts before us.  We are called to educate our children, for various reason, the homeschool model works well for us.  I can see that God will provide me the resources, and education I need to be the best provider of education for them -- and you can't beat all the time and attention this allows me to give her (and the boys).  It also makes for a closer bond between Ian and her, as 14 and 4 is a big age gap - if he was in school I find it hard to imagine that they'd share the love they do.  It is so sweet to see, and since he truly wants to be a sign language interpreter, I can't think of better education than 'hands' on :)))

So we march on, filled with names and numbers to follow up on, some times its overwhelming, and I feel guilty that maybe I'm not moving fast enough to put things into place, but then I think she's only been here 3 months.  To us, and to this new life she's still a baby, I certainly wouldn't stick a baby in school. We have time, we continue to implement what we can, love her to pieces, and stay diligent, and we know the rest will come ... God will make sure of that!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

3 Months later

So many times I'll be in the shower or driving in the car, and my mind will draft a post, but then I dry off, or get home, and life gets in my way of actually typing it out!  Most of my free time for writing in the last 6 weeks was devoted to finally finishing my Womens' Catholic bible study that I have been planning and drafting for 3 years!    Thanks to my awesome Bible babe buddies (ha ha), who graciously agreed to test it out for me, its almost done!  Just some edits, and a leader's guide, and God willing someone will be interested in publishing it!!  

The other little matter taking my time would be our precious new daughter!!  Faith continues to challenge us daily, amaze us hourly, and fill our hearts with love every minute!!  I can not believe its only been 3 months, I know that is a cheesy line, but its so true.  More and more I feel like she's been with us since the day of her birth, I often can not even remember life without her - -except I think my back ached a little less (more reason to thank God for not asking me to carry and deliver our 3 child!).

Days in the Gingras house are crazier than before, but we'll take it!!  I am so grateful I am able to be here with her (and the boys), it is an incredible blessing!  One thing I hadn't expected, but happily love is all the cuddle, holding time she'd require.  I often wonder if she looks for this holding/cuddling time because it was something she was used to in her Foster family (they were both retired - including the spoiling Foster Dad, or if she never had it and is just eating it up.  I honestly can't speculate either way but am so grateful for it.  It is what I dreamed of, a little girl that loves me, and wants to be with me - a far cry from those first 2 weeks.  That is the good part, the hard part is the time  -- I am already organizational challenged!!  So my to do list is growing longer, but to see her thrive is worth every undone project!!

So what is the little squid up to ... LOTS!  As Kevin blogged she now has glasses, which explained to much to me -- why she wasn't sitting for books, or staying focused when I was doing vocabulary type ASL lessons with her.  Why she liked to write (aka scribble) but never seemed to LOOK at what she was doodling on the paper!!   I have seen small improvements since the glasses, and I am sure as she gets used to them, and we do these activities more and more will have more cooperation from her -- again this is the issue of forgetting she's only been here for 3 months!!  My expectations are definitely skewed!!    I have bought her more 'baby' type toys realizing that the skills children gleam from playing with those, are essential to learning.  I also realized she missed out having those things, so she now has interlocking beads and a busy box, and I can tell from the amount of time she spends with it, it was money well spent.  She is also very into her cash register (anything with buttons to push!!), her Doodle Pro (thanks the generosity of Isabel!) and playdoh.  I LOVE watching her discover and learn -- she is so easy to occupy so that the boys and I can do our lessons together.  However, when not occupied she is velcroed to one of us!!

The challenges so far have been trying to communicate emotions and non-concrete ideas -- such as its gross to pick your nose, runny away from us as soon as we let go of your hand in a public place is dangerous, and Mommy is a germaphobe so don't lick counters at the Build a Bear, don't expect to play with toys at the doctor's office, and expect to have your hands covered in hand sanitizer before and after (and sometimes during) every outing outside the house!!  I did teach her the signs for "dirty", "dangerous", "careful", "share", "wait your turn", I am not completely sure the meanings have taken hold.   But that's part of the process, we have to consider her language that of a infant or toddler, they take years to get the meanings, make connection and spontaneously return conversation, she will follow that same pattern.  I do give her credit for what she's accomplished in 3 months!! She can tell us her basic needs - hunger, tissue, potty, bed, etc.   As far as teaching emotions, I accidently stumbled across something -- Kevin taught her this game of going for a kiss and then pulling away as a joke.  Which I Hated!!  I know strong word, but oh I would just want this quick kiss, and have to play the game!!  So, I started signing that it made me sad, when she would deny my kiss, and when she did finally kiss me I'd sign that it made me happy.  In a few days, SHE HERSELF would add those signs to the game (saving Dad lol), and helping us start to develop emotion understanding!!  It is cool, so now she can relate to sad and happy !!  

My next writing project is this adoption story, including as I mentioned a few months ago the back story of how God brought us to this point.  Just need to tackle the taxes this week, and then will be writing - hope that you will continue to check back as amazing as having her is, what God did in the 2 years leading up to this moment was amazing ... I still awe at the fact that He allowed us to be part of that (this) story!! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Anybody still read this thing?

Well, if you are Faith needed glasses.  On Feb 5th Allison took her to the eye doctor and they did some dilation thing and based on how light reflected in her eyes were able to determine she can't see very well close up!

That night and a trip to Lensecrafters later she has glasses now, rather thick lensed ones!


I honestly didn't think she could get any cuter but alas, they actually make her cuter!
She does well keeping them on since she can now see while wearing them.  They do need to be cleaned several times per but that's ok, at least she's pushing them back on her tiny nose!