Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Candie!


Candie's birthday was in August and I have been meaning to do a happy birthday post for our NINE year old! Last year she celebrated with her beloved foster mama. This year she celebrates with her forever mama and forever family! ;) Thank you Jesus!

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 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 beared 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! (I also know that I will not grit my teeth. It shatters porcelain crowns.)

23 comments:

MichelleQ said...

Isn't it awesome what God can teach us through children! Great post, thanks for sharing!

TanyaLea said...

Wow, you have made a great commitment to your daughter, and I know both you and she will be rewarded for it! I love the parallels you stated between your relationship with Candie and God's relationship with us. SO true! Keep pressing on towards the mark, my friend...and know that we will be praying for all of you! <><

Have a blessed weekend,
~Tanya

Amy said...

Hey Laine,
I just enjoyed catching up with your family. Boy, I can't let much time go by before I miss a bunch! Kevin is adorable and I cant wait to see what God will do in His life and yours. Thank you for your honesty about Candie and the struggles.

Aaron and Erica said...

Happy late Birthday sweet Candie!!! You are a beautiful child of God.

Laine...I just love this post. You are one strong mama and I know you can do this! I look forward to next year's post about little miss Candie so that we can see how much she has accomplished.

Aimee said...

Happy Birthday Candie!!

Laine! I love how you painted a picture of Christ and his love for us. Its true...He is so faithful and continues to faithfully sanctify and refine us. He never gives up.

Candie has a wonderful family who loves her faithfully! You are doing great with her.

The Woodalls said...

I love this post!
I, too, have learned so much about myself and my relationship with God since adopting Rebecca. Every step along the way I have seen His providence at work!
We have many of the same issues with her. Due to a history of chronic and untreated ear infections, her hearing was impaired. And due to profound neglect, it didn't really matter if she could hear or not! Language delay is our greatest struggle due to her auditory processing problem, but she has come so far! Rebecca is now 8 and in 1st grade and will have been home with us for 2 years on the 15th. She's learning to read! She's still behind her peers and needs academic support but she is getting there. A year ago I would not have imagined that we would have made such progress!
You are such an inspiration to me, Laine. God will continue to move mountains!
Emily

Ladyblog said...

Laine:
Your post is refreshing. Elina has been home 1.5 years now and her speech is not up to par. She just started Kindergarten and I have asked the teacher to make sure she is evaluated for speech since she didn't qualify when we had her evaluated. Sometimes, I am very discouraged with her inability and the other day my husband said that he thinks maybe she has a hearing issues. She is a VERY loud talker. I'm not so sure about a hearing issue, but I know she gets very lazy with her language and she can't stand that I am always making her say things correctly before I give her whatever it is she wants.
I think you are doing the right thing by keeping Candie home. Elina went to pre-k all year last year and I don't think anyone ever corrected her speech which led to some very bad speech habits.
We do the turtle talk around here and it's cute how the other kids try to teach her too!
Keep up the Good work!

Keisha said...

Happy Birthday Candie!!!
What a beautiful smile!
You are so right... God always ALWAYS teaches us thru our children!
Hang in there with Candie.. one day this will all be a thing of the past & you are putting SO much more into Candie thru all of this.. .. patience, endurance. Just think... one day .. she may adopt & have a similar situation (with your Grandchild!) and she will have learned FROM THE BEST... her Momma & Daddy! And, of course.. you and Rob have learned from the best... OUR Precious Heavenly Father!!!
Hugs!

amanda said...

Laine,

Please don't grit your teeth. You know what will happen. I am in Pelham now so we would have a further drive to make :) but I would make the drive for U !

You need one of those squishy balls to grab and sink you fingers into he he he.

Amanda

Oatsvall Team said...

oh sister i will so be calling you a lot when Joseph comes home ... I have no idea what Joseph's hearing level is or his speech, but I will trudge forward knowing God does the same for me ...

i love you so much and feel honored you are in my life sister !!! we may have to make us road trip one day so we can meet in the middle and have a park day!

Tina said...

Laine,
Thank you for sharing I pray things will go better in the speech department for you all.

The Byrd's Nest said...

I am in tears for so many reasons with this post. So true...thank you for being so transparent. I have vowed to not check blogs until Fridays or Saturdays because I am not studying...I am escaping! Ha!

Our Emma is not a "listener" and she has always had perfect hearing. It is more frustrating to me than Lottie having a wild fit in the floor! sigh

Thank you for your patience and love with this precious child and thank you for writing out what Jesus would say to ALL of us...I needed to hear these words from my Father.

Love you!
P.S. Now I have something to add to my prayer journal....since I just met you I never knew any of this. Big hugs and big prayers coming your way.....forever!

Ohilda said...

Laine,

I love this post! I love how you see your beautiful girl as Jesus sees you. I may just "borrow" this and make notes to myself as to my parallels with my own little girl and Jesus. Reading your words, I coul see Jesus telling me all the things I tell her.

You are an amazing Mama and your family is so very blessed to have you!

Trace Car Driver said...

awww what a sweet sweet post. and what a sweet reminder of the way god speaks to us!
hang in there laine. i can't imagine what you are going through but i know that god will get you through it! he will give you the strength and patience with candie. and he will give her the wisdom and desire to learn.
candie is so blessed to be in the ferrill forever family! :)

Sherri said...

Laine,

Thanks for being so honest.

Now that Candie can hear, maybe she'll progress more quickly. Maybe she can do a grade level in less than a school year. I taught a boy who was adopted from a Russian orphanage. He was 10 and placed in a second grade class--it didn't really stand out because he was so small. He didn't get any education in Russian, so he was starting at the beginning. I worked with him (I was a regular classroom teacher with a special ed background) and he went to ESL classes. His parents were very dedicated to working with him. The school system decided it was necessary to move him to the grade for his age, and he had a very difficult transition.

I think homeschooling is a good option for Candie. Plus, if she's 1 kid of 20, she won't get the kind of attention in a school setting as she would get at home. Even though your family is getting to be as big as a public school classroom! :)

You're doing the right thing.

The Princess's Mommy said...

Happy Birthday, sweet Candie! Hope you had a wonderful day!

Laine...you continue to amaze and inspire me with your faith. God is doing great things through you, my dear friend! You are awesome!

Love you,
Monica

Rhonda Bryant said...

This is a WONDERFUL post,Laine!!!!! It teaches us all sooooooooo much! I have missed seeing you soooooooo much!!!!!I hope this week we are back in the swing of things!!! Your whole family is such an inspiration to us all!!!!!!!

mommyofmany said...

I know I'm a little (okay, a LOT) behind, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CANDIE!!!"

Thanks for the honest post, Laine. I never tire of hearing how God is at work in someone's life. Just hang on for the ride 'cause it's always exciting!

Oh... and I'm wondering if you're using the Baby Einstein videos at all. They have seemed to be helpful when I've had little ones since they teach really basic language. Just a thought.

Hugs to all...
Sandy for the crew

CK said...

Digging, extracting, cultivating, working hard; the process of discovering treasure! You inspire and encourage me with your life Laine!!

Have you been receiving my emails?

Rebekah said...

It is so exciting to see how the Lord is growing your family in size and in other ways, too! I will agree with TanyaLea; your commitment is awesome! I praise the Lord for how he is using you and how you are glorifying Him with your life and your family.

mommy24treasures said...

oh I loved this post Laine.
I know it takes such perserverance!
I loved what the Lord spoke to you!
Sweet sweet Candie... imagine where she will be in another year... One day at a time, one word at a time, one hug and praise at a time. You are such an encouragement to us all.

Linda said...

Just had to drop you a quick line before I head for bed. Kevin is the cutest little bug I think I've seen!! He has personality just oozing, doesn't he? Yes, he'll fit in with your family just fine!

I also appreciated your comments on Candie. Older child adoptions are not for the faint of heart. Even under the best of circumstances, there are unexpected things that pop up all the time. I am so impressed with the amount of time you have devoted to her studies. You are truly amazing.

BTW, sorry to be so delinquent lately. I am hoping to get caught up on everyone's lives little by litte. I've been scrapbooking during any spare time I can find, and am determined to finally get caught up, so I'll probably be AWOL for a while longer.

Love you!
~Linda

Karin said...

Wow...so awesome that she is in YOUR family, that you guys are SO committed to helping her learn to speak. She may pout now, but she will be thankful someday that you pushed her so much. I'm not sure I would have the fortitude to do what you are doing--so God sure knew what He was doing when He placed her with you. :)