Two and a half weeks ago, I posted on Facebook an adorable picture of Silas and asked friends to pray for him as he had a procedure done that morning and also testing to give us an accurate look at his hearing loss.
When our social worker first called us about Silas almost a year ago (whoa!!), his medical/special needs diagnosis was profound hearing loss....complete deafness. Deafness was a special need we were open to in our adoption, so it wasn't something new we had to consider. Immediately after saying yes and sending in our letter of intent to adopt him, we were connected with several resources and other deaf adoptive families and a deaf adoption counselor. The more we connected, researched, and learned....the more we realized that this was so much more than "just learning sign language". And that cochlear implants weren't an automatic yes and certainly weren't just an easy fix. The reality of how life as the parent of a deaf child was going to be became scary. But we felt beyond sure that this was our son and that no matter what we faced with him and his hearing loss, God would prepare us for it. We immediately started learning sign language and spent the next 9 months learning everything we could about life with a deaf child.
About 2 weeks before we were going to leave, a friend whose daughter was in the same orphanage and room as Silas, sent me a Facebook message with pictures and videos of Silas. And she said, "Misti, he can hear!" I tried not to think too much into it becaus while he was dancing in the video, it was in an outdoor patio area with brick flooring and the music was loud with a strong beat. And lots of kids were dancing and he could have simply been imitating them.
But then we sat down with his orphanage workers and they went over his life history with us. The last thing they got to was his diagnosis from the previous year as being deaf. And they absolutely did not agree with it. They disagreed with it so much that they said they never treated him as if he were deaf. We still weren't sure what to think and just decided to continue with our plan to have him tested when we got home.
There were several things we noticed in Colombia...like him responding to his name when I said it on a crowded and noisy sidewalk....or when he started dancing to background music in the loud airport when Jacob and I hadn't even picked up on the music. But, still....we thought maybe we were just exhausted (because we were) or just extra hopeful (because we were) and didn't make any assumptions or conclusions.
We took Silas to the ENT a few weeks after returning home and I told him some of the things we'd observed. He took a look into Silas' ears and the poor kid had SO MUCH EARWAX built up. I don't know if his ears had ever really been cleaned. There was so much that the dr said he needed to be sedated to have them cleaned out.
So on January 8, we headed down to children's hospital and he was put to sleep to have his ears cleaned out really good and have an ABR test done....this tests the brains reaction to sound. Once the dr got into his ears really good, poor kid ALSO had a lot of old, old fluid behind his ears. I won't even give you the description the doctor gave me, but it made me want to vomit. So he cleaned that out, put tubes in his ears, and the audiologist came and did the ABR.
The result? No, I fact, my child IS NOT DEAF!!!
He does have moderate hearing loss, but you guys....our audiologist said that with hearing aides and speech therapy, he would hear and communicate just like any other kid his age.
This news follows months of repeating to ourselves just to trust and follow the Lord....even when our insurance said they wouldn't cover hearing tests or cochlear implants or hearing aides. Even when we thought for a while we might have to move so he could attend a good school for the deaf. Even when I would go to bed and wonder how he would make friends, who was going to take the time to learn to communicate with our son through sign language. And every night when I laid down with these fears, I felt the indescribable peace of God and I knew I didn't have a single answer, but it would all be okay.
So what's the plan now? He'll be fitted for hearing aides soon and will begin speech therapy. And how amazing is this? One of my best friends is a speech therapist! No, She won't be doing his therapy, but just knowing I have her to ask questions or clarification is such a comfort. And another one of my best friends has a son who went through speech therapy very recently at the same age that Silas is, so she been a huge encouragement and I sit and watch her kiddo play and talk and I just think, "Wow, Jesus. Just...wow."
We're also continuing with sign language. Silas is picking it up very quickly and for the first time in his life, he can communicate. He has a language where he can make his needs known. We will not take that away from him right now.
And finally, we're researching different foundations and grants that help families with hearing aides. Our insurance doesn't cover them, but it's honestly the least of our concerns. We've watched Jesus do pretty big things over the years for Silas and we have no reason to doubt Him!
Finally, a sat but of good news. It's been two and a half weeks since his procedure and we can tell a huge difference in bis hearing already! He now has 23 words that he can either say/use or repeat back to me. Twenty-three!!
Y'all....may this kid never stop amazing me and anyone who ever has the blessing to be in his life.