Friday, February 22, 2013

Kai Update

Kai signing Dad or Da Da as he calls him.  
(Sometimes that poor kid looks like pigpen, his mom should really put a clean shirt on him, brush his hair and wash his face every now and then)
There is just a sweetness about Kai, he is so easy to love.  He turned 4 this month!
This morning Kai woke up and said "Dad, drive to work.  Mom, stay home.   Kai go to school, it's good.  Bei goes to school."   Or I should correct that and say he "signed" it all to me.   I felt like we were having a conversation this morning.   His sign language is developing and he is becoming so comfortable signing.   Today, his therapist turned to me and asked how to sign mouse, I didn't quite remember but I was looking at Kai and saw him sign mouse.   He is learning more ASL than myself and retains it really well.   ASL is definitely becoming his primary mode of communication.   I requested that the teachers at Auditory/Oral school begin to sign with him.   There was a some push back by the teachers because they are an oral only school, but the Principal who is Hard of Hearing (HOH) said that it was important that they meet Kai where he is at.   We agreed upon 40 words that they would teach him by the end of the school year.   I just counted in his booklet that they have already taught him over 50 words, not including the alphabet which he is still learning, along with counting.   Another little boy just started at Kai's school who also had no expressive language but signs, so it makes me wonder how and if their curriculum will begin to change to start accommodating the needs of the kids in the district.  The positive of the ASL is that I think that it has provided a visual cue for Kai to help with his speech.   We see much more babbling and words emerging.  He will sign brown and say a word very close to brown.   He says the word off pretty well too.  
One of the frustrating things in the Deaf Community is that the schools are either all Oral (like Kai's) or they are voice off Deaf Schools.   That means if Kai went to the Metro Deaf School where they sign ASL, all day he would basically be in silence.   I really appreciate the fact that Kai's oral school is accommodating him.   He LOVES school!   Everyday I ask him by signing, how was school.   Every day he signs, "Good".   I haven't taught him the sign for bad yet, because I'm not stupid people.   If there is only one option, then everything is always roses!  
I am learning about the Deaf Culture and a few of the more interesting points is that the Deaf Culture is very tight and they are very loyal to one another.   They are willing to go above and beyond for a person in their group.   Their idea of physical space is different than the hearing worlds.   It is not uncommon to wave your hand in someone's face or touch someone's arm.   I was in a class where the teacher grabbed my foot and shook it to get my attention.   In the Deaf Culture independence is not valued as highly as it is in the hearing world.  Needing friends and family is much more acceptable in their world.   I've also learned that it is really tiring to have to work at listening all day.   That many HOH kids who are mainstreamed work extremely hard to fit in academically and socially.   That faking it and pretending to hear every thing said  is common among children.    There is so much for me to learn yet.   Kai is doing fantastic and I am pleased with his progress. 



Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Face of God

This is a picture of Kai a year ago from this month.   He has come so far!

To love somebody is to see the face of God.   I recently heard this quote and thought that it summed up what my last post was trying to say.  When I look at Kai every day I see the face of God.  He is everything I would like to achieve and be some day.  He is fearless, determined, tenacious, powerful, loving, innocent, trusting and intelligent.  

At this time last year Kai was evaluated by the school district and some of the labels that were applied to him can be daunting.  When reading diagnosis such as Severe Receptive and Expressive Language Disorder it can be a real kick in the stomach .   In every area that he was evaluated he scored -3 STD from the mean with the exception of Cognitively Delayed he tested -1 STD from the mean.    However, I know that he is not a sum of his labels but rather a unique little boy with special needs and abilities.  On one part of the evaluation it stated "Kai is unable to physically point to any of the named pictures of the test, therefore, there was no basal or ceiling obtained for the test."   A year ago, Kai didn't have the fine motor skills to even point.  He was so locked in by his own body that an accurate picture of who Kai is meant to be is still being revealed.   Oh my, how far that little boy has come in one years time.  Today that same little boy is signing in ASL signs that require complicated fine motor skills.   He is identify the letters of the alphabet, he is counting, he is communicating his needs mostly through ASL.   We celebrated his birthday today, he turned 4 years old.   We celebrated without candles because he doesn't have the ability to blow outward.   There is still much work ahead for Kai, however, we celebrate Kai where he was yesterday and where he is today.   To love somebody is to see the face of God.  Indeed!! 

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Here is a picture of Kai the first day that we adopted him.  Notice how I have to hold him because he doesn't have the ability, strength or muscle tone to hold on to me.   

When I went over to China in 2008, to adopt Bei, I did not know how much my life was going to change.   I did not go to China in search of a spiritual transformation.  We went to China to start a family, plain and simple.  I naively stepped off that plane thinking that everything would be the same when I came back.  However, NOTHING was the same when I came home, and, the most profound change has been a spiritual change.  I wish I had a fascinating testimony where I could say that I saw a bright light and angels started singing but that was not the case.  Instead, everything that I believed in changed once I was home; I was transformed into a true believer.  I knew immediately that I had shed the old me.   More importantly, for the first time in my life, I could honestly say I knew there was a God without question.   I felt and feel his presence daily.  I feel that somewhere along that journey to China I have been given the gift of faith.   I would marvel at the fact that a little boy was born on the other side of the world and because of circumstances out of his parents control, they had to give him back to the Universe.  That Universe, that God, brought him to me, to care for, to love, to guide for the rest of his life.  Bei is so meant to be my child in so many ways.   I get him, I understand him and he is so similar to me.   For two years I secretly reveled in the fact that I was God's favorite!  Two years later we adopted Kai.   Here was this little baby who's brain was not functioning properly (seizures), who had neurological and a muscular conditions, who couldn't hear, who was majorly developmentally delayed.   I look back now and I realized how God had prepared me.   My trust, my belief and faith was in Him.   I knew He had given me Kai to take care of and that he was a special child, as all children are, but this little Kai needed extra special care.    I knew there was plan for Kai and I just needed to follow where God led me.   In an odd way, the year that I fought the school district, has been my most cherished year in following God.   I had no other alternative but to trust and to lean on Him because humanity was failing my child.   However, I knew God would never fail Kai. 

Let me also say that my following Christ looks nothing like what I stereotypically think of "Good Christians".   Prior to adopting I lived a pretty hedonistic lifestyle.  I wasn't very close to God, therefore, I have a lot to answer for.    I thought following Christ would mean using words like pious, righteousness and judgment.   Instead, the words that I hear most often used are Grace, Mercy and Redemption.   I thought there was a way to "act" if you are a Christian and now I realize that He just wants you to be you and live your life to bring Glory to Him.   Believe me a curse word still slips out of my mouth here and there, I still sin, I fail daily, I can't quote any bible scriptures and I don't go to church every Sunday.  But  I also know that God has a plan for me and my children if in we live in obedience to his Word.