Mark & Laura J.
Dear A Child Waits,
It has been 8 months (last April) since we boarded our flight to go pick up our daughter in China. Meili was 3 ½ years old, completely deaf, and waiting for her forever family.
We didn't know what to expect when we met her for the 1st time, but we were prepared for anything. She didn’t scream or cry, like some of the other children, but she seemed very indifferent toward us. She fell asleep in my husband’s arms and seemed to just want the whole thing to be over with so she could go back home. She didn’t interact with us, other than letting us hold and cuddle her.
The days went on, we returned home to the rest of our family, and our new life began. Meili did not catch on to signing like the other (hearing) children we saw in China with their families. She didn’t seem to even understand that we were trying to communicate with her and help her to find a “voice”, and express herself. She just seemed trapped inside of herself for so long; playing by herself and not wanting much to do with the rest of us.
A few weeks later, we found out that Meili desperately needed glasses. Not only was she missing the hearing world, she was also missing most of the seeing world too. She was diagnosed with Astigmatism in both eyes and everything was so blurry and distorted for her. We got her some adorable lavender glasses and her whole world seemed to change. She could finally see our faces clearly and see all the details of the world that she had been missing.
Fast forward a few months to September. We found out that she was approved for Cochlear Implants and we felt good about that decision for her. We went forward with anxious hearts and trust that we were doing the right thing for Meili. It was a couple of weeks after the surgery that her implants were activated and she was now officially “hearing”, however, we knew it would be a long road until she was able to use that gift to communicate.
Today, just before Christmas, she is recognizing her mama’s voice! Whenever I call “Meili” she will turn to find me and look at me. She doesn’t respond as well to the rest of the family yet, but that will come. She will smile and jump when she hears my voice and sees my face and knows that I my focus is on her and that I am trying to communicate with her. In addition, she knows several signs in ASL, and although she does not willingly sign to us when she wants something, she does understand several of the signs that we sign to her: eat, sleep, bathroom, all done, clean up, shoes, car, pajamas, tree, and cat, just to name a few.
Meili is catching on to things so quickly considering where we started back in April. She loves to play with her siblings and she loves to be held and snuggled. She has been such a blessing in our lives and we love to see the progress that she makes each day!
Thank you for the grant you provided to help us get her home! We will forever be grateful to your generosity!
Mark and Laura J.