Hubby J and I finally came to a conclusion in regards to the deaf/HoH issue and decided we’d be open to it. It’s funny though, how differently we approach big decisions like this and yet come to the same conclusion. Me, I’m a researcher. When something grabs my interest, I get consumed by it. And I go out and research until I can research no more. So, this deaf/HoH stuff has been no different: I’ve done loads of research. This has led to some really great local resources: theater performances that have ASL interpreters present, schools with specific deaf/HoH programs, Deaf community groups, library ASL story times, etc. I’ve also found some fascinating inventions being developed for deaf/HoH. It’s so great, and it really makes me confident that we can do this because there’s so much support available in our community.
Hubby J takes a different approach to things like this though. He really didn’t have any interest in the results of my research (I get excited when I come across something really cool or interesting and just have to share it with somebody). What it took for him to get to this point was a long road trip by himself. Last weekend he had to drive a few hours away to go visit his family. I stayed home because we had no where to put the dog (and I was a thankful for the excuse so as to avoid the in-laws). On his drive home, he said he turned off the radio, and just sat with himself, thinking about what life would be like with a child who couldn’t hear, and tried to figure out what scared him about it. He said he knew kids who were severely cognitively delayed growing up, and that that experience has scared him of the idea of adopting a child with a special need generally, and especially with something seen as being pretty severe such as deafness. But then, he said, he thought about what a deaf kid would be like. The kid would be able to run and jump and think and play and converse — the only thing they can’t do is hear. That’s it. It was then that he realized that deafness just isn’t that huge of a deal, and that we could handle the need.
Although I have not found a satisfactory answer yet on incorporating Deaf and Chinese culture into our American and Hearing culture, I think it can be done, and done well — or at least well enough. The resolution? We’ll just work at it the best we can. We’ll make sure our child has a myriad of friends — hearing and non-hearing, Chinese and otherwise, and adopted and not. I also have some friends in China, and am already having them search out books on Chinese Sign Language (CSL) so that if we are matched with a deaf kid, we can have those around the house to play with (I always enjoyed learning words in different languages as a child even if I wasn’t bilingual in them — so hopefully our kid will too, but if not, at least the resources were made available). And I at least still know how to write in Chinese, so my child and I can work on that together.
Since Hubby J came on board, we have been preparing ourselves for daily challenges we might face with a deaf kid. The most important and obvious challenge is language — which is why I’m already learning ASL, and Hubby J will be starting it in the fall (at a time when I will need to change my focus to school and graduating). Plus, Hubby J has an electrical engineering background, so between my creative prowess and his practical technical skills, we have already come up with some hair-brain ideas that could help us all get along easier.
Now, it’s true, we still have 6 months before we’re even eligible to be matched with a child. And deafness/HoH isn’t even the only need to which we’re open. So it may be the case that the child we’re matched with isn’t deaf. But I figure, that’s ok. Because right now we’re just preparing for the need that might most change our lifestyle, and if it’s less than that, it’s kinda like, no harm, no foul. We’re on an exciting journey at least!