How it all began

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For lack of a better word, I’m an orphan. We don’t know what really happened to my birth parents, we don’t know anything about me until I was at the orphanage in St. Petersburg, Russia and was put up for adoption. We don’t know why I was put into the orphanage, we don’t know anything about my life before. The officials didn’t tell my parents if I was given up, found, taken, or had my birth parents die, we just don’t know. What we do know is I was at first given a clean bill of health, except for some minor illnesses. But by the time I was 2, and my parents were in the process of adopting me, the officials told my mom and dad they could still go ahead with the adoption, but there was “something” wrong with me but they weren’t sure what. My mom and dad needed to change paperwork, because I was classified as special needs. My parents decided, they had put over 6 months into adopting me, they wanted to continue. On May 28, 2002 my Russian adoption papers were signed. My parents weren’t sure what was “wrong” with me still, but they were in love with me already… I wasn’t with them.

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I didn’t know my parents, I had no idea who these strangers were, and to be honest, I don’t remember any of it. My mom and dad told me I was “cold” I wouldn’t give hugs, kisses, I cried all the time and screamed. They knew this was likely to happen, but it still caught them off guard. When we returned to the states, there were appointments lined up, to see what could be done about me. I saw a child psychologist, who sat and watched while I was sitting in the corer, playing with my hands, unsure as to what the toys were around me. He concluded I was just a child from an institutional setting, that it was possible over time that I would learn to love, learn to play, but I didn’t pay attention to anything that was said, in English or in Russian. I saw my pediatrician, who I still have to this day, and he said I had failure to thrive, more than likely due to inadequate food supply and a “rocky” start in life. I was small, very small. Even though I was about 2.5, I looked like a 1.5 year old. I would eat everything on my plate, my parents had to watch me very carefully outside, because I would eat the leaves and the grass and the rocks. I had a full evaluation, and less than 2 weeks after coming home, I was diagnosed as deaf. The report says “Profound Bilateral Sensorineural hearing Impairment” my parents jumped, this, this was something they could fix. They purchased hearing aids, and I was fitted. I started going to speech therapy, and my home became a language center. My mom looked at things very rationally, so she went and learned signs for things. She started signing everything she could. It took some time to get my first sign out, but two months after I was home, I signed dog. As my mom says, she was “tickled pink”.  I wasn’t talking, I would throw a fit if my hearing aids were on, but now… now she could talk to me, and I could talk to her.

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We started going to deaf events, and even though the child psychologist told my mom these weren’t good ideas, because I hadn’t learned to love yet, my mom thought this was needed. within a few months, I was signing, I was bonding, I was being evaluated for cochlear implants. I defied the odds, I was becoming a happy child, I was growing, I was still small, but I was becoming better. My parents found a church nearby that had a Deaf presence, I made a friend. A little girl who was a bit younger than me, she was also deaf. This is how my life went, I soon caught up to my peers in most ways, and was given the gift of a cochlear implant so I could hear and learn to speak. I was given a sister through foster care, and later adoption. I was happy, I was loved, and most of all, I loved.ImageI cant imagine what would have happened, what my life would have been like if I knew my birth parents, if I had stayed in Russia, if I had stayed in the orphanage…

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an Introduction (10 things about me)

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I’ve never been good at introductions, especially not in English. Lets start with the basics, and the two most obvious.

1. I’m Catholic, and not just Christmas and Easter Catholic, but really truly Catholic. Mass every Sunday, Confessions, reading the Bible, saying my prayers, trying to live the life I was meant for Catholic. We all make mistakes, and I have made some big ones, but what doesn’t change is how forgiven I am.

2. I’m going to be a mom, and I’m scared, I’m excited, and I know I wouldn’t be able to do this without my amazing parents.

3. I’m 14 years old, young, I know, but you grow up fast when you are growing another person.

4. I was adopted. I was born in Russia, we aren’t exactly sure when, but we think I was about 2.5 when I was adopted.

5. I’m Deaf. ASL is my first real language, my parents knew there was something “wrong” with me when I was adopted, but it was determined I was deaf shortly after I was brought to the states.

6. I have Cochlear Implants. These are devices that help me hear, but they are far from perfect.

7. I am keeping my baby. Right now I’m 18 weeks along, but the one thing that will not change is I am keeping my child.

8. My baby’s father currently isn’t in the picture.

9. I live in a state where heat runs ramped, the summers are 120 degrees and I love it.

10. I can no longer attend my Catholic school due to being pregnant.