will my family ever understand my child is not broken.....

by marina
(santa barbara)

My husband and I are hearing. I have lost a great deal of my hearing due to constant ear infections and operations. In 2011 we welcomed our beautiful son Theo into the world. He immediately failed his newborn screening. Everywhere we went people could not give an honest answer. "He has a cold its fine we will test again." " Maybe my machine is broken we will retest later." My all time favorite is "I don't know what's wrong with him I have never seen this before. " I wanted somebody to just be honest and tell me what's going on. We went to LA and finally got some answers. Theo is profoundly deaf in one ear and severe to profound in other. He received top of the line hearing aides and they help a great deal.

Then there was the topic of CI. We researched and researched and finally came to an agreement not to Implant Theo. My child is not broken he is perfect. If someday he can decide on his own accord to be implanted then we will support him to the fullest extent. That is his choice. Never do I want my child to think there is something wrong with him. I am aware that language is learned in the first few years, which is why we are all learning ASL. My husband and I moved to a place with a wonderful preschool that can help him with sign, speech and hearing aid care.

I have heard success stories about the CI and horror stories. Technology is not always reliable.... what if his CI broke and he never learned sign. Hearing parents of deaf children go the CI route because it makes their lives easier. I met a mom who was so proud of herself that her kids had perfect speech and were developing nicely with their CI. What bothered me was she never learned a stitch of ASL. Those children will be helpless of that machine in their head breaks. Then what.... no way to communicate.

My family does not understand our decision. They think Theo is broken and needs to be fixed. My mother says things like "you want him to be helpless" . " you are happy he is deaf". I would not say I am happy or sad. I am proud of my son and think he is perfect. This has been the hardest decision I have ever made. My family may never accept our decision. I fear that I may have forever lost my bond to my mother. If I had to choose over losing my relationship with my mom or my son growing up confident and proud..... I choose my son.

I feel we are blessed to be welcomed into such as beautiful community. The deaf community is unlike any other. My husband and I fell in love immediately. My family has a different point of view. To them the community brainwashed my husband and I. My family thinks poorly towards the deaf community. I believe that to be from bad information. I don't know how they can feel this way. The deaf community is not the reason why we chose not to implant Theo. Even if we had implanted Theo he would still be welcomed by the deaf community. My husband family has taken the opposite approach. The whole family is racing to learn ASL. The cousins, grandma and grandpa, and is aunt and uncle all learning ASL. His cousins think it is the coolest thing ever. They love to sign and have taken a great interst in Theo and the deaf community.

Keep in mind I having nothing against the CI. I just think one should be confident in there decision and it should be their own nobody else's. If you are a hearing parent of a deaf child.... take the time to adapt to their world. If you implant your child teach them ASL. Teach your child to be proud of who they are. Don't take the easy way out and force your kid to speak and read lips. There is so much joy in being part of the deaf community as well as hearing community. Embrace both and love your child Unconditionally.


Theo mommy is so proud of you. I hope you know just how much we love you.

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Thank you so much for your story. It makes me feel like im not crazy. My son was born 5 months ago and was profoundly deaf in both ears. I dont want to do the CI. There is nothing wrong with my son. My family doesnt understand our choice in this. And i feel like i need to do it because they arent racing to learn ASL. I dont want him to feel like an outcast by his own family. So thank you for showing me i am making the right choice.

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