I am a very transparent person that shares the good and bad, and I will tell you that the past 2 months have been a challenge for my family. However, let me focus on the good. Toby is the most adorable child. His personality and charm bring me smiles everyday. His facial expressions are so unique and hilarious. He absolutely has shocked me by his ability to learn/memorize SO many ASL signs. From knowing nothing to knowing more than someone who has been in ASL classes for a year is truly a miracle...! ASL is now his first language and it has come SO natural to him. I absolutely understand everything he is trying to tell me and there has been no frustration because of a lack of communication. Praise the Lord! He is a sponge that remembers things that I have only shown him one time. I am so proud of his accomplishments in this.
He also has a compassionate heart and a helpful spirit. When I am doing chores, he wants to help me. He loves to do laundry, mop the floors, dishes, cooking, dusting, sweeping, shopping and the list goes on... I love this about him. He is so caring for others. One time, I was doing a work out video and I was showing a painful look on my face because it really did hurt. (: He came up to me and asked if I was sick.. told me to stop the video and gave me a big hug. He just has such a heart for those that are not doing well. What a wonderful quality to have.
His favorite Bible stories so far are Daniel and the lions den and Noah's Ark. It is precious to see him act out the stories with signs and expressions. He loves seeing stories. (:
Our family thinks the world of him and we love him more and more everyday. We are so blessed to be able to bring him into our home and give him the gift of FAMILY. When I am teaching at Wright State and have to be away from him for a few hours, I can't wait to get home and be with him. When I look at his face, I just want to kiss it all day long. When I look into his eyes, it brings me such joy and satisfaction. He is my little boy that was a gift straight from God himself. I am SO blessed!
Toby is having some behavior issues that are common for a boy his age, but I think it is accentuated because of the factors that are in his background... He is a preschooler...He has lived half of his life in orphanages/foster care and he is deaf. I take all of that into consideration as I am running after him in a public setting. He has such a hard time staying with us as we are walking, but he is better than he was..(PTL). He has a hard time obeying first time..second time..third time..etc.. Some days he just doesn't want to obey and he doesn't. That is when it gets hard! Please pray for us as we consistently show him discipline with love. Yes, it hard on us mentally, but lately it has harder on me physically. I guess my body is not used to moving so much. My knee is swelled and hurting. I have "Tennis Elbow" that kills my arm. My neck and back are all achey. It has just worn me out. I have been picking him up because he wants hugs (I can't deny him of that) and because I don't want him to run away. It is very taxing on me so please pray that we can nail down the "darting" thing ASAP!
Since last month we have had doctor appointments, blood tests, stool samples (that was a fun one), hearing tests, preschool evaluations and even a photo shoot at JCPenney. We have been very busy getting everything done so we can have a complete picture of our Toby. I am sure that our third month together will bring even more adventure to this transition process. At the audiologist, we confirmed that he is profoundly Deaf and it is a sensorineural (either the auditory nerve or hearing organ is damaged) hearing loss that is bilateral (both ears). He will never be able to hear distinct sounds that he will recognize. Now we are doing another hearing test with his hearing aids to see if the aids will give him assistance with hearing loud noises. That is on March 6.
Overall, things are going as well as they could. Our boy loves us and we love him. He is attached to our entire family and wants to be with us. He is very affectionate and caring. He is loving American culture and interacts positively with others unless he is distracted. He behaves ALOT better at home than in public. He still has a hard time going to bed, but that is improving. I also want to thank my family for hanging in there during this huge change. All of us have had to pick up the pace in helping with Toby. His favorite time of the day is saying prayers and he only wants to do it when all of us are with him. It is a special time for sure!
My main prayer requests:
*Decisions about preschool
*Behavior in public improves (specifically him staying with me instead of darting)
*My physical issues mentioned above
*Continued patience and strength to show loving discipline
* Smooth bedtime transition
Thank you for your support and continued prayers... Below are some pictures taken during this month. Also, if you have not see the weekly signing videos, you can learn how to sign some basic ASL signs if you check out my facebook page. Each week, Luke and I make a video to teach you signs that you can use if you want to talk to Toby. Thanks! God bless you all!
|My teenagers are wonderful helpers!|
|Toby at his class at church. Thank you Miss Janet for being such a great teacher!|
|Toby is waiting for Cassidy to come off of the bus. He loves to see the big yellow bus come down the street.|
|A visit to Cleveland to see Namma and Poppy. He bonded quickly with them!|
|Toby got a surprise package from our friend Scott. He was SO excited!|
|It was Chinese New Year on January 31st. We had a good time celebrating.|
|Time out on Chinese New Year....Oh well!|
|Oh yes.... Toby's first time to have Dewey's Pizza. One day he will love it like we do.|
|Celebrating Luke's 17th birthday with our special friends that are more like family!|
|Toby's "big brother", Yuyang, from China.|
|Toby's hearing test.|
|Valentines Date with my sweetheart!|