It brought our family closer…

It is very painful for me to go back and talk about the days when we first found out that my son was hearing impaired. For this reason I will keep that side of the story short and focus on the positive side…how great he is doing now as a 9 year old!!!

I was blessed to have twins back in November of 1994. We named them Mitch and Jake. I have never been so happy. It was a long pregnancy filled with a lot of bed rest. I was so happy to have the pregnancy behind me and now I would focus on my 2 adorable boys. We did everything together. When the boys reached 2 they had a sort of “twin talk” and they babbled to each other all of the time. It was around the time when they were 2 and a half years old when I first started to notice that Mitch was really taking off with his words and speech and Jake was still in the same place that he was at 2. We started to get concerned about his hearing. We decided to have him tested. The lady doing the testing was sure that there was a problem. I left in denial but deep inside worried that something was wrong. They referred us to have an ABR done on Jake. When that came back that he definately had hearing loss… we were devastated. No one in our family had hearing loss so how could this have happened? This is the point where I’d like to forget because for the next few months I greived and I greived HARD!!! One day I would wake up in denial, the next I’d be depressed, the next day I was so determined that I was going to find the cure for hearing loss. We worried about his future and felt we’d never know what it would be like for him because we did not have to go through it and did not even know anyone with any type of hearing loss. Our grandmothers in their 80’s even had perfect hearing. It was a true roller coaster, but we made it through those times.
I’m here to tell you that it is so much easier if you can connect with others in the same situation. If you do not know anyone with a similiar situation, search for them. Everyone told me at the time we found out Jake had hearing loss that we would someday see why this happened and we’d be able to make sense out of it. I thought, at the time, that was just a cruel thing to say. How would this ever make any sense??? Now for the years since this has happened.

Jake is an unbelievable child. He is kind to everyone that he meets. He started off quiet and I thought that he’d never get over that. He did not talk very much in his first year of preschool. In his second year he had a fantastic teacher who “brought him out of his shell” and he talked so much more and started to make more friends. She did such a great job with Jake and I worked very hard with him at home. I read an article that said children who were hearing impaired would never be “A” students. I was a teacher and NO ONE was going to tell me that he couldn’t get all A’s! I continued to work with him at home while he was getting help in school. Jake did great in kindergarten and first grade. Jake had a fabulous teacher for 2nd grade. She was a super teacher and really saw the potential in Jake. He did great in 2nd grade. THe true test would be 3rd grade because it was the first year he would actually have grades. He again had a sweet, loving teacher who saw ALL that Jake had to offer. I am happy to report that Jake had another wonderful year and he got straight A’s in the first and last trimesters and all but 1 in the middle trimester. He really blossomed even more this year. He made more friends and he was just voted with the “Citizenship” Award for his class. When his teacher told me the news I cried for him because I was so happy!

It has been such a positive thing for Jake to have a twin brother. (His twin, Mitchell, does not have hearing loss). Not only is Mitch his best friend, but he has made twice as many friends because they are in different classes and meet twice as many kids. Mitch and Jake have learned at an early age that everyone has differences and you need to respect and love people despite these differences. They are both kind, respectful boys and they are concerned about other people’s feelings.

I never thought I would understand why this happened… and I still don’t to some extent, but I know what Jake has taught me through this entire experience. Jake is such a great kid with a loving soul and I am so proud of him. Jake has taught me enormous patience, he has taught me that caring for others is ALL that matters, and he has taught me that you really can do anything if you put your mind to it! I have started a small support group of other families that are in the same boat that we are in and we have met a lot of wonderful people! This whole experience has brought our entire family closer to Christ and we are now very involved in our church. God has a plan for Jake and I think it is going to be a BIG ONE!!!

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