Re-implanting, the Guilt that Comes with Another Try.

On Friday I made a call to the surgery scheduler for the Otolaryngology Clinic at our local children’s hospital.  We have made the decision to try to implant Gigi’s left cochlea again.  She called back today.  We are on the schedule for re-insertion of a left-sided cochlear implant on March 16th.

Yes, after everything Gigi went through, after nearly dying, we’re going to try again.

I understand what a controversial decision this is.  I know what it must look like to someone who is on the outside looking in.  I’ve typed this 18 times, some of the first drafts of this post were defensive and so angry, some were apologetic, others were just sad.

I’m all of those things.  I don’t know that I’m making a choice that honors what Gigi will want in the future. Our goal for Gigi has always been bilingual and bicultural, but that is OUR goal for Gigi.  I don’t know what she will want.  All I can do is study the research.  So much research.  Research about literacy.  Research about social isolation.  Research about family relationships between hearing and Deaf siblings.  I have found it and read it all.

I’ve made the best choice I can for a child who is caught between two worlds.

The hearing world has no idea why this is such a controversy.  You’d want to “fix” your kid if something was “wrong” with them wouldn’t you?  The Deaf community wonders why I adopted this child in the first place if I view her as someone who needs fixing?

These are valid questions.

My answer lies somewhere in the middle.  I don’t think of Gigi’s deafness as a disability.  Much like I don’t view Bowen’s Dwarfism as a disability in the broadest sense of the word.  Her deafness, his Dwarfism, neither will have an effect on either child’s life expectancy.  But, the world wasn’t made for either people who can’t hear, or people of short stature.  They struggle so badly.  Both of them have, and will continue to, be viewed as less than.  I am only looking to give them tools to help level the playing field.

A cochlear implant is to Gigi what rods in Bo’s legs are to him.  Bo has curving in his legs.  He will move easier in this world if we, when it is needed, straighten the bending in his legs.  I am not looking to lengthen Bowen’s limbs (yes, that is a thing).  I am merely looking to help him walk easier in the world.

If I can give Gigi some access to sound, this will help her walk easier in the world.

Isn’t that what every mom wants for her baby?

–FullPlateMom, who will delete all negative comments or references to “cultural genocide.”

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6 Comments

  1. Hang in there. We so understand the decision you are working though. We have adopted 8 kids from China and are in process for our 9th. 6th of them are deaf and have implants. We just went through round number two for two of the kids to get their second implants. We have walked in your shoes a bit in making these decisions for our deaf kiddos too.

    Meanwhile know that our older two (now 8th & 9th Graders) are so thankful they can hear and interact with their peers with just a little bit of self advocacy to get others to understand their hearing needs. It is beautiful to watch them with their siblings and making friends outside the safety net of family. These two are both dancers, pianist and guitar players who love to listen to music. They have moved from being isolated in a group to being able to be included which is priceless.

  2. I support you for doing what you feel is right and necessary despite what others may think. You’re her parents and know what is best for her. Prayers to you all for a successful journey!

  3. I can only imagine what a hard choice that is to make. I go nuts making small choices and big. The what ifs drive me crazy. You have put a lot of thought and research into your decision, now you need to try and be at peace with it. No need to defend or feel bad for it. You are making the right choice for your daughter and your family. End of story.

    I wish nothing but the best for Gigi. We will be thinking about her and sending good thoughts to her. Hoping the surgery and recovery goes well.

  4. I read your blog regularly and have done so for a few years. This is only the second time I have posted a comment, but I thought it was important. Let me also say, I don’t have any children that were adopted or that have any hearing loss or any ‘hidden’ or visible challenges or medical concerns. I am aware of the controversy around the implants but have no intimate knowledge of the issues. I consider the fact that I’m a mom who loves her children my qualification for posting a comment.
    So hang on…I’m on a bit of a rant.
    As a rational human being you make the best decision you can at the time you have to make them. As a good parent you always make the best decision you can for your children…always. Gigi is yours, you owe no explanation, no apology, no remorse and no reason for your decision to anyone. You are not fixing her – she is not broken. You are giving her options for her future. That is being a good parent.
    Her cultural identity is your family. Her identity is being Gigi. That is who she is. You taught her sign language and your family learned sign language, you have given her the gift of communication. You have not denied who she is and ignored her deafness.
    Love your child unapologetically. Make decisions for her, and those who don’t agree can make a different decision for their loved ones. That’s what makes us great, differences.
    You don’t owe any of us squat, we are lucky to get to read about your fascinating family life. I hope you continue to let us share this journey with you.

  5. All we can do is make the best decisions we know how. I go by the motto, if I make a mistake, God can turn it into something good. He said so.

  6. It is a parents decision to make for their child. I get both sides, but I also understand waiting till she can decide is pointless as it won’t do much good in learning language. It’s right for your family and you are doing the best you can for your daughter, nothing else matters. I hope for you all an uneventful surgery and easy recovery.

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