I Just Want to Talk to my Daughter: The Choice to Implant Gigi.

When Gigi arrived home, she arrived into our home where we were ready to sign.  We had practiced, taken college courses, we were ready.  For a very long time now, we have been trying to figure out what the status of Gigi’s vision is and will be in the future.  We sent her through a very painful procedure on Monday to try to get more answers.  We wanted to know, without a doubt, whether or not she’ll be able to see well enough to sign, for now, and for the future.

We didn’t get the answers we had hoped for.  We had hoped the retina of her right eye was perfect.  That would rule out progressive vision loss in that eye.  It’s only 70% of normal.  They can’t tell us if that 70% is permanent or if someday Gigi will be blind.  It’s hard to have gone through Monday’s procedure to feel no like we are no closer to answers than we were before.

We have talked about the controversy of a Cochlear Implant before.  She won’t be totally deaf, but she won’t be hearing either.  We debated if this was something we wanted to choose FOR her.  This week, we made that choice.  It was ours and ours alone.  We won’t apologize for it.  In the next 10-12 weeks it’s our hope that Gigi will have surgery for a unilateral Cochlear Implant scheduled.  We will only implant her left side at first.  Our hope is to give her some sound awareness for emergencies (car horns, sirens, alarms, etc), but to maybe give her some access that will help her with literacy.  If we need to teach her to read braille, this will help her.

It is not our goal to have Gigi learn to speak unless SHE tells us she would like to.  So, we won’t be working with Speech Therapy outside of what is offered in school.  For our hearing friends who find my having to interpret for her “a barrier”, well, sorry.

When Gigi came home, the clip below, from a VERY old movie (this came out my freshman year in high school), depicts very accurately what Gigi’s first few weeks at home were like.  Can you imagine?  People in China assumed she was “retarded.”  Her adoption file said as much.  This was a little girl locked inside herself.  A little girl who now tells us so much, and without ever actually saying a thing.

This mother, in this clip, summarizes very well how I felt when she came home.  We are NEVER going back there.

I want to know what she thinks.  

I want to know what she feels.  

I don’t care what it costs.  

I don’t care what the stupid doctor says is right or wrong.  

I want to talk to my daughter.  

Using ALL the tools available to me, both American Sign Language and a Cochlear Implant, together, give me the best chance of ALWAYS having that.

-FullPlateMom, who knows that so many things in life aren’t either/or, lots of times, they’re both.


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