Friday, July 20, 2012

To Sign or Not To Sign, It's No Longer a Question...

Maria's View -

So... I have a moment to actually explain my mixed feelings on sign language.  I think it's a great way to communicate but I have had many opinions from parents of children with Down syndrome, some encourage it, some don't.  So I'm definitely listening!

I have two little ones under the same roof with the same, yet very different needs.  Communication.  They are both struggling to communicate.  Little G was a late speaker.  At 21 months old, I still stretch to say that she can say 8 words, and those words do not sound the way they should, due to the fact that she couldn't hear correctly most of her life.  She uses a few signs to communicate her needs but I am finding that she has stopped trying to speak for those words that she knows how to sign.  Now our speech therapist is trying to use her hands on Little G's mouth to help her recognize how she should form words with her lips.  What does Little G do with that information?  She thinks that the speech therapist's motions towards her mouth is actually a different way to sign.  For example, Little G knows how to sign 'open'.  She pronounces it "goon-ka".  The speech therapist has started putting her fingers around Little Gs mouth in a way to try to pucker her lips up to form the 'o' sound, and them closes them down, to form the 'pen'.  Little G now thinks the correct sign is what the speech therapist is now doing with her lips.  So when she wants something opened, she doesn't attempt to say it, she just does the motions with her fingers of what the speech therapist does with her mouth.  Confusing, I know.  I know no better way to explain it!  lol.

However, Giffin is different, but still the same.  They both get extremely frustrated because they can't communicate their needs well!  With Little G, I need to focus less with signs and more with the words.  So to dive in with sign language with Griffin is going to include Little G as well.  No way around it!  BUT, Griffin needs sign language.  The difference is night and day with meal times now that he can simply sign 'more'.  That tells me so much about him.  I'm going to move forward with signing for now and just keep it simple with 'more', 'play', 'all done', and 'drink'.    Those signs seems to do well for Little G.

So, we will just see how it goes!  :-) 

Both of the little ones are picking up on each other's ways.  For instance, Little G has always held her highchair tray in place so that I can't take her out of the highchair.  Griffin is doing that now.  These kids are so funny!  Mommy is stronger, much, much stronger.  I will win! :-)

Griffin has started a game with his bib.  Kind of drives me nuts, but the joy on his face when he does this totally cancels that out.  I use the bibs that pull over his head like shirts.  He will pull it off, wad it up, and throw it on the floor.  I will pick it up, say 'no no no!' and hold it out to where he will have to stick his head back through all on his own.  Well, he loves this and he succeeds at getting it back on mostly on his own!  Then he will grin ear to ear, tuck the bib down so that it's not on the tray, and go for the next bite.  If I don't catch him quickly enough, he will rip his bib back off, and repeat, over and over and over again.   I love that his personality is shining through!  He's got some mischief in him!

Today is the last class for Big G's tennis lessons and then I'm taking her out for a late lunch with friends!  I hope the rain holds off so that the class will actually happen!


Chris's View -

It’s funny how one single quote can have such a dramatic impact in your life.
Many times throughout my military career, and no doubt many of ya’ll out there have experienced something similar to what happened to me a few days ago.  It amazes me how someone who says so little can resonate so deeply.  While talking over some military issues with my First Sergeant, he provided me the following quote:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education alone will not: the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

I do not know who originally uttered these words, but isn’t it true on so many levels?  It applies to every single thing in life.  Without persistence and determination to follow God’s will for our lives, our little Dude would not have a forever family.  Without determination, we would not have been able to persevere through the trials we faced through our journey, and the journey still ahead.
See, these are gifts that God gives to some people.  In our situation, I think God blessed me with persistence (ask Maria and she’ll probably use a different word, most likely stubborn, but I guess it’s a matter of perspective on that one, LOL!) and he blessed Maria with determination… so we had to work together to come to our end… or rather, together, we were the means to God’s end state. 
We could have all the parenting skills (talent) in the world and still not have made this adoption work, nor would it be a guarantee that our family would be able to handle the adoption as the future becomes the present.
We could be as smart as any man or woman (genius) in the world and still not have succeeded in the adoption process or be able to keep our family stable into the future.
We could read every book in print (education) about parenting adopted children, or children with Down syndrome, or family psychology, etc., and our family might still be as dysfunctional as the next.
See, these things alone could not have helped us endure the trials we faced on our adoption road, nor will they ensure a smooth road as we travel forward.  Persistence and determination though, while they will not smooth the road we traveled and are yet to travel, they make sure, no matter what trials we may face, we ultimately know that God will get us through it.  These gifts ensure we can roll with the punches, and God knows he can trust us to navigate the hills & valleys, smooth roads & rough, to get to the end state he has pointed us toward.
See ya’ll later!

A Special Bonus -

Since ya'll are such loyal followers of our blog, we wanted to give ya'll something a little extra today.  As many know, we found our Middle G through a ministry called Reece's Rainbow.  They are always doing awareness campaigns to bring more attention to the needs of special needs children who are suffering through life in an orphanage or institution.  They have been very successful in being a catalyst to getting many children adopted and into forever families across the years.  Maria was surfing their site not to long ago and found that they had started a new awareness campaign, called It Makes a Difference to This One.  It is based on this story:

Did you notice?  The top left corner of the story?  Yup yup!  Finn!  Griffin's Reece's Rainbow name is the first name on the awareness campaign artwork!  Yes, we are proud parents, but more so, we are praying that this awareness campaign will be the most successful of all time!  Every child deserves a forever family, and as Reece's Rainbow says, every family deserves the blessing of a child with Down syndrome!


  1. Love your blog! I follow it all the time!

  2. I noticed your Finn's name right away. Then I went through to see who else I recognized. It's so nice to feel a small part of these wonderful families.


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