It was exactly 7 years ago that we were in China for Jazzie. I was thinking that this may even be the anniversary of the day of Jazzie's medical exam in Guangzhou. I am not exactly sure of the date. I looked back at my pictures of our trip and there are no pictures for May 20 at all, so there is a good chance that the anniversary might actually be tomorrow. The day of her medical exam was difficult and emotional, so I don't think I was in a mood to take any pictures. I mentioned Jazzie's medical exam in this post, and I thought I would do a post on how I suspected there was a hearing loss.
I knew the first day that Jazzie was deaf. I really did. Over the years I have met many parents of deaf children who didn't find out their child was deaf until they were older. Sometimes it took years for them to realize it. I do not understand how that is possible, because I KNEW that first day. The moment we got Jazzie, she was really calm. She never cried; she just looked around. She was also very quiet. I didn't think much of it until we got to the hotel room and started interacting with her. I noticed that she wasn't really interested in anything that made sounds. I noticed she never looked up whenever there was any kind of noise. She never turned her head towards any sounds. At the time I thought it was strange and I remember thinking that there might be a hearing problem. On the other hand, I also realized that her life had just been turned up side down and that Jazzie might just be shutting down to deal with her grief. The suspicion stayed in the back of my head and for the first couple of days I didn't say anything. Not even to Matt. I kept doing little "experiments" to see if she could hear and they failed every time. By day three I knew for sure there was a problem. I told Matt about it and after doing some more "experiments", he agreed.
The thing is that we really didn't care at the time. NEVER for a single moment did we consider mentioning anything to our guide. Our biggest fear was that if we were to say anything at all, that we were not going to be able to keep Jazzie because we were not approved in our homestudy to adopt a special needs child. So we kept on going as if nothing was wrong. As the days went on I did worry about what kind of life Jazzie was going to have. I knew nothing about cochlear implants at the time and my biggest worry was how she was going to be able to communicate with our family. In our e-mails and phone calls from China, we never said anything to anybody. All we wanted to do was get Jazzie home so that we could see what kind of hearing loss she had and what we were going to be able to do about it. I was hoping at the time that she might simply have fluid or wax in her ears that prevented her from hearing. Whatever the case would be, we did not care. We loved her and wanted her home.
Then the day of the medical exam came. I remember being nervous that day. I was already on edge all the time because of SARS and now I was worried that people were going to find out about Jazzie's hearing loss and what the consequences were going to be. I sat down with Jazzie on my lap and a doctor shook a rattle next to Jazzie's ear. Nothing. He shook the rattle on the other side and once again: nothing. I saw the look of confusion/concern on the doctor's face and I knew that Jazzie wasn't going to pass the test. After doing some more tests of making noises for Jazzie and getting absolutely no response from her, the doctor went over to what I assume was a supervisor. Before I knew it, there were about half a dozen people surrounding us. They were all talking to each other, shaking things by Jazzie's ears and talking to our guide. I clearly remember one of the doctors asking me: "Do you think this baby can hear?". I simply answered: "I am not sure". I was darn sure that she could not, but I was afraid to say those words. I was scared to death they were going to take her from us. At this point our guide took us aside and asked if we still wanted Jazzie. I started to cry. Of course we still wanted her. Our guide said he would have to talk to the director of our agency and the rest is kind of a blur. I remember walking back to the hotel crying. Our travel mates were in shock and didn't really know what to say, but were very supportive.
Back at the hotel our guide once again asked us if we wanted to keep Jazzie. I also remember him saying that we could have another baby by the next day. Once again, I started to cry. I think it might be at this point that I got angry and told him that I did not want anybody asking me that question again. I wanted Jazzie and Jazzie only. That evening, back in the hotel, we got a phone call from the director of our adoption agency. Matt took the call and I heard him say: "You don't even have to ask me the question". He later told me that the director told him that he knew what our answer was going to be, but that he had to ask. After he heard directly from us that we wanted to keep Jazzie, he got in contact with our social worker. She wrote a home study addendum stating we were approved for a special needs child and faxed it to China. The following morning Matt took the addendum along with our other paperwork to the US Consulate. At the time, only one parent was allowed to go the consulate, so Jazzie and I stayed behind at the hotel. When Matt walked through the door with Jazzie's visa, I cried again. This time they were tears of relief.
It was such an emotional time, but tell me: how could we possibly NOT want to keep this girl?
Thanks to my husband Matt for filling in the blanks I was having in the comments section below ;-)
To see more wonderful black and white photo's, go here: