Kelly and Bradley discovered there is no label for identifying Deaf kids in the adoption system! Later, they adopted both biological brothers, Wylie and Ambrose. Wylie was a victim of language deprivation. Ambrose is CODA and he didn’t know how to sign language. Communication was a big struggle, yet they all found a way to overcome the struggle together!
Hi! My name is Wylie. Hi, my name is Ambrose. Hello, I am Kelly Kim. Hi, my name is Bradley. We are brothers. They are my fathers. Both of them are really biological brothers adopted together. I am Deaf. I am CODA. Since we were together we started discussing children. We wanted to have children. That was our goal. Right? Yes yes, I always wanted to have children. I wanted a Deaf child. We decided to go to home care. We were looking at children’s pictures. There were no Deaf children revealed! I guess that there are many hearing children. The problem is that there are no labels for identifying the Deaf in the system. There are Deaf children involved with foster care but unfortunately, they are not identified as Deaf. When I asked the social worker whether there were Deaf children in all of Massachusetts, They said they did not know. So yea..
What would we do? I was working for a family Sign Language program. In the circle of new parents, one parent, the foster mother, came to me and introduced herself. The foster parents had a Deaf child. That child was Wilie! When I asked if she was a foster mother, she replied yes. I told her I was interested in adopting a Deaf child. She was overjoyed and said that was wonderful. I was very excited to have finally found a Deaf child! Strange that a social worker could not find a Deaf child in Massachusetts but I did! I am very excited! I want my fathers to be with me. Wylie moved here on 12 June 2015. His exposure to languages was limited. It was really limited.
When he moved here, it was very hard to communicate with him. Frustrated! Frustrated! I did not sign at all! It was a challenge! Can you explain the challenge? I had a lot of behavioral issues like biting, and spitting. The problem was communication. Why? Because of his limited vocabulary. I was angry, crying, sad, and frustrated. The foster mother could sign a bit but she was not fluent. It was a struggle with language for a long time because the child was never exposed to it. They taught me. I felt better and relieved. From that point, we started teaching him Sign Language. Later, we enrolled him in a Deaf school, pre-school program, early childhood program and kept teaching him.
I was complaining. After all the Sign Language teaching, I felt better! The sign makes me understand and I can communicate with all Deaf! With language, finally, his behavior improved. Language skyrocketed his development. He progressed by signing with his Deaf parents, in school, in the community. Everyone signed. Now, he has started to become the boy he is. Very sweet, nice, want to follow rules, be involved with family, and love to socialize. He visually absorbed all the Signs around him. He was truly grateful because he was facing language deprivation. I miss my brother. We have separate rooms & cupboards. I asked my fathers if I could sleep with my brother Ambrose. We are aware of Ambrose. Doesn’t matter if he is hearing. We still keep them together. When we first met Ambrose, he knew only 1 sign that was ‘No’.
Ha Ha! He needed to learn Sign Language. Before they adopted us, we did not know how to Sign. I would Sign to him but he never understood me. We kept exposing him and teaching. Now, his sign language has improved so much. We want to Sign. So we set up a rule that you have to Sign with Deaf family members in the same space. When I was 7 years old, I learned sign language. Now, I am happy to learn a lot of sign language with my brother and father. They sign with each other. Deaf and hearing communicating back and forth. They fight. Oh yeah, we have access to understanding, access to language. Family language is important! I feel better that we can sign.
I am happy to provide them with a language to communicate with. I love to be with them forever till 18 years old. The foster care network system needs to improve. The system should identify Deaf children. Disabilities tend to be kept private and confidential. How will we know! If we have a Deaf child in need, they must be sent to Deaf foster parents. This is needed! All parents should sign! They should try their best. If hearing parents struggle to communicate with Deaf children, then learn the Language. Expect 100% accessibility to communication. Not reduced to parts of communication. Thank you, dads! We love you!
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