Thursday, July 31

We Just Signed Adoption Papers!

Rebecca is now adoptively placed in our home and now we wait on our court date. I have requested an interpreter for court, we will see if I have to play the same song and dance again. It has been a long road for our little girl (who's not so little) and I'm so excited she's about to embark on a new journey and start her life!

Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers and great advise. I now have to decide what I want to do with this blog, do I continue with ushersmom and just change the title or am I finished? I think there are so many decisions that I have loved discussing with you guys, it would be hard for me to give it up. I never would have thought that over 5,000 people would be interested in our little story. It has allowed me to meet incredible people and not just live in our community by our communities advise.

Thank you again! The court date could be in as little as 2 weeks. If anyone knows an interpreter in East Texas, I would love to get their information.

Tuesday, July 29

Mainstream or Deaf Ed

Why is it such an accomplishment for children to be mainstreamed, but when you tell someone that your child is in Deaf Ed is it looked at with pity? Why is there this push to mainstream?

Thursday, July 24

Medicaid Pays For Interpreters

That's what happened in our case. Since the state is legally the parent of Rebecca right now, I fought Medicaid and won! They are paying for an interpreter for her psych evaluation on Monday. I never thought about Medicaid providing the interpreter, so thank you Joyce for putting that bug in my ear. Now, we are one step closer to finishing up this adoption.

Sunday, July 20

The funny thing about blogging is...

One of the coolest things to me about blogging is all the cool people that you get to meet. We are all attached in a very unique way. I love reading other blogs and really feel connected to some of the people that I have met along the way. October will be one year since I started this blog and I only started reading blogs a little before that. On blog that really inspired me was Ashley's Mom and now it looks like I have inspired her (what a wierd twist).

She interviewed me for this really cool website called 5 minutes for special needs . It's a great website to link up with other parents who are going to some of the same things that we parents can only relate to.

My interview was posted today at if you would like to take a moment to learn more about how we got in this mess :)

Tuesday, July 15

Who's To Advocate??

Yesterday I just kept hitting walls. Do you ever have days like that? I called Rebecca's CPS caseworker back to set up the date for us to finalize the papers at the end of the month. She informed me that we need to get a psychiatric evaluation done on Rebecca before we can sign papers. We are only 2 weeks away from signing papers!! Okay, so I called the doctor who did my other daughters evaluation and has seen all the kids in our agency, so I know that he has seen Rebecca at some point and left a message for him to call me back. In the message I reminded him that Rebecca is Deaf and we will need an interpreter for her. I tell him that if he needs help finding an interpreter I have no problem helping with that, I do realize it is short notice but CPS is requiring this prior to the adoption at the end of the month.

I get a call back from our agency's caseworker asking why do we need an interpreter if she has a cochlear implant?

After I calmed myself down, I talked to CPS directly and our caseworker about this. Why wouldn't you give her everything that she needs so that she can understand as much as she can? I compared it for them to a child in a wheelchair that you are asking to go across the room. Sure, that child will eventually get across the room without her wheelchair, but whey wouldn't you give give the child the wheelchair in the 1st place??

The agency told me that they were going to try to get the psych deferred. My question back to them was, "Are you getting it deferred because you don't want to deal with my Deaf child and the interpreter or are you wanting it deferred because she is doing well in our home and there is no reason for an evaluation?" She didn't answer me.

What I guess frustrates me the most about this is that our agency is supposed to be advocating for Rebecca - how were they doing that??? Is throwing her in a room without an interpreter and thinking that is okay when the outcome of that evaluation depends on if she gets adopted advocating for your children???

Let me say this as plain as I can - MY CHILD WITH A COCHEAR IMPLANT IS NOT A HEARING CHILD!!!

Saturday, July 12

6th & Final Day At SEE Conference

Yesterday was a sad day. The conference has ended and now I am out on my own again. On our breaks and at lunch I had lunch with 2 ladies who will/and will be interpreting for my daughter at her school. They are both ASL interpreters and I learned so much from them. There are things with SEE that drive me batty and do no make sense to me. That's why in our house we are not pure SEE, we mix things up a bit. Compound words in SEE make me insane. Some of the compound words like SomeTimes are just one sign even though in SEE you would pointless as 2 signs : point and then less. Seems to me that sometimes should be the same : some and then times, but it's not sometimes has the same ASL sign as sometimes and is not broken down. There are many examples of this and it makes it really confusing to me to know which one is correct. When in doubt if I know the ASL sign I use the ASL sign in our house. The next time I get a chance I look it up and sometimes :) it is the ASL sign, but others it follows the compound word rule. I then tell my daughter the next time I use that word that she may also see "word + word" for that. I hope that made sense. It's really difficult to describe a language in type.

We did great on our Footloose song. I survived!! It is a really fast song when you are signing every word and every suffix. Get me off of my knees. For example : Get is got with a past tense marker and knees has an s at the end. C'mon C'mon let's go...let's is with an apostrophe s so it is an "s" that is turned in and then go. My hands and wrists got a good workout.

I'm sad that the convention is over. I learned about 200 new signs in a week. Where else can I do that? If you would liek to know if there is a SEE convention in your neighborhood visit

As a side note, I think that as a parent of a Deaf child you cannot just have 1 language that you are teaching your children. There are many signing systems and I want to expose myself and my child to as much as I can. SEE and ASL are the two prominate signing methods in our area. We also see signed engish, CASE and occasionally Rochester method. I would like to be profecient and learn as much as I can about sign language, NOT just SEE, NOT just ASL - but any and all sign language.

The reason I took the week off of work and went to the SEE conference is because it is what is being taught at my daughters school. If ASL were being taught I would have attended an ASL conference. Please do not bash me for wanting to better my skills in any language. We need to be flexible and understand that in this world my daughter is not just going to encounter ASL or just SEE - I do not want her to be ignorant or think that only 1 way is the right way! My goal is for us to be able to communicate with each other and with others. If that means that I need to learn 4 or 5 methods - I'm willing to do that. Right now, I feel like it is most important to give her language so that she can be caught up with her classmates. How can we do that quickly???? I think the answer is by signing what they are signing to her at school and that means that I learn SEE and sign as much SEE at home as I can so that she understands what is being signed to her at school.

Do not judge me because I sign SEE. I also know some ASL and will learn more and more as time goes on, but for now SEE is what we are using with some ASL flavors thrown in. SEE is not always conceptual and ASL sometimes clarifies what I mean. ASL is a beautiful language and I know that one day I will also sign ASL. I will not keep Rebecca from ASL, it is definately something that she needs, but SEE serves a great purpose as well.

Thursday, July 10

5th Day At SEE Conference

Today we spent over 1/2 the day (until around 2:00) without any voices. We had to order lunch and everything without voices. I went with 2 interpreters and they choose a place that did not have combo numbers. We went to Taco Cabana. We found a catering menu and they used that to help them order, but for some reason quesadillas (Rebecca calls them chees triangles) was not on that menu. I had to say 4th picture on the top and the guy was not getting it. It was difficult. I finally got what I wanted and we sat down to lunch. Both of the interpreters are originally ASL interpreters so this was a great opportunity for me to learn some ASL differences. It was fabulous! I'm still not going to switch to ASL right now, but it was great to see it more. I had them tell me a story in ASL and then in SEE so that I could visually see the difference.

Tonight was the banquet and that was fabulous! Rebecca's batteries died when she got to the hotel and I normally have extra batteries in my purse, but I have not been carrying my purse to the conference so I had no batteries. It was absolutely fine and as I have said before I think that she pays more attention without her implant. Everyone was signing there so it was easy for her to communicate and I really appreciated not having to interpret for everyone because everyone there could sign at some level.

We won a poster that has the pledge of allegiance on it which is great because that is something that Rebecca needs to improve on. I also got another suffix/affix book. I gave this one to Rebecca because she absolutely loves mine. She likes looking through it to see human turn into humans, humane, inhumane, superhuman, etc.

Tomorrow is the last day :(

Wednesday, July 9

4th Day At SEE Conference

Okay, today I have a headache. My head hurts from all the things that we packed in today. We have 3 instructors for our level which is awesome because we get to see how each one signs differently. I'm finding it extremely useful just seeing the other peoples hands when they sign and seeing their "accents". I am so used to seeing the same ol' people sign to me and it is great to see new hands! It has been very beneficial to me. I try to watch vlogs every once in a while just to see other people sign. It's amazing to me how a sign can look entirely different on someone elses hands. But, I guess we also have several accents as hearing people. If I go to Boston, I do not understand what they are saying for a little bit. It's the same with signing. Today we worked a lot on prefixes and suffixes. This is an area I am weak in because I normally one sign the suffix if it is an -ing or an -s and only if I did not already repeat the sign because it was plural (which is not TRUE SEE and I know that).

Today I had lunch with Rebecca's teacher and one of my interpreter friends who is one of the interpreters at our church. These people are very near and dear to me and I am very greatful that God has put these people in my families lives. I could not be more blessed. They are great Christian women who are wonderful with children, but also don't "pity" their deaf children. I love that because that is one of my pet peeves since having my children. Don't pity my children because they were in foster care or because one is Deaf - you can understand it without pitying them. Does that make sense? They do have different needs and you can provide for those needs without pitying them. Make them rise to the occasion and that is what these 2 wonderful women do with their children and I appreciate it so much!

I don't think that I announced this since school has been out, but when school got out Rebecca was tested to be reading 2nd grade level books! This was huge because when Rebecca was placed with us she was still on a pre-k level. I'm really excited about how much she is improving!

Tomorrow night is the banquet, so I may not get around to blogging but I will write about it when I get a chance. Good night!

3rd Day At SEE Conference

Great day! Don't get me wrong, my head is still exploding from all the knowledge but I'm enjoying it. I had lunch with 2 of Rebecca's interpreters from the past and that was great! We got the words to the song that we will preform on Thursday night - Footloose. That's a fast song. Anyway, hopefully I will have more to say about day 4. See ya then!

Monday, July 7

2nd Day At SEE Conference

Okay, so I decided to go back for more. Today was definately a full day of mind-blowing signing. I actually did the best at fingerspelling which I feel is my weakest area so if that is giving you a clue as to how the rest of my day went. I learned today that a lot of the people that are in my class are actually ASL signers who are learning SEE. What I learned from them was that a lot of my signs are ASL which is fine because SEE is based on ASL so it fits in there somewhere. I am so grateful to be in this class because when I sign something that is not the correct SEE sign, someone tells me, "That's okay in ASL" and I feel better. I am not totally clueless, but I am really messed up in my SEE signing.

I have shared my story a lot with the people who have asked and that has made several other people come up to me and ask. I actually learned that Rebecca's VI assistant (I had only met the VI intructor herself) is taking the SEE classes so that he can communicate with Rebecca better and not have to have an interpreter follow him around. I think that is just awesome of him! There are such incredible people at this conference, I feel honored to be there.

We also got our song that we will perform on Thursday night (start praying now). It will be Footloose! Do you know how fast that song is? Okay, just checking...continue praying for us. I will be back for another day of torture ;) tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6

1st Day At SEE Conference

Tonight was the first night of the SEE conference and then tomorrow it is early in the morning and all day long. Tonight we were evaluated to see what class we would be assigned. I filled out the sheet that asks why are you hear "mother of Deaf child" and how long have you been signing "since Octoberish". I hand the paper to the lady and she asks how old my daughter is and I start signing back to her that she is 10, we are adopting her etc. She looks down at the paper and then back at me and says - you've only been signing since October. I reply yes and she tells me to stand over there and they will get back with me on what class I should be in. Technically, since I have only been signing for less than a year I should be in a beginners class, but she says I do not belong in a beginners class. So, I am put in a classroom with 32 other people and we are evaluated further. The first assignment we are broken up into groups of 3 and asked to tell out ourselves. The first person goes and she's an interpreter - ok....the second person goes and she's an interpreter - feeling nervous. It is my turn and I'm only a mother - no interpreter. We are then broken up into groups of 11 and are told again to tell our story. Interpreter, interpreter, interpreter, speech pathologist, interpreter, itenerant, interpreter...etc. Once again, me just mom!

Am I in the right class??? My signing in my opinion is not that great. It's okay and I have continued working on it for 7 months but it is definately not at an interpreters level. They give us a large workbook and most of it is about interpreting in the classroom and interpreters responsibilies, etc. OH MY GOSH - I am so overwhelmed! The people teaching these classes are linguist with PHDs and masters in this and in that! Again, I am just a mom. I am only taking these classes so that I can better help my child with her homework and building her language skills.

Anyway, I will try to post again tomorrow on how day 2 goes if my head has not exploded!

Thursday, July 3

Crazy Summer Days

Hard to believe it has been a month since I have written anything on here. Where did the time go? We have been so busy -- Rebecca got her hearing aid and loves it! She shows it off all of the time.

We are still working on the adoption which is now in full swing, we will sign papers at the end of this month and then consumate in August. We have received all of her records from FPS and are going through them now. We are working on our subsidy papers and filling out the paperwork for our attorney.

Next week, I will be attending the SEE conference in Dallas. I have also been having private tutoring from one of my Deaf friends who is working with me on my signing in the Deaf community. It has been difficult because for Rebecca I need to use SEE because her school uses SEE and so it is necessary that for now she learns SEE. I also recognize that SEE is not the most popular in the Deaf community, so my friend is helping me with that. So, I am learning 2 ways to sign right now and my head has been spinning.

Summertime is in full swing at our home and we are bustling with activity. Camp is coming up at the end of this month, but they still have not found an interpreter for Rebecca - so please pray for that! It is a foster/adoptive camp which is incredible and I know that Rebecca would get a lot out of it! We are planning our annual trip to Sea World and right now we are overwhelmed with 4th of July activities. Both girls went to VBS last week and had a blast! They are in a summer program that is filling them with activities - so far they have went to a baseball game, skating, had a cooking class and next week they will go bowling.

So, if my blogs are a little sparatic I appologize. I will do my best to try to slow down and write something every once in a while.