As we celebrated the resurrection of our risen Savior last weekend, we have so very much to be thankful for. I cannot help but count my many, many blessings with such heart of gratitude. I am so mindful of the Father’s goodness and lovingkindness to my family.
Last week was the week of the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for our children with special needs. I am so thankful for awesome teachers who work with me to combine our kids’ IEP meetings so that we can get through them as quickly as possible. What an amazing team of professionals we are blessed with to work with our treasures! Truly blessed!
I know that so many of you have followed Hailee’s journey since she came home in 2010. Where in the world have eight years gone already?! I shared her story HERE for those of you who are not familiar with Hailee’s painful start in life and where she is today. Last Wednesday I sat in Hailee’s IEP listening to those who pour their hearts into her care, her growth, and into ensuring that she becomes as independent as she can possibly be in her future. That’s always been the goal for Hailee. In fact, that’s the goal for all of our children who have special needs–to help them to be as successful as they can be as they grow and mature into their young adult years and beyond. Each precious child is so unique and they all function on different levels of ability. Together with their teachers and therapists we tailor their education plans to grow their strengths and work on their weaknesses. I love helping each of our children to thrive in every area of their lives. One of my greatest joys in life is seeing them overcome so much adversity and master new skills.
Hailee is such a unique little love. With a past filled with so much pain, suffering, hurt, malnutrition, and absolute abandonment, we have never really known what to expect as far as what she will be capable of as she grows up. So much uncertainty, yet so much peace in knowing that the God who created her and knows all things will always be enough for our little darling.
This last school year has been such an incredible season of growth for Hailee. One of the biggest areas we’ve seen her grow in is her willingness to intentionally show us what her needs are. Being non-verbal, she has never been too interested in signing. She’s learned a few but seldom uses her signs to show us what she wants. This year we have seen Hailee find her own way of expressing her needs. She’ll either take our hand and lead us to what she wants (usually the fridge or the pantry!) or she’ll bring us whatever it is she wants (usually her juice bottle, a laptop computer for her favorite show, one of her music toys that needs new batteries, or a piece of fruit, etc). She’ll even ask to be picked up (by virtually climbing up us) and then very intentionally, and with much determination, put our hand on the upper kitchen cabinet that has her bowls and juice bottles in it. Pretty amazing!
During Hailee’s IEP, I asked her team about something that we have been thinking about for a while for her. Did they think that she would be able/willing to use a communication device to speak for her? This is the first time in the eight years that she has been home that we have seriously considered a device for Hailee. It seemed like such an unlikely dream at one point that we never gave it too much thought. Her team unanimously agreed that it was worth a try and were excited to teach Hailee something new.
Last Friday I got a text from Hailee’s teacher.
“I got a GoTalk for Hailee yesterday and loaded it up for her. She used it SO well this afternoon! She was requesting items with purpose and was very intent on how to use it to access desired objects. She was very engaged.”
I read the text through tears. It was her very first day of being introduced to this device, and she’s getting it. This little love, who was confined to a crib in a horrendous “laying room” (a room at the back of the orphanage for children with the most severe special-needs who had no hope), was written off as being unworthy of even the most basic of human needs. She was drugged with an adult tranquilizer to the point of sleeping her life away, and she was barely even touched for the first five years of her life. Now Hailee is learning. She is growing. She is willing to try new things. She’s become fiercely determined to let us all know exactly what she wants. This is such huge progress for Hailee. HUGE.
Milestones and miracles before our very eyes.
We don’t know what the future holds for our sweet Hailee. As she approaches her thirteenth birthday, we don’t know how independent she will become as we navigate the teenage years with her. But I do know this one thing with absolute certainty, because His Word promises it.
ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
With all my heart, I believe it.
To know her is to love her.