This is my daughter Faith. She was adopted in 2009 from China, she has a profound bilateral hearing loss. Which means she is deaf. She hears nothing at all and our family uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. When Faith arrived nearly 4 years ago, at nearly 4 years old she had absolutely no form of communication aside from snarling at us or giving us the thumbs up. It has been amazing to watch her go for from a frustrated, trapped in her own world, little girl to this bright eyed, mischievous, signing like crazy 7 year old. We are truly blessed to be called to be her family!!
The story is remarkable - and is documented in more detail in our adoption blog: http://gingrasadoption.blogspot.com ... it was -- and still is -- a complete God-story!! One of the promises I made to myself ( and to her really) when we accepted the "match' from the adoption agency to be her family - was that she would NEVER be left out in the cold when we were at Mass. That wherever we were, if I was there, she'd be able to count on me to interpret it for her. So, one of the main reasons I am heading to Rio for World Youth Day with the Deaf Apostolate is to learn how to better sign the Mass for Faith, and maybe even other Deaf in our community.
This Pilgrimage will be many things for me - but primarily it is a week long, intensive, full immersion ASL class!! Every line I am waiting in, I will use to learn more about my daughter's beautiful language and culture, because they are truly inseparable. In 8th grade, I fell in love with Sign Language (even told my Mother at that time that I'd be open to having a Deaf child) and now many years later, I am in love with much more than the language, but the people who use it, especially a very special little Chinese one!!