When we decided to adopt from China we got into the healthy as young as possible line. We didn’t even think about going special needs. In fact, the words “special needs” scared us. We were logged in on May 30, 2006. At that time we were told we would have our referral in 9 to 12 months. As we all know this didn’t happen and we waited and waited. I started doing some research and talked to Big T about getting in the special needs line. I especially wanted a heart baby because of all I learned about the heart when my mom was so sick. Big T? Well, he wanted nothing to do with a heart baby. When we got that call, that wonderful call, I called him and told him to get to a computer so he could see his little girl. After he saw her picture I told him she was a heart baby. Was he mad? Yep, just a little but he knew she was his daughter so he got over it pretty quick.
Once we got home with her we made an appointment with our pediatrician who referred us to Wake Med and a pediatric cardiologist. (We were under the impression that her heart hadn’t been fixed but when I got to China I found out she had been operated on about a month before we got her.) So, we go to the pediatric cardiologist and get some tests done. He was very pleased with China’s work on her heart and told us that she is fine and he didn’t need to see us anymore. Praise the Lord!! We were so happy!!
As we went along our merry way I noticed she wasn’t talking. Yes, she just spent 2 years of her life in an orphanage where they spoke a different language. But she understood us, would do what we asked her. What was going on? She was referred to EI where they started her on speech therapy and occupational therapy. The OT was for chewing because at 26 months old she didn’t know how to chew. That is another story for another time. The EI was happening 2x a week. Then when she turned 3 she went under the county and started speech therapy with them 2x a week at her pre-school. I wasn’t happy with her progress so I made an appointment with her old EI speech therapist for another evaluation. That is when we learned she has verbal apraxia.
Wait a minute!! That isn’t her special need! No one said anything about verbal apraxia! But there it was, in black and white. Little T, who will turn 4 next month, can not talk like a normal soon to be 4 year old. She can’t carry on a conversation, she can’t tell me about her day at school, she can’t tell me if someone was being mean to her. Since I’m with her all the time this doesn’t bother me but when I’m around another 3 year old that can talk your ears off, my heart just aches for her. Its so hard for me sometimes when I hear a young child talking and laughing with their mom or dad. Will she ever be able to do that?
We didn’t put verbal apraxia as a need that we would “accept” on our little checklist we gave to our agency. In fact, it wasn’t even ON the checklist! But here it is, in our lives, as her true special need.