Recently through my very-very-very part time job, I got to experience a beautiful thing.
About four years ago I started working for an organization that supports Deaf and Hard of Hearing families (Hands and Voices). Did you know that 90% of individuals born with hearing loss are born into hearing families?! It’s like the blind leading the blind! Only it’s the deaf leading the deaf. Scratch that. It’s the hearing parents trying to raise a deaf child, leading the other hearing parents who are trying to raise their deaf child! It’s a crazy experience. And it’s SO isolating sometimes.
I remember the first parent I ever spoke to that had raised a deaf daughter was a friend of a friend. I was so desperate for connection that one of my new acquaintances at a bible study said she had a friend that I could talk to and I jumped at it. I called this stranger, desperately on the hunt for answers and a comradery I wasn’t sure existed (but really hoped it did!).
I can recall where I was standing in our old house and the tears of relief that came from talking to someone else that had gone through a similar experience. At that time, there wasn’t an organization that was really supporting families in Lane County. I was on my own. Talking to this one mother was my life line.
Fast-forward SEVEN years and I am now witnessing the beauty of community. A few families and myself put a potluck together. There were almost 50 people in attendance- which was pretty good considering the small amount of hearing loss we have in our County. (Although I’m sure there’ll be more to come!)
My favorite quote of the night was in this text-
“I was actually surprised to see so many families because at times it could feel like we were alone in this. I’m happy that there’s a supportive community for our kiddos.”
Amen… This momma is preaching to the choir here!
This text was from a parent that I know has connections on-line. The need for connection in this day and age is being met through social media. We all can get pretty great support in the cyber world. But there’s nothing like sitting face to face over dinner and relating with someone who is in your world. So I encourage everyone- wherever you’re at…
You have a real need to connect! So do it! Make the time 😉 Find the people. Make yourself find-able! Without one another we are incredibly limited. It’s awkward sometimes. It’s uncomfortable. We’re all VERY different. Just because we have one similarity doesn’t mean we have a ton of them… But that’s what makes this world such a fun place to be 🙂 Cherish one another’s differences! Learn from one another 🙂 Our kids and friends and our personal selves can be so much greater with the help of one another.
So to the family that opened up their home for the potluck- a gazillion thank you’s… You made such an incredible impact by providing space for everyone. To everyone who came, thank you. Without you, we are less than whole.
With you we are stronger and the possibilities are endless!