Is Max saying “mamma”?? I’ll let you decide…

You know, I haven’t written a lot about Max’s special need because I honestly don’t think about it too much.

It doesn’t define him.

He is so funny, rambunctious, and full of life. He is a typical two year old. Most of the time I am trying to figure out how to break up fights with his brother or keep him from hurting himself since he “has no fear”. These are the typical mommy things I would be doing even if he didn’t have a special need.

craft time

This is how “craft time” ends up at the Eshleman household

I know we are still in the early stages of having him home, and we will face more challenges as he gets older, but I think about his hearing such a smaller percentage of the time that I am parenting him….and that is only because I might scream a little louder to keep him from running into the street or eating Daisy’s food 😉

If you didn’t know already, Max has bilateral microtia and atresia. I am still learning about this special need, so I am no pro, but I hope to learn much more very soon. If you are thinking of adopting, this is what I would sit down and tell you over a cup of coffee: that sometimes a child’s diagnosis in their adoption file looks scary when it’s not.

disclaimer: I am not, by any means, downplaying how difficult it is to be a parent of a child with a special need(s). I know there are varying degrees of special needs, and that parenting a child with a special need, or any child for that matter, isn’t easy.

Before we even began our home study, we found our precious little boy on the Special Focus list (a list of children in the China Special Needs program that may have a more difficult time finding a family because their needs are considered more moderate-severe). I am sharing this only because I so desire for people who are adopting to look past a label, or a list, and see the child. When Max reads this one day, I want him to know this is not something that he should be ashamed of, but something we can praise God for because we may not have found him if it was not for this “list”.

Hockey player one day?!

Hockey player one day?!

One of the most common questions I get from people is “what news do you have about his hearing”?

And …we now have answers! This past Friday we had an appointment with a pediatric audiologist at the UNC hospital. The doctors we saw were wonderful and well worth the 2 month wait we had to get in. We are so blessed to live only about 45 minutes away. We knew before we adopted Max that he had congenital hearing loss (hearing loss present at birth) due to his microtia/atresia. We weren’t 100% positive if his inner ear was working properly, but we found out at his appointment that it is! In fact, his hearing was excellent when given a test at the clinic. He doesn’t have an ear canal (atresia) and his ears are not formed like the majority of people (microtia). He has little ears and I think they are the most adorable ears ever.  How does this impact his hearing? I like to explain it to people like this: “it’s like he has really good ear plugs in all the time”.  He can hear really loud noises, but not enough to where he can learn to speak clearly without some extra help.

funny eye pic

Max’s “funny eye” face that he makes quite often

So, what’s in store for his future? He will get a BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid) in a few weeks! This hearing aid will help him hear normally. It will be attached to a band that he will wear around his head until he is about 5-7 years old. At that time he will have a surgery to implant the BAHA.

You can read more about it here

We are so excited that Max will have the opportunity to hear clearly! Soon after he receives the BAHA, he will begin speech therapy which is provided through our state through a program called Beginnings.

Please pray that our insurance will cover the BAHA. Some insurances do not consider this a “hearing aid” (even though it is called a “hearing aid”…I know, I’m baffled too). Once we get approval through our insurance ,or figure out another way to pay for it, he will be fitted for it and will soon be stylin’ in his BAHA 🙂

chillin in chair

I really didn’t think I would hear him say “mamma” for quite a while (at least not until after he got his BAHA), but I think he is saying it! Landon has been teaching him and he sure seems like he knows that he is saying. What do you think?!

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