I can’t believe this is our 10th year walking - 10 YEARS of helping kids just like our Adeline!
Adeline continues to amaze us every day. As she gets older and involved in different experiences, they bring different opportunities and challenges. Our job is to help her navigate through.
Joe and I frequently reflect on the day when we heard the words: “your daughter needs to get enrolled in Early Intervention and get amplified, (hearing aids), as soon as possible”. I can’t describe what I felt, and little did we know the journey that was ahead of us. BUT - I wouldn’t change a thing. This whole experience has changed how I look and approach things.
It's our mission to help Adeline understand that she can do anything she wants, regardless of those cute "power pink" devices she wears behind her ears. I tell Adeline all the time: "just because you wear hearing aids doesn’t mean you can’t do something - you might have to do it differently, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it." Both Joe and I are continuously reminding her that her hearing loss should not define who she is. Like most moms, I tend to be protective at times - I don't want to put her or lead her into a situation that would be more challenging because of her hearing loss, for her to succeed in - whatever that scenario may be - at school, in the dance studio, on a soccer field, at a sleepover... what happens if she’s on the field and can’t hear her coach because she’s more than 5 feet away? Or what if her teammate asks her to pass the ball and she can’t hear? What happens if she can't hear her dance instructor because the music is too loud? What happens if the teacher at school forgets to wear the FM system, or doesn't know how to use it? I mean, the questions pile up! I sometimes make myself crazy thinking about all the different "what if's?" But I'm learning to let go and we continue to focus on working with her on her self-advocacy skills. I'm practicing on what I preach to her. I’m still learning, and as we always say in our house: "it's a work in progress".
Adeline is a beautiful soul that is filled with spunk and spirit! She enjoys soccer and loves dance. Joe continues to take on the role of her soccer coach, or "Coach Dad", as Adeline calls him, and is helping her advocate for herself on and off the field. She will give her coach and dance instructors a few "tips" when speaking to her, especially when she's on the field and in the dance studio...my, how far we've come. She continues to help her new teachers adjust to using the FM system in school. AND, last summer, Santa gave her a wetsuit and surf lessons - she fell in love with it! Just this past August, she bought her own surfboard - she saved for it for over 2 years! It's challenging to be in the water and not be able to wear her devices, but she didn't let that stop her. We were able to make sure her surf coach understood the basics and she did great. I admire her so much.
Thanks for visiting my page and if you haven’t read our story, please keep reading below. It's a long one, but I share our journey - from the beginning.
We’re committed to helping raise awareness and for helping kids just like our precious gift, Adeline.
Check out our recap video from last year's walk on YouTube: https://youtu.be/nrF4Cm3VTWo?si=4YeYLrFw1tp9pa3o
xxoo, Kristen 2023
Here’s our story and thanks for listening...
WE ARE BACK for another year participating in the Walk for Hearing - this year marks our 10th YEAR WALKING!!
Both Joe and I are very blessed - we are blessed with a beautiful daughter named Adeline Grace. Adeline entered our lives on February 17, 2012, and ever since that day, she has brought laughter and sunshine into our lives and family.
Adeline was born with a moderate-severe hearing loss in both of her ears and received her hearing aids before she was 8 months old. When we first learned of Adeline's hearing loss, we felt so many different emotions, many of which we continue to "manage" on a daily basis.
Adeline started receiving Teacher of the Deaf, (TOD), services from Summit Speech School in New Providence, NJ, when she was only 6 months old. We can't tell you what a difference this has made for not only Adeline, but for Joe and myself as well. Nancy, Adeline's TOD, came to our house every week for almost 3 years and worked with Adeline on how to use her own ears to listen and speak - what a beautiful thing!
Our connection to Summit Speech School still continues to this day, even though Adeline no longer receives services since she is now 10 years old. The dedicated staff at this institution has helped educate, empower, and even wipe tears, throughout our journey. I am not sure where we would be now if it weren't for them.
In 2015, you may remember reading about our struggle that dealt with the effects from the lack of knowledge and education regarding this disability. We had to push and push, for almost one year, (yes, ONE FULL YEAR), for special education services in our school district. The struggle and anxiety with this left both Joe and I speechless, tired, and most importantly, frustrated – how can a child that is hearing impaired be denied services?
Shortly after the start of 2016, Adeline was found eligible to receive services and we were finally able to sigh, with a big relief, that “we are back on track”! From the very beginning we approached this challenge as an opportunity with the school district, (although there were many times, we didn’t think we going to be able to keep pushing). Since Adeline is the first child to ever enter our school district with a hearing loss, we look at our journey to help educate the school and people that work with Adeline every day and will hopefully help pave the path for future children with hearing loss.
January 2020 was a big month for us - we took Adeline into NYC to the American Girl Doll store. For years, I dodged the request: "Mom, I'd like to get an American Girl doll"..."no way" I thought to myself. I mean, I couldn't justify spending THAT much money on a doll. BUT, when January rolled around and AG announced their "girl of the year" doll, Joe and I knew this was the time. "Joss", is a surfer and a competitive cheerleader, and she's also deaf in her right ear and wears an adorable blue hearing aid. When Adeline found this out, she was happy there was a doll out there that was "kinda like me".
As a parent of a child that's a "little bit different", even though they may seem "normal", it makes you realize how something like this can make such a difference. The expression on Adeline's face when she walked up to the display in the store and saw Joss with that adorable blue hearing aid, was priceless. A doll that's "kinda like me". This was huge. HUGE. I can't tell you what it was like to walk into a mainstream retailer and see something that represents your child. When we got home later that day, Adeline was able to take the accessories out and put Joss' hearing aid in. At that moment, Adeline started to cry. Tears of happiness, being overwhelmed with the experience, and feeling a connection to something that's "kinda like me". Huge, I tell you, HUGE.
By donating to "Team Adeline", you're helping with the crusade with educating people about this disability and you're also helping people just like Adeline.
Adeline is an amazing child...she loves school, enjoys playing soccer, can't wait for dance class, swimming, and enjoys, (but not ALL the time), the challenge of being a stronger speller and reader. Her speech and language development continue to amaze Joe and I - on a daily basis.
We are tremendously blessed to have such a beautiful gift!
Thank you for visiting our page and reading our story and for your gift!
Love, Joe, Kristen, & Adeline
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Walk4Hearing increases awareness about hearing loss, helps to eradicate the stigma associated with it and raises funds to provide information and support for people with hearing loss. Since 2006, the Walk4Hearing has raised more than $10 million and has become the largest walk for hearing taking place in cities across the United States.
We walk because hearing loss is a public health issue third in line after heart disease and arthritis.
- 48 million people have some form of hearing loss
- 26 million people have noise-induced hearing loss that could have been prevented
- 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children are born deaf or with a hearing loss
- 60 percent of the people with hearing loss are either in the work force or in educational settings
Hearing loss affects one's ability to communicate every day in different situations - from a dinner conversation at a noisy restaurant, on the phone, to not hearing alarm clocks and smoke alarms. For people with hearing loss, these situations can be become obstacles without the right information and support. HLAA provides the assistance and resources for people with hearing loss and their families to learn how to adjust to living with hearing loss.
For more information about HLAA, please visit www.hearingloss.org.