Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Signing My Life Away

In High School and college I had very little to do with Special Needs, but in my senior year of college I met some deaf teens at a church event, got an alphabet card from them, and taught myself to fingerspell.
After graduating I became a social worker, met, and got engaged to a young man. Social work wasn't my forte, so I went back to school to become a pastoral counselor.
My fiance knew I was interested in Linguistics and had some experience with people who had special needs, so he introduced me to his best friend, who was a Sign Language Interpreter.
To make a long story short, I married my fiance's best friend.
Actually that sounds much more interesting than the way it actually happened.
Charlie, the best friend, taught me American Sign Language, I dropped out of Seminary and went to work in the dormitories at California School for the Deaf. Both Charlie and I knew deaf kids whose parents didn't want them, so I suggested adopting deaf children. My boyfriend said he didn't want to have any children so I broke up with him. By then Charlie and I were sharing the responsibility of interpreting church services in Sign Language and had become good friends, but we didn't become romantically involved until several years later.
After marrying, we raised three deaf foster sons, but were unable to adopt any of them for various reasons, and we also had one birth daughter. Our careers changed over time but, because we still consider the boys as part of our family, Sign Language is still an important part of my life.

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