Our Journey Handpicked For Us: Raising Sons Who Are Hard Of Hearing, Hearing, & Deaf

 Meagan Leigh Photography

Meagan Leigh Photography

Have you ever been hit with something so out of the ordinary and shocking that you have a hard time believing it? That’s where my story begins. When my oldest son (now 5) was 2 years of age, I started noticing his lack of response to my voice. I thought, “Is he hearing me? Of course he is, he’s just a 2 year old boy.” It was when my husband starting noticing the same thing that I knew we had to take it more seriously. So, we took him to get his ears tested. They put him in the sound booth and to our surprise he didn’t respond to all the sounds. From the moment the audiologist told me he needed a second more accurate test under sedation, I chose to embrace denial. I told her it wasn’t necessary, you see my son spoke very well, never held back from making noise and was very aware and alert. So being there were no other concerns, I ignored the truth. 

 

 Jaxson (5) hard of hearing

Jaxson (5) hard of hearing

Fast forward 6 months, I started to notice my very outgoing, energetic, funny little boy sit by himself when with other children, not engage in play and act introverted. That, to me, was a red flag so I knew it was time to get his second test. 

 

He was given a sedated ABR test. The results were immediate, and it was determined that Jaxson had mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. My husband and I both left the hospital in tears…so many questions going through our heads…so many fears. We cried together and processed it for about a week. 

 

You see, I think it is very important to mourn that which you have lost. In that moment we lost the hearing we thought our son had, mourning was part of the process to which we could begin to move forward and be strong for our son. 

 

 Colby (2) hearing

Colby (2) hearing

We then started our journey towards hearing aids. Jax was 3 years old when he got his very own hearing aids. His response was priceless and from the moment he put them on he never tried to take them off. He soaked up every moment of his new hearing abilities. 

 

We have a second son, Colby, that has been by Jaxson’s side through his whole known hearing journey. Colby is hearing and is so proud to be able to assist his older brother with his hearing when needed. He also often asks when he’s going to get his hearing aids. A challenge in itself to assure our three year old whom adores his older brother that God gave him strong ears so he doesn’t need hearing aids. 

 

 Asher (6 months) born deaf

Asher (6 months) born deaf

Fast forward 2 more years to when we had our third son. Asher was born: healthy delivery and healthy baby! However…he failed his infant hearing test and right away we knew he also would have some sort of hearing loss. But we were ready for it, given we were now familiar with that diagnosis. 

 

When Asher was just 3 weeks old he had his ABR testing done, and the results came back different than they did with Jaxson. Asher responded to no noise below 75 decibels, Asher was deaf. When our audiologist gave this news, we found ourselves again leaving the office in tears. Though we expected it more this time, we still needed those tears to help us move forward. 

 

At 8 weeks old Asher was to be fitted for his hearing aids. Given his profound loss there was no guarantee he would respond to any sounds with the aids on, so our  expectations were low. We all went as a family to his appointment, the older boys were very excited to see Asher get his new hearing aids. The moment the audiologist turned them on Asher’s face lit up in a way we had never seen! We all had so much joy, together we took in Asher hearing his first sounds. 

 

We have 3 amazing boys, all 3 unique in their own ways! Our home is very diverse in that we have a hard of hearing child, a hearing child and a deaf child. We are all learning sign language and using it often together. We are teaching our boys that all things are possible, and God made them just the way He chose to, and He delights in that, as do we. We have a motto that we have embraced: “The world is yours.” We believe it wholeheartedly, for all 3 of our boys that although they were born into an uncontrollable adversity, they were handpicked for that adversity and because of that we choose to be empowered in it. I wrote a note to my son shortly after learning he was deaf which read:

Yes, baby boy, you were born deaf. But, oh sweet boy, THIS does not define or limit you! YOU dear boy are brave, you’re strong, and your smile lights up a room! Always remember God made you exactly the way you are supposed to be, and Mommy promises to be strong in remembering that too. So when we are asked over and over “is he deaf” we smile and answer proudly “yes!’. Because we know this is just a small piece of who you really are, and son, someday they will know too! Though your ears aren’t as strong as others, your character, courage and heart will be (perhaps even stronger). Baby boy, The world is yours!

 

Though I wrote this with my infant son in mind, I have come to realize it's for all of my children. 

 

 Meagan Leigh Photography

Meagan Leigh Photography

So back to my original question, we went into having kids thinking it would be one way. However, the journey we have been given is far from what we thought we would have, but with time we have come to embrace it with so much joy. From the moment I heard my first son was hard of hearing something changed in me. I started to think differently about life and what it hands us. My experience has lead me to believe, stronger than ever, that the Lord handpicks us for the journey we are on and He equips us with what’s necessary to get through it. It has taught me to believe this in my own life and believe it for others. I know that as the years go by we will have difficulties, but in prayer and with great hope I believe we will make it through. I tell all three of my children often, that if they were in a room with 1000 other children and I had to choose one I would choose them exactly the way they are. I truly mean it from the bottom of my heart, I would not change my children. I don’t think it's possible to put into words how much they have changed me, I am blessed to have deaf children. 

 

I hope our story can encourage you in the journey you’ve been given. It may be something so out of the ordinary and something you genuinely wish didn’t have to be. That’s okay, I understand, take courage in knowing you were handpicked for that journey and the Lord will equip you to get through it. 

 Meagan Leigh Photography

Meagan Leigh Photography

Hi, I am Meagan Ackerman, I enjoy being with my boys, the outdoors, cooking and sipping a hot cup of coffee with my best friends. I am a stay at home Mom and it's the most rewarding job. I am currently in Grad school to get my masters in Biblical Counseling. I am passionate about helping people, and mental health. I also do photography part time and love capturing moments that will one day be a memory. My husband, Bryan, is my hero and greatest cheerleader! He supports me in all I do and always encourages me to reach for my dreams, he’s just the best! Together we have three sons Jaxson (5) Colby (3) and Asher (6 months) they are our life. These boys have changed us in ways we didn’t think possible, and we know it's just the beginning. After we found out our youngest son was born deaf, myself and the boys started learning sign language, Bryan is already fluent in ASL (yeah he’s pretty amazing). We often refer to ourselves as "Team Ackerman” (I live in a house full of boys everything is competition so this helps bring unity haha) 

You can follow us on my IG account @Faithfullyraisingboys and read our blog here: faithfullyraisingboys.wordpress.com 

Note: All the photos in this publication are Meagan's and you can find her photography page here: Meagan Leigh Photography or @meaganlphotography