I have had a rich career, 20 years working with young children who are deaf and their families, and now training the next generation of professionals. I have also partnered with my husband of 25 year in raising our five children and building a life of wonderful adventures. During the school year we are invested in our students at work, and juggling the busy and often chaotic lives of our teens and adult”ish” kids at home. In the summers we all pack too-tightly into our SUV and head cross-country on our quest to visit all the National Parks (we are on 32 out of 53).
My specialty area is childhood deafness, early identification and intervention. In my work I have encountered dozens of families as they were navigating the uncertainly of an unexpected diagnosis, learning new ways to communicate, and reordering life. It is a wonderful thing to be able to provide hope and help in a tangible way, and years later I still follow many of their stories to adulthood. Almost without exception they say in retrospect, “Even if I could go back and change it, make my child hearing, I wouldn’t.” They are each amazing journeys.
We have parented two deaf children ourselves, chosen through adoption. They came to us as toddlers who had been abandoned, without language or parents or hope. While we still sometimes see reminders of this brokenness, they are in every way our own, completely woven into the fabric of our family. I love them fiercely and cannot image our family without them. They talk and sign and love life and are each pursuing independence in their own ways, both very attached to the home we have made.
In many ways my life has not been what I might have pictured when I was a college student myself. I thought of a clear career path (it has been more of a winding, “less traveled” path), a prefect family (we are an absolute hot mess), a well-ordered life (I barely have my crumbs together) as identity. Spiritually I thought that if I was “good enough” that I would be able to please God, but HOLY is a pretty high standard. I messed up often, and even when my actions were perfect, my motives often were not. I had grown up in church. I believed Jesus, prayed to God, and even knew the Bible really well, but I was missing a big piece of the picture. It wasn’t until I encountered a campus Christian organization in college that I really came to a full understanding of the work of Jesus. I began to understand that HIS perfection was my new identity, and that I didn’t have to earn love or forgiveness.
Christians use the word “redeem” to describe what Jesus does to make broken things right. Here’s the thing: that shift in perspective changes everything. I am so imperfect and broken even still, but I am made completely right with Christ. There are pictures of redeeming everywhere, like in our family’s adoption story or in the work I do with families of deaf babies – everywhere broken things are being made right. When we walk through the woods, I’m no longer just seeing the perfect flower, but I'm appreciating the fallen tree that dissolves into the forest floor to bring new life or the fire that burns away the underbrush to make way for the new growth. It may be silly, but I've even come to love repurposing old furniture, finding an outfit at the thrift shop, making the old and broken things right (We even have four "rescued" Dachsunds.) The world we live in is broken. The people we are, also broken. We each ache for justice and healing and hope. We want to be redeemed, even when we don't know it.
"Peace - It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."
Roadtrips to National Parks with the fam, cooking and eating, walks in the park, listening to audiobooks, and "Dentoning"
Best advice I ever received
My undergrad alma mater
James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
My worst subject in school
In college I drove
Red Chevy Cavalier Convertible with "Ear Me" license plate
If I weren't a professor, I would
The Kindness of Children, Desiring God, The Incredible Life of Bees, Carrying Albert Home
Old Musicals and anything with Grace Kelly or Jimmy Stewart
Nobody knows I
wish I hadn't quit those guitar lessons.
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