Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Gift of Hearing


Meet Alyona.

Alyona is 5 years old and lives in Kharkov, the second largest city in Ukraine.

This beautiful, smiling little girl, was pronounced deaf by the time she was one year old, and it is likely she lost her hearing because of adult antibiotics she received as an infant when she was very sick. Her family was devastated when they learned of her hearing loss.

Living at the poverty level, her parents could not afford hearing aids to help her with the minimal hearing that remained. But her grandmother was determined that she would function in the hearing world and since Alyona was a toddler, her grandmother has spent countless hours with her, teaching her words and how to read people’s lips. What Alyona is capable of understanding and voicing without hearing sound is amazing!

Sadly, Alyona’s father took his own life this past fall. He had been living in a deep depression because he was out of work and felt he couldn’t provide for the needs of his family and was devastated that he could not help his daughter’s hearing loss. After his death, Alyona’s mother, alone and with nowhere to turn, was led by a friend at work to write our mission in Kiev and ask for help. She didn’t know what to expect, and was surprised when our staff called her and invited her to come to Kiev with Alyona to see if we could help. The family couldn't understand why complete strangers would want to help!

In March Alyona was brought to Kiev to receive an ear examination at our medical clinic and the moment she was fitted with top of the line hearing aids, it became apparent that her whole future was about to change! She could HEAR! Her grandmother and mother were in tears as they saw Alyona react to sounds around her—including the sound of her own voice! Her mother recognized the hand of God—someone she had been unwilling to recognize before.

About two weeks ago I had the privilege to travel to Kharkov on behalf of Orphan’s Promise and deliver Alyona the hearing aids that had been ordered for her. I got to spend the whole day with sweet Alyona and her family, as we produced a story about her life and how it was made possible for her to receive the hearing aids-- something her family would have never been able to afford.

What a miracle to witness a child being given this gift! Ukraine is not a country that makes room for people with disabilities, which means these hearing aids will provide Alyona with a better life and allow her to be accepted in the hearing world.

In a year of such tragedy for this family, I can't describe in words how it was to see her mother and grandmother rejoice as their little one received the gift of hearing; and to realize her life will forever be different! Praise the Lord for his provision.

"My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice!" Psalm 34:2

2 comments:

Evie's Story said...

What a redemptive, beautiful story! Thank you for sharing this "modern day miracle".

And that post on your mom.....bet she was so blessed!

MamaPoRuski said...

Beautiful reminder that we can make a world of difference one child, one family at a time!