Deaf Foster Care Experience
Christy talks about her Deaf foster care experience growing up in a foster family, while keeping in touch with her birth family.
Ineligble for Adoption Due to Being Deaf
Hi, I’m Christy LaSalle. I grew up fostered by one family. I was a ward of the state because I was considered disabled and ineligible for adoption back in those days. Adoption was only open – I was given away when I was three years old. I do remember my life with my birth family very well. So, I was given up and moved to a home in New Orleans – I just visited that house, which I also remember. The nuns looked for a school for me and found a school for the Deaf in Baton Rouge, where I moved. I didn’t have any parents then, but I did have legal guardians – my grandparents.
Pictures Matched with Memories
When I started school, I didn’t know sign language. I learned fingerspelling, or visible English. When my activities teacher was collecting pictures for family albums and found out that I didn’t have any, she decided to find my file and contact my birth to ask them to send pictures. Once I got the pictures, I was amazed that all the memories I had been holding onto matched the pictures. I remembered my mother, father and two sisters clearly.
How Teacher Became Her Mother
Later, I became very sick. When my social worker, who was based in New Orleans, was not helpful, my teacher took it upon herself to get involved and went to the hospital, where she found out that I had double pneumonia. Then she contacted my grandparents to ask if she could take care of me when I was discharged from the hospital. They agreed, and I ended up staying with the teacher permanently. She became my mother. Her door was always open to my birth parents and relatives – they considered her family, too. Everything worked out well and I ended up having two families. In fact, I am very close with my cousin, Teri, who signs. She is the only one who can sign and she is my blood cousin.
Open Deaf Foster Care Is a Blessing
Open relations with my birth family has been the best, because I know which illnesses or ailments I might have and I know my medical history. I’ve become involved with their lives. I often go to the town where I was born to visit them. I am still close with my foster family. I took their last name. My mother’s father was also adopted, so we are both very close. He taught me the sign for football and played backgammon with me. When he passed away, he gave me his backgammon set, which I have held onto. He has always been special to me. Thank you.
Video description: Christy is sitting inside, with some shelves on the right. She is wearing glasses, a short-sleeved shirt and signing her Deaf foster care experience.