Meet Zahara!February 6th, 2020
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Meet Zahara Grace! Adopted from China just over one year ago through TTF’s Adoption Aid ministry, we recently received an update about how she has adjusted to her new life in the United States. As you read this email from her mother, Julie, may you be reminded that your support is what makes it possible for children like Zahara to become part of a forever family!
Zahara has been home for a year and is an amazing girl! Deafblindness doesn't daunt her at all. She bonded with the family amazingly quickly, surprising everyone in the adoption community with the way she chose us to be her family at 8 years old. We are so blessed to be her family.
When we met Zahara in December of 2018, she had no language and no way to communicate her wants or needs. Zahara now uses more than 200 tactile American Sign Language signs to communicate and the manual alphabet to fingerspell words. Her favorite words to fingerspell are "ice cream." She lets us know her desires in no uncertain terms. Most recently, she told us that she wanted a short haircut like her big sister's and insisted that we head to the stylist's shop immediately. Zahara is also learning braille, as well as orientation and mobility skills...using her little pink-handled cane to navigate the world.
In the coming months, Zahara will be going through cochlear implant surgery in an effort to provide her with some auditory input, and improve her ability to travel in her environment safely. She has some hearing when using hearing aids, but not enough to keep her safe. We would appreciate your prayers for her as she goes through this process.
Even without hearing she is amazing. The day she learned to say "Mama" by feeling our lips, nose, and throat as we said the word, I could not help but cry. We are hoping she will learn more spoken language in the future, but if she doesn't, we are delighted to have non-verbal conversations with her through sign language.
Zahara enjoyed her first 4th of July celebration, her first birthday party in August, and her first holiday season in the United States this year. She laughed at the sound of fireworks because they were loud enough for her to hear. She opened presents with her siblings and relatives who have August birthdays, and was delighted with Christmas ornaments and decorations that she could feel. She also held a baby for what we think was the very first time in her life, and couldn't stop laughing with joy at the baby's tiny hands and feet.
Without the Tim Tebow Foundation, Zahara would not have enjoyed all of these "firsts" in her life. We cannot thank you all enough for joining us in helping Zahara reach her full potential! - Julie Swegle, Zahara’s mother
Adoption Aid is a program of our Orphan Care + Prevention ministry, and provides financial assistance to families who are internationally adopting a child with special needs. To learn more about Adoption Aid, visit our Adoption Aid page on the TTF website. You can also give online to help bring more precious children home to their forever families.