Little girls giggles and high pitched squeals. These were the sounds our days were made of …
Oh how I wanted her voice to be the soundtrack of my life, but it wasn’t happening. Why isn’t she talking? Is this normal? I have two teenagers and can’t remember what is normal. Is it because she’s our third child? Why isn’t our bribery and insistance working??
“Oh don’t worry, she’ll talk.” “Einstein didn’t talk until he was 5.” “Just wait ’til she won’t stop talking! Then you’ll be thankful for these days.”
Their words were meant to be encouraging. And sometimes they helped to stretch our patience as we waited for our little girl to say simple yet precious words like “Daddy” and “bye-bye”.
In October 2009, we adopted Aster from Ethiopia. In August 2011, as she was heading toward her 3-year-old birthday, Aster was diagnosed with a severe speech disorder called Apraxia.
In the midst my deep sorrow over my fathers’s death, the joy of my book release and the heart-shattering shock about my little girl, all I wanted to hear was the soothing sound of my daughter’s precious little voice.
But Aster could barely say five words, and those were very hard to understand. It was determined that she could understand almost everything, but Aster’s mental planning paths weren’t connecting between her brain and her mouth, and no one knew why.
We’ve scheduled countless assessments, a brain MRI, hearing tests and more. And now after 10 months of speech therapy two times each week, we are celebrating an amazing milestone. Look how far God has brought our sweet and beautiful girl!
Although Aster still has days where she hardly says a thing, when she is chatty, she can say at least 50 words now! And her whole alphabet. She is super excited about her newest accomplishment – she can count up to 10!
We are so proud of how hard our girl is working that smart mind of hers, creating paths in her brain and building weak muscles in her mouth. And we’re over the top thankful for each little step of progress she makes. If you’d like to see just how far she’s come, the first time she EVER talked on camera was March 4, 2012. Here is that video:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– 1 Corinthians 2:9
Wolw, what progress she has made since seeing the first video in the spring. Happy 4th. Look forward to ur last week of on-line BS and the conclusion of your heartfelt, teaching and mentoring book. I am so blessed that I fully particiapted this time around. I had been a blog reader only during the 1st time as I was finishing up BSF. Blessings on your wonderful family, j
Thank you for sharing these precious moments with us. May GOD continue to bless Aster and your family 🙂
That is so awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. God is Good!
What a blessing! Praying for you as you walk this difficult path with the Lord.
Aster is so precious. So awesome to see her progress. Thanks so much for sharing!
Christina Brannon says
What an encouragement, my daughter has some type of language processing disorder but we unsure what yet. I am going to an informational meeting on dyslexia in 6 days, as this is a strong possibilty. I was feeling a little down about the road ahead if this is the case along with anger over insurance not covering the testing etc. Your e mail made me grateful instead, thank you! I am so happy for you and for Aster.
Renee she is so precious! Praise God for her tremendous progress! My daughter is Autistic and when she was two I longed to hear her say “mommy”. I thought all my dreams of mommy/daughter outings as we know it were destroyed. My daughter started speech therapy and signing at an early age. She finally started talking at age 5. Years later we couldn’t keep her quiet!!! She is 20 now and we love our mommy/daughter time shopping, etc. To God Be The Glory!!! Keep doing what you are doing Rene. Before you know it she will be talking non-stop. Already thanking God for it in advance!!!
Great job Aster! I love seeing her smile!
Way to go, Aster! What a wonderful and miraculous blessing.
What a blessing! Aster is making such good progress. Thankful for families like yours that are willing to adopt these precious children. It takes a special person & God choose you & your family to give Aster a home & the attention she needs to live a productive life. Praise God 🙂
Susan M. says
Renee, thank you for sharing, Aster is so cute and he looks like she is full of life and fills your day with happiness. We are all precious in Gods eyes~~He looks at our hearts and you have opened yours up to Aster and give her a home~~~~enjoy your family time together on the 4th~~~Sue
Thank you Rene for being so willing to share the special moments in your life along with your struggles.
I’m so happy for you and your family and the progress Aster is making. I know the Lord is going to bless you and that precious little girl.
I wanted to tell you also, how this study is truly changing my heart, I went to listen to you in Maryland this past spring and I have been so blessed by your teaching.
Thank you so much,
Have a happy fourth of July
Mary@The Calm of His Presence says
Praise God! Aster has grown so much! Thank you for sharing and blessing so many with your story. Praying for all of you. ~ Mary
Lynn Cole says
What a blessing! Thank you for sharing.
I thank God for your testimonies on your daughter and pray i would be able to give greater testimonies on my little nephew who has birth asphagia, he is yet to walk, talk use his hands at age 1 year and 11 months, pls help pray for him, his name is Oluwabusolami. I want to adopt a 3 year old baby girl here in Nigeria but the process is slow and frustrating so pray for me since i desire it so much as God is leading me to do it Thank you.
I was just viewing your amazing video of your sweet little daughter. Wow, what a cutie she is, and she has done so well. I pray that God will continue to work with her, and you and your family. It is so amazing to be able to share in your Bible study and also in your lives. God bless you all.
Lynda H. says
Thank you so much for sharing with us Aster’s progress! You and your family are so blessed!
Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! It gives me encouragement! My 2 1/2 year- old son has language delay and has been seeing a Speech Therapist since February. Last Tuesday he was diagnosed with Autism. I understand your heart, as a mother to this precious little girl, and the roller coaster of emotions that these diagnosis can bring.
I will be praying for you and Aster, that God will give you the strength for each day, and that you will feel the nearness of His presence.
cindy shipley says
she is doing very well thank you GOD !!!!!! PLEASE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
Martha Parfait says
Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow:)
Deena Burnham says
I am so happy for you . This has been a long journey to this point and I pray for many more blessing ahead as you work with you “Sweet Girl”
Rest for your Holiday with your family
Kathy Sturgis says
Praise God. what a privilege to give her life and joy. You are beautiful Aster.
That is so exciting! One of my friend’s has a son who has apraxia. He is now going on 6 years old, and he has come so far! It is so wonderful to hear his voice, and to hear the fun things he has to say. I can imagine that you feel the same way with Aster. She is a beautiful child! 🙂
Donna B says
Absolutely love this!!! God is so great! She has grown and changed so much on that incredible day where I got to hold her and love on her and watch as she played. She could operate her ipad better than I could have!! So loved watching the video and watching God answer so many prayers since last fall! Tears of joy and thanksgiving!! Can’t wait to see her and you in a few weeks. Conference – a few dollars – Seeing Aster and Mom on stage – priceless!!! Getting pumped and excited and thankful that I let you and Melissa talk me into stepping outside of my little comfort zone! So worth it to see the both of you!
Shannon Steckel says
That is so precious when I was younger I kept on getting ear infections eventually when I went to Montessori the teacher knew I was reading the mouths but not hearing. So I went to the hearing dr to (audiologist) to get tested..Wow what timing they said in 3 months I could’ve been deaf. So I went to speech therapy but once teased and riducle. The only thing that I really enjoyed was playing the piano and singing. I think it took me when i was in 8th grade to sign up for my first solo competition and I got rated 2 which is excellent. But because of that I was really shy and afraid to open up…Even sometimes today, I know I talk too fast especially when I’m nervous but I tell you. I have improved so much and some people don’t even notice it at all. That is such a miracle…Thanks for sharing.
Wow!!!! Sooo precious!!! I am praising God with you!!!
That made my day!!!
How Precious.! Thanks for sharing. Her hard work has paid off.
I will pray for her continued amazing progress and God’s hand in every step.
Esther Smith says
Some of us take for granted the blessings we have been granted as just being something you are given at birth. When you have a special needs child, you take nothing for granted. I know because I grew up dyslexic in a time when people didn’t understand this disorder, and it was judged, ridiculed, and looked upon differently, in a negative way, as if I was a lost cause at times. I have overcome my dyslexia to a great degree, and we have even found out in my adult years that it was more dyscalculia (the same learning disorder, but in math more than reading, and it creates difficulties in other areas of life as well). So I never take for granted having learned to read, and my love for it now, or the fact that I now understand it wasn’t that I wasn’t trying hard enough, as some of the educators (they didn’t understand the disorder) I had though, but that my brain didn’t process things like others could.
What a blessing that Aster is getting the help she needs, that she will get help from educators who, through you, and her speech therapist, will understand what she needs, and that she just processes things differently. I am glad God is helping you and Aster with each of your needs as you work through her disorder.
Great work Aster, great work Renee and Swope Family, and praise you Lord Jesus for your work in all of them! 🙂
PS Aster is a very pretty name. How did you choose it? What does it mean? 🙂
Aster is so cute. it is awesome what God is doing in her life.
Rachel Wojnarowski says
Woohoo!!! Praise the Lord. Such a sweet sound!!
Karen Pounds says
What a beautiful sight and sound to see and hear!!! How proud you must be! Praise be to God. Thanks for sharing her with us.
Darcie Schoenfeldt-White says
My son Luca was born with Apraxia of speech, a phonological delay, and an articulation delay. This video warmed my heart so much!!! We endured many months of speech therapy as well. Luca is now 6 and you can barely tell he ever had a speech problem. Keep up the good fight – God will bring you through it! 🙂
This was precious to see. I have to share something. My daughter has Down Syndrome. She understood what she heard, but getting it out was a whole different story. She loved to babble in front of the mirror. One day she was sitting and babbling and in the midst of this I heard clear as a bell, “Jesus loves me”, then right back to the babbling. At 19, Jesus Loves Me is her very favorite song and when she was recognized on Senior day at church, she asked if she could sing her solo, “Jesus Loves Me”. If you had asked me 19 or even 17 years ago if I would see my sweet girl singing a solo at church I would have probably told you there was no way. But I have learned that where there is no way, God does make a way. By the way, my sweet girl can also sing John 3:16 in the African language of Wolof. There is no way that could happen other than through God.
So just wait, you will hear many things from your sweet girl. Just be patient (that word that we do not like very much).
Thank you for sharing.
Ana munoz says
I love your story. Thanks for sharing. my daughter is downs and she is 15. She loves music and it is hard to understand her. She loves to pray in her own language and loves to dance. When she was 6 years old, I entered her in a regular beauty pageant. My friend taught her hula to a Christian song called ” show me your way”. Before going up on stage i prayed over her and said, Lord, used my daughter for your glory. When she went up on stage you could hear a pin drop, she danced her little heart out. As I was looking around at the crowd watching I saw many people crying. It was clear to me that the Lord had anointed that place. Not a dry tear was in the audience. When it was time to choose the winner of all those contestants, I didn’t expect anything. I thought, ok Lord you did your thing and I was blessed by it. But God had more! She had won first place in the beauty pageant. When they said her name, that’s when I started crying. I felt the Lord washing me with his awesome Love. These kids are such a blessing! And they teach us sooo much!
you are such an awesome mom. your story is so inspiring. blessings to you.
Andrea Chapman says
She did fabulous! Good job, Aster!
Beautiful girl! What a joy!
Awesome. God is so good to his children. She is so cute
Amazing! God is working His purpose out. You are so blessed to have each other. I am praying for you!
Awesome! How great is our God! Thank you for shaing this video.
God Bless you both! Aster, precious child! Thanks for sharing this video with us. God’s blessing are amazing!
That was awsome..thank you for sharing…such a Beautiful child.made me smile….know that your daughter will grow up to be a mighty woman of god…..GOD has a plan…Bless you and your family.
You were right, it did bring a smile to my face. I am amazed at how sweet Aster is and what great progress she is making with her s[speech. We do serve such a might God who loves us enough to help us succeed.
Praise God – she is just beautiful!
This is wonderful! My Aussie was so interested in Aster when he heard her voice! He was watched your videos 3 times! I know your heart is full of joy.
Connie Boroff says
Thank you for reminding us that God cares about every detail of our lives! And He still
works miracles! So proud of Aster! May God bless Aster and all of your
Christi Wilson says
Wow, Renee, she is growing up so fast!! She’s just as beautiful as ever!!!
That was awesome! I have a smile from ear to ear! So very cool! 🙂
Michelle S. says
I’m so happy for Aster! What a cute video! God’s work is amazing. Thank you for sharing.
This brought me the biggest smile and such joy in my heart!! Thank you so much for sharing!
Marianne Lordi says
Praise God! Your daughter is doing remarkable! She is going to surprise you, you just wait and see.
Carol H. says
Bravo! Praise God!
God is so good to us! Aster is such a beautiful miracle! God has “BIG” plans for her life! She & you are a blessing to me! Keep the faith!
O taste and see that the Lord is Good!. What a wonderful example of God’s Faithfulness and Grace, Renee. We serve an awesome God. I am so excited for you Aster and your family. Your online studies, stories and witness give me such hope in at a time when everything says I am a fool for believing the plans HE has for me.
Peace and Love and God’s Richest Blessings