Maggie waved to the Uber as it sped off.
“Well…. this is the neighborhood, I guess,” Maggie gave me a jet lagged smile.
This is my older sister, Maggie. She’s gone through so much, and all for me.
When she grows up, she wanted to be a fashion designer. In that orphanage in Illinois, it wasn’t for sure possible. But now, when a nice family finally wants to adopt us… maybe she can finally go for her dream.
And this…is me.
My name is Lindsey. I was abandoned when I was a baby because of my disability… Because I’m deaf.
But that’s not all there is to me. I like to draw, I like to fill sketchbooks with all my art. I especially love to sing…. but nobody cares about that.
I do have a cochlear implant, like a hearing aid. I can hear when I want to, but sometimes it’s easier to take it off.
Like right then. Cars raced along the road, traffic honked and crashed in the distance.
It was moments like these when sound was overbearing.
I closed my eyes.
“Lindsey, do you want to take it off?” Maggie slowly asked me, and I shook my head.
“I know it’s a lot to take on, you’re being very brave today,”
I opened my eyes again and mumbled, “I’m fine,” through gritted teeth.
I peeked through the window of the kitchen, and saw the figures of two girls walking on the sidewalk.
I raced through the house and out the door, my footsteps thumping faster than my joyous heart.
“Hey!” I took a deep breath, “Are you Lindsey and Magnolia?”
The older looking girl with long brown hair looked at her sister and said, “Yep! That’s us!”
“Great! You’re just in time, we have a surprise for you inside!”
Lindsey, the girl with short hair, gasped excitedly when she saw our home.
I hoped she would like it there.
Emily led us through the front door, and I rolled my suitcase onto the soft carpet. In front of me was a crowd of eight-no, ten young girls.
My new sisters.
“Welcome Lindsey and Magnolia!”
My smile quickly turned into a frown. They all cheered, made very loud and strange sounds, and it all filled my ears up to the brim with irritating noise…
Emily beckoned me forward, and I stumbled to the middle of the hype.
A strange sound emerged from an unusually shaped instrument.
I started to panic. A dog barked. Whoops and cheers emerged, and pandemonium broke out all around me.
Magnolia rushed up to my side, and placed a tender loving hand on my shoulder.
“Erm… Emily, thank you so much for all this, we really appreciate it, but I’m afraid it’s a bit overwhelming for Lindsey…”
I had never felt more humiliated in my entire life. I had ruined my own welcome party.
The girls filed out, some silent, and some failing to disguise their grumbles…
“Well… I’ll leave you two to unpacking!”
I felt like apologizing, but I didn’t know if that would make it more awkward than it already was.
After Magnolia said a quick thank you, Emily exited our room.
We unpacked in silence.
Just the way I liked it.
After hours of looking at all the bright decorations, I slipped into my pajamas and sat on my bed.
I knew Maggie was chatting outside with the sisters, getting to know them all, creating memories that would last a lifetime. I knew I would never be able to do that…
I felt like crying. It was only 6:30. But I wanted that day to end….
So I draped the dotted duvets over my body, and drifted into sleep…
The next day, I watched silently from the kitchen table as two of my sisters laughed and chatted all about the movie they were watching.
I desperately wished to join them, but I was afraid the sounds would get to me and I would embarrass myself once again. I was afraid to ask for closed captions, because maybe I would ruin their experience.
That empty chair did look awfully inviting though.
I picked at the watermelon with my fork as I opened the family laptop.
I opened a new google tab.
I looked closer as the “recently visited” grid, and noticed a website called “Agdollawesome”
I was shocked to find a blog all about the lives of all my new sisters!
I spent my day studying up on each girl, memorizing each face to match up with the name.
I wanted so badly to be friends with them all.
I woke up the next morning to Maggie carefully positioning a vase.
She signed to me, hello! we have a surprise for you today! Many surprises!
I smiled, knowing she was just trying to cheer me up.
My belly rumbled with hunger, and I stumbled over to the kitchen finding Grace, the baker of the family.
My face turned ghostly white as she used sign language to sign to me, Your sister taught us all sign language yesterday! Would you like some breakfast?
I nodded, smiling as wide as I could.
Maggie had taught them sign language? She really did mean she had a surprise for me!
They must have stayed up all night to learn all that… I though to myself. My heart turned warm. They put in so much time and effort just to communicate easier with me!
I carried my plate into the living room, ready to ask for closed captions so I could watch a movie, like I had wanted the day before.
Emily saw me and started to sign, Would you like to help us put up fall decorations?
I nodded once again. I felt like squealing. These girls were just so… sweet!
I gladly hung up autumnal banners and placed wooden figurines all throughout the living room.
But most importantly, I did it side by side with my new sisters.
I came across Hazel as I strided past the book nook into her brand new room. Her bedspread was dotted with bright flowers, and her walls were littered with inspirational quotes and polaroids.
She gestured to that instrument she was playing the other day, this is a clarinet she signed
The instrument was very cool, I had to admit. I’m sorry for scaring you the other day, I didn’t mean to…
That’s ok! Your instrument is neat!
Thank you! Oh, and you might want to change into your clothes for the day, I’m going to be vlogging your surprise in a few minutes….
“Hey guys! It’s Hazel here, and I’m vlogging Lindsey’s SURPRISE today! She can hear me right now, so I can’t say what it is… but I think it’ll be EPIC!”
Hazel balanced her camera and turned it to face Valerie, “Are you ready Valerie?”
“Yep, of course! Keep your eyes shut Lindsey….”
Suddenly, a heavy creature jumped into my arms, and licked up my face lovingly.
In front of me was my very own hearing dog.
I squealed in happiness! I spoke, “Thank you all so much! What’s his name?”
“Buttercup Lindsey! He’s your own dog!”
I held him close to me, stroking his golden fur as he panted in my ear, soothing me.
I set him down right next to me and signed,
I love you, sisters.