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Success Stories

Meet Ryatt!

When our family found out that the birth mother of 2 of the 5 children that we had adopted had given birth again, we knew 3 things immediately. First, the preference would be that DHS place him with us. Second, as with his older siblings and most of his immediate biological family, genetic deafness would likely be a factor, and third, we knew that Happy Hands would be our first and only choice for his early childhood care and education.

Ryatt Jack-Rollins Woodland was born in September 2016, and with a myriad of health concerns including a cleft soft palate, a congenital heart defect, and difficulty breathing. He was taken into DHS custody at birth and we began our journey as his parents with frequent visits to the NICU to bond and learn how to care for his health needs before taking him home. Knowing that he was going to require specialized care over and above his hearing loss, we once again turned to Happy Hands. Happy Hands was already part of our family “village” as his 5 older siblings were all students, past and present. We were blessed they were able to start him in their Red Bird infant room at a little over 4 weeks old. Despite constantly adjusting feeding instructions, formula, special handling, and his very little interest in napping, Ryatt thrived and grew.

He started with hearing aids, which helped a bit, but his speech was not developing as hoped. His audiologist determined that Ryatt’s hearing loss was too severe and he would benefit from cochlear implants which would help him receive the clarity to develop speech. The switch to cochlear was not an easy one. In fact, on his first day wearing them, he excused himself to the bathroom and promptly and proudly flushed them down the toilet. After many claims and outright begging between the audiologist, medical insurance, and the manufacturer for repair or replacement devices, as well as diligent oversight and maturity, Ryatt is finally beginning to show responsibility for and learning to love his devices. His speech has progressed greatly.

Ryatt is now a happy 6 year old in the Gold Fish Kindergarten class. He’s a loving and cheerful little boy with a healthy curiosity, eagerness, and fearlessness. His laughter and joy are contagious and he’s developing into a confident and blessed addition to our family thanks, in great part, to Happy Hands.