I met my wife Sophie over ten years ago on a Jewish website called Jdate. Although online dating was not a new experience, dating someone who was profoundly deaf certainly was. While I had experience dealing with deaf customers in a work environment I had never been in this scenario before. How would we communicate? Would she understand me? Would she find me rude?
Well, all I can say is that, four years later, we are happily married with a beautiful daughter and a baby on the way. Our story is very special and, as a father, it’s an inspiration to see how Sophie is communicating with Joely and how they interact with each other.
Being a deaf/able-hearing couple presents challenges like any other situation in life. Joely is not deaf and, while Sophie has a Cochlear implant, this only enhances her hearing a little – she solely relies on lip reading, facial expressions and some sign language. Watching Joely grow and being able to speak and develop her language with Sophie is truly amazing, and I sometimes sit back silently to watch how they communicate and how Joely, who is two years old, is grasping that her mum is deaf.
Nothing stops Sophie; she is a tenacious person and capable of overcoming any challenge. We have special devices for Sophie in the house: vibrating pillows when a child cries; flashing lights for smoke alarms and security; iPhone apps for deaf people. What we take for granted in life – it sometimes makes me realise how precious life is and how health is paramount.
As a husband and father my work is demanding – both as a recruiter and as a parent and husband. But as a mother I think it’s so much harder! Especially for Sophie. She is a wonderful dog groomer and has her own business employing four staff, so our days are always busy and fast paced. Ten years ago I would have never dreamed I would be where I am today. A wonderful business – Success, which has helped me develop as a recruiter, and a wonderful family with a new addition in the new year.
I have learnt a great deal about the struggles of being deaf. Sophie’s parents set up a wonderful charity called Christopher Place over ten years ago. This has helped hundreds of children with severe disabilities, and to this day helps fund disadvantaged families and children who need extra learning support.
While one can recognise that deafness is certainly a disability, Sophie has shown tenacity, positivity and is a huge inspiration to me and our family. Watching our children grow, understand and communicate will be beautiful to watch and I feel hugely privileged.
If you want to find more out about the new school please see: https://www.blossomhouseschool.co.uk
Joely regularly comes into the London office as our mascot, so if you are lucky you may see her running around with the new baby in January!
If you would like to have an informal discussion, please contact Lee Talson here about the roles we are currently working on.