Adopted Sand Springs Sisters Hear For The First Time

Wednesday, December 5th 2012, 5:50 pm
By: News On 6

Two Sand Springs sisters heard their mother's voice for the first time Wednesday.

Ruby and Kate Shasteen have made a remarkable journey over the past year.

It started in an Ethiopian orphanage and school for the deaf and the latest chapter is right here in Tulsa, as the girls are now hearing for the first time.

Ruby and Kate are not biological sisters, but they share a common bond: both are profoundly deaf.

Last year, at this time, they were facing a difficult life in their home country of Ethiopia. They had no family and because of their deafness, their future there was bleak.

But then Chris and Al Shasteen made the 8-year-olds a part of their Sand Springs family.

"I can't believe we're here, I can't believe we're at this point we've worked for," Chris said.

Wednesday marked the next step in the girl's amazing journey.

They got their cochlear implants activated and were able to hear their parents' voices for the first time.

First up was Ruby. She was a bit nervous, at first, but then came the big moment.

"Part of the emotion is that you could tell that she's kind of scared, because she's never heard that before," Al said. "Your feelings go out for her, as a parent. What is she going through? What is she thinking?"

Up next was Kate, and she was anxious, but ready.

Their mom said it's a whole new world now for the girls, and after everything they've been through, living on the streets as deaf 5year-olds, their family is confident their future is full of beautiful sounds.

"No holds barred for them. They can do whatever. They're very smart," Chris said.

The girls' speech pathologist said most recipients of cochlear implants are younger and it's easier for them to adjust.

But, she said just watching the girls immediately after the implant was activated, it was evident they should be able to improve their language very easily.