Hello from the Clamp Family!
We hope you will find our story and the miracle we’ve experienced with Grayson as an encouragement for families seeking faith, considering foster care, considering adoption, or considering medical intervention like an auditory brainstem implant (ABI) to overcome health issues with their children.
We hope you will experience the joy we’ve experienced working with UNC Hospitals, and make the commitment to donate to an organization and a cause that will truly change lives. It’s changed ours.
Our story… Nicole and I are high school sweet hearts, grew up in South Carolina, both went to Clemson, married and moved to Charlotte in 2001. I am now an executive with Bank of America, Nicole first worked in the New born nursery at Carolina’s Medical Center, and is now a Nurse Practitioner working for Infinite Wellness in Fort Mill, SC.
Nicole knew early on that God was calling her (she later informed me that He was calling us) to do something special with needy children. That lead us to becoming Foster parents in 2009 through an organization called Carolina Family Connections. We began fostering to follow Jesus’ call to care for orphans…never intending really to adopt as we wanted to have children of our own. God had a different plan. After fostering 4 wonderful babies (all medically fragile), Grayson came to us at 2 months old (direct from the hospital…direct from having open heart surgery).
Grayson was born with a condition called CHARGE…leaving him with a heart defect, no hearing, and no sight in his left eye. We adopted Grayson through North Carolina’s Foster Care system in 2010. Oh, did I also mention that we’d been trying to get pregnant for over a year at that time? Within the same week we began the adoption process with Grayson, we found out we were pregnant (think God blesses those who are obedient?). Ethan was born in June 2011 (Grayson is now 3, Ethan 2…they are best friends).
More about Grayson… Upon finding out for sure that Grayson could not hear (at about a year old), a blast email opened the door for us to a wonderful family in Charlotte who educated us on cochlear implants and a unique form of sign language called Cued Speech. Cued Speech unlike American Sign Language signals every word that is spoken (through a combination of hand shapes and lip reading), which when accompanied by a hearing aid stimulates speech and language development. They also connected us to the audiology experts at UNC Hospitals.
We had Grayson implanted with a Cochlear implant at 18 months old. The device was a long-shot given his lack of hearing nerves in either ear, but we took the chance anyway, and in doing so, opened the door to develop a relationship with Dr. Craig Buchman and Dr. Holly Teagle. The cochlear implant did prove to be ineffective, so when Dr. Buchman offered us the chance to join the ABI trial, we jumped at the opportunity.
In April 2013, Grayson became the first child in the US to receive an ABI under the FDA approved trial through UNC’s protocol. Dr. Craig Buchman (ENT) and Dr. Matt Ewend (Neuro) performed the surgery. We spent nearly 4 weeks in the hospital – 2.5 in the pediatric ICU where Grayson had to literally lay in a bed without moving for 14 days to stabilize a post operation cranial fluid leak.
Grayson’s device was activated on May 21st…the most amazing day of our lives! Watch the videos from the attached link and catch a glimpse of the miracle work God can do through faithful parents and expert physicians. We have years to go before we’ll know the full extent of his new life of sound, but thus far he’s shown terrific response, and has taken very well to an intensive battery of speech and deaf education therapy.
Our life verse throughout this journey has been 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard (until May 21st), no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Please join us in supporting UNC Hospitals and other families throughout the country and world by giving to this awesome program and trial. Take part in making history!