Sometime during her first year of life, Anna Mervine was shaken so severely that she sustained a permanent brain injury. When she was placed in a foster home at 18 months, she was deaf in both ears and had endured many untreated ear infections.
“Anna fit perfectly into our family since she came through the door,” said her adoptive mother, Christy Mervine. Christy and her husband, Matt Mervine, have had 92 foster placements in 12 years. “This was not our plan in life, but fostering and adopting gives us the chance to help make some wrongs right,” said Christy Mervine.
“We cannot imagine our lives without Anna. She and our daughter, Abby Kate, are just nine months apart in age and even looked like twins when they were little.” The Mervines are the parents of five children and regularly foster others.
The Mervines helped Anna learn sign language and also arranged for surgeries to help recover some hearing. At the age of 3-1/2, with her hearing partially restored, Anna spoke her first words. She was playing with her sister and said, “No. Mine!” “We have always thought she must have been holding those words in for so long,” said Christy Mervine.
Two summers ago, Christy Mervine heard about Camp Wonder Hands, an overnight camp led by Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital that serves children aged 7-15 who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. “When we got to Children’s Hospital for orientation, Anna was surprised to see many of the kids using sign language. Anna hadn’t signed since she was little, but still wanted to go. We met her counselor and Anna made a new friend before she even got on the bus,” said Christy Mervine.
“Anna had an amazingly good time at Camp Wonder Hands,” said Christy Mervine. “She loved roller skating, the dance party and the chance to go for a motorcycle ride. When I picked her up after camp, all her initial nervousness was gone. She was jetting around and so at ease with all her friends. She can hardly wait to go again this year.”
Camp Wonder Hands is Sunday, July 16 through Friday, July 21, at Camp Kinard near Batesburg-Leesville. The camp is funded by donations. One way to donate is directly through Camp Wonder Hands’ website, campsite.palmettohealth.org.