THE TRUE STORY OF A TRANSFORMATIONAL JOURNEY
For two decades a father kept a secret journal documenting the life of his only son, Christopher, who was born profoundly Deaf. He had a simple dream of someday presenting that journal to Christopher as a special gift from father to son. But as each new challenge was surmounted, it became clear Christopher Caulfield’s story had to be shared.
Ephphatha, which means “to be opened,” follows Christopher’s transformational journey through the unimaginable obstacles he faced during his young life. Whose right is it to choose the intervention strategies that will help you be your best? How do you keep going when adults and children can be so unkind? Can you make yourself understood when no one around you has experienced what you are facing?
Christopher’s support came from those in his life who did open up. His chances for success on and off the basketball court also hinged on hard work, faith, and his own undeniable inner fortitude to never give up.
By the time he was nine years old he had already completed 1,500 hours of speech therapy. That same dedication led him to be a Division I college basketball recruit before he reached high school. He may not have set any records being invited to birthday parties growing up, but with Ephphatha, you’ll be rooting for Christopher all the way to the Ivy League!
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About the Author
Table of Contents
When I was in high school I was driven to be the ultimate student athlete. Like many young boys, I wanted to play basketball in college. Given the trajectory I was on in my early teens, I believed this was something I could do. I never saw myself playing in the NBA or even overseas. I knew in my heart that the odds of my playing professionally were astronomical.
It also became very clear to me that if I could, I would like to go to college twice, once to play basketball and the second time to focus most completely on academics. Through an incredible amount of work, I had excelled at both, but it had been a constant struggle. I wanted more time so I could do it all! You see, I had challenges in my life that not many of my peers could ever understand. Challenges that shaped who I was then and who I would become.
Being born Deaf is all I have ever known. Not just Deaf, but profoundly Deaf—I essentially had no hearing at all at birth. Just like playing professional basketball, the odds of me being born with no hearing were in that same realm. It meant many difficult decisions for my parents, challenges in schooling and in my relationships, and hurdles in basketball that others simply never had to face.
You are about to read the true story of a transformational journey that, yes, really did happen to me. My dad kept a secret journal for the first twenty years of my life, knowing that my journey was something remarkable. He hoped someday when he presented it to me that I would enjoy it as his special gift. None of us in our family would have ever imagined that this journal kept for two decades would someday help others learn from our experience and face their own life challenges. The obstacles we faced as a family were at times almost unimaginable, but our strong bond kept us going. Looking back I wonder, if those things hadn’t happened to me, would I have achieved all that I have?
As you read Ephphatha you might find yourself laughing and crying at the same time. I too still look back with extremely intense emotions. But for me, it is a heartwarming chronicle of overcoming obstacles, making sacrifices, and keeping the faith that this is the path I was meant to take.
Ephphatha is a very powerful word that means to “be opened.” Although some people were less than helpful with my progress, the real heroes came into my life via family, medicine, and education. With those special people helping me, my path could “be opened.”
So as you read, please remember that for all this to have happened it required people, including me, to “be opened.” I might not have set any records being invited to birthday parties when I was growing up. And, yes, both kids and adults were unkind to me. However, my support came from those who did open up. In them, I learned an incredible life lesson. And that is, everyone has the right to be understood. I will remember that forever!
A Baby Is Born
A New Beginning
Organized Hoops, Here We Come
Junior High, Sort Of
Elite AAU Ball and Basketball Camps
Playing for Keeps
The Six-Two Freshman
New School, New Opportunities
College and Beyond
THOMAS HOPKINS GALLAUDET STATUE