I just found out a friend of mine who I served with in Primary while living in Bellingham just welcomed a new grandson with down syndrome. It is interesting how emotional something like this can be for everyone including myself. I noticed a facebook post from my friend announcing "In the short space of 12 hours my life has been forever altered. Amber and Lance had their first child a son... He is beautiful and perfect and has the love of a great family, lots of cousins and uncles and aunts who will hold his hand as we learn more about Down Syndrome. We have been blessed."
Friends flooded grandma's facebook with excitement, support, and encouragement. I also read mom's (Amber's) sister's blog which was filled with admiration and faith. I know from experience there is a big adjustment ahead for this sweet little family. Shock, disbelief, courage, understanding, faith... all emotions that will swing back and forth. Luckily, this family is a member of our church that teaches these "choice children" have been blessed by Heavenly Father. Blessed to be born and receive a body; but to be spared from Satan and his influences. We believe these children have been so valiant in the pre-existence that they were blessed for their courage. Just knowing this already helps getting through some of the grieving process.
I remember feeling so bad for some parents in our support group who thought their child was a curse because of their faithfulness (or lack of it). It made me sooo sad. This doesn't mean that knowing God's plan makes it a breeze. You still feel sad for the "perfect child" you have lost. Although having as many children as I do I never thought there was a "perfect child" :) Anyway, the emotions and bumps in the road are still there and painful.
When I saw the post I have to admit there was a bit of excitement boiling inside of me. I quickly remembered those first days with Sadie. How scared I was. How I felt like I had to make sure everyone knew I was ok. How overwhelmed I felt because I had other children who needed me. I said a quick prayer for Amber, Lance and their new little baby and quickly started sending messages with information and words of encouragement.
I shared how when I first had Sadie I would wake up several times a night and hear a loud voice in my head yelling, "down syndrome". At first, before she developed a personality and started interacting with us... she was mostly down syndrome. Now, sometimes, I have to be reminded she has down syndrome. Now when I look at Sadie I see a smart, sassy, cute, lovable, sweet, hardworking, stubborn, funny, beautiful little girl. She has soooo much of my heart. She, like all my girls, is the reason I wake up in the morning and the reason I feel so blessed.
The first year will most likely be hard for them. Alot of ruling out different medical conditions that go along with ds is done. Most of which come out negative. But as they spend more time with him and see his personality develop I look forward to watching them fall in love and sharing him with the world. My heart is so full for them today. I wish I could go squeeze me and hold me some little baby boy! I am so grateful for Amber's family. They love her so much and are there to support her, her husband, and her sweet little boy. I know it maybe awhile before she is ready to hear about all the resources out there, or even talk with me; but I look forward to watching this little boy enrich their family and bring blessings they never knew possible. How lucky they are!!!
PS- Welcome to Holland is a poem for families with disabilities. It about how sometimes you don't arrive where you planned on going; but there is beauty and great things in store for you in Holland :)