Ok…I’ve mentioned it before, but truthfully, before Peanut, I was always very uncomfortable around special needs people. Well…sometimes even scared. Today Peanut had therapy at our local Center for Exceptional Children. She was walking down the hall and blocking everyone’s path. This young man was trying to pass by. He was about 18 or 19 and he was special needs. I couldn’t tell you what his disability was, but I can tell you he had a massive smile watching Peanut go. We moved her to the side and his mom went past first. He stopped and held out his hand for me to shake. I smiled and shook his hand, he then raised my hand and kissed the back of it. No words, nothing else. Just another smile and he walked away. Now let me ask you, why in the world was I ever uncomfortable around people like that?! Yes, special needs individuals are different. But they are different the most amazing ways!! So full of love, compassion and strength. Worth so much more respect than the world gives them.
This young man probably won’t remember me. He probably didn’t even think what he did was a big deal. But I promise I will hold on to that moment. He made an impact on my life quicker than most people I even have conversations with. If I didn’t just stop and look at him, and not his disability, I would have missed this opportunity.
Next time your out, if you do run into a special needs individual, just say hi! Don’t ignore them or shy away because you are unsure of what to do. Open your heart to the possibility of something amazing! I know you wont regret it!!
I’d like to introduce you to Laura. She is a beautiful mama I have had the honor to befriend through our Instagram Community. Her little boy Mikey is just a few months older than Jana and is the cutesiest thing 🙂 I’ve asked her to share her story with all of you. I hope to feature a new mama every week or so. I’m so proud of the DS community friendships I’ve developed and know that these mama’s have a lot to share!!
I found out I was pregnant with Mikey in the beginning of July, 2014. My husband and I were excited! We already had names picked out for either gender. My Dr offered to do genetic testing, but I declined it. We had a twenty week scan to find out the gender of our first baby. Our fingers were crossed for a boy. We really wanted our first baby to be a boy. The tech put the results in an envelope. We found out our baby was a boy a few days later at a gender reveal party. We were so excited!!!
We went to the birthing center on March 28, 2015 to have our baby boy. I was so nervous and excited! 17 hours later at 11:59 pm, Michael James Snyder entered the world! I was so happy and exhausted. All I could do was stare at him! He was perfect and he looked exactly like his daddy!
The next morning the pediatrician came in to do an examination on him. When she completed the exam, she told us that Michael had Down Syndrome. She didn’t offer any information or assign us a social worker. She just walked out. I put on a pretty brave face, but I felt shattered. My husband was solid as a rock, but I was a hot mess! It wasn’t because he had a disability, I was just very scared. I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea that what terrified me at the moment would turn out to be the biggest blessing and our greatest adventure!
Michael has some developmental delays and some health issues, but he has a wonderful team of doctors and therapists that help us to help him reach his goals. Those are things we do to help keep him healthy and to reach his full potential.
Michael is such a pure joy to be around! He has shown us what true love is. He has such determination and grit! He works hard every day to do things that his other baby friends can do without a problem, but he always does it with a smile on his face! He’s taught us so much.
We recently had another baby. Michael adores his new baby sister! He showers her with hugs and kisses, brings her a toy or her binky when she’s sad, and steals her formula if I set it down where he can get it. He tries to crawl in her swing or bouncer with her to cuddle, then he’ll steal her blanket when I’m not looking. They smile at each other one minute, then make each other cry the next. He’s a typical big brother. I can see already that they will have a strong bond. I can also see them getting into a lot of trouble together. Hey, someone has to keep mamma on her toes, right?
There are many days that go by that I wonder “What if?” What if I would have known about his diagnosis before he was born? What if I would have known what I know now after he was born and we received his diagnosis? Would I still have spent the first few months crying at some point each day? Would I have been so afraid? Honestly, I don’t know. I believe that God does everything for a reason. I can’t go back and wonder “What if?” When I know that through all of this we have become stronger. My relationship with my husband is stronger, my relationship with God is stronger and I’ve developed amazing friendships with so many families in the Down Syndrome community.
I think the most important thing I would tell any parent that has received a Down Syndrome diagnosis is: Process those emotions and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be scared. It’s even okay to be a little angry. At some point all of those powerful and overwhelming emotions will turn into an incredibly strong love for your child. Support, encourage and nurture your baby! It takes a special person to raise such a unique individual! Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!
I think it’s my biggest fear. That Jana will attend school one day and the kids will not accept her. All we hear about are school bully’s and how horrible kids with disabilities are treated. I remember being in school and honestly hardly ever interacting with any of the “special ed” kids.
This story brings a smile to my face!! When a young boy, Brady, was told he could no longer attend the school he had grown up in, his classmates rallied round and fought to keep him there. Why was he being moved? Because the school didn’t feel that they were fit to give Brady the schooling he needs. Unfortunately, this happens quite often. Children with special needs cost the school more money than typical children do. So a majority of students are sent to schools that focus on specialized care.
Thankfully Brady was given the OK to attend school with his longtime friends for another year. This might be something his mother has to continue to fight for. But it seems to me, Brady’s friendships are worth the fight!
Check out the full article here: Friends fight school for boy with Down syndrome
“He’s one of the kindest kids in our grade,” proclaimed Owen Armstrong, 10. “Every day, I wake up and I’m looking forward to school because Brady goes there.” “He’s taught me so many things through the time that I’ve known him. … He lights up the room whenever he’s around. He helps people when they’re down,” said Ella Blakeley, 11. “He makes people laugh.”
Day 13 of 21 day Challenge….
Big news on our adoption process!! This Friday our social worker will be coming in to complete our Home Study. She will come in and walk through our home. Making sure all safety regulations are in place and that our home seems suitable for a child. After that point all we need to do is wait!! If all goes the way I am expecting it, by January Jana will be legally OURS!! I ask you to please continue to pray for our family. Pray that things continue to go smoothly and everything is in place.
My pastor sent me this last night. He often shares wonderful stories of children who have Down’s to help keep us encouraged. I thought this was very sweet and wanted to share it with you. I think we sometimes forget that it just takes one person to be brave enough to go against others and befriend those who are lonely. Even as adults I feel this is something we should remember. Jesus showed love to the unwanted, the castaways and the forgotten. So easily it is for us to overlook the lives of those around us. This video is a great reminder of how it just takes one person to change a life!.