Beauty of Down syndrome

‘My daughter Penny is not a ‘mistake.’ She is perfection.’: Down syndrome mom explains the difference between ‘inclusion’ and helping special needs individuals ‘belong’

“People often feel awkward asking questions about my daughter. Penny gets sidelined from activities and events because they don’t know how to welcome her. The message of inclusion is, ‘We want you here with us.’ But belonging emerges from a deep desire to not just include the ‘other,’ but to love and be loved.”

‘My disabled child is not an ‘angel.’ He is not ‘celestial’ or ‘heavenly.’ He’s just like you, fully human.’: Down syndrome mom claims son ‘wasn’t sent here to teach you or me something’

“People often refer to my disabled son with angelic, heavenly labels. I’m his mom. I’ve seen things. I know better. When we project this ‘heavenly’ identity onto people with disabilities, we unknowingly strip their humanity and make them more ‘other.’ My son just wants to be loved for exactly who he is.”

‘Is this the last time I can kiss him?’ I’d just learned my baby had Down syndrome. Now, he was blue, floppy, and not breathing.’: Mom says baby with Down syndrome, heart defects has taught her to ‘focus on the positive things in life’

“5 minutes into our drive, he began crying but stopped. I found it odd. It was a cry I hadn’t heard before. The light turned red, I pulled over. In seconds, I was down on my knees in the middle of the road, holding my floppy baby. ‘God, this can’t be it. Please don’t take my baby away!’ Giving mouth to mouth, I screamed his name for him to wake up. When he ambulance arrived, Noah was going in and out of consciousness.”

‘Don’t take her home with you,’ I was told. ‘If you have other kids, she’ll be a detriment to them.’ How wrong they were.’: Mom keeps baby, now world’s first ‘working model’ with Down Syndrome

“I’d never taken Madeline to a fashion show before because she was always sick. When her health increased, we walked in as I thought to myself, ‘What have I done?!’ I knew full well my daughter would want to be on that catwalk, too. Sure enough, after the show, she turned to me and said, ‘Mom. Me. Model.’ I’m the type of mom to do whatever I can to make things happen. Little did I know what this all would turn into.”

‘They can’t read or write. They don’t understand danger or time. But they understand pure love. And they’ve felt it 29 years.’: Married couple now ‘longest living’ pair with Down Syndrome, sister says it’s ‘nothing short of a fairy tale’

“Maryanne and Tommy live in this bubble of love and happiness. They walk hand in hand everywhere they go, totally unaware of anyone else.The love they share goes so deep they literally can’t bear to be apart. Tommy always calls Maryanne ‘my love’ and ‘my darling wife.’ He often sings to her his favorite song, ‘Love Me Tender’ by Elvis. When they got married 26 years ago, so many people doubted them, said it was disgusting they were allowed to get married. That it would never work. How wrong they were.”

‘I got the test results. I felt I let my husband down. Like I somehow failed to give him the ‘perfect’ baby. The silence was deafening. I kept thinking, ‘Why me?’ Then I thought, ‘Wait, why NOT me?’

“I had a woman sob in my arms out of sympathy. I remember telling my husband, ‘Do you think we’ll ever laugh or be happy again?’ I figured I had 3 choices. Give up, give in, or give it everything I’ve got. I had a little boy growing inside me who I needed be strong for. I went with option 3.”

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