October is Down Syndrome awareness month, and this week it’s National Adoption week. With that in mind I wanted to write a blog in support of both.
Adopting our beautiful girl who has Down Syndrome is one of the best decisions we have ever made. Adoption was, and continues to be a challenging process (another blog to follow on this soon). It is both the best and the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through. But for us the joys have far outweighed the challenges and I hope this blog encourages more people to consider adopting, and especially adopting children with additional needs.
I also hope this reaches anyone who has had a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome and is wondering what to do. I want you to see another side to the bleak picture of Down Syndrome that can be portrayed, and that in my experience is entirely untrue. Please also see the end of this blog for more information on some amazing parents of children with Down Syndrome who are loving life with their wonderful children. And please get in touch with me via social media if you want to chat further about any of the above (links at the end of this blog) 🙂
To our precious bun,
I wanted to write this letter to you while I still clearly remember all of the feelings I have about you in your early years; we can read it together when you’re older.
You have been in our lives for just over a year now – and what an incredible year it has been!
A few years ago, I believe God gave me a dream to be a mummy by adoption, rather than being a tummy mummy. I specifically wanted to be a mummy to a child who has Down Syndrome, like you do.
Having Down Syndrome means that you have an extra copy of chromosome 21 in every cell of your body. This is nothing to worry about at all – in fact we celebrate it as a wonderful part of your unique identity.
Down Syndrome was discovered by a man called John Langdon Down – what a shame he had such a dull and boring name as that certainly doesn’t reflect anything about your cheeky and sparkly personality.
Having Down Syndrome may mean it takes you a little bit longer to learn certain things – but there’s no rush – we have all the time in the world! We just want to enjoy every moment with you, and we get extra excited when you reach a new milestone. I sang ‘rollin’ on the river’ pretty much non stop for a week after you rolled for the first time (daddy was really pleased about that).
Me and daddy will do our best to help you discover what your gifts and talents are as you grow up, and to encourage you to do whatever you enjoy and are good at. I believe your life will have a huge impact on many people – you have already brought so much love, joy and fun into lots of people’s lives.
I remember before we met you, your social worker came round to meet us and check that we would be good parents for you (I was on my best behaviour for once). She showed us some pictures of you when you were first born – you melted my heart straight away. You were such a teeny and scrummy little girl! You just get more scrummy every day. I held you for the first time a week later – it was amazing! I couldn’t believe how blessed I was to hold such a perfect little creation. I have a heart shaped plaque on my wall that says “From the moment they placed you in my arms you snuggled right into my heart”. That is so true – and you can snuggle there forever.
Your daddy used to run into your hospital ward to beat me there so he could have the first cuddle with you. He’d always forget to turn off your apnoea machine so the alarm would go off every time. (He needs reminding about these kind of things a lot – you can help me keep him in order). We loved spending a few weeks with you in hospital, and the lovely nurses showed us how to look after you well. You loved having a bath –I felt like such a smug mummy because you didn’t whinge like some of the other babies did, you just loved being in the water.
When they said you could come home with us we were so pleased. We got your bedroom ready – daddy even painted you a beautiful sparkly glitter wall! He is so smitten with you – he’s always coming home with cute little outfits for you! The other day he told me off for buying Smart Price Weetabix for your breakfast – he said “I want the best Weetabix for my bub.”! (It’s all the same to me when it’s mushed up – welcome to the brand wars in our house!).
The first night you came to live with us was a bit nerve wrecking – you slept beside me in your Moses basket and I think I woke up approx. every 7 minutes to check you were still breathing. We are very thankful that you are a good sleeper. Daddy has a plaque by his bed saying ‘Wake up and be Awesome’, but mummy needs a good 8 hours to ‘Wake up and be Average’ so please keep up the good snoozing work.
We are just so proud of you and love you so much. You truly are a delight – we couldn’t ask for a more wonderful daughter and we wouldn’t change you for the world. I love your cheeky chuckle and your eyes full of mischief. I love when you are in your Jumparoo and we have a dance party in the lounge and crank the music up loud. I love you snuggling into my chest as I sing you to sleep. I love that you find the variety of accents I can do amusing – I think my Irish one is your favourite so far. I love that you can be as quiet as a church mouse and then we get to a doctors waiting room and all of a sudden you start blowing the loudest raspberries I’ve ever heard.
I’m so excited to see you grow and develop – you have such a bright future ahead of you!
Always remember that you are loved, highly valued, chosen and treasured and we are so thankful to God for bringing you into our family. But don’t just take my word for it – I asked some of our friends and family to say how they feel about you too – enjoy reading what they have to say special one! (Don’t get too much of a big head though).
“My heart has never stopped melting from the moment I saw you when you were only 4.5 pounds and 10 days old. I knew you were God’s gift to us and what a gift He has blessed me and Mummy with. You have brought so much joy and laughter to our world, we couldn’t imagine life without you now. I’ll never get fed up of seeing your beaming smile as soon as you wake up in the morning (Mummy could take a leaf from your book) or all the kisses and cuddles when I give you some of my Terry’s chocolate orange. Your life is so precious and emulates perfection in every way. Love you lots. ” Daddy
“She is my first Great Grandchild and she is a joy – she makes me feel so happy. I am so happy to be her Great Gran.” Great Gran B
“A welcome and treasured addition to our family. Such a happy and contented little girl who is much loved by everyone.” Great Gran E
“You are adorable, your cheeky smile and your eyes full of fun melt my heart. Your Grandma loves you very much.” Grandma Wazza
“I love her sleeping on me and I really hope that through our cuddles she can feel how loved and special she is.” Grandpa Wazza
“She is so pretty and so beautiful. I look at her photo every morning and blow her a kiss and tell her I love her. I’m glad she loves my macaroni cheese recipe that her daddy now makes for her.” Grandma Barb
“We love your beautiful eyes, and the cheeky glances you share with your mum – we dread to think of the mischief you two are going to get up to – probably at your dad’s expense! We love you bubs! Auntie Sal & Uncle Kev
“I was smitten with our beautiful girl from the first cwtch” (that means cuddle for those not fluent in Welsh!) Grandma Wales
“She always brings a smile to my face no matter how I am feeling.” Grandpa Wales
“I love her because she is so pure and full of love and her smile is so contagious.” Big Sis Annaliese
“She always looks so happy and she has gorgeous eyes.” Auntie Em
“I love that she finds more joy than anyone I’ve ever met. She’s the cutest, most sassy, biggest personality wrapped up in the tiniest human.” Hanny G
“I love the way her smile lights up her face, which in turn lights up the whole room.” Helen
“Your eyes sparkle, you are a beautiful little girl. When you smile, you make me smile – thank you.” Deb
“I love how I often feel closer to God when I’ve seen you laugh, clap or scrunch up your face when you are engaging with the people around you. I’m so glad you are in my world.” Carl
“I love the way you wake up so happy after a sleep, reminding me how I can be ‘crabby’ in the mornings! You have THE best smile – so blessed to have you in my life little one.” Lisa
‘A Mother Like Alex: One Defiant Woman, 9 Special Children’ – by Bernard Clark
Please take a few minutes to watch this beautiful video from the ‘Wouldn’t Change a Thing’ Down Syndrome awareness group – it’s fab!
We adopted through a great organisation called Adoption Matters – please check out their website if you are considering adoption – we highly recommend them!
Home for Good are also a fantastic organisation to connect with – we linked up with Adoption Matters through one of their information evenings. They do so much great work including an enquiry line for any questions you have about adoption and fostering – check them out too!
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Next months blog – ‘Black Friday and Worrying Wednesday – the importance of your support network.’