15 March 2014

MissionT21: Unexpected

Nearly two years ago, Dustin and I joined a special new community... made up of members spread out across the United States and beyond. 

We were brought together by Down syndrome. 

Although Luke was one of an estimated 220,000 individuals born across the globe each year with Down syndrome, in the moment that I learned of his diagnosis, I felt like I was living alone on an island... one that was primal and devoid of life.  However, as I began to explore my new habitat, I stated to become more comfortable being there.  I learned how to navigate the twisting roads, found fruit to nourish my body and could even feel God guiding me through the foreign place and along the way, I could tell that He was feeding my soul.  I finally discovered other humans living there.  We became friends... the kind of friends who knew what it was like to live away from what used to be their old homes. And the longer I lived there, in my heart, I knew that I could never leave.  The once seemingly deserted island had become the most wonderful home that I never even fathomed could exist on this earth.

Because of that experience and the extreme highs and lows that were a part of the journey, I joined a group of other parents with young children who have Down syndrome to share my story.  Together, we assembled the stories of our diagnoses to help others who are new members of our community.  Our goal is to show them that they are not alone. 

The compilation of our stories is entitled "Unexpected" and it includes stories of confirmed prenatal diagnoses (like ours), experiences from those who had "soft markers" that eventually led to their children being diagnosed at birth as well as what it was like for those who had no prenatal testing or soft markers and learned following their baby's birth that Down syndrome was now a part of their lives. 

This was a grassroots labor of love as the stories were written and shared without a stipend and the wonderful ladies who did the behind the scenes aggregation were not paid for their efforts.  We took on this project with the goal of getting our stories into the hands of as many medical providers as possible who are charged with delivering a diagnosis in the hopes that we could touch the lives of others who are now internalizing what it means to have a child with Down syndrome.

Mission T21: Unexpected

If you'd like to read our story, choose the link for "Prenatal" and then once on the table of contents for that section, scroll to the bottom and click on "Luke".

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