Category Archives: Down Syndrome

Extraordinary Moms Podcast

 

I first found the Extraodinary Moms Podcast when my dear friend, Anna, shared a link to an episode she had been a part of last spring. I started binge listening in the middle of our move in June and found so much encouragement from each of the mamas. Every story I heard was personal and unique, the common thread being Jesus and how he has encouraged each of them along the path of motherhood. I connected with Jessica Dahlquist, host of the Extraordinary Moms podcast, when I responded to one of her Instagram posts in July. We started talking and, a short time later, she invited me to be on her show. What an honor! A couple weeks ago we recorded the episode over FaceTime and today it is live!

In our interview, Jess asks me about life in Kenya, how we got here, how we held onto hope when the process to get here was so long, and how things changed when Sam was born. You can find the episode a couple different ways. One, search for Extraordinary Moms Podcast in your podcast app. Or two, click here to visit the podcast’s website and listen straight from there.

This was such a fun opportunity to share our story. I hope you enjoy listening!


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Sharing Sam’s Story

Today I’m sharing the story of Sam’s birth and how his diagnosis has influenced our work in Kenya on CedarsStory.com. Cedar’s Story is a beautiful resource for parents and friends to find support and ideas while navigating the world of Down syndrome. I’d love for you to read the post! Simply click here. What an honor it is to share our journey!


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You Are Worthy, Sweet Boy

When our Samuel was ten months old, a professional acquaintance told me the story of her own scare with Down syndrome during her second pregnancy. I sat next to her at the little kindergarten-size table while our kids played at the library. Sam laid quietly on a blanket near our feet, gumming a stuffed giraffe. “We did the amnio because I just had to know. My husband and I couldn’t have handled a child with Down syndrome. Thank God the test was negative,” she told me quite matter-of-factly. I was so surprised at her remark, I didn’t know how to respond. I can’t even remember what we talked about after that, but I do remember saying goodbye about ten minutes later, scooping up my little boy, walking out to my Jeep, and crying while holding him to my chest.

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It’s Sam!

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Today I am so very happy to be able to share my dear four-year-old Samuel with you as our last post of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. What a month (and a few more days) it has been! I so hope you were able to read the stories of the children featured this month and see ways they are just like other children in many, many ways. When my Sammy was first born, I was worried he would be a cookie cutter of Down syndrome, but I quickly learned there is no such thing. Every child, no matter their situation, is unique and has a story to share. Thank you for taking the time to join us here all through October and for being a part of this journey! If you have any questions for me about Down syndrome or any of the children we featured, please comment after this post or send me a message on the contact tab above. I am always happy to answer questions!

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What are a few things Sam really enjoys?
Sam adores music. He often jams out to songs in the car or at church, and his air guitar and drumming skills are getting to be top notch. He also likes to dance and sing made up songs. Nothing makes Sam happier than when he gets to be with his daddy, so visiting Daddy at work or wrestling with Daddy at home are a couple of his favorite things. Other favorites: throwing rocks into Lake Superior, playing with the train table at the library or at church, running his tractors all over the living room, and going to preschool.

What is his favorite movie?
Sam’s absolute favorite movie at the moment is Minions. This is the first movie he’s really attached himself to, and we think it’s pretty cute. We joke and say it’s because he understands the Minions’ random language. Ha.

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What would Sam do if he could design his own day?
If Sam could do anything for an entire day, he would likely wake up and crawl into our bed to cuddle for a while. Then we’d eat lots of Greek yogurt and watch Daniel Tiger until the zoo or the children’s museum opened. We’d play there all morning, eat only ice cream for lunch, have a dance party, and then nap for the afternoon. Dinner would absolutely be more ice cream and then we’d watch Minions before tucking in for bed.

What has Sam taught his big sister, Ella? What has she taught him?
Ella was just about the turn three when Sam was born. We knew at that time it was probably too early to talk to her about her brother’s diagnosis, and it was really important to us not to put a label on him. He was her little brother and that’s all we wanted. Years passed and we did eventually tell Ella about Down syndrome. We spend time with friends who have children with Down syndrome and I wanted to make sure she understood she may need to extend more amounts of grace and patience with each of them. However, when we connected it to her little brother, she didn’t care the least bit. She has never seen her brother as anyone other than “her Sammy.” I am amazed at the unending patience she has with him, especially when she is impatient with every single other person she encounters on a challenging day. She is always the first to help if he needs anything. Her grace and love has grown tremendously the last few years, and I have no doubt that it is due in great part to her little brother.

I cannot even begin to list all the things Sam has learned from his big sister. His first word was actually her name! Ella is the first at his side to help him out of a chair or to walk across a room. She calms him when he is upset and wrestles with him when he tackles her. She has taught him what it looks and feels like to be a little brother. She is his greatest cheerleader. When I can’t get him to eat something at dinner or complete a task when we’re working together, I ask Ella to do it while he watches. It is rare for him not to jump in and follow her lead. These two together make me incredible proud to be a mama!

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What do I want everyone to know about Sam?
I want everyone to know that Sam has incredible potential. He is a child beautifully and perfectly created by God. I pray that God will place big dreams in his heart and that he will follow God’s leading in his life. I also want everyone to know that Sam is strong and brave and creative and so, so smart. He may need extra time to complete tasks or learn skills, but seriously, who set the expectations that we need to understand concepts or develop particular skills at a specific pace in order to be valuable? Let’s toss those ideas out the window and embrace the beauty of being unique. That is what we need to value and uphold in our world.

What are some good resources I’ve encountered?
Statistical books can be overwhelming, especially right after a diagnosis, so I recommend staying away from those for a little while. Instead, I have found great wisdom and hope in personal stories. Books, blogs, videos, Instagram. Just a few resources I like: The Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network, Changing the Face of Beauty, Enjoying the Small ThingsWe’ll Paint the Octopus Red.

 

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If you missed any of the posts during Down Syndrome Awareness Month, click the image below and you’ll be taken to all the stories!

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