Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Hector and I decided toward the latter part of the pregnancy that we would name our baby boy Joaquin. It's a name we both liked and one that we both could agree on. The middle name, on the other hand, was not so easy. I was a big fan of Tomas, my dad's favorite name and confirmation name. Hector was a big fan of Andres, the name of his favorite nephew who lives in Mexico City. I kept fighting for Tomas and thought it sounded great with Joaquin. But, Hector felt very strongly that he wanted to name this baby Joaquin Andres and he really wanted to do it to honor his nephew. So before the baby was born, after Hector stressed how important this was for him, we decided that Andres would be his middle name. Andres is the first nephew born on Hector's side of the family and the first of sixteen grandchildren for Hector's parents (Luz and Sergio). Andres also has Down syndrome.

What are the chances of that? It was one of the first things that ran through my head when we got the results of the chromosome test. Joaquin was named for Andres, before he was born, before we knew his diagnosis and now they shared the deepest of all bonds.

Hector has always had a special place in his heart for Andres and was with his sister when she found out that her first born son had Down Syndrome. The diagnosis was made shortly after he was born and it was a complete shock for the entire family. Hector formed an immediate bond with Andres and still to this day speaks the world of him. Andres is 18 years old now and is doing fantastic. He loves to read, swim and go to school. His favorite books are the Narnia series. He will graduate from high school next year and is preparing for his first job. He is the oldest of three boys (Juan Pablo and Santiago are his younger brothers) and his parents are an inspiration to us (Carlos and Silvia). Silvia was the very first person we called when we got the news of Joaquin's diagnosis and we spent a few hours on the phone with her. Thank God for Andres and Silvia. We had a shining example of how life can be with a child with Down syndrome and that gave us immediate peace and hope in a time of great need.

Andres got to meet Joaquin for the first time this past week in Mexico. His mother hadn't told him about his diagnosis because we had decided not to tell the extended family until they met Joaquin first. She was certain Andres would have had difficulty keeping this private so she waited to let us tell the rest of the family first. Apparently Andres saw Joaquin in his Aunt Ana Paula's arms in her stairway before anyone knew, he stopped, put his hand on Joaquin's head and said in Spanish "You're like me, you are just like me." This puzzled Ana Paula at the time. After we talked to the family and shared the news of Joaquin's diagnosis, she told us what Andres had said. Did he see himself in Joaquin? Was he referring to the fact that they share the same name? Was it something deeper than that? They definitely had a special connection the moment they met. We'll never fully understand what Andres meant by what he said but what we do know is that it was a powerful moment.


Penny Sylvia said...

I'm in tears ... children are so amazing ...

Jasmine said...

Thank you so much for sharing something so personal and special. I just connected with your blog and find it inspiring and encouraging. My story is not unlike yours, but have found this two year journey both exhausting and exhilerating. Gabriella was diagnosed with Down syndrome and turned two years yesterday. She's a beauty. I just started my own blog in honor of her and my other children. I hope to bless others with my story too. God bless you. Jasmine