Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Down Syndrome Disney

We just returned from a quick celebration trip to Disneyland. We LOVE it there!

We have had the pleasure of going a couple times the last few years but about a little more than a year ago we took the boys (Joaquin's first trip to Disney) and we were so surprised not to see even one baby, child, teen or adult with DS our entire trip. And I was looking! I remember at the time wanting to see a familiar "face" at Disneyland.

I am happy to report that this trip was quite the opposite. So much so that by the end of the trip when we were in the lobby of our hotel and a teenage boy stopped to say hello and we saw that he too had DS, my mom and I were just laughing about it! We saw a few babies, several toddlers and kids, a TON of teenagers, and one adult woman with DS escorted by her niece. I also had the HUGE pleasure of meeting some of my SoCal sisters and blogging friends Denise, Cheri and Lisa and their amazing kiddos!

It seemed that everywhere we turned, we would see another family touched by DS. I was especially touched by one older teenage boy who was there with his family. I saw him kiss and hug his mom and grandma at least a dozen times in the 5-10 minutes I was watching them. I can totally see Joaquin being like this. He is SUCH a love bug. Then the other group that totally had us smiling was a group of about 5 teenage girls. They were there with their moms and the group of them have been friends since the girls were 2 years old and met through an Early Intervention program. They were celebrating their graduation from middle school and decided that Disneyland was the place to do that. The girls were a hoot and they loved Joaquin and Sofia. I had a great conversation with the moms too! In fact, two of the five girls were adopted by one of the moms. Amazing!

It was a LOVELY experience and so completely different from our last trip. This is how I imagined Disneyland to be...people from all backgrounds and abilities enjoying the happiest place on Earth!

By the way, Joaquin did great at Disney. His favorite by far was It's a Small World! He ADORED Mickey. Not at all afraid of him and was totally curious about his "nose", "eyes" and "ears"! Mickey spent a little extra time with our family which was really nice.

We LOVE Disneyland!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

From A Sister

This is from one of my "sisters" and I think she makes a beautiful statement about parenting a child... special needs or not. Here it is. Thank you Susan for explaining this so beautifully!

When a parent hears the news or finds out their child has a difficulty, there is always a grieving period of the loss of what they thought they had and hoped for their child.  That can come at any time.  Birth, childhood, teenage years, or adulthood.  A difficult diagnosis, death, learned addictions, handicaps, different sexual preferences, whatever comes as a big surprise and possibly affects many of the hopes and dreams you have for your child as well as their quality of life, prosperity & longevity, and/or future generations takes time grieving and support while learning how to understand your part in helping the ones you love.  We feel really grateful for this difficulty because we have learned so many wonderful lessons from our beautiful little girl who has Down syndrome.  She radiates love and in reality it didn't take long at all to see it really isn't all that difficult or different, once we understood.  The initial fear of the unknown scared us, but it wasn't hard to find hope.  We have been seeing a whole new world of possibilities and have connected to amazing and inspiring children, people, families, professionals, and friends that have broaden our understanding and have instilled in life what matters most.  It is such a blessing that such a small little child could open the doors to such a beautiful place that challenges us to want to be better.  Who reminds me all the time what's most important in this life- people, especially those you love.  All children can offer this gift because EVERY child has the potential to stretch and challenge a parent if you accept the invitation whenever they come, the key is to have faith, learn, love, laugh, and work incredibly hard to assist, mentor, and encourage & support the best out of each of them no matter what level that is and to CELEBRATE all the little miracles and wonderful achievements.  Seeing our daughter work hard for everyday life without complaining,  with consistent effort having great spirits about her task.  Well it makes us appreciate and celebrate all the wonderful little things in life we take for granted.  She has the potential to achieve pretty much everything we can with a special thanks to the opportunities in America and those who have gone before us and fought for our kids' rights and for all those who love and support and teach her now- like any other child receives.  We are very lucky living in the day and age we do.  These children are more alike than they are different.  They have a special purpose to teach us "normal" people.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm BAAAAACK! Aaarrrgggghh!

Here's our little pirate again! At least we are having fun with all the cool patch designs!