Having two older sons, I know the joy that comes with having a baby. I also know the pain, sadness, and disappointment that comes with finding out your new baby has a disability. January 29, 2010, is a day I will never forget. The excitement and thrill, the oohs and ahhs, and the “oh, he looks just like his brothers, Peyton and Conner.” I remember how quickly that excitement went away after being told that our precious baby boy had Down syndrome. In that very moment, I felt that someone had ripped my heart out. I thought there was no way this could happen to me, to us. Kelly and I were normal people, we were a normal, Godly family, went to church, and I taught in a Christian school… this was a mistake. I had not planned this.
The lessons and pure love your child teaches and shows you will far outweigh the worry, anger, and fear you may be feeling now.
Although, most things those first few months were a blur. I do remember crying myself to sleep at night for months. I remember someone telling me about a school for special needs babies/children (The Little Light House) and I needed to get his name on the list immediately. I remember everybody telling me that God gives special kids to special people. I thought if I heard that one more time, I would scream.
I did not want my child to be special and I did not want to be special. I worried about how people would treat Hayden, how our friends would treat us, and how my family would treat him. I wondered if my family would love him as much as his older brothers… I know these feelings may seem strange but if you are reading this, chances are you are a new parent of a precious baby who happens to have Down syndrome and you may be feeling this way too. Little did I know on January 29, 2010, just how special Hayden truly was and the undeniable impact and joy he would bring to our family’s lives and all those that are fortunate to meet him.
Not long after Hayden was born, a friend text me a verse one morning… Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Little did I know how much I would lean on that verse the next few years. In the days ahead for you it may not be obvious, but I assure you the lessons and pure love your child teaches and shows you will far outweigh the worry, anger, and fear you may be feeling now. And though it won’t always be easy and certain, I can predict the blessings you receive will be much more than you could have ever expected.
Kelly and Deanna Elliott