Valedictorian. Star Quarterback. Head Cheerleader. First Chair Violinist. Popular. Perfect.
Kind. Compassionate. Loving. Genuine. Thoughtful. Caring. Affectionate. Encouraging. Supportive.
What if we changed our thinking when we dream of our children’s futures? What if we make the shift to dream that instead of being the most popular girl or guy in school that our child is the most kind and respectful girl or guy in school? What difference would that make? That instead of vying for everyone’s attention, that our child would strive to make everyone around them feel special, remembered, seen.
What does this really look like? Maybe something like a shift from...
Most likely to succeed. Most likely to run a Fortune 500 company. Most likely to be President of the United States.
Most likely to be kind to every person they encounter. Most likely to be respectful in every life situation. Most likely to greet others with compassion when they need grace extended in their direction.
Imagine a world where skin color is not seen, wealth is not a factor, and pasts are not important... For most, this is impossible to imagine, but for Reece, and others with Down syndrome, this is reality. Reece doesn’t see skin color, wealth, pasts...all he sees are people to love. The beauty of Down syndrome is that it replaces judgment with unconditional love. Bitterness with joy. Hurts with hugs. Sorrow with smiles.
If this is what Down syndrome is all about, why are 92% percent of babies with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome still being terminated today? In some countries, 100%.
Seems to me society has forgotten that God doesn’t make mistakes. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. God knows what He is doing. He carefully crafts our DNA, He thoughtfully designs our personalities, and He strategically shapes our hearts. Not one single part of us is a surprise to our Creator. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
In his six years on this planet, Reece has taught me more about unconditional love, acceptance, and choosing joy more than any adult I’ve ever met. He breaks down barriers, fosters unity, and welcomes everyone into his heart no matter who they are, where they’re from, what they’ve done... It really is incredible. And, I wish I could be more like him.
When people ask me what it’s like to have a child with Down syndrome, I simply say, his diagnosis was a surprise, it took me a longer than I care to admit to move from complete fear to total acceptance, but today, I wouldn’t change a thing.