Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giving Thanks For The Unexpected...

As Thanksgiving approaches, naturally I've been thinking about what I am thankful for. Of course I am thankful for good health for me and my family and good health for my extended family. I am thankful for Mike's job, thankful for the opportunities we've had with his job. I'm thankful for Mike and for God putting him in my life-honestly, I don't think anyone else could put up with me-Ha! And I'm thankful for my sweet, sweet children. As I sit here and think about each of my children I can honestly say I am thankful for every inch of their little bodies, inside and out. But when it comes to Bennett, I ask myself am I thankful for that extra chromosome?

Let me just tell you as a mom, as a parent, this is very hard to answer, at least for me. Let me share with you what that extra chromosome has given me and then maybe I'll be able to answer my own question...

Bennett having Down syndrome has allowed me to "meet" so many wonderful people that I otherwise would have never "known".

I have received countless emails from strangers that have told me their stories and how Bennett's story has helped them cope and how it has inspired them.

I have received the sweetest messages from good friends and others that I haven't heard from in years, that allowed me to see what type of person they really are and otherwise I don't think I would've known their hearts like I feel I do today.

I have seen a love from family members that can never be broken, not ever. A love so deep, so genuine and so pure.

For me and for my life, Bennett brings out the best in people. That's the bottom line. Basically he has allowed me to see into the hearts of people, really see their hearts and how they feel and to me there is nothing sweeter. But if he didn't have Down syndrome I honestly don't think I would even have this blog because I didn't even know what a blog was until I started looking at them right after we found out. I would have never "met" these wonderful people or heard from friends that I haven't heard from in years.

And if Bennett didn't have Down syndrome of course the love that people have would always exist but would I see it in my life, I don't think so. I wouldn't be brought to tears by the emails and messages I've received because there would be no reason for people to share their hearts with me. I wouldn't be brought to tears by all the kindness we've received from friends and family. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I think Bennett is more special than any other baby. All babies are special and are precious gifts from God. I'm just saying that the things I am thankful for and the things that have made a difference in my life are in a sense because of him having Down syndrome. And Bennett is not just Down syndrome. It is not what defines him as a person, it is a part of him and if I love every inch of his body, inside and out then I have to love the part that is Down syndrome.

So as hard as this is to say or write for me, and as crazy as it may sound, almost a year later after being thrown, dragged, shoved into a world that I did not want to be a part of (kicking and screaming mind you), the world of Down syndrome that is, I can say I am thankful for every part of Bennett and for Down syndrome and the things it it has already shown me. There, I wrote it. Man that was hard to write, I'm not going to lie. But it is what God intended for Bennett and I am thankful for everything God has given me so Down syndrome must be included. You see,
"Every good and perfect gift is from above" James 1:17

And Bennett is good and Bennett is perfect.

It's so strange because it's never been a question whether or not I'm thankful for Bennett. But I've never been able to say I am thankful for him having Down syndrome. That's sounds crazy doesn't it? Why would I be thankful for something that causes delays in children and that sometimes causes health issues in children and that may one day cause him to be made fun of? Why on earth would I be thankful for that? The fact is that while the world of Down syndrome can bring on many scary things or many hurtful things, the good things from it far out weigh the bad and I truly believe they always will. I cannot change the fact that he has Down syndrome, would I if I could? Uhh- that's still so hard to answer because I know it would be like changing who Bennett is and I'm not sure I'd want to do that. And since I can't, why even pretend that I could? What can change is how society views my sweet boy so I will focus on that.

Through all of this, I am a changed person because of Down syndrome. I will never be the same but I am thankful for that.

Bennett is truly like a little piece of heaven for me to hold. I know that sounds like a cliche but I don't know, there's just something about him and that extra 21st chromosome. That extra chromosome that was so unexpected but that has given me many things to be thankful for.


  1. Beautifully written Adrienne! I have to admit...when I was getting ready to write my "D" post for my Thankful A to Z, I thought about saying I was thankful for Down syndrome, but I just wasn't quite sure how to say I chickened out. Yes, I am thankful for Down syndrome. It's exactly what makes Lily...Lily. And yes...she is our perfect gift from God.

    Thanks for writing what is in my heart! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  2. Beautiful post. I love Down syndrome. I can't imagine my boring little life without it :)

  3. I have tears in my eyes.

    I, too, am conflicted about the whole thing.

    But I fully agree with your sentiments, especially this one: Through all of this, I am a changed person because of Down syndrome. I will never be the same but I am thankful for that.


  4. Thank you for sharing. I feel the same way. Our family and our world would not be the same with out Riley and her extra chromosome. That one little bit of extra DNA has added so much love and joy to my life. I am thankful for Down Syndrome. And for other moms like you who are working like I am to change the way the world sees our good and perfect children. God Bless, Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Beautifully said. I feel the same about Rachel. I remember first realizing that I wouldn't want her any other way, because Ds is part of who she is.

  6. I totally cried ready that! And you are right, there is just something so sweet and special about him and he is not even my child! When I held him the other day, I thought he was the most peaceful, easy going baby ever. His smile just made the day a little brighter. I think you are going to quickly see that the lives you think he has touched is not even close to the amount he will touch in his lifetime. :)

  7. Beautifully written, my sentiments exactly.

  8. This is beautiful. Right on sister. I feel ya.

  9. Beautifully written and I agree completely! What amazing gifts we've been given.

  10. I too, sit here reading with tears pouring down my face. I, too, am thankful for JEB's extra chromosome. I cherish it. GOD chose Jn and I for this journey and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm blessed that HE thought HE could give us this wonderful gift!!!

    I'm so glad we're friends!!! What a wonderful way to put it!!!

  11. ok adrienne...we have to talk...i now have tears rolling down my face, on the laptop, and my makeup is a mess! :)

    this is beautifully written from the heart.
    and isn't your family so very lucky to have such a wonderfully caring mommy too!

    many hugs to you!

  12. Well you did it again! Brought me to tears, those good ones. So beautifully written, as always.

  13. I could not of said it any better then what you have but I feel the same exact way. You are a beautiful person and I am grateful for your strength, it helps me on days when I feel mine is failing me.

  14. This is so beautifully written. Even though that extra chromosome isn't typical, it is still a part of your child. And without it, he would be a totally different person. This is great.

  15. Adrienne, that was a beautiful post! I couldn't agree more with what you said. Bennett and Joel and everyone else in the world who was born with Down syndrome is a blessing. I too did not want to be part of this new world but I had no idea how much I would love Joel and how he would bless my life so much. I am so incredibly thankful that God blessed us with Joel. I can't imagine him any other way!

    Thank you for sharing such a great post!!

  16. So true, but sometimes hard to get others outside our little world to understand. :)

  17. ah yes, I understand!!! I am thankful for the things Parker will show me that I never noticed before. A friend told me that "God will stop at nothing to bless us" I am beginning to understand just what that means!

  18. We get pushed, drug, bound & gagged into this journey, but once we are there....we are so blessed!!!! No we wouldn't have choosen this road but now that we are here we would not change who are children are. And yes they are children first...DS does not describe who they are - it is just part of them like blue or brown eyes. If people will look beyond the DS they will get blessed also. Jan

  19. We are all different and all bring different gifts to the world. My two boys with Down syndrome forever changed me for the better.

    Now that they are gone, I miss the world I used to live in. Thanks for letting me take a peek into yours and remember.

    A link to my thoughts on our Down syndrome experience.

  20. I love this post. It's just so true. I too am forever grateful for entering the world of DS. We will live a richer, fuller life with our children in it. I love our "little something extra" club :)

  21. Be thankful in all things. That's a commandment, not a request. So, by giving thanks for Ds you are obeying and honoring Him.
    Bennett is an amazing gift from God, not because of his extra chromosome, but just because. He is perfect and custom designed for you.
    We went through the same thing with our child with Selective Mutism and the blood disorder, ITP. I know what you mean about learning the true heart of a person. Because of Shelbi's problems, I witnessed compassion and love I would have never seen. A big high school principal of a man crying because a 17 year old started talking to him--- just one example of many. Next time you visit my blog, click on my label Selective Mutism or Miracles and read her story. Very moving.
    Am I glad my child struggled with this limitation? No. Am I thankful for the disorder? Not really. Am I thankful for the blessings, miracles, and goodness that I only saw through SM? You betcha. I know EXACTLY what you mean. =)

  22. You are amazing!!! Hope that your Thanksgiving is wonderful! -Andrea

  23. moved me to tears! I have often pondered this very same thing. Thank you for putting into words something I have often thought, and not necessarily been able to say.

  24. I too cried reading this. I hope someday I can feel thankful for Kellan's Ds. I accept it, but I wish it wasn't. Being that he is only 7 weeks old I guess it's different still. Thank you for writing this, I always feel less alone when I read your blog!

  25. this is such an awesome post. can i plagiarize it a bit for my blog? i would love to write something similar about how i am thankful for my special, wonderful jimmy, who has down syndrome.

    beautifully written!
    thank you,


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