Thursday, October 4, 2012

Welcome to... and My Brothers

What is it like to have a baby with Down syndrome??

Welcome to Holland
c. 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reservedI am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Such a beautiful poem!

I love that poem, but it doesn't apply to my family.. see, we CHOSE to go to Holland. We knew from the start we weren't going to Italy.

But the only reason we chose Holland is because others have planned to go to Italy, but ended up in Holland instead. They paved the way for us. They have taken away our fear of the unknown. Our fear of how HARD we thought raising a child with Down syndrome would be.

They have shown us children with Ds are a blessing, not a curse. And that our blessings with Ds would teach us SOO MUCH about how to LIVE and LOVE.
Elijah, me, Jonathan - both boys were adopted from Ukraine, E in Dec '10 and J in July '11
We didn't know all the ins and outs about Holland, and it's different than we though it would be, but it is beautiful. If we were given the choice again, knowing what we now know, we would still choose Holland!

Thank you to all who have gone to Holland ahead of us, to show us the way. I would be short 2 little brothers if it weren't for you! ♥


  1. oh Sarah I love this, your brothers are so blessed to have you xxx

  2. I love this post. I have been reading your blog for a while and read your moms blog when E came home. ( I have lost the address for that blog though.) Until I see a picture of you I forget how young you are. You understand so much at your age. You are and will continue to do great things for these kids, and for that I thank you.

  3. Aww thank you for your kind words you two! My mom's blog is :)


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