Stories from real life

Kari tells how raising a child with Down syndrome has changed her life...

Picture of Kaydie and her sister, Lydia

I am married to a wonderful man! My husband and I don't have any kids together, but we have two daughters. My oldest daughter is my husband's from a relationship that ended long before we ever met. While we were in college, I began caring for his daughter while he would work. After 7 years of close friendship, we got married. Our youngest daughter is adopted.

My husband and I have been trying to conceive our first child together for over 3 years. I have a condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which has caused my infertility. I have known for several years that I might never be able to have children of my own. This has been a very difficult and painful issue in my life.

In March, we were approached by a young woman who asked us to adopt her baby girl. Kaydie was born with Down syndrome and her birthmother didn't feel she was prepared to care for a child with special needs, as she is single and already had one child. There was a lot of pressure to terminate the pregnancy due to the diagnosis of Down syndrome. I was touched by the strength of her love for this baby that wouldn't allow her to cave to the recommendations of the doctors and geneticist.

Like all mothers, I was afraid that a sister with a disability might become a burden for Lydia. She has prayed and asked for a baby brother or sister for as long as I have known her. We asked her if she would want a special needs sister.

She gave me a look like I was insane and said that of course she would love any sister. We brought Kaydence Olivia home on Mother's day this year. She has been such an amazing blessing to our family! When we first brought Kaydie home, she was underfed and was fairly behind in her development for her age. She quickly began gaining weight and getting stronger. Kaydie is doing very well, now. I had heard that having a child with Down syndrome was like a secret family that most people have never heard of. This statement is so true! Lydia and Kaydie are so close. Many people have even said they look alike. Lydia is a second mommy to Kaydie and says she can't remember what we did for fun before we had Kaydie. Kaydie loves her sister, and chooses Lydia over Mommy, on occasion.

I have always had a love for disabled children, but never imagined that I would be given this amazing opportunity! It is not always rosey, but no one's life is ever perfect all the time. Having Kaydie has taught me what love truly is! I no longer take my older daughter's growth and development into a young lady for granted. I no longer rush through life and miss what's important. I stop to take pleasure in the small things, like the day my daughter held her head up on her own or the first time she sat up unassisted!

As we were working through the process of deciding to bring Kaydie home, I was concerned that it would be somehow harder to raise a baby with a disability. I was afraid that I would fail and that she wouldn't thrive. Kaydence has proven me wrong over and over! She is just like any other child! She has a stubbornness that seems to mirror my own. She likes her bottles and hates having her face cleaned after she eats. She fights sleep at bed time, and wakes up with a smile and a kiss for her mommy. She plays with her favorite toys and protests when it is time to pick up the mess. She loves her bathtime, too.

As you can see, my baby may have been born with a bonus chromozome, but she is as normal as you and I are. Having a child with Down syndrome brings you more joy and love than you could ever think possible!

Kari Jones Wichita, Kansas USA


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