World Down Syndrome Awareness Day // 3.21.2018 // Milwaukee Family Photographer

Little girl with down syndrome peeking through her door

Last month I had the privilege of meeting a wonderful family who've got their hands full  and their hearts even fuller, with 3 beautiful children. Daphne, their oldest, who's eight years old has Down's Syndrome and they have 5 year old twins, Jacqueline and Harvey (who are the funniest ever)!

Sarah, (Mom) is a beautiful human being, who volunteers for a local organization called Gigi's Playhouse - a center for enrichment for children with Down Syndrome.

I will say, Daphne was a bit wary of me and wanted to stay in her room with the door shut. I respected her wishes and slowly eased my way in with her permission. I saw her favorite "hangout corner", her adorable personality and a smile that lights up her whole face!

I asked Mom to share some thoughts on raising Daphne:

"The biggest irony about raising a child with Down syndrome is that you suspect that people feel badly for you. Certainly, when she was born, I felt bad for me! I was expecting a “perfectly healthy” baby, and she didn’t fit that definition. It didn’t take long for me to confidently say that I wouldn’t change a thing about her … not even the 3rd copy of her 21st chromosome. Truth is, Daphne without Down syndrome is not Daphne, and I am so lucky that she is my daughter. She is as charming and warm as the day is long, and touches people in ways that are impossible to describe. She is my little mystery, because there’s still a lot about her that I don’t know because she can’t tell me. So, don’t ever feel sorry for someone who has a child with Down syndrome. They consider themselves as lucky as I do."

I also reached out to my friend, Terry, who's daughter Shira also has Down Syndrome. She just turned 21! Shira is our neighbor and she is such a sweet and lovely girl, who's always concerned about others.

Terry says, "I have a Master’s Degree in Special Education and I tell people that Shira is my PhD.  She’s my “unexpected gold”.  (A quote from a man with dementia where Shira works.)
When Shira was born I was determined to provide her with every possible opportunity to help her reach her fullest potential.  When I need help, I turn to Hashem, open my eyes to see what’s going on around me and the answer always comes." 

Thank you so much Terry and Sarah for sharing your thoughts! 

And here's a little glimpse at an afternoon with Daphne and her family.

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