Six Ways Life Has Changed Since Adopting Our Son with Down Syndrome
Six months ago we were blessed to bring home a vibrant, happy, sweet, growing little boy, who happens to have Down syndrome. A few weeks later, he became our son and the new brother of our biological daughter. Beau has brought so much to our family in the short time we’ve been together. Here’s a brief round-up of his impact on our family.
- We Laugh More- The first day we ever spent with our son was filled with so much laughter. Even for how nervous we were and how (understandably) freaked out he was, Beau was full of such joy and playfulness that we ended up laughing until our stomachs hurt. His laughter was affirming to us, somehow. We didn’t expect to experience such joy with him so early on. It was on the long drive home that we decided to give him the middle name “Isaac,” meaning “He laughs.”
- We Focus on Development More- Because our biological daughter has special needs as well, developmental therapies and focuses are nothing new to us, but with Beau came a new set of concerns, goals, and specialists to involve. This was a reminder than we are not experts on our new son, but we are learning. It’s so humbling to say “I don’t know, let me ask his birth mom,” fifteen times in an evaluation. But I don’t resent it one bit.
- We give a lot more hugs- THIS BOY AND HIS AFFECTION. Our Beau is newly responding to requests for hugs, and it’s the most precious blessing ever. We’ve seen him hug Rosie out of sheer joy that she’s smiling. The other day she was practicing sitting up on the couch and he very intentionally climbed up and sat behind her and bear hugged her. They both smiled. We both melted.
- We get a lot more attention- These two are a sight to behold! First of all, they’re both beautiful children. You add that they look like twins with Down syndrome and all the questions come pouring from people’s mouths. I have ACTUALLY told someone they’re twins because I didn’t feel like explaining our situation. You gotta do what you gotta do.
- We feel more sadness- When we added Beau to our family we became a family defined by Down syndrome (which is something I don’t mind one bit). Being part of the Ds community opens you up to a lot of the pain and brokenness there is in the world. When a kid who shares the extra chromosome is sick and hospitalized, I feel it deeply. I worry terribly. This is something that is necessary for joy, though, because you can’t numb the sadness without numbing the joy of this life, and OH, there is so much joy. (Holla at Brene Brown for this wisdom.)
- We are better parents to both of our kids- I bet all parents feel this way on some level. When it was just us and Rosie, we operated in a way that worked for us at the time. Adding Beau to our family has made us look at things in a new light. He’s a different kid altogether with different needs and a different personality, so we have to be creative to serve him best. This makes us have the same creative approach to parenting Rosie, too. We have “fresh eyes” as parents because we have a new addition to the family!
Obviously Beau is a huge blessing to us. So many aspects of adoption are scary because they are unsure for so long, but miraculous things happen when you open up to brokenness and expect redemption.