Dear Mrs. Sander:
Thank you for your excellent source of chizuk. Your magazine, Down Syndrome Amongst Us, is such a great magazine and the perfect medium of exchange that is necessary all the time.
I had a child that was born with a genetic disease and passed away at age 4. Since then I have born several children and they are all healthy B’H.
When my daughter passed away, I had a very strong desire to take a child with Down syndrome into my family. It was partly because I wanted to fill the void and partly, or rather mostly, because I always loved special needs children. Hashem really gave me the ‘refuah’ before the ‘makkah’. As a young girl I was always the one to offer to volunteer at respite programs. I missed school quite often on Sundays, but volunteering was my priority then. In addition, I was hired by an agency on a part-time basis to work with a cousin who had multiple handicaps. Being accustomed to being around children with special needs, Hashem lent me a special child for 4 years.
When my fifth child was around three years old I got a special gift called ‘Yiddy’, a very sweet baby with Down syndrome. He joined our family when he was six weeks old. Yiddy came along with a breathing monitor (which we weaned him off after four weeks), and he was not a very good-looking child. I was a little nervous about the whole undertaking. I kept telling myself that I was only babysitting him. After taking care of him for several weeks I felt like I already loved him like he was my own child.
I had spoken to Yiddy’s biological mother a lot before he came to us and I could understand her inner turmoil and torment about her decision to give the child away. I was able to empathize and told her that years earlier I also had to give my child away, but she was in a hospital and taken care of by medical staff and not a family. At least Yiddy was with a warm, loving Jewish family. We discussed the fact that it was a big ‘nisoyon’ for her and that Hashem will give her ‘s’char’ accordingly. We would be sharing Yiddy for the time being; I was just helping her out.
Now Yiddy is the most adorable, lovable, huggable, delicious boy and he is almost 8 years old.
We live in Monsey, New York. Yiddy attended the local HASC/Gan Ezra program until he was five years old and then he moved on to the program in Kiryas Joel, NY, where he is currently a student.
I will outline my issues of concern and I hope you or your readers will be able to help me with them:
Thank you for your help. I look forward to helpful tips in the next issue of Down Syndrome Amongst Us.
With much bracha and hatzlacha,
Hello! I am hoping that you can help me through your magazine and its vast reading audience.
I am looking for a ‘pen pal’ or ‘phone pal’ who has a daughter with Down syndrome who is attending a regular education school. My six-year-old is currently in a general education preschool. I would love to connect with somebody on an ongoing basis who is in ‘my shoes’.
I have spoken to a parent in California and a parent in Montreal; each has a child with DS in such an educational environment, but I would love to have an ongoing relationship with a parent who is likewise interested in such a friendship.
Here is my contact information:
9 Edwin Lane – Apt. 2C
Monsey, New York 10952
This article first appeared in issue #16 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us