World Down Syndrome Day 2010

Two and a half years ago I thought my world had shattered into pieces. As I held my baby girl all I could see was her diagnosis; Down syndrome. I did not want to have a baby with Down syndrome. I wished with everything in me that we could scratch it all and start all over again. I even wondered if God had made a mistake, because this was certainly not a part of my plan. Dreamer as I am, a child with Down syndrome did not fit in my future. Maybe if she was gone, my life would make sense again.

When Nichole was two weeks old, we thought there was a possibility of a serious liver condition that could take her life. This is it, I though, God is really going to take her because I don’t want her. Was I really that full of selfishness that it had kept me from loving my daughter?

That day I kneeled down on my living room floor. Not because I was praying, but because I was crying so hard, that I couldn’t stand. I had so many emotions inside of me; they rushed out in tears and sobs. And I did pray, raising my arms, “I choose to love her Lord. With everything that I am, with everything in me, I choose love!” And I meant every word.

That day marked the end of my self-pity.

That day marked the beginning of a life altering journey. One that we continue to travel, and one that we have embraced.

Down syndrome. Back then the words seemed so dark, so scary.

Down syndrome. The words now are full of love, unconditional love. They are wrapped in joy, peace, kindness.

The baby that I never wanted, was the baby that I always needed.

Nichole has taught me more in her lifetime that I have known in mine. Down syndrome has been a gift, a wonderful gift. She was never broken, I was. And God uses her to do His work in my life.

We have discovered shades of color that we never knew were possible. A statement that I read in Gifts and that has proven to be true as we continue to walk this road. Nichole’s life has been so rich and deep. She continues to teach me lessons that are profound in meaning. We know that the value of a life is not based on what we accomplish, but in our ability to love. All because of her.

Nichole saved the life of a once-orphan girl in Ukraine. One that is now a part of our family, and one that we call our own. Nina’s brokenness would have scared us once but now we can embrace her because of Nichole.

John 9:3 has been true in Nichole’s life as the power of God is displayed in her life.

God’s child, God’s precious child given to us.

Nichole.

She is not just the child I always needed. She is the child I always wanted, I just didn’t know it.