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Eric's Parents Speak:

Down’s. Down Syndrome. What does that mean?

Life has a strange way of leading us down the highways and byways through strange nooks, turns, and trails. As all parents, we were always looking forward to having children. Our second son, Eric, was born with Down’s. We didn't have a clue.

I remember my wife and I sitting in our bedroom crying, wondering what we had ever done to have a handicapped child. What did the future hold for Eric and us?

Twenty-one years later, we count the blessings and joy we have experienced through the trials, tribulations and enjoyment we have had with Eric: three heart surgeries, thyroid hospitalization, dental, eyes, TEFRA, medical assistance, Social Services, ARC…we can go on and on.

God has touched our lives and our other four sons’ lives immensely. I especially remember going to "the cities" for Eric's first heart check-up at the age of five months and finding out he had a hole in the middle of his heart. I thought we had cried enough the past few months. What more did God want to put him and us through? Three surgeries later and looking at a fourth in the near future, God hasn't "put" us through anything, but has showered us with many opportunities to tell him thanks and show us what is really important.

During his third surgery, his class made a video and cards for him. People afraid of hospitals came to visit him.

Our other sons are learning the meaning of disabilities and caring for the less fortunate. We as parents are able to support others in their times of need.

Teachers took Eric under their wing, bringing him through the school system and teaching his class how to deal with Eric and his disability. Others in administration lost their jobs from their support, others were threatened with being fired. His classmates, as they got older, took him to the movies and parties with them, just like he was "normal." I ask myself, "He is, isn't he?"

I wouldn't wish a disabled child on any family, but I also wish every family had a disabled child to experience what we have experienced. I would never give Eric back for a "normal” child. I sometimes wonder, “who is more normal?” It has brought our family together in so many ways, through the tears, the laughter, the pain, the joy.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this ray of "sonshine" in our lives.