These are the faces that call me “mom,” the three children who made me a mother. When I started my journey into parenthood I never thought it would look like this. I never planned on having three adopted children, and I certainly never imagined that two of them would have Down syndrome. But like most of the things God does, once we stepped into the craziness and confusion of the unknown and unplanned, we quickly realized that we were indeed among the lucky few. When my husband and I decided to grow our family ten years ago, we were surprised to find that getting pregnant was not as easy as we had thought it would be. And as we navigated the ups and downs of infertility, God led us down the path of adoption. Of course, we would adopt! Not what we had originally planned, but certainly a wonderful option. But just as we began to get a comfortable grasp on growing our family through adoption, God introduced us to Macyn Hope, a very sick little girl with Down syndrome who desperately needed a family. As we continued to follow God’s calling, first with Macyn, and later with Truly and then August, we found ourselves further and further from the comfortable paths we thought our lives would take, and instead moving down some very scary, and often painful roads. Even though at times His plan seemed terrifying and even downright foolish, little could we have known how much goodness, blessing, and joy would flow out of loving these three little people He’s put into our lives. No, it’s not been easy: not the open-heart surgeries or the challenges of raising two children with Down syndrome or the complexities of dealing with birth-families or the struggles we’ve had with the public education system. But through it all, every new and uncomfortable situation has only proven to be another chance to see how very good God’s plan is for our lives and how downright lucky we are to be able to live it out. It’s only the lucky few that recognize that the most beautiful things in this life are often found in the differences. What some would see as misfortune, I’ve learned to see as nothing more than pure luck.
What happens when life doesn't turn out like you planned? Mother of three adopted children---two with Down syndrome---Heather Avis learned that it's truly the lucky few that recognize God's plan is best, even when it is radically different from the plan we have ourselves. Your life may be uncomfortable and messy but you can be among the lucky few.
Author: Kelle Hampton
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: 2013-04-02
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
There is us. Our Family. We will hold our precious gift and know that we are lucky . . . From the outside looking in, Kelle Hampton had the perfect life: a beautiful two-year-old daughter, a loving husband, and a thriving photography career. When she learned she was pregnant with their second child, they were ecstatic. But when their new daughter was placed in her arms in the delivery room, Kelle knew instantly that something was wrong. Nella looked different than her sister, Lainey, had at birth. As her friends and family celebrated, a terrified Kelle was certain that Nella had Down syndrome—a fear her pediatrician soon confirmed. Yet gradually Kelle embraced the realization that she had been chosen to experience an extraordinary and special gift. With lyrical prose and gorgeous photography, Bloom takes readers on a wondrous journey through Nella's first year of life—a gripping, hilarious, and intensely poignant trip of transformation in which a mother learns that perfection comes in all different shapes.
Author: Walter J. Ciszek
Publisher: Loyola Press
Release Date: 2016-10-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
In 1963, following twenty-three years of hard labor and abuse in Russian prison camps, Walter J. Ciszek, S.J., finally returned to America. Had he come back a bitter man, or a man of diminished faith, it would have been hard to fault him. But he didn’t. For the remainder of his years, until his death in 1984, Fr. Ciszek’s grace, faith, and wisdom touched—often in profound and lasting ways—everyone who came into contact with him. With God in America is a collection of previously unpublished writings on Ciszek’s post-imprisonment life and thoughts. The contents—which include articles he wrote, speeches he delivered at retreats, letters he sent to people he was counseling, and interviews with individuals who knew him personally—present a man unbroken by all that he had endured and eager to share God’s love with others. From Ciszek’s first days back home in the States to his final words before his death, With God in America demonstrates that saintliness isn’t primarily about acting heroically in dramatic or devastating circumstances, but about honoring the ordinary, everyday aspects of life as treasured gifts from God.
Author: Joe McHugh
Publisher: Franciscan Media
Release Date: 2013-11-06
Startled by God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places offers a different way of seeing God in all things. Reminiscent of the spirituality fostered by Richard Rohr and other contemporary mystics, Joe McHugh writes out a tradition infused with the basics of Jesuit and Trappist theology, yet fully planted in the day-to-day workings of the contemporary world. He does not shy away from the secular culture in seeking God, but incorporates each element of daily life into a contemplative practice. McHugh makes ample use of stories to show, rather than tell, about our search for the living God. These stories enable us to see and feel, not just understand, allowing us to step into them with our imagination and discover ourselves lurking in the twists and turns of their plots. Building on his work as a consultant and spiritual director, McHugh guides readers on a spiritual journey where they encounter God in the hidden and mundane workings of their lives. He pushes us to go deeper and writes with an edge that keeps us engaged and hungering for more. This book will challenge readers to look beyond the ordinary earmarks of spirituality and venture into new ways of seeing, new ways of encountering God and others with the eyes of faith. It’s for the seeker in all of us, encouraging a way of life rooted in the divine while being fully immersed in the real world.
"Poof! Then magic happened, from light inside my heart. They loved me and I learned, I am capable, kind and smart!" How do we inspire our children to know all the ways they can shine in this world, simply by being who they are? BE YOU TIFUL LOVE, SOFIA is the true story of Sofia Sanchez, a little girl with Down syndrome. Talking to you heart to heart, Sofia takes you on her personal journey of dreaming big and never giving up. Gorgeous full color pictures illustrate her path from Eastern European Orphan to All American Girl. Sofia shows us every emotion, from sadness to happiness, loneliness to belonging, feeling fear to being brave. Most of all, she proves that being yourself is the best magic power of all. The perfect book for birthdays, celebrations and any day for inspiration. Because YOU are beautiful! Love, Sofia
My Brother Fights Pirates (Well...Kind Of) will be a great conversation starter for you and your family, opening the door to a broader discussion of the wonderful qualities that people with Down syndrome bring to a family.
A father’s exhilarating and funny love letter to his daughter with Down syndrome whose vibrant and infectious approach to life has something to teach all of us about how we can better live our own. Jillian Daugherty was born with Down syndrome. The day they brought her home from the hospital, her parents, Paul and Kerry, were flooded with worry and uncertainty, but also overwhelming love, which they channeled to “the job of building the better Jillian.” While their daughter had special needs, they refused to allow her to grow up needy—“Expect, Don’t Accept” became their mantra. Little did they know how ready Jillian was to meet their challenge. Paul tells stories from Jillian’s mischievous childhood and moves to her early adulthood, tracing her journey to find happiness and purpose in her adult life, sharing endearing anecdotes as well as stories about her inspiring triumphs. Having graduated from high school and college, Jillian now works to support herself, and has met the love of her life and her husband-to-be, Ryan. In An Uncomplicated Life, the parent learns as much about life from the child as the child does from the parent. Through her unmitigated love for others, her sparkling charisma, and her boundless capacity for joy, Jillian has inspired those around her to live better and more fully. The day Jillian was born, Paul says, was the last bad day. As he lovingly writes, “Jillian is a soul map of our best intentions”—a model of grace, boundless joy, and love for all of us.
Author: Jen Jacob
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2015-12-04
Genre: Family & Relationships
Help your child succeed and thrive! As a parent of a child diagnosed with Down syndrome, you may be feeling unsure of what to do next or where your child's journey will take you. In this book, authors Jen Jacob and Mardra Sikora share their experiences and guide you through life with Ds with expert advice from diagnosis to adulthood. Each page teaches you ways to support your child through major milestones; nurture their development; and ensure that they succeed behaviorally, socially, and cognitively. You'll also find valuable information on: Sharing the news with loved ones Transitioning into primary school Developing your child's social skills Discussing future opportunities, including employment and housing options With The Parent's Guide to Down Syndrome, you will have the tools you need to raise a happy, healthy, and thriving child.
An Atlanta slum. A pod of whales off the coast of Alaska. The prisons of Peru and Chile. The plays of Shakespeare. A health club in Chicago. For those with eyes to see, traces of God can be found in the most unexpected places. Yet many Christians have not only missed seeing God, they’ve overlooked opportunities to make him visible to those most in need of hope. In this enlightening book author Philip Yancey serves as an insightful tour guide for those willing to look beyond the obvious, pointing out glimpses of the eternal where few might think to look. Whether finding God among the newspaper headlines, within the church, or on the job, Yancey delves deeply into the commonplace and surfaces with rich spiritual insight. Finding God in Unexpected Places takes readers from Ground Zero to the Horn of Africa, and each stop along the way reveals footprints of God, touches of his truth and grace that prompt readers to search deeper within their own lives for glimpses of transcendence. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Kathryn Lynard
Publisher: Special Needs Collection
Release Date: 2016-11-15
Genre: Family & Relationships
This commemorative 10th anniversary edition of Gifts includes 10 new personal stories, along with "where are they now" updates on many of the children and families featured in the first edition. Gifts is the much-loved collection of over sixty essays written by mothers who share their truths about raising children with Down syndrome. Powerful then and powerful now, it affirms over and over that a life with an extra chromosome is one worth living. The contributors to this collection have diverse personalities and perspectives, and draw from a wide spectrum of ethnicity, world views, and religious beliefs. Some are parenting within a traditional family structure; some are not. Some never considered terminating their pregnancy; some struggled with the decision. Some were calm at the time of diagnosis; some were traumatized. Some write about their pregnancy and the early months after giving birth; some reflect on years of experience with their child. The writers? diverse experiences point to a common truth: The life of a child with Down syndrome is something to celebrate. These women have a message to share'not just with other mothers but with genetic counselors, obstetricians, and the rest of us. In particular, Gifts, 10th Anniversary Edition, provides new parents with a source of up-to-date, positive, and realistic insight that is too often missing when they are facing a pre-or postnatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Also by Kathryn Lynard: Gifts 2: How People with Down Syndrome Enrich the World
A literary jigsaw puzzle of a debut novel set in Colombia during the peak of its decades-long conflict, and in New York City While her parents are away, a teenager finds herself home alone, with the household staff mysteriously gone, no phone connection, and news of an insurgency on the radio—and then she hears a knock at the door. Her teacher, who has been kidnapped by guerrillas, recites Shakespeare in the jungle to a class of sticks, leaves, and stones while his captors watch his every move. Another classmate, who has fled Colombia for the clubs of New York, is unable to forget the life she left behind without the help of the little bags of powder she carries with her. Taking place over two decades, The Lucky Ones presents us with a world in which perpetrators are indistinguishable from saviors, the truth is elusive, and loved ones can disappear without a trace. A prismatic tale of a group of characters who emerge and recede throughout the novel and touch one another’s lives in ways even they cannot comprehend, The Lucky Ones captures the intensity of life in Colombia as paramilitaries, guerrillas, and drug traffickers tear the country apart. Combining vivid descriptions of life under siege with a hallucinatory feel that befits its violent world, The Lucky Ones introduces a truly original and exciting new voice in fiction. Praise for The Lucky Ones “A blunt, fresh and unsentimental look inside Colombia’s last thirty bloody years . . . an enjoyable and freaky joy ride. . . . [Julianne] Pachico conveys the fear that Colombian children grow up with—she made that pit in my stomach open up again. . . . At the end you’ll come out of this ride with a better understanding of Colombia’s surreal state of affairs.”—Silvana Paternostro, The New York Times Book Review “[A] brilliantly wacked-out collection of linked stories about Colombia’s long civil war.”—New York “An expansive tapestry of a debut.”—Elle “Thrilling . . . The Lucky Ones is no ordinary coming-of-age novel. Julianne Pachico’s remarkably inventive debut navigates what it means to grow up wealthy amid the reality of conflict in Colombia.”—The Atlantic "Nothing is conventionally cohesive in The Lucky Ones, with its looping sense of time and fractured narrative structure. But there is an enduring sense of an ungovernable world unraveling, even as the disparate strands of this deeply affecting novel finally converge.”—Paste “In finely calibrated prose, this stirring novel plumbs the fates of those who struggled against the Colombian political upheaval that began in the ‘90s.”—O Magazine “Relentlessly rewarding . . . with traces of Gabriel García Márquez’s News of a Kidnapping, Pachico’s unapologetically immersive first novel brings life to a South American struggle often forgotten in global headlines.”—Booklist “Riveting . . . Having lived in Colombia until she turned eighteen, Pachico has a firsthand connection to the country’s charms and troubles that shines through on every gripping page.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Julianne Pachico’s tough and stunning novel set in both the Colombian and New York drug jungles kept this reader up all night and made her double-check that her front door was locked tight.”—Lily Tuck, National Book Award–winning author of The News from Paraguay and The Double Life of Liliane
What if that person you've been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today? ...And what if that's the point? In Accidental Saints, New York Times best-selling author Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turned pastor stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. But God keeps showing up in the least likely of people—a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, a felonious Bishop and a gun-toting member of the NRA. As she lives and worships alongside these “accidental saints,” Nadia is swept into first-hand encounters with grace—a gift that feels to her less like being wrapped in a warm blanket and more like being hit with a blunt instrument. But by this grace, people are transformed in ways they couldn’t have been on their own. In a time when many have rightly become disillusioned with Christianity, Accidental Saints demonstrates what happens when ordinary people share bread and wine, struggle with scripture together, and tell each other the truth about their real lives. This unforgettable account of their faltering steps toward wholeness will ring true for believer and skeptic alike. Told in Nadia’s trademark confessional style, Accidental Saints is the stunning next work from one of today’s most important religious voices.
How do you hold on to hope when you don’t get the ending you asked for? When Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda, accidentally founded a booming organization, and later became the mother of thirteen girls through the miracle of adoption, she determined to weave her life together with the people she desired to serve. But joy often gave way to sorrow as she invested her heart fully in walking alongside people in the grip of poverty, addiction, desperation, and disease. After unexpected tragedy shook her family, for the first time Katie began to wonder, Is God really good? Does He really love us? When she turned to Him with her questions, God spoke truth to her heart and drew her even deeper into relationship with Him. Daring to Hope is an invitation to cling to the God of the impossible—the God who whispers His love to us in the quiet, in the mundane, when our prayers are not answered the way we want or the miracle doesn’t come. It’s about a mother discovering the extraordinary strength it takes to be ordinary. It’s about choosing faith no matter the circumstance and about encountering God’s goodness in the least expected places. Though your heartaches and dreams may take a different shape, you will find your own questions echoed in these pages. You’ll be reminded of the gifts of joy in the midst of sorrow. And you’ll hear God’s whisper: Hold on to hope. I will meet you here.