Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Community Wherever We Go.

One unexpected benefit of having a child with Down syndrome is community.  There's a sense of solidarity, of belonging, of being in a big family.  Online forums and Facebook groups and Instagram all help us stay connected and ask questions that sometimes our other friends can't answer.  "Is this normal for kids with Down syndrome?"  "How did you deal with _____ therapy?"

Over the past few years, I've had the privilege of meeting several families who are visiting DC that I originally met via the massive online Down syndrome community.  On our visit to Florida, we were fortunate enough to meet up with two different families.

And an added bonus, one of those mamas did my hair.  I chopped it off and added highlights and I love it!

Both Kelle and Shannon I've chatted with via Facebook, Instagram, and email.  I'm pleased to report that both of them (and their little girls, and everyone else we met) lived up to the very best of my expectations.

My family went to lunch with Shannon, her husband, and Fiona.  Fi and Ellie "chatted" (a.k.a. yelled, passed croutons back and forth, and shared crayons) during lunch, and then went to visit the fishies and turtles at a koi pond.  Two adorable little blonde girls waving and greeting the fishies.... my heart melted.  Ellie was thrilled to have a playmate, too, as she isn't used to staying somewhere with no other kids around, despite being an only child!

Fiona is absolutely a doll.  The highlight of my day was the hug Fi and Ellie shared, which ended as a tackle!  Since Fiona is a big kid and in school, she gave me an added boost of confidence for when Ellie starts school in a couple weeks.

That night, we met Kelle at the beach for sunset, which ended up too cloudy to be a real sunset.  I first was in touch with Kelle when I won a dress on her blog while in labor with Ellie.  Missy from Down Syndrome Pregnancy told Ellie I might not respond for a bit, and we later connected on Instagram.  I've been watching Nella via Kelle's blog since before Ellie was born, so it was a treat to meet her.  Matt described Nella as a "gentle soul" and he nailed it.

Ellie was especially interested in Nella's baby brother Dash, who was wearing a very fashionable hat.  Ellie wanted Nella, Kelle, Daddy, and Dash to all take turns wearing it, so she put it on all of them.  Dash, hope you weren't too traumatized!

I am blessed by these women who I just met in person, but who are willing to give advice and share stories.  Both Fi and Nella are a bit older than Ellie, and both girls gave me so much hope.  Both moms are just normal moms doing the best they can by their beautiful girls, and are doing great.

If you have a child with Down syndrome, can you please share what's been beneficial about our community, either online or in person?  And even if you don't have a child with Down syndrome, I'd love to hear about your own community of friends who support you!

Thanks Shannon and Kelle for taking time out of your days to hang out!

P.S.  Here's the haircut after a day at the beach!

P.S. Don't forget to check the link in the sidebar!  Kelly and Kyle are ALMOST there with adoption funds, and as they've been traveling, I've gotten wonderful updates.  If you're on your mobile device, scroll down and click "view web version" to see the sidebar links.

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  1. It looks like you had an amazing visit. I am so happy you got to meet those two families- it is wonderful to see internet friends in real life! It looks like the girls had a blast. And I love the haircut!

  2. I totally get it. After reading the family that have been following my blog for over a year, I was BLOWN AWAY by meeting them.
    I think it'll be like that for us too. You know, when you bring Matt & Ellie to come and visit us in South America!

  3. Hi Megan - I came across your blog after reading Kelle Hampton's blog post recently. I also have a son with DS (he is 14 months old) and he is the light of our lives! We are in Minnepolis, and one thing that has really strengthened the DS community here has been the opening of a Gigi's Playhouse (http://gigisplayhouse.org/) this last February! Not sure if they have one out by you, but it has been a fabulous resouce in our DS community!

    1. Sarah, we do not have a Gigi's, but I've heard such great things about them! What great timing for you guys with your son and getting a Gigi's not long after he was born.


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