Becoming a Forever Mum: loving my foster daughter with Down syndrome {guest post}

While Kerry and I have never met in person, her love for the very gorgeous Sienna was obvious from the very first time I ‘met’ her in the online forums. We may all ‘choose’ our child with Down syndrome in some way, but Kerry and Sienna’s story  of becoming a family is an extra special and unique one. Thank you, Kerry, for sharing your love story with us here today. ~ Annie x

Sienna2My journey into being the mother of a child with Down syndrome started somewhat differently. Sienna was born to caring parents, but parents who were overwhelmed with the thought of raising a child with a disability. They wanted the best for her, and didn’t think they could offer it, so they put her into foster care so that they could maintain contact, and were part of the process that looked at where she would be finally placed.

I had never had children of my own but have been a teacher of children with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities for many years. When I found out about this gorgeous little girl, I started the process of becoming her forever mum.

I first met my baby girl when she was nine months old. She was an adorable, chubby baby with beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair. The people she had been placed with loved her dearly, but having a baby at this point in their life was not what they envisaged. I started to get to know Sienna and all that entailed. At this stage she was still being fed via a nasal tube and was not eating anything due to an oral aversion. Even with the tube permanently attached to her face, she was still beautiful! It didn’t take us long to fall in love with each other. Five days after her first birthday Sienna came home.

Having a baby, especially one that was tube fed, was certainly a new experience for me. When I first thought of taking on Sienna, I felt that my previous experience with children with disabilities would make it a little easier for me. Silly me!!! Having a child for six hours per day on five days a week for 41 weeks a year was easy. This was a new 24/7 job, and it was hard! But it was also oh so rewarding. As I stumbled along trying to quickly learn what was best for her, Sienna blossomed.

At 16 months Sienna and I drove to the Mater Hospital where she had a gastrostomy tube placed in her stomach to replace the horrid nasal tube. Although it was a fairly difficult few days for both of us, once we came home and Sienna got used to the tube in her tummy, she LOVED not having a tube attached to her face. What freedom!! And how people stared – not in a bad way, but because they could finally see this beautiful face in full. Our next step was to begin to wean her off the tube. Now that she no longer had something tickling the back of her throat she felt the joy of food. Sienna began to eat! To make her hungry, without compromising her development, it was decided by her paediatrician that we would only do night time feeds, slowly decreasing the amount as she ate more. This way she got hungry during the day, and her skills at eating increased dramatically. Six months later, she no longer needed night time formula feeds. However, it took another six months before she was independently drinking enough for the tube to be removed. We celebrated!

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Sienna meets Elmo in Times Square, New York

In May last year, Sienna and I went to New York with my family for my nephew’s wedding. Sienna had been asked to be a flower girl. Even though she couldn’t walk independently, she still walked down the aisle flanked by a groom and bridesmaid. She was the most beautiful flower girl ever, and there were a lot of oohs and aahs as she made her way down, with a huge smile on her face. To me, this showed the level of acceptance that Sienna has received by my immediate family. As far as they are concerned, she is my daughter and they treat her as such. This little girl has found a home, and family that love her so much. Not long after returning from New York Sienna started walking, and life got more interesting.

Sienna has now been with me for two and a half years. She has regular contact with her birth family, including her biological mum and dad, and their extended families. I think family is very important and so I try to facilitate contact as much as possible.

Even though I am not her birth mother, I am very much her mum. I can’t imagine loving a child more than I do Sienna. She has become my world – and I have become hers.

Kerry is a single mum to Sienna and they live in northern NSW. Kerry has degrees in Primary School Teaching and Special Education, and currently works part-time teaching a support class at a local public school while Sienna attends a family daycare. In their days off together, Kerry and Sienna enjoy going to Mainly Music, Kindergym and swimming lessons. Life is busy – but fun!

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Two and a half.

Oh, Nicholas, you have my heart.

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At just over two and a half, you continue to light up our world. We occasionally fight over you. I look forward to your cuddles in the morning, but your big brothers ask if they can go into your room at the first sound you have woken up. Sometimes they will throw a small party in the cot.

Some days I wonder why I ever worried that your brothers would see you as a burden. Right now, they couldn’t love you any more than they do. They seem to revolve around you, like the planets. I often wish they would love each other as much as they love their baby brother. Often they call me in to their room to show me that you are all having a group hug, or lying together on the floor. If one of them is sad, you are the first to offer a sympathetic stroke on the arm and look into their eyes to make sure they are okay. I hope you always have each other’s backs.

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You love to eat, and are happiest with an apple in your hand. I love that, whenever Charlie gets himself an apple, he will always get one for you too. You are happy to sit patiently as long as you have your beloved blue lunchbox in front of you, and will finish every last morsel. It is becoming apparent that highchairs are only for babies and you are far too grown up to sit in one of those anymore, without significant encouragement. We may need to find a fifth chair for our dining table soon or someone is going to miss out on dinner.

I watch you getting up to stand on your own more and more everyday, and you especially love standing to dance when we’re at our music class. You have recently discovered that standing up in my shoes is especially hilarious. This week, we witnessed you take your first few independent, very tentative steps and we cheered loudly. We know that these things take time and you will become a walker when you are good and ready, but we celebrate each of your milestones, whether big or small.

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You are my little social butterfly, happily entrancing everyone we meet with your ‘hellos’ and waves and goodbye kisses. One of your favourite places is being at kindy with Charlie, and his beautiful teachers will often get the kids to sing a song especially for you in the mornings, so you can do the actions. You have many admirers under your spell (and I’ve even had a few offers of marriage for you lately – I’ll keep you posted on the successful applicant ;) How lucky am I to know that it isn’t just my world you light up, but those you meet along the way too.

While you may not be speaking in sentences, you are a very effective communicator. You use some words and key word signs, along with a few random hand gestures and yells here and there, and it is very clear when you want something or want us to be in a particular place. Your receptive language often amazes me, and I know you understand far more than I estimate. When I ask you to get a washer from the bathtub, or put something in the bin, neither of which are in sight at the time, you will happily say “okay” and go and do it. You are a clever kid, I have no doubt.

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Your most annoying habit at the moment (aside from the rather emphatic yelling, which has thankfully died down a little since you worked out how to shake your head silently as an alternative way to express ‘no’) is to demonstrate fierce determination to avoid being buckled into your carseat. You would much prefer to use the car as a jungle gym and crawl through to the boot area instead. While sometimes this can be accommodated, other times it’s just plain inconvenient! We are working on a few strategies, though.

You still love to read, but you are fussy about which books we choose. Often it’s a lengthy selection process before you are happy with the choice and agree to proceed. One night recently, I declared that it was “Mum’s choice tonight”, which you weren’t too fussed about, so you decided to cover your ears instead ;) Cheeky monkey.

My beloved Nicholas, I am blessed by your presence in my life more than you will ever know. Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky. Love you to the moon and back x

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The Virtue of Stubborn {guest post}

It wasn’t until our family and Lisa’s family were both featured in the qweekend article called ‘The Chosen Ones’ that I realised we had a few mutual friends. Soon after, I read a fabulous article by Lisa in our local Down syndrome magazine and knew that I needed to meet her in person, and she was as awesome in the flesh as she was on paper. I am so thankful for parents like Lisa who have pioneered for us, who have asked the tough questions and continued to strive for inclusion for all our children. Thank you for sharing your story of stubbornness in this space today, Lisa. ~ Annie x

seanandhaydenPeople say that individuals with Down syndrome are stubborn. They also say they are ‘placid’ so (surprise?) they may just have their own unique personalities! But my son, Sean, most definitely fits the stereotype – though we insist on calling it determination. It is also pretty clear that Sean’s stubbornness is genetically inherited from his hopelessly stubborn parents. From the onset, his Dad and I have been determined that his life will not be defined by his disability.  We have stubbornly resisted the low expectations and special path reserved for people with disability.  We have been unwavering and obstinate that Sean would get a life as ordinary as possible, be recognised for his gifts not his challenges and that, if necessary, we would fight for his inclusion in the mainstream of community life. Equally Sean has persistently demonstrated his determination to be at the centre not the margins – and to make a place for himself in the world, even in places where he is not immediately welcomed.

Sean has always been delightfully charming, sociable, funny and spirited. We fell utterly under his spell.  Instinctively, we wanted ‘the best’ for him and our yardstick was that he deserved the same life opportunities as his bigger sister, Milly.  It was daunting to realise, however, that getting an ordinary life is made harder by histories of prejudice, institutionalisation and inferior treatment.  We knew we needed more than just ‘wishful thinking’ for Sean to be included.  We would need to consciously choose at every step for Sean to be in the real world rather than in a parallel disability world.  And we were stubborn enough to believe that not only was this his right, but that we would be doing others a favour by his presence.

Inclusion is, of course, not just about ‘rights’. It is about being known and belonging in a local community so it was obvious to us that needed to be included — in childcare, kindy, pre-school and then school.  Mostly entry was easy, but along the way we needed to challenge the ‘one hour a week’ enrolment in preschool and that same year we resisted the kindly pressure by guidance officers to enrol in a special school many suburbs away.

openingtomlukeThis first test of our courage and commitment to the inclusive path made us realise that Sean’s inclusion was not guaranteed but very much conditional.   Knowing though that separating children with disability was an historical habit (rather than being genuinely in Sean’s best interests) helped us feel stronger in our advocacy; we chose a school without a special ed unit and insisted that Sean be really included (not just placed) in the classroom, by being challenged to learn and included in all the regular co-curricular activities of school.  During these primary years, we were also determined that Sean’s life would look like any other child of his age – playdates, birthday parties and sleepovers, circus classes, soccer,  tae kwon do, swimming club and all the ordinary activities of childhood.

While Sean’s primary years were not a perfect replica of our vision for him, the school community was overwhelmingly welcoming. He was loved and embraced by students, parents, and staff.  He participated fully in the life of the school – camps, concerts, sports days, assemblies– and the enthusiasm with which he was always approached within and outside school was testament to how much he was valued and belonged.

We invited other children to our home and regularly hosted parties even if sometimes we feared that Sean’s offer of friendship would be rebuffed. It also took courage sometimes to turn up for the ‘sign on days’ not sure whether he would face rejection – but EVERY TIME it was worth the knot in my stomach.  How grateful I am that the plethora of ‘special classes’ did not exist then as I fear they become the default.

Sean left primary school with real enduring friendships– friends that he still sees regularly for parties, lunch, movies, and more. He phones them and chats on Facebook – and a number live within blocks of our home making maintaining those friendships much easier.

The high school transition was not easy and Sean’s enrolment was rejected at the school of our choice, but we were delighted when he moved to a new school in walking distance from our home half way through Great 8. It was a massive jump from the small primary school to an all boys’ College of 1400 students.  The first months were fantastic but testing times arrived somewhat predictably during the traditional ‘horror year’ of Year 9. Sean struggled socially and tried to desperately engage – not always in ways that endeared him to staff or students.

warcryIn Years 9 and into Year 10, our commitment to genuine inclusion was greatly tested. We were called to a series of school meetings where it was patiently explained to us that our chosen school was not right for Sean, and so they would provide a list of appropriate schools – “protective environments” – which would better suit his needs. It felt like we were judged hopelessly unrealistic parents who were choosing to disadvantage our son and burden the school through our commitment to inclusive education.  We also experienced (however unintended) a painful dismissal of our view of Sean as a precious, wonderful boy with the same life aspirations, the same need to belong, and the same capacity to contribute to and benefit from the ordinary rituals of high school.  It was a heartbreaking time but strangely I was also completely at peace with our choice.  Despite Sean’s struggles, he strode into that school with a stubborn confidence, and I had great faith in him and his capacity to weather the storm of adolescence.   It also helped that I saw Sean as already belonging, not needing to prove himself as worthy of inclusion or acceptance.  While disappointed, I understood that this was a steep learning curve for the school. I stayed committed to having a positive relationship with the school and accepted the reality that, after centuries of exclusion, the inclusive path is not always easy – but always worth taking.

There were many highlights of Sean’s high school years. He had wonderful teachers and loved Art, PE, Drama, SOSE and his Maths, English, Religion and Science classes.  He loved school camps, he proudly displayed his art and photography at the Art show, he participated in the rugby program, the cycling team, and loved to support the weekend school sport and enjoyed many other school rituals and events.  He could not have been prouder to wear the Senior white shirt at the beginning of year 12.  At the beginning of Year 12, Sean also turned 18 and when I saw him on that night surrounded by more than 50 friends – from both primary and high school – I was reinforced in my confidence in our choices.  Sean’s complete joy was palpable, particularly when insisting on gathering the boys of his school to sing the school song.  He took his great friend, Harriet, to the Senior formal and post-formal party. His Graduation ceremony was incredibly moving – as he confidently walked across the stage in his Senior shirt, tie and blazer, Terry and I were so very proud.  We were prouder still when we saw him walk amongst his classmates shaking their hands, patting them on the back and congratulating them.  He was absolutely ‘working the room’!  He was an enthusiastic participant in the whole school warcries which signalled the Senior’s farewell, attended the graduation party and then he was off to Schoolies.  He left school with a strong sense of himself, a pride in his school and loyalty to his tribe!  He has great mates with whom he shares great history.

Sean is revelling in life after school. He works three mornings a week as a valued member of the operations team in a large NGO and the job could not be a better fit for him – it is an incredibly social and creative environment and he is adored by his workmates.  He goes off proudly with his swipe card and ID and is enjoying all the social perks of work, as well as feeling a sense of purpose and contribution. As well as work, Sean’s week includes a literacy course, church youth group, gym, swimming, ju-jitsu, hip-hop, cooking, supporting rugby, catching up with friends, learning new skills, pursuing interests such as photography and cycling, volunteering at a food co-op, and heading to the pub. He tells us he is moving out of home and going to uni!  (see: http://www.aacl.org/inclusive-education/post-secondary-education/) He is unmoveable on both these points, and we are determined to make this happen for him.

Sean’s life is not, however, despite our best efforts, identical to his sister’s. He needs us more; his social life is not as spontaneous as hers.  But we will not give up on Sean’s right to a regular 19 year old life. He has been a regular at a popular inner-city hotel on a Wednesday night, as well as hitting the nightclubs. Dropping him off to line up to show the bouncer his ID along with his mates and hundreds of other young people feels so ordinary – and, even with our back up plans, a little terrifying!

But despite the terror, I say being stubborn is highly under-rated! Sean will remain in the ‘real’ world.  He would accept nothing less.  He deserves a life comparable to other young people without disability – not just a pretty good life for a person with disability.

We have a choice about which side of history we want to be on. Trying to build inclusive communities, while separating children on the basis of impairment, is untenable – illogical, unnecessary, damaging and out of step with the fundamental obligations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. As parents we need to play our part in resisting the harmful habits of the past. I don’t for one minute underestimate the challenge of this, and nor do I judge parents for their choices in the face of complex circumstances and exclusionary systems, but I would encourage parents of children with Down syndrome to stand strong in their dreams.  It is never too early or too late to choose a more included life.  I would also encourage parents to support each other in these struggles so together we can stubbornly insist on the right of our children to REALLY belong rather than being pushed to the margins. We need to stubbornly focus not on ‘special needs’ but on what our children have to offer and equally we need to trust in the capacity of the community to offer friendship and welcome.  Inclusion won’t be perfect or without challenges.  We are, after all, still at the start of a social transformation, but Sean’s life in its rich ordinariness, tells me that an included life is both possible – and absolutely worth it!

Lisa lives in Brisbane with her husband and three children. Since the birth of her son, Sean, 19 years ago, she has been active in disability advocacy and completed a PhD on the ethics of prenatal diagnosis.  Lisa works for Community Resource Unit (CRU) in Leadership Development for families who seek an inclusive life for their family member with disability.   the pinnacle

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Ryan’s Surprises {guest post}

Rebecca is one of those women I have long admired for the love, positivity and pragmatism that shines through in the face of challenges. As well as just being lovely, she is clever, warm and thoughtful, and someone I know I can turn to if I need some considered advice. Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing part of your parenting journey here with us today. ~ Annie x 

IMG_0354Ryan was born in June 2011. I’ve always felt child birth is altogether surprising enough and I’m way too impatient to wait so long until I find out whether our baby is a boy or a girl. From 20 weeks we knew we were having a little boy, a perfect match for his big sister. Within weeks he was already known by name by our family and friends, with everyone excitedly planning for ‘Baby Ryan’ to arrive. The day he was born was more surprising than I could have imagined.

Regardless of the many scans I had during my pregnancy, Ryan had a few secrets to reveal. The first, most apparent one was his cleft palate – a surprise because it didn’t show up on any scan even though we’d looked carefully for it given my babies are at higher risk for a cleft. The technician had even zoomed in on his face with a ‘look no cleft’ when I’d asked her to check. I’ve since found out cleft palates rarely show up on ultrasound.

The next surprise revealed itself in many ways – his floppiness, small close set features, low set ears and almond shaped eyes. We were very quickly advised that there was a good chance he had Down Syndrome, a fact that was confirmed several days later using blood tests.

The next week would reveal his final secret, a heart defect no one had suspected.

IMG_3092The next few months were spent learning to feed our son, expressing milk like crazy and learning to navigate a new world of doctors and therapists. We had new diagnoses to deal with too – nystagmus, a squint in both his eyes, and a mild-to-moderate hearing loss. We spent months learning what Down Syndrome is, understanding his various medical conditions and figuring out how to best help Ryan meet his milestones. Most importantly we fell deeply in love with our son. We discovered his enormous smiles and contagious giggle and marvelled when he started meeting his milestones, often exceeding everyone’s expectations.

Then shortly after he turned one our world fell apart. The worst fear of every parent of a child with Down Syndrome, that their child will be the 1 in 95 to develop leukaemia, became our nightmare. We were devastated. It’s hard to describe the horror of being told your baby son has cancer. I didn’t know then the things I know now – that kids with Down syndrome respond so much better to the chemotherapy or that the survival rate of Ryan’s type of leukaemia is more than twice that of his 46-chromosome peers. At that time I just knew that chemo is poison, and that cancer treatment is a hard, horrible thing to put your child through. We uprooted our family, moving to Melbourne for seven months for his treatment, dragging my mum with us for support.

We did the best we could to create a normal life for our kids. We were amazed at how resilient Ryan is, how often he surprised the doctors and us alike with how well he coped with his treatment. All up he did six rounds of intense chemo, suffered three major infections, one of which put him in ICU and received 26 blood product transfusions. It was a hard, stressful time in our lives, but not one devoid of joy. We realised the value of days not spent in hospital and were determined to make the most of the ‘big city’ opportunities we don’t get at home. Then one day it was all over. Ryan was in remission, he’d finished treatment and we could all go home.

The 20 months since then have been busy. Three surgeries – to remove his tonsils and adenoids to relieve sleep apnoea, his cleft palate repair, and surgery to straighten his eyes. Numerous trips to Melbourne, appointments and constant blood tests to ensure he hasn’t relapsed. Endless hours of therapy. Ryan has learnt to sit by himself, crawl, stand and walk. He started signing to us, counting and talking in multiple word sentences. He and his sister have discovered the joys of playing chasey together. He’s grown from a charming chubby baby to a 3 year old with attitude and a terrific sense of humour. Our pride in him, our daughter and our family is immense.

IMG_4973One day I realised – we live the life most people fear when they get a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The heart defect, leukaemia, surgeries and therapy. Lots and lots of appointments. And now that it’s our reality, I wonder why it strikes so much fear into people that the certain death of their much wanted baby through abortion is preferable to the life we lead. I wonder why I thought it might be too hard or a burden when I first found out our little man came with a bit extra. To be honest, I now wonder what all the fuss was about. Why are we so frightened of disability?

Here’s the thing – if you do have a child with Down syndrome, it’s really unlikely that they’ll have anywhere near as many medical issues as Ryan does. But even if they do, their life and yours won’t be filled with suffering, your days won’t be filled with regret for the child you have and the life you lead. There will be challenges but, if anything, your life will be richer and fuller than it was before.

Ryan danced his way through seven months of chemotherapy. He lives life with joy and passion. He embodies determination. He’s taught us so much about the value of life, the importance of positivity and joy. Our life is good. He has never suffered from Down syndrome and neither have we. If anything, Down syndrome has deepened our experience of life and opened the door into worlds I never knew existed. It’s given me some of the best friends I’ve ever had and brought people into my life who inspire me with their passion and courage. I’m a better person and a better mother for the gift of our son. If I had a choice between that mythical ‘perfect’ baby we all expect when we’re pregnant and Ryan, I’d still choose Ryan every time.

And no, he won’t be living with us for ever. He’s got until 25 to find his way in the world, just like his sister….

Rebecca lives with her husband and two children in Tasmania. She is an environmental scientist who enjoys the many benefits of working from home, including spending most of her days wearing ugg boots and being interrupted frequently by little people. She also enjoys the luxury of a full-time stay at home husband who’s handy in the kitchen and takes control of the mountains of washing generated by her family every week. In her spare time she’s on the Committee of Down Syndrome Tasmania and is enjoying taking on a variety of volunteer roles to support families of people living with Down syndrome.

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Meditating with Mantras – utilising the power of intention {monday meditation}

Thank you to Belinda for continuing to help us find solace and serenity in amidst our busy lives. This is the third post in our ‘Monday Meditation’ series in October. If you’ve missed our previous editions, you can find Belinda’s first post here and second post here. ~ Annie x

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Ever experienced the feeling of being stuck? Stuck in your thoughts, stuck in a way of living that’s not working for you or just stuck in a job, a place or relationship you’ve outgrown?

It’s a powerless feeling, isn’t it? Often when you’re stuck in just one area of your life it can end up affecting all the other areas of your life and your overall happiness. As humans we can have a tendency to subconciously focus our energy on the things that are not going so well, rather than all the other areas that are ticking along quite nicely.

So, how do we change the things that we feel stuck in without dwelling on them and becoming negative?

One way is through meditating on mantras and using the power of positive energy and thinking to move some of our ‘stuckness’ and shift our perspective on some of our inner turmoils and outer problems.

I’ve only just recently started to work more with mantras in my personal meditation practice and have found for me it has been a really effective way to work on some areas in my life where I feel stuck.

I find that focusing on a positive mantra can help me centre while I’m meditating and then be more aware of how I want to be and behave when I’m not actively meditating. A mantra can be a phrase or a word that means something to you – the simpler the better. For example, if you’d like to inject more calm into your daily life, your mantra may be something like ‘I am calm’. This is your anchoring phrase, the phrase you repeat in your mind, while focusing on your breath. You may also want to put it up in places you can see around your house to remind you, particularly when the kids are driving you crazy and it’s not yet 9am.

To come up with your mantra, have a think about the things you’d like to attract in your life rather than what you want to remove, as the more positively you can word your mantra the better. So, instead of saying ‘Stop acting out of frustration’ you might want to say ‘I am ease and grace’.

Personal mantras can be very powerful and they’ve definitely helped me feel less stuck this year and move towards living a mindful and happy life. There are a whole heap of sanskrit mantras, which is the language of yoga, that are very powerful in shifting energy and thinking too. I’ve done some of these in yoga class and online meditations and find them very effective (if very hard to pronounce at times!). The simplest of these is chanting Om – which is said to remind us of our connection to the divine and each other.

I’d really love to hear what you think of mantras and if you’ve used them successfully in your life. Feel free to share yours if you feel comfortable. If you enjoyed this post, I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below, pop over to the blog or join me on facebook, twitter or instagram.

Belinda is a journalist, yoga-addict and mother to two boys, always searching for ways to live a purposeful and stress-free life. Join her over at her blog Save Mum’s Sanity in celebrating the perfectly imperfect journey of motherhood.

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42/52 {inspired}

As much as I love being at home with my children, escaping on occasion is also quite good for the soul. This week (with the help of a lovely friend and my mum to juggle my children), I was privileged to attend The Future of Leadership conference and came away feeling so inspired. So much genius in one room, it was pretty darn a-mazing.

Amidst all the gems, there were so many references to the power of storytelling and personal connection. I have felt so blessed over the past 18 days to share stories from around the Down syndrome community. I just wanted to say thank you to all those who have entrusted us with your stories and shared a piece of your heart here in this space. Thank you also to those who have graciously read and received those words into your hearts. I feel honoured to witness the exchange of words, love and encouragement throughout October so far. And there is more to come.

With love x

52-42-7nicholas: You were in rock-throwing heaven when we had our little family adventure to an out-of-the-way creek over the weekend. Unfazed by the cold water, you were happy to wriggle out of my arms and explore, delighted to get soaking wet and throw every available rock into the pools of water. Moments like these confirm to me that you aren’t a baby anymore. You love getting amongst the adventure.

52-42-8sam: While you’re a bit out of sorts while on steroids at the moment, our attempt at a strategy to keep you active and distracted this weekend seems to have worked pretty well. You and I enjoyed sneaking out for an early morning walk/scooter ride to a local café on Saturday morning, and we all had fun going on our adventure to the creek. When we picked you up from a friend’s birthday party this morning, it was nice to hear a few of the parents comment on what a lovely boy you are – even when you’re on edge, your inner beauty shines through.

52-42-9charlie: While you would have much preferred to stay in your pyjamas at home than go on this ‘family adventure’ we kept rabbiting on about, your excitement was tangible from the moment you spotted the rocky creek bed and knew you had a new world to explore.  You have been extra cuddly lately, and we’re loving all the affection. I love that you snuck into our bed as the sun rose this morning, snuggled into me and went back to sleep.

Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of each of my boys every week in 2014.

Portraits this week by Daddy-love.

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