Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
The birth of any child is cause for celebration, but my first glimpse of our new baby was also a cause for concern. Her body was limp, her skin blue, and her cry was low and raspy. I looked at my husband, Brian, with apprehension and fear, but he was quick to offer reassurance.
Our doctor showed up the next morning. His words were delivered in a terse, offhand manner: “Your baby was born with Down syndrome. Do you want to give her up for adoption?” What?
I swear my heart stopped beating. Brian already had two children from a previous marriage, and together we had one, so perhaps that’s why he managed to hold it together, at least for my sake. As for myself, I was stunned. I didn’t even know what questions to ask! The doctor certainly didn’t make it any easier when he merely handed me a brochure on the subject—and walked out of the room.
Along with the diagnosis of Down syndrome, Katlyn also had two dime-size holes in her heart. When I heard this news, I instantly foresaw her death. Surely, she would not survive, and I mentally prepared myself for her passing. I had even managed to convince myself that she would be better off with God, safer in heaven than she would be on earth. I went so far to suggest to Brian that we change the beautiful name we had chosen. I’m still not sure why I thought changing her name would make a difference, but I couldn’t stand the thought of our sweet Katlyn Elizabeth leaving us.
As I struggled with my disappointment and sadness, Brian was my pillar of strength. Then, out of nowhere, he cracked. On his way to the post office, he ended up dumping mail all over the road. Neighborhood children came to his rescue and helped him reload the truck. Hard as he had resisted, he’d reached his breaking point, too.
We faced a long, hard road—not just us, but our other children as well. But we knew God would guide us, and we were prepared to do whatever we could to not only prolong her life but to enrich it as well. Little did we know at the time that it would be Katlyn who would touch us so deeply and profoundly.
Now at twenty-four years old, Katlyn is a vivacious young adult with Down syndrome. She is the author of My Friends the Penguins children’s book series and My Name is Princess Katlyn. Katlyn is also an actress, model, presenter, author, and all-around inspiration to all who meet her.
A mom of any child needs to learn to rest in God’s peace and trust her children to the Lord, but a special needs mom especially needs the strength of the Lord. From one mom’s heart to another, ask God for peace that only comes from Him. Pray that God will give you wisdom for those days you doubt His plan.
Ann Aubitz is the author of Katlyn Conquers the World and The Many Faces of Down Syndrome. Her writing buddy is her daughter with Down syndrome, Katlyn Aubitz. Ann owns FuzionPress/FuzionPrint in Burnsville, Minnesota, with her husband of twenty-six years.
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), March 21st, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The date for WDSD is the 21st day of the 3rd month, selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. For more information about Down Syndrome and the day we celebrate these special world citizens, please see www.worlddownsyndromeday2.org .