Thursday, October 1, 2009

31 for 21: Day 1 {Welcome to Holland}

Get It Down; 31 for 21
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Each year, Tricia over at Unringing the Bell hosts the Get It Down: 31 for 21 challenge. I am not usually very successful at sticking to this, but alas ... I will try again this year.

The rules: It's simple. Commit to post on your blog at least once a day for the 31 days of October ... which is DS awareness month. You can write about DS, or not ... you can have a family member or friend with DS, or not. Just choose to do it and do it. Raise awareness of Down syndrome by taking part. It's that simple.


Almost four years ago, I was thrown into a new world. A new world where I didn't know anyone and didn't know anything.

That new world was the world of Down syndrome. It took me a minute, but I came to realize that there is absolutely no other world I'd rather live in.

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.


  1. good luck with keeping up!!! I just cant commit with hubbies surgery and all. I will be looking forward to reading your posts though!

  2. Beautiful story!
    Can't wait to read your daily posts!!!

  3. Was reading through the blogs on unringing the bell. I clicked on you adoption link. Read back quite bit. I am so glad you shared ALL of it. We just brought little G home the first of August and I was reeling for quite awhile. Another adoptive mom told me that the turning point is 6-8 weeks and she was so right. There is so much that isnt discussed. I read some books but I think in our International adoptions and with each child/family being different its not like you can read a book and have all the answers. I will think we are doing fine and we go out to eat, get together with another family or child for a playdate and reality comes crashing down. I often feel panicky because I dont understand what she is feeling or how she will react to a situation. (Its just easier to stay home.) I will keep cocooning her and keep thinking that maybe by Christmas time things will level out. THe grief and sorrow of how she got here weigh me most often.... Thank you so much for sharing.