By Grandma Shirley

After raising three sons of our own and then having the thrill of two darling grandsons, we anxiously awaited the arrival of a third grandchild. Just thinking maybe it might be a girl—what would our family do with a girl?

Then the call came and yes, it was a girl and everything was fine. A few hours later came another call saying she had some of the characteristics of Down syndrome, so they were running some tests. I hung up the phone and wept fearful tears while praying to God to not let this happen to our precious new granddaughter. Then came the dreaded news that yes she has Down syndrome.

A few days later we made the 5 ½-hour drive to Chicago to see the baby and support our son and his family. It was an extra long ride that trip and we said many prayers. On arrival we found the boys anxious to show us the new baby. I took one look at the tiny sleeping baby and thought how beautiful she is. I picked her up and found an instant love for this precious baby girl. Her name is Anna Elizabeth and her two older brothers Joe and Jack have become her best friends and admirers. I thought life might not be fair to her, but God knew what family to place her in for perfect care.

The therapy sessions started right away. On each trip to Chicago we were amazed at the progress Anna was making. She enjoyed working with the therapists and her eyes would light up at their arrival. Sometimes she would balk at trying a difficult position, but they would soon talk her into trying once more. Her parents, Monte and Tricia, and her brothers all give her unconditional love and support. They help her with practicing therapy moves and give her continual encouragement to keep trying.

As we see her develop and learn, it makes us realize how lucky the family is to live in Chicago where there is so much help for people with Down syndrome. NADS is such a great help and gives people more than was ever given in the past. It helps to open the eyes of others to see how much these kids have to offer. We have high hopes for Anna as to how far she will go someday.

Our precious Anna will soon turn four. She attends pre-school and is very sharp with knowing colors, numbers and letters. She has an excellent memory for people’s names and glows with love for all of those whom she encounters. My heart almost bursts when she sees me and her face lights up and she cries “Grandma” as she comes on the run for a hug and kiss. Yes, life is not fair, but we thank God daily for sending Anna to our family.

Ann Garcia

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