Let me tell you some things about my wonderful son, Elliot. He makes me laugh every day. He has a level of determination that I have never seen in others. He has no guile. He loves unconditionally. He is stubborn and very independent. He has the most beautiful smile. He is adopted. He has Down Syndrome.
I’d like to point out I did not say that he was lucky. When people hear that we have adopted a special needs child, they often say something along the lines of, “He’s so lucky to have you.” An adoptive mama friend of mine recently said, “I think people fundamentally don’t understand adoption, and use those outdated concepts to voice their approval of what we are doing. I don’t think any of them ever think about the biological family’s feelings. If our daughter is lucky with us . . . would she have been “unlucky” with them? Nope!! This was just the right decision for all of us.” I wholeheartedly agree with this. Elliot isn’t lucky—we are.
When we announced our adoption to our friends, another mom of a child with Down Syndrome
called me and said, “Welcome to the club, you lucky bugger!” She was right. I am downright lucky. Here are just a few examples of why.
Have you ever had the experience of having someone clap for you with every bite of your breakfast? Chomp! Clap clap clap! Chomp! Clap clap clap! It sounds silly, but he is my life cheerleader. When I make up silly songs about putting on our shoes or cleaning up the room, I always get a huge ovation. He will even clap when I finish vacuuming.
Elliot is a gold-medal snuggler. It is so comforting and affectionate, one of his uncles invented a new name to describe it. When you get a good snuggle from Elliot, you “get slogged.” He just melts into you and makes you feel better. He slogs, you feel lucky.
Do you know what it takes to form the word Mama? How many muscles are engaged? Where do you place your tongue? How do you make the “M” noise? I have learned more about speech
therapy then I ever thought I would. It is that study and watching Elliot work so diligently for over three years that makes the word Mama such music to my ears. I feel so lucky to hear it and honored to have him be willing to work so hard to call to me.
I am lucky to see life through different eyes. He loves textures. He notices every new surface around us and wants to check it out. Yes, that means a walk takes longer, but it also means I know the nature of our neighborhood better.
He loves all people. When you take Elliot to a doctor’s waiting room, he greets everyone. He methodically works his way around the room. Reaches up, touching the arm of each individual and interacting with them until they smile. Even the people who initially think they are too busy or can’t be bothered end phone calls early, stay a little longer in order to get a chance at feeling his friendship.
I am not saying it is easy. I am saying that if anyone was saved by this relationship, it was me. Each year when we participate in the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk, we put team t-shirts together. Each year our team name always stays the same. Team Lucky to Love Elliot just continues to grow and grow.