Parents whose child has Down syndrome adopt boy with same condition
Contrary to popular belief, a child with Down syndrome can bring loads of joy and happiness to a family. The Sweatman family is the finest example.
Allison and Andrew Sweatman, of Cabot, Arkansas, welcomed their bundle of joy—Roselyn Elizabeth Sweatman (Rosie)—on Aug. 13, 2015.
Sadly, Rosie did not have the best start in life. She was diagnosed with Down syndrome and a heart defect.
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Dear Rosie, on your third birthday… “Many people in your life will define you by your disability, but if they take a moment to know you and learn from you, they realize a much more astute way to define you is by your uncanny ABILITY to inspire, uplift, motivate…” (Read the rest of this letter on the blog. Link in profile.) #specialneedsparenting #specialneedsmom #specialneeds #downsyndrome #craniosynostosis #chd #chdwarrior #atypicalparenting #infantilespasms #downsyndromeawareness #joy #beautyfromashes #hopefortheday
Allison and Andrew were at first daunted to learn of Rosie’s diagnosis during a week-20 scan.
“If I could send my former self a message in that moment, it would say: ‘Take a deep breath. Your daughter is so much more than her diagnoses,’” said dad Andrew, SWNS reported.
To provide Rosie with the care she needed, the couple quit their teaching jobs in China and moved back to the United States.
Rosie spent her first year in and out of hospital, undergoing surgeries for her heart defect as well as craniosynostosis—a condition in which skull sutures fuse prematurely.
No doubt Rosie’s condition had placed a heavy burden on the couple’s shoulders.
However, as Rosie’s health improved, they realized raising a child with Down syndrome is not an intimidating task after all. They love watching Rosie conquer her battles each day.
“For the first time we felt like we were really able to just enjoy her and celebrate her,” mom Allison said.
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These are my children. They both have Down syndrome. Before they became mine, I would’ve read a headline like this (slide to the right) and likely not thought twice about it. Just kept of scrolling. Wanna know what happens now? -I lose my breath. -I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. -My face gets hot. -I feel nauseated and humiliated. . I wish I’d been an ally to the special needs community BEFORE I began to parent my kids, so that I could speak up for them when their diagnosis is used as a punchline or someone uses the word “retard” derogatorily. I wish I’d done that advocating BEFORE I was as emotionally invested as I am now as a mother. I’m not okay with this language. My kids are not a punchline. This is sickening to me. . Many well-meaning people will tell me to ignore this nonsense and while I understand the thought behind that advice, I need you to know it is not helpful. It is not constructive. The fact is this is the state of our world. Read on to the comments and see loads of people defending this language on various bases. It is about more than MacDonald’s ignorance and nonsensical remark. It’s about generations of institutionalization, segregation, exclusion, etc. that is not that far in the past. This history can’t be ignored because this history created a culture in which human beings with intellectual disabilities aren’t included, therefore aren’t defended or valued in society. It hasn’t been that long that parents have been able to use their voices to advocate as loudly as we do. It has hardly been one generation of individuals with Down syndrome integrated into public schools, for crying out loud. Do not tell me to ignore the bully. This is bigger than that. . #downsyndrome #downsyndromeawareness #downsyndromeadvocacy #specialneeds #specialneedsparenting
Due to the situation that children with Down syndrome are not as readily adopted as children who don’t have special needs, Allison and Andrew began contemplating the idea of adopting a boy with the condition in hopes of helping him blossom.
In doing this, Rosie would have a big brother too.
In November 2017, through a friend’s introduction, the couple learned about 3-year-old Beau.
After continuous conversations with Beau’s birth parents, the adoption was finalized two months later. With the addition of Beau, the Sweatmans formed a beautiful family. They love Beau.
“When I first held Beau there were so many emotions and I knew him becoming my son meant his birth mom sacrificing greatly for us to have him in our family,” Allison said.
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Fourth of July, 2018. The one where we said “yes” to everything. 5k? Sign us up. Big brunch with friends? Yes please. Family afternoon nap? Duh. Grilling by the pool with like fifteen kids and their parents? We’re in. And we’re exhausted. . This was so, so worth it though! So many memories were made. Also, notice, they will both smile, but NEVER at the same time 🙄 . #firecracker5k #family #downsyndromeawareness #atypicalparents
Sometimes, the Sweatman family received stares from people due to their uniqueness. Regardless of everything, bringing up Beau and Rosie has been incredibly rewarding for Allison and Andrew.
They love watching Beau and Rosie bond with each other and reach milestones.
The couple was glad they adopted Beau.
“It’s not an easy journey, but it’s certainly a privilege to be part of,” Allison said.
In fact, according to a study published on the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the rewards and life lessons gleaned from rearing a child with Down syndrome are abundant.
“The overwhelming majority of parents who have children with DS report that their outlook on life is more positive,” the study stated. “They cite life lessons in acceptance, patience, and purpose.”
Thank you Allison and Andrew for showing us that raising a child with Down syndrome is not that scary after all.
Every child is a gift. Given the opportunity, children with Down syndrome are capable of achieving great things too.
May Beau and Rosie grow up cheerful and kind!
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