Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Letter to siblings of couples with a DS child.

Dear Aunt,

(and every other shlucha that would like to read this)

Mazel tov, mazel tov. I obviously don't have any direct horaos from the Rebbe, (my daughter is only 3.5) but I'd love to share some chizuk. I can clearly remember the shock and sadness that of course my husband and I felt, but also all my siblings, parents and in-laws. So I know how you feel, but I also wish I can share with you the reality of a child with DS to ease your heart.

For as long as I can remember, I feared having a child with DS and always thought it was the worst thing that can happen to a family. with each child that was born, i breathed a sigh of relief when I saw their "typical faces".

Imagine my reaction when number 9 popped out and stared at me with her "exotic features!" (Til today, I call her my exotic beauty....and beautiful she is!)

All those fears came gushing at me, but strangely I was overcome with intense overprotectiveness and terrible sadness for the difficulties I thought she would encounter.

My logic reminded me of all the facts (fiction?) I knew and overwhelmed me. But, something else entirely was transpiring. My baby girl was shining, and speaking to me, neshoma to neshoma, "Mommy, don't worry, everything will be ok."

I was so overcome with emotion that the only time I felt calm was when I was in the presence of my baby. I found myself in the nursery just standing over her bascinet.

When I was able to bring her home, 1 week later, I felt like I was bringing a Torah into my home. She shone, and lit up her surroundings. I don't say that lightly, because remember I already had 8 other "lights" in my house. So how bright she had to be to actually show up in a very well lit home.

Surrounded by family and friends we moved through the first few weeks from ignorance, fear, unknown, to a world of love, clarity, possibility and blessing. I devoured all the information I could gather, set in motion early intervention therapies, showed her off wherever I could and felt an amazing sense of pride that I was blessed with this child.

Not all of it was explicable, but I just felt that she was a tremendous brocha to my family and community. I slowly was able to relinquish all the preconcieved notions that I had of people with Down Syndrome and allow my beautiful daughter to define herself.

Early on someone gave me a few back issues of a magazine call "down syndrome amongst us" and I highly recommend it to you and your family, I also saw a letter that the Rebbe wrote in the 1970's to a doctor about the Jewish approach to the mentally challenged, and it is an amazing letter! I used the directives to decide what kind of therapists should work with my daughter, and in general it guided our approach that we will not set limitations on her. I will try to locate the letter. (if someone else has it please post.) In a haora in sefer hasichos the Rebbe writes that "Special Children is not just a euphimism but actually is because of "special kochos"...which I am sure you feel when you are in the presence of your new family addition.

My daughter Brocha, truly has been a brocha, besides being absolutely adorable, she is also in good health, attends our preschool, is the center of attention at our chabad house, a favorite amongst her siblings,grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and has settled into being a typical mischievous 3 year old. She has better behaviors then any of my kids ever had (with therapists teaching her how to eat with utensils, to always clean up after herself, throw her clothes in the hamper, dress herself....where were these therapists when my older kids were growing up?)

So I really can only conclude with wishing you Mazel tov, mazel tov! You are in for the trip of a lifetime. A trip none of us volunteer for, but I for one thank Hashem everyday for sending me my Brocha, I don't quite know what I would do without her! She has singlehandedly changed my life for the better, walked me into a world I never knew existed and what a bright, and light world it is.

(I think this lettter was writen by a Mrs. Kraznijansky- If you know, please fill it in.)


Shmuli said...

Does Any body know who wrote this - Brachi?

Eli said...

Didn't Deren say his daughter's name is Bracha?

Shmuli said...

Still I think it is from Kras.

The Vogels said...

it is

Shmuli said...

Thanks Chomie

Anonymous said...

I think these children need to be born to complete G-d's plan.

But before He sends them he looks good and hard for a set of parents who are as special as this child.

Shmueli and Rivky you are incredible people. May you have a lot of naches from Mendele.

Shmuli said...

Thank you so much for your warm words- actually the way I heard it is that G-D lets the soul chose its own parents... so we are very lucky!

Morah Ilana said...

It's from Chanie Krasnianski, New York, NY USA

Rivky Friedman said...

Hi Ilana,
Thanks for checking out the site!
Hope to hear from you often (even in areas that are not your profession ;)