When my husband and I were told that our beautiful baby girl may have Down syndrome, we were initially shocked and confused but soon looked at each other and said “It’s okay, she’s our baby, we don’t care.” By the time we received the official confirmation phone call from the pediatrician a week later, we had accepted the diagnosis and determined that we would treat her just like our other children. We have held that same attitude and high expectations for her ever since. One day last spring we received a call from The Arc asking us if we could bring Carly in for a photo shoot. We had no idea what the photo shoot was for and I didn’t even think to ask. Little did we know that Carly would be chosen to be the model for the 2013 Oregon Disability Awareness poster! Carly was not thrilled about the photo shoot and being photographed. That all changed however, when the lady in charge brought out some high heel shoes and put them on Carly. Wow, did Carly’s face light up. We left after the photo shoot and thought nothing further of it until one day I received a call telling me that Carly had been chosen to be on the poster and I needed to fill out some paperwork. We were asked to come to Salem to attend an official unveiling event. I had no idea what the poster looked like until we got to Salem and Carly and I flipped the cloth off the poster in front of a crowd of people. My eyes filled with tears as I read the caption on the poster “Expect me to succeed. I will.” and looked at the smiling face of my beautiful little girl. I couldn’t believe how fitting the caption was for our daughter and later learned that “high expectations” is the theme for this year’s disability awareness campaign. I love the theme “high expectations.” It is so important for us to have high expectations for all children in order for them to succeed and excel in life. Carly is a typical three-year-old. She attends pre-school where she enjoys playing with her friends and participating in lots of fun activities. She loves to play and runs all over the house making mischief. She especially enjoys Barney and Elmo and playing with Little People. She has a very good imagination and enjoys cooking food on her play kitchen and then feeding her family and her dolls freshly cooked meals and serving them tea! Carly adores her big sister Bailey who is nine years old. Bailey is a wonderful big sister and the adoration is mutual. Bailey is an advocate for people with disabilities and I truly believe she is a better person for having her little sister Carly in her life. We wouldn’t change a thing about Carly and we know she will succeed!