The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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New York New York 10017
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Daddy's Girl
Maddie and her Daddy
Maddie and her Daddy
Daddy's Girl

Da da! Da da! She turns her head toward the front door, drops her toys, stands up and makes her way quickly to greet her Daddy before he can even close the door. It will be difficult for me to sum up in 500 words the description of the love and the indescribable bond between my husband Chad, and our firstborn three-year-old daughter Maddie, who has Down syndrome.

He believed in her from the moment we found out she existed, the moment the doctor told us she had that magical extra chromosome and the moment I called him, hysterical after the news she was also hearing impaired. He truly knew Maddie would be everything we ever wanted in a little girl, even in the early days of her life when I kept asking the question "why us?" I heard someone once say that there is a difference between being a father and being a dad. I never fully understood this until I watched this man I loved so much before we had children together become a father.

Every day, Chad walks in from his 10-12 hour work day, he and Maddie greet each other with huge hugs and kisses. Her baby sister Presley is next and then mama. Her first word was "Dada" and she can spot him a mile away. When she first started walking she would roam the house saying "dad", and of course our two bathrooms were the first places she would look for him. She took her first steps the night before her daddy's 34th birthday so he would be home to see. Chad plays babies with her, reads her books, taught her how to dunk a basketball and even sings and dances to Justin Bieber with her! He isn't afraid of poopy diapers and has frequently been the one to get up with her in the middle of the night when she is sick.

He dedicates what little spare time he has to helping to enrich the lives of other people with Down syndrome. Chad has played an active role starting our local Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (DADS) chapter in Orlando, FL, a support group for men who have a loved one with Down syndrome. It’s been an indescribable experience to witness his positive outlook empower other men who might not otherwise have hope for a bright future. Yes, Chad is Maddie's father in literal terms but I believe with all my heart my husband has been put on this earth to be Maddie's dad.

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

Alecia LAncione, United States, GA
6/19/2011 10:14:58 AM
Beautiful Story

Kasey Ostrosky, United States, FL
6/18/2011 12:52:19 PM
Beautiful story and truely an amazing family!

Shannon Flickinger, United States, FL
6/18/2011 9:24:08 AM
Beautiful story and very true! Maddie is lucky to have two loving and caring parents! Love all of you!

Daisy Arroyo, United States, FL
6/18/2011 12:03:15 AM
Great Story!

Luisa Casertano, United States, FL
6/17/2011 8:59:22 PM
This story bought tears to my eyes.

Debbie Gelinas, United States, FL
6/17/2011 8:57:19 PM
Way to go Hendrick's family! You have our vote.

Jessica Dow, United States, FL
6/17/2011 7:24:41 PM
Great story!

suzette, United States, FL
6/17/2011 2:32:01 PM

Anne Apicella, United States, FL
6/17/2011 7:24:41 PM
Great story!!!

sherry Blanco, United States, FL
6/17/2011 2:03:25 PM

courtney bass, United States, FL
6/17/2011 1:43:18 PM
I have worked with Chad Hendricks for 7 years and personally known him for 10 years. He is as great as his wife has described him, if not better. Chad's wife Kristin is as equally amazing as her husband, they are an amazing couple!

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