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

National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York New York 10017
[email protected] 

Sierra's Smile
Sierra's Smile

This is Sierra on her first birthday with her big sister, Abigail. As you can see from this smile, Sierra has become a beacon of joy and inspiration in our lives; more so than I could have ever imagined. Before Sierra was born, we had no idea that she would have Down syndrome. It was quite a shock and adjustment to accept and realize the joy she would bring to our lives. My husband, Pedro, was strong and wonderfully supportive as I adjusted to this new, unimagined life. Our faith in Christ was strong, but I believe beginning this journey of raising a baby with Down syndrome made my faith even stronger as I grew to realize that I had been given a rare gift. Our family and church family stepped up and carried us through the more difficult times. And a local support group called Upside Down provided us with insight into the beauty within our baby girl. Though Sierra was healthy enough to come home from the hospital soon after birth, she had an ASD and VSD that did not spontaneously close. At 3 ' months old, she underwent open-heart surgery. As any parent can imagine, this was difficult. Yet again, our families, church family, colleagues, and even strangers from distant towns lifted baby Sierra (and us) up in prayer to our Lord. Our pastor visited with us while we waited for her in surgery (over two hours away from home). Her surgery was successful and now she is an unstoppable 16-month-old who wants to be everywhere and do everything that her big sister is doing. Though she has suffered other medical complications of Down syndrome, mostly repeated ear infections, sinus infections, and some gastrointestinal problems; she has never ceased to bring joy to those around her. She smiles and laughs and the room lights up. Through ECI, she does physical therapy and speech therapy and has a developmental coordinator who helps to evaluate progress and organize everything. She is learning to sign, to stand, to walk, and to self-feed. I say all this to emphasize that babies with Down syndrome are beautiful babies. They may take a little longer to learn to do things, but they will learn to do things when given the love and attention they need. I wouldn't change beautiful little Sierra. I wouldn't advise anyone expecting a baby with Down syndrome to do anything different with the pregnancy I would urge them to prepare to love their precious baby as they would any other. There may be more complications than most, but the Lord can guide you through the tough spots and reveal wonderful things with each day. My husband and I are blessed to be raising two wonderful little girls. Both have challenges, more than most, but they will lift any spirit with their outgoing and loving personalities. They undeniably adore each other. I wouldn't change a thing. I only hope to remember these wonderful times in the years to come.

Vote for your favorite story! Each month, the two stories with the most votes will be featured in the NDSS E-Newsletter.*


Your email address will be used for voter tracking only, and will not be used for future NDSS emails.
Click here to become a fan on Facebook.
Click here to follow us on Twitter.

*Votes will be reset at the end of each month.

Full Name
Comments (1,000 character limit)

Ann, United States, TX
9/11/2016 12:26:22 AM
I haven't read this in a long time and it was a treasure to read now that Sierra is a beautiful 7-year-old little girl. We live in Arlington, TX now, but fondly remember Abilene.

Shamara DeHerrera, United States, TX
2192011 8:32:59 PM
You live in Abilene, TX? We live on Dyess and just had a baby girl yesterday morning at 4:50 am. A few hours later they told us she has down syndrome... Is there anyway I can get in touch with you?I would like to talk to someone who has been through

  • Buddy Walk
  • NDSS Yourway
  • NDSS DS-Ambassadors