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

National Down Syndrome Society
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The Ride
Loving Our Ride Together
Loving Our Ride Together
The Ride

Gently we buckled our tiny blessing into her pale pink car seat, unaffected by the sweltering heat of the August day. She was only one week old, but somehow it felt like months had passed since her birth. Our emotions were mixed as we were visibly elated to be able to bring our first-born child home, yet, I must confess, inwardly we were anxious, fearful and sorrowful. Sorrowful over the news that she was born with Down syndrome and the perceived idea that we had lost something, perhaps a mother's dream or secret ambition. As we began to drive away from the hospital, we were ignorantly unaware of the influence and greatness that lay quietly nestled in our back seat; Gabrielle, our beautiful daughter. From the moment she was born, Gabrielle had the ability to cause us to look at life differently. She lives life without apology. If she loves you, you will no doubt know that she does. If you are hurting, she will be the first to be there to console you. If you need something, she will give it freely. She, unlike us, is unhindered by the prejudices of others. Gabrielle is “genuine.” She loves honestly, speaks freely, laughs heartily and dances endlessly. She has a hidden ability to inspire others without her ever knowing that she has. Her life has caused others to slow down, try harder, love more and go farther. Her presence has also challenged others to do great things. Our love for her moved us to adopt our son with Down syndrome. Her five siblings are grateful for what she has taught them. One desires to be a special education teacher. Another writes and speaks publicly about the impact his sister has had on him and advocates for those with special needs. Our family, church and community have rallied together annually to host a festival where we honor those with special needs celebrating their lives and encouraging their parents. Adoptions have been inspired, international relationships established, friendships built, families comforted and the list goes on. One little girl has caused us to live larger. Once again I will go for a ride on a hot August day, but it will be without sorrow or fear. It will be with genuine admiration and appreciation for my daughter who happens to have Down syndrome. No longer will she be the helpless little baby, but an influential young woman celebrating her 18th birthday. She will have the seat of honor riding sidekick next to me, as I adoringly look on, filled with overwhelming joy for what she has brought into my life. Together we will celebrate the way we love most, driving the winding country roads, with our windows rolled down, the breeze blowing through our hair, smiling from ear to ear and the music cranked up as we sing out our favorite tunes. Thank you, Gabrielle, for helping us all to go a little farther!

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

Sherry Myers , United States, VA
8/1/2013 8:59:06 PM
Love this story!!. Our Marcos (3yrs) has change our family forever! Stop to smell the roses and enjoy their aroma!

Mark George, United States, AR
8/1/2013 12:58:26 PM
To slow down, try harder, love more and go farther should be the goal of every person. That so many people, myself included, have been led to do so through parenting or having a frienship with a child with Down syndrome makes me wonder who it really is that has a disability. Our sons and daughters with Down syndrome are a living testament to how one can live an abundant life.

lisa hoppes, United States, MI
8/1/2013 10:40:12 AM
Beautiful - Gabi and this Story Thanks !!!!!

Taylor Cozik, United States, MI
7/31/2013 1:28:47 PM
Gabby is a wonderfull person and I feel very special to know her.

GWEN HAVILAND, United States, MI
7/31/2013 12:40:37 PM
You are both a blessing in my life. Well said!

Angie Clayton, United States, MI
7/31/2013 11:45:29 AM
It has been a privilege to watch this young lady learn and grow from a small child. She has surpassed many expectations and my family and I know that it was with a lot of hard work on her own family's part as well as a lot of prayers and wondrous works of God. He blessed her with such a loving, Godly family that we are honored to call our close friends. I can't wait to see what she does each time we see her!

Sochitl, United States, VA
7/30/2013 3:14:15 PM
Thank you for such a lovely submission, so wonderful to read about other families with family members with Down Syndrome.

Alana Cunningham, United States, MI
7/30/2013 8:07:53 AM
What a beautiful, well-written story, from the heart of a beautiful woman! You can certainly feel the love of the entire family. God bless you.

John schlaack, United States, MI
7/29/2013 8:26:27 PM

Jonathan, United States, MI
7/29/2013 6:35:24 PM
Nice story mom

Jim, United States, MI
7/29/2013 12:30:53 PM
Nice job

Teresa Colf, United States, MI
7/28/2013 7:17:11 PM
Thanks for sharing Lisa! You & your family are truly an inspiration to many, I pray your story will be an encouragement to many families.

Connie Griffin, United States, IL
7/27/2013 7:36:24 PM
neat to hear what the other kids plan on doing with their lives, hugs to you all

Dawn Jenks, United States, MI
7/27/2013 12:28:02 PM
Wonderful story Thanks for sharing :)

Shari Self, United States, MI
7/25/2013 11:45:33 AM
Great story Lisa.

Serena Cozik, United States, MI
7/25/2013 8:56:33 AM
This family is AMAZING and wonderfully caring. They are ALWAYS serving others. What a TRUE story & much more could be said. Everything she stated about Gabi is a TRUE statement and I know first hand what an absolute BLESSING she is to me & EVERYONE around her.

Lorie Dumond, United States, MI
7/24/2013 8:30:54 AM
Thank you for sharing.

Kimberly A Fouts, United States, MI
7/23/2013 5:08:35 PM
I've got happy tears going on. Lisa's story of celebration is so beautifully written. It makes us all look at our family with an appreciation that we didn't have before. God's blessings are unending. May Gabby have the best 18th birthday ever!

Wendy Zick, United States, MI
7/23/2013 11:27:06 AM
She certainly is a blessing, and so are you!

Debbie Fanko, United States, MI
7/23/2013 9:09:54 AM
You are a blessing!

Kristina Morris, United States, MI
7/21/2013 10:12:48 PM
Lisa says exactly how I feel about my daughter, Kore also with Downs. She will be 19 years old in a couple weeks. The loving, free-spirited, nonjudgmental persona of people born with Down Syndrome very much changes many people's attitude on disabilities. Very much enjoyed reading this Lisa.

Roberta Purcell, United States, MA
7/19/2013 6:27:34 PM
I can't believe she is 18!!! Happy Birthday Gaby! I am so fortunate to have been a part of the "Ride" for a few years. I learned soooooooo much from all of you! Miss you all. Congratulations on this beautiful story!

Phyllis Vaughn, United States, MI
7/19/2013 5:47:36 PM
Lisa you are the most amazing woman I know.

Ann Tyler, United States, MI
7/19/2013 12:59:38 PM
Very well written. Thanks for being so open and for sharing. Your family is an inspiration.

Debbie Miller, United States, TX
7/19/2013 11:21:41 AM
Your story inspires all. Thank you Lisa for sharing it.

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