Last night, Robert, Jack and I had the privilege of meeting our "Parent Match" through the Down Syndrome Network of Greater Greensboro, which is an organization affiliated with the Family Support Network of Central Carolina. When asked in the hospital by an organizational representative if we were ready to be paired up with some parents of a child with Downs, we immediately jumped at this great opportunity.
So, last evening, Abby and Jason Hilemn and their little girl Lacey, who's 2 and a half years old, brought a delicious dinner over to our house. It was such an amazing experience to meet a young, attractive, successful couple that completely understands exactly what we are going through. Abby is now 33 and she had Lacey when she was 30, and Jason actually works somewhat with me at Moses Cone, and I definitely recognized him from work. So, it was nice to also be able to "talk shop" a little as well!
Abby and Jason found out that Lacey had Down Syndrome while Abby was pregnant during early ultrasounds and screenings, so their experience was a little different than ours. Nevertheless, it was interesting to find that Abby and Jason went through similar emotions and feelings as we did although we found out about our babies' diagnoses at different points in the game. Abby and Jason did not hesitate to answer all of our questions, and they gave us very candid advice, which we greatly appreciated. It makes such a greater impact to hear advice from people who have lived through what we're going through rather than from others who haven't.
Let me just tell you ... Lacey is one of the most adorable, vibrant, bright, charismatic, loving and affectionate little girls we have ever met. I wish I had taken a picture of her to post! She is just a ball of energy and just wanted to explore everything! She isn't talking just yet, but communicates just as effectively through signing. It was actually quite nice to have the spirit of a little rambunctious youngster around without all the noise!!! Abby and Jason tell us that little Lacey hit all of her other milestones right around the time expected of any "typical" child, so this was very encouraging for Robert and me.
So, we would like to formally extend our gratitude to Abby, Jason, and Lacey for the wonderful company, great advice, and delicious food ... we feel very lucky to have such a great parent match. The Family Support Network could not have picked a better couple for us, and we look forward to an everlasting bond and friendship that we now know we couldn't live without! Thanks so much, guys!