This is from S., who allowed me to reprint it here:
I have a brother who has Down syndrome and I can’t even begin to tell you all the love, joy and laughter he has brought into not only my family’s lives, but the lives of everyone he has touched. When (he) was born in 1962 the doctors told my mom to “put him away! It would be bad for the other children!”
We grew up knowing (he) was different, but knowing that everyone can be different. Having (him) in our lives gave us so much more compassion and empathy toward people of all ablilities/disabilities. He was just our brother and we treated him as such! Our friends loved him because we did (and because he was just so darn cute, funny and loving).
Sure we encountered people in our lives who whispered and made fun of him. Sometimes we would just go over and introduce him and sometimes we would just feel sorry for those people because they would never get to know what a wonderful person (our brother) was. He is 46 now, healthy, and still keeps us in stitches! He has given us so much joy in our lives, just like Avery does in yours.
Thank you for sharing your family with all of us, S.