Luke was a surprise addition to our family, to say the least. I had made peace with the fact that my husband Ray and I would never have children after ten years of no pregnancies. Then we had our son Harker who is now 14. He was a healthy baby born right on his due date with no complications. About two years later I had a miscarriage. Fast forward 4 years later to another surprise pregnancy! Honestly, I had prepared myself that this child may also miscarry. Months went by and this baby just kept on growing with no complications. Luke’s due date arrived and so did he right on time. (Crazy to have two babies born on their due dates!) Right after I gave birth and was settled the Dr came in and told us that she thought Luke had Down Syndrome. Luke wasn’t latching and I had breastfed Harker easily so I was solely focused on solving this problem. I told the Dr we had no concerns about that but I understood why some of Luke’s physical features may prompt them to think he had Down Syndrome. When my husband was a child people thought he was Korean(he has a slanted eye shape) and it’s literally a joke in our family about how large our heads are. I told the Dr these two things and that Luke was fine and that we needed to be solving this feeding issue and not worried about that. We can laugh about my reaction now but as the days progressed things became very scary and filled with unfamiliar medical terms instead of the post-birth “bliss” I’d experienced with our first son Harker. I remember crying every day thinking how Luke may never enjoy school, how he’d be made fun of, how he’d never have a girlfriend or get married and have children of his own. No one could say anything right to me and I felt like I was completely alone in this new reality. I know that Ray felt the same way but he was putting on a strong face for me and keeping things together while I was in the hospital with Luke. Luke was never in the ICU and didn’t need heart surgery. As Luke got older he acquired a large team of specialists that we are beyond grateful for. Medical care and attention to our children with Down Syndrome has greatly improved. Luke has received many therapies since birth. He attended the Meyer Center Charter School which changed our lives forever. We made some of our very best friends while being a part of that amazing community. The love, education, and support our family received from the teachers, therapists, and other students’ families have been priceless. The Down Syndrome Association of the Upstate has also been a lifeline and our tribe of families since day one. Luke has grown up and done all of the things I wasn’t sure he’d ever do. A lot of things he actually does BETTER than his typical brother! The main reason I’m excited to be featured today is to dispel those misconceptions that were breaking my heart and stealing my joy in those early days of Luke’s life. I hope by sharing how wrong I was I can help other parents be comforted knowing their child will have a full, exciting, beautiful life. Luke loves to ride horses, explore nature, golf, swim, and be on stage in fashion shows and talent shows. He likes to play Minecraft on the iPad just like his brother did at that age which I never would have dreamed he’d be able to do. Luke defies all expectations and constantly reminds me that we are all more alike than different. He loves his school Lake Forest Elementary and begs to go every morning even if he isn’t feeling well. He has all kinds of beautiful friends … some of who are differently abled, some who are typically abled, and friends of all ages. Harker’s friends adore Luke. He is quite the comedian and keeps us laughing. I know that I speak for our entire family and everyone who loves our son when I say we wouldn’t change ONE SINGLE THING about Luke. He completed our family in a million ways.