December 3, 2013

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Christmas Party

Tuesday evening we attended the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. annual Christmas party.  We were happy to have the Bond and Jackson families join us for the dinner and fellowship.  One of the board members asked Kaitlin to set up a table to sell Henry Owls.  
Since September she has made 153 owls.  When she got the request to bring them to the Christmas party there were only 6 left.  Kaitlin enlisted the help of her siblings and they sewed like crazy on Monday and Tuesday to get more ready.  I continue to be amazed at their creativity in designing these guys.  But I am even more amazed at what God is doing with them.

Evan asked Kaitlin to speak to the group and share her vision for Stitch in Lives with the 75 people gathered that night.  She made a donation of $875 for Camp I Can Shine.  With the sales she made that night and a few more online orders since then she will be giving over $1,000 to better the lives of people with Down Syndrome.

The value of this should not be underestimated.  Today we got a bill in the mail for over $1,000 for Addison's last checkup at Children's.  He is doing great and I attribute his success to the care givers God has given us access to.  We are blessed to have good insurance to cover most of that $1,000, but what of the children who don't have good insurance?  They are denied access to the care that will allow them to thrive and reach their greatest potential.  That breaks my heart in a way I can not begin to explain.  And it blesses my heart enormously to know that our daughter is willing to give her life to help others less fortunate than Addison in regards to Down Syndrome and in giving to those on the mission field.

But do you know what is even greater than the financial blessing the Lord has placed on her ministry?  It is the way God is using the owls to help us to spread the word that God doesn't make mistakes and every child has the right to live, even those with Down Syndrome.  A few weeks ago I was getting my hair done up in Middletown.  Allen brought some kids to me for a swap.  I took Addison to an upstairs room to nurse.  A young lady I had just met came up there to talk with me about Down Syndrome and abortion.  She had received one of Kaitlin's business cards and heard Henry's story from someone in Frederick.  This lady was tattooed and pierced and would likely have gotten some negative looks if she walked into our church.  But I listened to tears catch in her throat as she told me how she thought what the world was doing to children with DS was wrong.  And because of Henry and the Henry Owl I was able to share the story of our God with her.

A lady we know through F.R.I.E.N.D.S. said to me earlier this week that she and this organization have been immensely blessed because God gave us a son with Down Syndrome.  That is a hugely humbling moment that helps to keep God's plan in perspective.  The prayer we prayed from the minute we knew Addison was on the way was that God would use Henry's life to reach the world.  He is only 7 months old but he is having an impact!  That's good stuff.

On days when you learn your son is half deaf its easy to feel defeated.  But on other days when the Lord shows you his goodness and purpose in the suffering of someone you love so dearly it becomes easy to raise my hands and say, "Lord, forgive my negative attitude.  Thank you for blessing this child's life.  Just keep bringing it on."

So a few party highlights... As always Addison was passed from person to person the entire evening.  I did get to hold him a few minutes when everyone was occupied with dinner and dessert.
Carmella enjoyed loving up on our friend Madison.  Madison is one of God's miracles.  We actually came to know her story shortly before Addison was born.   He has used her to minister to our family, especially when we first received his diagnosis.  Since Madison was born she has had two open heart surgeries and GI surgery as a result of complications from Down Syndrome.  She will be having her third heart surgery in February.  And yet she is thriving and blessing her family every day.  Doctors told her parents that Madison should be aborted because she would be too much of a burden on their family.
On a lighter note, someone dressed up like Santa Claus and gave gifts to the kids.  We don't teach our kids the Santa Claus story so they thought the whole thing was rather creepy.  But when Evan asked for a photo for some vendors the kids agreed.  I asked why they were waving and Nathaniel just shrugged.  
I had to put this photo up here, even though there is nothing great about it.  But I thought Carmella's face was hilarious. She just kept acting as if she can't believe we subject her to such things... and there had better be a cookie on the other side of it.

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