World Down Syndrome Day: The Life of Noah Smith

 

On World Down Syndrome Day, the March for Life Instagram was “taken over” by Noah and Rick Smith. Noah’s dad writes, “Will you help us share the story that Down syndrome is ok? We believe that Noah has a story worth sharing, and we hope you’ll help us share his story; the story that all children (regardless of a disability) are so worth loving.”

You can see the sweet pictures from Noah’s life and read about his story below, as well on instagram.com/marchforlife.

We are so thankful for the precious life of Noah, and each and every individual with Down Syndrome. Each and every child has dignity and value, and is worthy of love!

And be sure to follow Noah online!

 

“Happy World Down Syndrome Day! 6 years ago we didn’t know this day would mean anything to us. This is the first time Noah’s mom held Noah. We had just been delivered the news that Noah likely had trisomy 21 (Down syndrome.) A surprise to everyone involved except the One who created Noah in the womb. We never thought we would be crying tears of sorrow during the birth of our son, crying late into the night about what this meant for our family and what this meant for Noah. What did his future look like? What would he be able to do? We had so many questions. Little did we know that this little boy would change our lives and hearts in ways I never imagined. (We’ll be sharing our story all on social media, the tears are replaced with joy very soon!)” 

 

“We started our journey knowing that we wanted to do everything we could to help Noah succeed. Early intervention with physical, occupational and speech therapy is one of the best ways to do this. We had an amazing therapist who encouraged us and challenged Noah. They researched techniques to help Noah succeed and achieve his milestones. He was put on a treadmill at 9 months of age to help him learn to walk and was frequently seen practicing with a therapy dog making laps around the clinic. This particular dog is why we now have a giant golden doodle named Jake. Needless to say I don’t think he meets the qualifications for a therapy dog, but he is a great addition to our family.”

 

 

“Noah has changed our lives for the better in so many ways! We wouldn’t change one chromosome in his body. Our love for Noah has turned us into advocates. A role I never thought I would call myself. We want to shout from the rooftops that having Down syndrome is OK! In fact it is pretty awesome. Does it come with challenges, of course, but what life doesn’t? This picture is from our annual Buddy Walk, which is just one way we advocate for our son. We also are involved in our local organization and have a large playgroup that gathers regularly with families that have a child with Down syndrome similar in age to Noah. The biggest way we advocate is through our blog and Facebook page. When we discovered that the termination rate for a pregnancy with a known diagnosis of Down syndrome can be upwards of 90% we knew we needed to do something. We have reached millions of people and shown them what life is like for a child with Down syndrome in hope that we can encourage people to choose life for their children.”

 

 

“Soon it was time for Noah to become a big brother. To say Noah rocked our world on how we value life is an understatement. One of the saddest statements I hear when talking about pregnancy is “I don’t care if it is a boy or girl as long as it’s healthy”. It pains my heart because you are hoping you don’t have a Noah. Our challenge with this pregnancy was to change our mindset. We wanted to be the best parents to the child God blessed us with. We tried to avoid praying for certain things for our child or having expectations much like we did with Noah. Is it ok to pray for health? Of course. But are you going to love your child less if there is something different or if they are in fact sick? Probably not. All life is valuable in the womb from those without any complications to those that don’t get to be held in their momma’s arms. Noah was blessed with a baby brother who despite being 3 is still lovingly called “baby”.”

 

 

“Noah has had more experiences in his young life than most have in their entire life. He hasn’t hindered our life adventures but only added to them and made them much more fun. He has traveled to New York, Disney World and Disneyland, Florida beaches, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Colorado and even Mexico. He has a zeal for life like none I have ever seen. He loves thrill rides, music, and pools. He will hug your blues away. It is hard to not enjoy the moment when you have a little boy who is smiling and clapping his hands at your feet.”

 

 

“Our latest adventure has been helping Noah be included in kindergarten. We have added more acronyms to our vocabulary than is probably necessary this year, such as IDEA, LRE, IEP, and ARD. All these help us get Noah the education he needs in the classroom with his peers. While we want Noah to learn his ABC’s, what I really want is for him to form community. I want him to be included in the neighborhood that he lives, for his neighbors to be his friends now and tomorrow. I have seen how inclusion is beneficial for both sides. I watch as Noah learns from others but then I also see his friends learn about compassion and diversity. I see them treat him exactly as they treat every other friend they have and it makes my heart smile each time.”

 

 

“Noah has grown into an amazing little boy. He has achieved so much more than I ever imagined in that hospital room 6 years ago. He is learning to swim and you can see he is doing quite well reaching his goals. He loves to play cars, go to movies and jump on his new trampoline. He is a big fan of the trapeze at the local jump park! He loves his friends at school and we frequently hear their names at home. His best friend is his little brother and they are nearly inseparable. He likes going to church and singing. He has been known to give his own sermon hand motions and all. His life today is so much more than I would have ever imagined.”

 

 

“The most important thing to remember about Noah is that Down Syndrome is only a small part of what defines him. As we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, we celebrate his friends who are thriving and living lives with great purpose and meaning. They are graduating from high school, they are owning businesses, they are getting married and living independently, they have their own reality show. The most important message today is that those with Down syndrome are so much more like you than they are different. Their lives are valuable to our society and they are people worth knowing.”