Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

We love hearing from everyone!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

So, Who Does Nathan Look Like?

From the first moment you find out you're expecting the "I wonder who he/she will look like" begins. Secretly, both parents hope the baby looks just like them - minus all the stuff they dislike about themselves - like their nose or their thighs!

Even at the first "peanut" ultrasound people are trying to figure out who the baby looks like. With today's sophisticated Level 2 and 4 Ultrasounds baby features are visible long before they make their triumphant entry into the world.

Nonnie stopped by today and said she was looking at Danny's stamp picture and said Nathan looks just like him! Now, you know I had to know! Does he really just look like Danny?! I mean, I am his mommy. Well, I had to investigate and there is no contest here. Nathan is all Danny!!! Here are few pictures of Danny and I when they were little as proof.

Some Startling & Interesting History About Down syndrome

This is an excerpt from an article I read this morning. I've included the link to its entirety on the side bar.

Not “Just a Word”
August 13th, 2008 by Leticia Velasquez

The meaning of a word bears the weight of generations past, and this decides whether a word, which once may have been merely descriptive, is now hurtful and in what context. Generations of African American leaders have labored at this mammoth task, informing society that the “n-word” will no longer be permitted in civil society. For those who care about the 3% of the population with intellectual disabilities, who are offended by the “r-word”, I will briefly outline Western society’s shameful treatment of individuals with Down syndrome, who are the most easily recognizable individuals with intellectual disabilities, and therefore bear the brunt of this marginalization.

Dr. John Langdon Down, brother-in-law of Charles Darwin, first classified those with Down syndrome as members of a separate race, as he strove to improve the treatment of the disabled who were then called idiots. He assumed that their almond-shaped eyes meant that they were from the Mongolian race and, in an 1866 paper, he coined the unfortunate term, “Mongolian idiocy”. The less offensive term “Down syndrome” emerges from the work of the editor of the British medical journal the Lancet in 1961.

In the Darwinian economy of survival of the fittest only the best adapted should survive to reproduce thus improving the overall species. This was the credo of the worldwide Eugenics
Movement in the early 20th Century which, in the USA, fought hard to establish compulsory sterilization programs of the “feeble minded”. Eventually 27 states established sterilization programs. In the landmark Supreme Court decision in Buck v Bell concerning a woman, Carrie Buck, who was forcibly sterilized, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes proclaimed in the 8-1 majority opinion, “three generations of imbeciles are enough”. At the time, “imbecile” was a medical term used to describe the retarded, but Holmes’ use of it smacks of contempt. He was not alone. The US sterilization program of the retarded continued for three decades, claiming 60,000 victims.

The eugenicists in Nazi Germany convinced families of the mentally retarded to send them to institutions, where they were classified as “useless eaters” and under the T-4 program the retarded were the first Germans to be shipped to the gas chambers. Being labeled “retarded” was a death sentence in Germany. Back in the US, pressure mounted to eliminate the sterilization programs; however, retarded children were left to languish in institutions where they received little more than the most basic necessities. Their families seldom visited them, and many, like playwright Arthur Miller, went so far as to deny their existence out of shame.

The cloud of shame began to lift when, in 1959, French geneticist Dr. Jerome Lejeune discovered the cause of Down syndrome was Trisomy 21, an extra 21st chromosome. In France, Trisomy 21 was considered contagious, a result of the mother’s syphilis, so that individuals with Down syndrome were avoided and shamed. Lejuene spent the next four decades advocating for individuals with Down syndrome to be treated with kindness and dignity, as he sought a cure.

Things began to improve for the mentally disabled; in the 1980’s in the US they began to be considered worthy to receive medical treatment for their congenital heart anomalies, thus doubling their life expectancy from 25 to 50. The 1990 enactment of the Americans with Disablilities Act set standards against discrimination of individuals with mental retardation, and little by little, advocacy groups such as the National Down Syndrome Congress were successful in changing society’s view that people with Down syndrome were a burden. Educational programs such as Early Intervention began to improve their cognitive skills and academic performance, as many children were accepted for the first time in public schools.

In the 1990’s Chris Burke, an actor with Down syndrome, had a popular TV series, “Life Goes On”, designed around him and doctors could tell expectant mothers whose baby had Trisomy 21, “You know Corky from that TV show? Your child will be like him.” In the past decade, individuals with Down syndrome have continued to break stereotypes; go to college, get married, obtain driver’s licenses, and live independently. A good-natured film about a man who tries to fake an intellectual disability to win the Special Olympics, The Ringer, shows how the participants taught him to respect their dignity and join them in friendship.

Leticia Velasquez is a wife and homeschooling mother of three daughters. She is a free lance writer whose articles have appeared in Faith and Family and Celebrate Life magazines. A film critic for Mercatornet, Leticia has recently helped create a new blog called Catholic Media Review.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bath Time!

My Bubble Bath
Submitted by: hellobabydesigns
Author: unknown

Once I’m in my bubble bath

I like to stir up more.

Half the suds go in my eyes

And half go on the floor.

The fun is in the bubbles ‘cause

They giggle on my skin,

And when I stick them on my face

They dangle from my chin.

When I splash them hard enough

They pop and disappear,

Then my bath time’s over ‘cause

I’v made the water clear!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tropic Thunder - The War is On.

Personally, I NEVER watch movies or television for that matter. But you don't have to be an active participant to fully understand the impact Hollywood has on pop culture. Since last week I've been reading articles and blog entries about a new movie called Tropic Thunder featuring Ben Stiller and Jack Black.

I've included a link to Dave Hingsburger's blog - he wrote a letter to Ben Stiller. As you read this post and the New York Times story on the right side of this blog - think of Nathan. Most of you don't know what it's like to have a child with special needs but in this case it's irrelevant - you understand the affect this Hollywood production is going to have on children - your children and mine.

Life With My Special K's blog has lines from the movie if you'd like additional reading. It's your choice to see this movie - I just hope you make the right one.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

NASCAR, Root Beer & Down syndrome (The Glen Part II)

Most of you that know me well, know that my grandfather drove for NASCAR in the 50's. After his death he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a trip to Watkins Glen would have been incomplete without stopping by the International Speedway. I am really looking forward to the day when I can bring Nathan to the races, tell him all about his Great Jido (that's grandfather in Lebanese) and bring him to the Hall of Fame. Nathan's Jido was an amazingly strong man with nerves of steel (as his song goes) and a heart of gold. He had a fun loving personality and was one of those people that just seemed larger than life. Some of my most memorable life lessons from him were "charity begins at home," "if you don't use your head - your whole body suffers," and "it's not worth doing unless you don't do it right - the first time." An awesome man that passed away too soon. We miss you Jido! http://www.vintagemodifieds.com/pete_corey/

So many of you have commented about my strength in dealing with Nathan's Down syndrome - If you've read about my grandfather at the link provided you'll discover that it's not just my faith that carries me -- I'm a Corey. My grandfather's nervous of steel were passed down. Our family doesn't just exist - we risk it all to defy the odds or prove a point. It's who we are and I wouldn't have it any other way.

As I promised, this is a picture of Nathan getting in on the taste testing in the wine country. But, he isn't tasting wine - he was sampling the home brewed root beers at the micro breweries along the Seneca Wine Trail! He was a big fan! When he's a little older mommy will teach him how to make Dragon Juice with root beer (a secret family recipe - all you cousins know exactly what I'm talking about!)