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How My Child Inspires Me - By Heidi Munholland

Well, my story starts back in the 1960's, even though I am not that old. The most amazing gift was presented to me and my family. On the night of November 22, 1965, two very amazing "Victories" were won! Hubert Humphrey (my Aunt Nancy's father) was elected U.S. Vice President, and Victoria Solomonson (Hubert Humphrey's granddaughter, my aunt's daughter - so my cousin) was born into this world with Down syndrome. A huge Victory for everyone!

Back then people that were born with Down syndrome usually were put into institutions, not Vicky! She was and still is the light of our lives! So, my family always had Vicky come stay with us a week every year as I grew up. I knew from a very young age that this is exactly what kind of child I wanted if I ever were to have children. All of my dolls were special just like Vicky!

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When I met my husband I introduced him to a lot of new things that he never had in his life: Special Olympics was the big one. The first time we went I looked at my husband and his eyes were filled with tears. He said that these people are amazing, they put all of their hearts into everything that they do! My husband and I would talk a lot about having a child with Down syndrome. I thought the people that God gives these children to were the luckiest people in the world!

To make a long story short, we decided that since we were not sure if God would give us this special gift biologically that we were going adopt! So our journey with the adoption process started April 23, 2007, and there were many ups in downs. We were picked immediately by a birth family and we thought, "Wow, why do people think that this process is so hard? We did it right away!" We kept in contact with the birth parents and the baby was due on July 14, 2007. We got a call on July 17th from the birth mom thanking us for helping them with the decision to keep their little angel. The birth mom told us that God really worked through my husband and me to let them know what a special gift they were receiving and that not everyone is blessed with these amazing people. She also said that when the doctors delivered their angel that she came out smiling and they had never seen that before!

We went through three more families until October, 2007. I was doing my everyday networking with adoption agencies trying to see if there were any new situations - and the first call I made was the one. An agency in Florida told me that she just got an email from a birth mom that said she was due in the middle of October to deliver a baby girl with Down syndrome, and she wanted to give her up for adoption. I said that I would get my home study to her in the next couple of minutes and whatever else they needed. We got the call on a Sunday that the birth mom had delivered, but still had not yet decided. So we just waited, and on Tuesday we got the call that we were chosen and we could come tomorrow to get our daughter.

Gertie-Leigh Audrey Munholland is the most amazing person I know and in her short two months she has changed several people around us! People with Down syndrome are truly God's gift to the world!

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