By Nancy Korf
I was a wreck the first weeks after our daughter, Makena, was diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome. Knowing very little about the condition, I was afraid for her health, depressed for the things I assumed she would never be able to do, and terrified for her future. I had a hard time believing that my feelings were normal and that our family would be okay. Books about Down syndrome gave me even more issues to worry about, so I stopped reading and started asking friends and neighbors for help. That’s when I started to meet some amazing people, like Esther Fletcher and her family.
We met Esther through neighbors, the Atacks, who attend the same church as the Fletchers. Esther has Down syndrome. As a church project, she made a baby blanket, planning to donate it to a local hospital to give to a newborn with Down syndrome. Tracy Atack knew of Esther’s projectand Makena’s birth, she connected our two families.
Esther and her mother, Nancy, visited us in mid-April when Makena was four weeks old. Esther is an impressive young lady. She attends school at Westview High. She enjoys singing, is active in her church, dreams ofmarriage and family life and has set a goal of becoming a special education teacher. Esther snuggled Makena and sang to her, giving herthe blanket. Nancy told me a bit about Esther’s early intervention, very relevant to us since Makena was about to receive her first assessment.She also reminded us not to plan so far ahead for Makena that we forgetto simply enjoy the present.
Their visit was short, but it taught me more than any book about the condition. With her determination and her family’s effort, Esther will livea fulfilling and productive life, and I can envision the same possibilitiesfor Makena.
Makena will treasure her blanket for many years. I will treasure Esther’s lesson forever.