Fighting for my daughter's rights:
I never considered myself as crusader or someone who would stick out in a crowd. But that all changed,when the system failed my daughter, Heather who was born with Mosaic Down Syndrome.Despite her disability, Heather, now 28, a few years ago found herself in a very typical situation for a young adult - she wanted to leave the home she shared with her mother and go out on her own.This presented a Catch-22 situation for me. Heather was legally old enough to get her own place, but wasn't ready to live alone. Studies have shown that people with Mosaic Down Syndrome (characterized by an extra 21st chromosome in some cells) have a higher IQ and more developed motor skills than people with typical Down Syndrome."Heather wanted to go to the next level,At age 24, she wanted to spread her wings a little."She can do everything for herself (household chores but she's not mature enough to live on her own.While some social-service agencies in our County provided help for certain aspects of Heather's condition,but no one could provide the complete package she sought - a safe place for Heather to live and funding to help pay for it.I knew that I was facing a mountain so I got with the associate pastor from my church and we prayed together and I just kept the faith and before I knew it I got the funding that I needed for her."I have found that, in advocating for my daughter, there were no resources available in this county (for someone in Heather's situation)," At the time, Heather insisted on moving out. She was placed in supervised facilities similar to a boarding house."I remember dropping her off at Mental Health/Mental Retardation,I cried and I felt like the worst mother in the world." I spoke to God in great detail that day and told him that I can not do this alone that I needed his help to open up doors for her and for him to protect her. I felt it was important to give Heather a chance to find independence. Many parents of a child with Down Syndrome or mental disability keep the child at home until the parents get old and die, then the state steps in and decides where the child will live. I didn't want that to happen to Heather.Sadly,the unthinkable happened after Heather moved into some of the facilities. She was abused.I removed Heather from the situation, then got mad and decided to fight for her rights. And the rights of others in similar situations.as much as I wanted to hold a grudge and take action into my own hands I remembered this scripture also and kept reading it 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I did however hold them accountable for their actions and had forgiven them for what they did & taught Heather how to do the same. Forgive and move on. When I had to remove her for the second time from a home that she was placed in. I brought her home with me I had to then try to figure out what to do next. while we were sitting down and talking I kept trying to reassure her that I love her so very much and that this was one of the most hardest things that I have ever had to do."She said to me, 'Mom, why does this stuff happen to me ? and I said Why not you Heather? At least you have a voice & with your voice we can help to speak for ones that do not have a voice,'" "There's a lot of people who don't have anyone to speak out for them. But we have a voice, and we can speak out and do something about it. I told her how very proud I was of her and she said to me yea. Mom I'm a good girl. I also have taught her in spite of what has happened God truly does love her.because had we have not gone through what we did.we would have never have known about all the bad things that happen to people.I just kept instilling in her.that her light is shinning so brightly that we are able to bring so much light to all those dark places.I then decided to go public with our story. I spoke at a town-hall meeting and told our story to a local TV station.I also contacted local lawmakers to see if funding was available for others."You got to stand up above the crowd if you want to be heard,It's hard to do, but you got to do it. Everybody has a voice."I put our story out there and pushed hard for help. And my efforts were rewarded.My story has a happy ending, but I was not resting on my own laurels.I started a support group - Divine Hope - and I will continue to advocate for people whose voice is not being heard."I didn't think I would do all of what I have done because I fought my battle, "But I felt it was my duty to do this. Plus God spoke to me and told me this.I didn't take you through all of this for you to sit back and do nothing.he told me that there are so many broken people out in the world that need help.he also said "seek me and I will help you" I will help you to bring light to those dark places so that the fear may be broken and the love may flow.and he has indeed kept his word.I have helped numerous families get what they needed.I tell them all the glory goes to God our Father for it was him that opened up doors and the hearts of people.I look forward to what God has called me to do.at first I looked at it as a burden but have realized that he has a reason and a season for everything its up to us if we want to plug into what he has chosen for us to be and do for him and his Holy kingdom.I remembered there were many times when things were out of my control and did not know what to do next and when things just looked very bad.I would sleep with the bible next to my heart. and tell God it is in your hands.and as I would wake the next morning the things that I was worrying about didn't seem quite as big.the lesson that I have taken from that is Pray without ceasing and trust in him and believe that miracles do happen.The LORD also will be a refuge (a safe place from danger) for the oppressed (those mentally burdened under a heavy weight), a refuge in times of trouble.And they that know THY NAME will put their trust (Faith, confidence) in thee: for thou, LORD, have not forsaken (left without hope or abandoned) them that seek (search, look with the intent of finding) YOU. -Psalms 9:9,10 It has been through the Grace and Peace of God that we have endured and will continue to climb those mountians becuase its when you are on the top can you truly see all the beauty around you.Never! Ever! Give Up because your blessing may just be around the corner waiting for you.