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There’s a New Political Player in Town!

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 in Activities | 0 comments

Congresswoman-Meagan_and-friends

Megan Schiedler had a great time at Buddy Walk Washington 2016, highlighted by her new friend, Honorable Kevin McCarthy, asking for some assistance in a critical House vote….

DSNO Dance Event

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Activities, Health & Fitness | 0 comments

Innovative Dance in Wilsonville offers a Saturday dance class at 10 am and 11 am.
Come One Come All

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.21.18 AM

Our class is for kids who love to dance that need some extra support! This class recognizes that all children grow and develop at different paces. It is designed to invite children with special needs into the world of dance. Classes will be structured to support a variety of dance disabilities including, but not limited to: AD/HD, autism, spectrum disorder, learning and communication disability, and Down syndrome.

About the class:
The class will run for 45 minutes in ten-week sessions. Kids will be learning basic dance technique involving ballet and jazz as well as developing rhythm, imitation, social skills, taking turns and sequencing in a fun and supportive environment! This class is for kids who do not need one-to-one assistance.

Please join us to keep this wonderful class going. All ages welcome.
Attached is a flyer and here is the link http://innovativedance.net/


If you can’t figure out how to register online, just show up Saturday and someone will help you.
WHEN: This Saturday! April 16th.
WHERE: Innovative Dance
30625 A SW Boones Ferry Rd.
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(503) 570-885

This is such a great class for our community, please support it. Siblings and friends are always welcome to dance or be
dance helpers.

Sibshops: A program for siblings of kids with special needs

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Activities | 0 comments

Sibshops Flier 2016Sibshops

Sibshops is a lively, fun-filled, 3-hour workshop that celebrates the many contributions made by the siblings of kids with special needs. Sibshops acknowledge that being a brother or sister of a person with special needs is for some a good thing, for others a not-so-good thing, and for many, somewhere in-between. The Sibshop model mixes information and discussion activities with unique games and special guests.

See the flyer for more information.

 

My Journey to Holland

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Parents | 0 comments

Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

In 1987 Emily Perl Kingsley wrote a short essay called “Welcome to Holland”. Several years back, long before our Holland (or even our Italy plans), someone shared this with me. It struck a chord with me. It has become somewhat of an analogy to my journey to motherhood, and more recently becoming Max’s mom. This is the essay:

“Welcome to Holland”

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans.

The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go.

Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

Jaime RobertsonBut there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

My Journey

In late 2012 my husband and I made the decision to register as a waiting, adoptive family with the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network. A decision that would forever change our lives. NDSAN provides support to birth families who’ve received a Down syndrome diagnosis. They help them either in their journey to parent or to navigate the road to adoption, if that’s what they decide is best. Their mission is to ensure that every child born with Down Syndrome has the opportunity to grow up in a loving family. They work tirelessly and do so much good. We are forever grateful for all they’ve done for our family.

IMG_1746When we made the decision to be added to the NDSAN registry, we had already been approved and hoping to adopt again for a little over two years. We were registered with a private adoption agency. We had been considered by several different birth families over that time, but for different reasons we were never able to successfully adopt. Something just didn’t feel right and I couldn’t shake the idea that we would have a child with special needs. I had felt that way since we first started talking about having children. Before I even knew, that my journey to motherhood would be through adoption. It took my husband a little longer to be fully on board. Let me be clear, it wasn’t that he was against having a child with Down syndrome, it was only the timing. We both understood what a huge, and expensive, undertaking it is to adopt a child, let alone a child with special needs, and we wanted to be sure that we were as prepared as we could be.

This was never our “Plan B”. You know, we did this because there were no typical children available. Not at all. This is what we wanted. This was my dream. My heart ached for the day I would get to hold our special, little angel. The one I always felt was waiting for me in Heaven. See, David and I had both spent significant time with children and adults who have Down syndrome. We understood the physical, mental and emotional needs these individuals can have. We knew that although a child with Down syndrome has different needs than a typical child, the reward of love and joy that comes with the extra time and effort is worth every minute of hard work. I was excited and ready to do my absolute best to give our next child everything they would need to grow up happy, healthy and successful.

Fast forward to Spring 2014. We were again contacted about being considered by a birth family for a baby boy who would be born with Down syndrome. We had been through this several times previously. Like always, we said we wanted to be considered, within 20 minutes we were in contact with the birth mother and the rest is history! That was Max. This was our little guy. It was finally our time.

IMG_1787Max is 20 months old now. We have an amazing relationship with his birth mom and all of her family. We are so in love with Max and just can’t imagine our life without him. I can say without a doubt, that although my journey in Holland hasn’t been long, it’s been worth it. It truly is one of the best things that has happened in my life. I never knew I could love this deeply. Max has given me a totally new outlook on life and a much greater appreciation for the little things. When I envisioned my path to motherhood, I never in a million years would have expected it to lead here, but there are no words to express the gratitude for where I am today and what I’m blessed with. It’s different here, it’s not Italy, but it’s so beautiful.

Although we are so in love and so very happy, it’s not to be mistaken that everything is perfect or easy. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to be a parent to a child with special needs. Some days are really, really hard. Most days there is a therapist coming, or a therapy to be to, or another doctor’s appointment to be at. It’s stressful and can be overwhelming, but what’s the most difficult is watching Max struggle with the physical and developmental obstacles that are in his way. Max’s “team” of physical therapists, occupational therapists, play therapist, speech therapists, his pediatrician and many, many specialists help him face his challenges head on. Slowly, but surely, he’s doing it. Each milestone or goal met is a huge celebration! Milestone by little milestone, goal by small goal he’ll overcome the obstacles he faces. He’ll be the very best Max he can be.

Every time I look at Max, he’s a reminder that landing in Holland was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. He’s absolutely perfect. He’s my Holland Tour Guide. I’m a Holland Tourist…and it sure is beautiful here.

“My Journey to Holland” Author

Jaime Robertson lives outside Portland, Oregon with her husband and kids. She is an adoptive mom of two, Oakley (7) and Max (20 months). She enjoys photography, running and just being with her family.

Jaime Robertson
Photo Credit: Katie Pierce Photography https://www.facebook.com/Katie-Pierce-Photography-125916041682/

Lights Up, Sound Down

Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 in Activities | 0 comments

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.51.48 PMFor those of you that don’t know much about our Lights Up, Sound Down movies, we rent out a local movie theater, turn the lights up and keep the sound down for a more sensory friendly environment and invite families in the community to enjoy a free movie. It’s by far our most popular event!

MassMutual Oregon’s SpecialCare Planning Team Invites you to a SENSORY FRIENDLY SCREENING OF KUNG FU PANDA 3!

WHEN: Saturday, February 13th, 2016
Doors open at 9:30
WHERE:BRIDGEPORT VILLAGE STADIUM 18
7329 SW Bridgeport Road
Tigard, Oregon 97224
Auditorium 6

I really appreciate the partnership we have with DSNO, so I wanted to give your families the first opportunity at attending! It usually fills up in a matter of days.

*LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE! TO GET YOURS, CONTACT: Alisha Langford (503) 542-9482 alishalangford@financialguide.com

DOWNLOAD FLYER

National Down Syndrome Adoption Network (NDSAN): An Introduction

Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What is the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network?

ndsan-logo

All children benefit from the opportunity to grow up in a loving family, but not all birth families feel they are able to meet the needs of a child born with Down syndrome.

The National Down Syndrome Adoption Network provides information to birth families who may be seeking alternatives to parenting as they prepare for the arrival of their child. Making an adoption plan for a child with Down syndrome is a loving choice and can be the right choice for some families.

The NDSAN is also there to provide support to families who wish to adopt a child with Down syndrome.

There are no fees for any of the services provided by the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network.

Their mission is to ensure that every child born with Down syndrome has the opportunity to grow up in a loving family.

To learn more about the NDSAN, download their brochure.

DSNO & Its Volunteers Help Change Lives

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Activities, Down syndrome, Parents | 0 comments

Our goal is to support families, friends and individuals with Down syndrome through small gatherings, family outings, providing educational scholarships and attending regional/national events.

While the funds raised through our fundraisers and generous benefactors provide valuable financial support for our programs and services; we pride ourselves on the members of this community who give their time and dedication to our kids. It is only by the virtue of our fantastic volunteers that DSNO continues to be an incredible organization.

This I Believe

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Activities, Down syndrome, Parents | 0 comments

Dear Families at DSNO,

When my daughter Megan was born, my biggest fear is that she would have no friends. I could not think of anything worse. To go though life alone; no playdates, no birthday parties and the worst vision of all, sitting alone at the lunch table at school. Each educational level had it’s own fears – grade school, junior high and high school, but our experience at Our Lady of the Lake was so loved filled, thanks to the parents, teachers and children such as the one you are about to see in this video.

After leaving the cocoon of OLL, I was petrified to begin Lake Oswego High School. But Megan, Eli and the rest of their friends were accepted and loved by the student body. BUT WHY? Yes, we love them so much and see what they have to offer the world, but why would any typical16 year old feel the same way without knowing our kids. Enter Julianna Ramey. She made it her personal mission to introduce Megan and Eli and friends to LOHS. Coach Eric said Megan, Eli and David could be in the cross country team, but needed someone to come to practice every day and run with them. Julianna did this for Megan every day. She organized a flag football game between our Challenger athletes and the Lake Oswego High School Football team. It was a blast.

This remarkable young woman invited Megan and her date, Eli, to sit with their Homecoming group at Manzanas and ride to party bus up to the high school. Winter formal was the same way. The two of them were invited to the pre-party at a beautiful home in West Linn and dinner at the Oregon Country Club. The list goes on and on. Julianna was raised to live like Christ and celebrate and honor the least among us, EVERY DAY and in many-many ways.

It is impossible to thank Julianna for what she has given me – it’s is priceless. But she is not in it for the thanks. She is in it because she loves.

Oh and those fears I had …. long gone

2016 Dance Class at Innovative Dance!

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in Activities | 0 comments

innovative dance

Come join us for our Special Needs Dance Class at Innovative Dance!

Our class is for kids who love to dance that need some extra support! This class recognizes that all children grow and develop at different paces. It is designed to invite children with special needs into the world of dance. Classes will be structured to support a variety of dance disabilities including, but not limited to: AD/HD, autism, spectrum disorder, learning and communication disability, and Down syndrome.

About the Class

The class will run for 45 minutes in ten-week sessions. Kids will be learning basic dance technique involving ballet and jazz as well as developing rhythm, imitation, social skills, taking turns and sequencing in a fun and supportive environment! This class is for kids who do not need one-to-one assistance.

$135 for each ten-week session.

Please register online at innovativedance.net

Coming up 2016 sessions:

10 Week Session: Jan. 9 – Mar. 12

Time: Saturdays, 11:00-11:45am

Location: Innovative Dance Studio
30625 A SW Boones Ferry Rd.
Wilsonville, OR 97070

(503) 570-8858

If you have any questions/concerns or would like to meet in person, please contact Samantha directly via email at starreed@comcast.net.

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