When a Movie Gave Us the Hope We Needed for Our Son With Down Syndrome

On November 15, 2014, our lives were forever changed. They changed not just because our first child, Kayeden, was born, but that our first child was born with Down syndrome. We chose not to have genetic testing done, so the diagnosis came as a complete shock. We had no idea what that meant for our son’s future and what new challenges were ahead.

We were given multiple books, websites, DVDs, you name it, to educate ourselves on Down syndrome. It was so much to take in and was extremely overwhelming. There was a huge part of us that was still in denial. This wasn’t what we’d imagined. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Our son has Down syndrome? Were the doctors sure?

Every time we looked at Kayeden, we didn’t see Down syndrome. All we saw was the most beautiful, perfect baby boy. It felt like we were living a dream. How was it possible that this perfect baby boy would grow up to have developmental delays? Would he ever live on his own? Go to college? Get married?

Shortly after Kayeden was born, my husband, Craig, and I heard that a movie, “Where Hope Grows,” was going to be playing at the Kansas City Film Fest where we live. It featured a young man (Produce) with Down syndrome who worked at a grocery store. We were curious what life might be like for Kayeden, so we wanted to see it. The night the movie came out, we all (Kayeden included) headed out. This was going to be Kayeden’s first movie.

After the movie was over, all we could do was smile. There was hope. Produce had a job, lived on his own and did everyday “normal” things just like everyone else. Also, David DeSanctis (the young man who played Produce) was acting, had to memorize lines and interacted with everyone just like any other actor would. It was so inspiring to see. “Where Hope Grows” gave us that last little bit of hope we needed to know that Kayeden’s life, and our lives, were going to be just fine. We knew it was going to be possible for Kayeden to do all the things David (and Produce) could do and even more.

When we were in the hospital, someone told us that all Kayeden needs is someone to believe in him. We can without a doubt, say that we truly do believe that Kayeden will be able to do anything that he wants to do. He will struggle just like any other person will, and he will succeed at anything he puts his heart into. We know this is what our lives were supposed to be like. We believe this was God’s plan all along. We can’t imagine life any other way. We have the perfect baby boy we’ve always dreamed of.

The Andersons: Craig, Emily and Kayeden

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