Today is 3/21/2015. I just found out that today is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. March 21 is chosen because the technical term for Down Syndrome is “trisomy 21”, meaning that there are 3 copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual 2 copies.
Our daughter Anah has that extra 21st chromosome that the rest of our family does not. That is not a mistake. It is not some cosmic accident. No, it is part of God’s good design for her. And it is part of God’s good design for our family.
When we adopted her into our family 2 1/2 years ago, we gave her the name Anah Joy. Anah is a Hebrew name meaning “God has answered.” We wanted her to know that God knows the longings of her heart for a home and family, and He has answered her. And from what little we knew about Down Syndrome (from our experience with my nephew Ezra and our friend’s daughter Alina), we knew that there is a simplicity and joy that exudes from many people with Down Syndrome, so we gave Anah the middle name of Joy.
Our prayer for each of our children is that God would use them to bless others, both now in their childhood and later on in adulthood. It is that desire and prayer which then compels us to train and disciple our children in such a way that they will indeed be a blessing to others. And so that is our prayer for Anah Joy as well, that God would use her uniqueness to bless others in unique ways, and that her extra chromosome would result in extra blessing as she shares her simple joy with others. So to that end we labor, doing all we can to train her in the way of Christ, and trusting that God will do what we cannot to make her into a blessing to others.