Shauna Amick Interview

  • Oct. 27, 2017
  • #9260

Shauna reveals the joy and challenges of raising a child with Down syndrome.

Girl with Down syndrome

Hey, hi, it’s October and that’s National Down syndrome month.

I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and there is so much to say about Down syndrome, but rather than me talking, I want you to hear from my friend and co-worker, Shauna Amick. Shauna serves as the vice president of Development here at Joni and Friends, and she has up-close, first-hand knowledge of the challenges and the joys of raising a child with Down syndrome. Welcome Shauna. Tell us how you got connected with our ministry. I think that’s a great story.

SHAUNA: I’m so happy to be here. Well you know, after my daughter, Sarah was born I was looking for support. And there was one friend in my life who had a child with a disability, and she invited me to a very special group. It was called “Moms Morning Out” put on by Joni and Friends New England, where I was living at the time. I was desperate, to tell you the truth, Joni. Just desperate for support and other people who got it, who understood.

JONI: How old was Sarah with her Down syndrome at that point?

SHAUNA: She was under a year old.

JONI: And so you went to this respite, this special day for moms. What was it like?

SHAUNA: It was a breath of fresh air. And I walked into a room, it was right before Christmas time so everything was decorated for the season which just made it all the more special. I walked in, there were about 18 other moms sitting in a circle and every one of them had a child with a disability—different ages, different disabilities. But as we started talking I just realized these ladies not only understood what I was going through, but they were further down the road then I was and God gave me great courage for the days ahead.

JONI: Wow, you were home, weren’t you? You were connected; you found a place where there was wonderful support for you and your family’s needs. But Sarah now is how old?

SHAUNA: She is 12.

JONI: She is 12 with her Down syndrome. What’s been the biggest challenge?

SHAUNA: Not Sarah herself, it’s more when we are out in the world helping other people accept her. I have thought about this, especially just celebrating her birthday. It is hard to be out there in the world and have people give us looks that are not welcoming looks. It’s very challenging to know that she is not always included in different aspects of life outside of the home. It still hurts even today to realize that.

JONI: Oh, that breaks my heart. So you must have good advice for young mothers who give birth to children with Down syndrome. What do you say to them?  

SHAUNA: I say two things. In fact, I was just on the phone with somebody yesterday who has a new baby with Down syndrome. The two things I say are: first off, make sure you are seeing your child through God’s eyes because your baby, Down syndrome and all, is just as precious and fearfully and wonderfully made as every other child. And second, get involved in a good support group from Joni and Friends.

JONI: That’s good to hear. And come to Family Retreat, huh?

SHAUNA: Yes, ma’am. That’s a slice of heaven all by itself.

JONI: It really is. So friend listening if you know someone who is raising a child with Down syndrome, tell them about our Family Retreat. Just go to jonieandfriends.org for all the info. Shauna, I’m sure there are some parents listening who are considering adoption. Would you recommend adopting a child with Downs?

SHAUNA: Oh definitely. My goodness, it will be life-giving and challenging as it is to raise any child, but so much joy and so many blessings that will come from parenting a child with Down syndrome for sure.

JONI: Shauna, thanks so much, and I invite any special-needs mom listening to contact Joni and Friends if you have questions. Who knows, Shauna might even answer some. One need for any family is understanding God’s word on disability. So contact joniandfriends.org/radio today and ask for your free copy of my booklet “God’s Word on Disability”. Let’s celebrate this month all the children we know who, like Sarah, have Down syndrome. Shauna, you have to come back again and share more.

SHAUNA: Oh, I’d love to. Thank you, Joni.

JONI: Thank you.

© Joni and Friends

 

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