*I originally posted this last year on October 17th. Wanting to remind myself of some of the people who influenced me in this decision to adopt Liza, I figured I'd repost some of them for 31 for 21*
Dale T. was a friend of my Godfamily. They all went to church together and he loved my Godsisters, especially Kelly and Cheryl. I remember the first Sunday that I met Dale, I was going to church with them for the first time and I guess Cheryl and I were both around 11 or 12. She told me on the way there that he would come over to us, probably give her a hug, and would want to know who I was. She told me that he was different and that he was actually alot older than us but not to be afraid of him he was really a sweet guy. I didn't have any clue what she was talking about and had to wonder about this guy. It turned out that Dale was a friendly guy, who loved his church family and the Lord, and who also happened to have been born with Down Syndrome.
I don't remember much about him, but I do remember that I liked him. It was kind of hard not to. You just can't not like someone who knows instinctively how to make you feel welcome. He was a part of the youth group in his early 30's and of course I knew then it was because he was more on our level, but I didn't realize how great that was for a Southern Baptist church in Georgia in the late 80's early 90's. In fact, I guess it's pretty impressive that his parents raised him at home at all. In the day and age he was born it was still common for babies like him to be sent away. How sad! We may have never gotten the chance to know Dale? He broadened our horizons, helped us to be more accepting of people who were different than us. I know he took away misconceptions that we may have developed if we had never had the chance to know him.
I, for one, am thankful that I was blessed to know Dale T.