A bit about us....
My husband and I both grew up in Orem. We knew of each other in high school, but did not actually meet until he returned home from his mission in Boston and started working at the company I was a receptionist at. We were married in March of 2000 and by October of 2001 had our first baby girl. Since then, we had four more children. Ryllie (daughter 16), Maddux (daughter 14), Cy (son 12), Hadlie (daughter 10), and Gehrig (son 5).
After our fourth child, we thought our family was complete, but five years later, we both felt there was another waiting to join our family. At this point in our lives we were feeling secure in our home, jobs, and we were even starting to taste a little freedom with our oldest being old enough to babysit for us! But we felt that there was another baby ready to join our family.
I was 36 when Gehrig was born. And we were totally surprised when the Dr. came in after delivery and told us that our son had Down Syndrome. I had no previous experience with children with special needs. I was terrified! As a mother, and the main caretaker and nurturer in our home, my mind flashed forward 30 years, and all my future plans seemed changed, and altered, and I was not sure I was going to be okay. I quickly looked to my husband to see how he was taking the news. He was smiling ear to ear, and continued to say how awesome the news was and how excited he was to have this special boy joining our family. How grateful I was for his instant love and excitement for this new path our family was on.
After the visitors and medical staff left and it was finally just Casey and I, I began to sob. He climbed into the uncomfortable hospital bed with me and held me, as I went on to tell him how scared I was and how unprepared I felt to raise this child. He assured me that everything would be fine.
Well, I blinked and five years passed. I cannot even begin to express the joy that this child has brought to my family and to all those who meet him. I absolutely love what the future holds for me with this little boy in it. I've realized that all the things I hoped to do in my future, all the plans that I thought would have to change, don't have to change at all! I can still travel, I can still serve in my church, and Gehrig will just come along with us! He will continue to shine bright! And how lucky I am to be his mom. And how grateful I am that God trusted me to raise him. And how grateful I am that I get to be in this special "club" with other families who have children with special needs, because it is a blessing beyond measure! We have a saying in our home, that Gehrig's diagnosis of Down Syndrome is definitely "more up than down!"
Thank you again for the opportunity!
Hollie Hansen & Rig. :)
Pictured: Hollie Hansen & and her son, Gehrig
Mom's clothing, hair and makeup provided by: Lulu Bella Boutique
Photographer: Jenny Lyn Photography
Location: White Space Studio
For more information about the United Angels Foundation, visit www.unitedangels.org