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A Letter to Rainbows from a Proud Mom

Dottie is a baby, not a diagnosis

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Dear Rainbows,

Dottie was born November 8th, 2019 with a surprise diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Although my husband and I weren’t burdened by the diagnosis… the onslaught of potential heart, thyroid, feeding problems threw us both into temporary despair. Dottie had a major heart defect that was corrected in July 2020. Thank the Lord! And the other health concerns have since subsided.

As a new parent being welcomed into this new world of special needs, I hoped for encouraging conversations with moms who have walked this path. However, I was left saddened by the amount of sobering talks with parents who shared to “not to set your hopes too high” because “you never really know what could happen”. Doctors and specialist appointments were also bittersweet. I was told multiple times… “Congratulations, she is ahead of typical milestones and development. But the next 6 months is where you typically see the gap grow.”

Dot was 8 weeks old when we met with Leslie from Rainbows. In our first conversation about setting goals for Dottie… I immediately teared up. I wanted ambitious goals, but was so use to being told not to hold my breath. Leslie picked up on this right away. She gently and lovingly reminded me that Dottie was a baby, not a diagnosis. We were going to support this perfect baby in meeting her developmental goals. “High goals are nothing to be ashamed of.” It took every fiber of my being not to break down in tears and give this stranger a huge hug! With Rainbows, I finally felt like it wasn’t just me in Dottie’s corner.

We set audacious and challenging goals, that Dottie has continuously met. Leslie has organized meeting after meeting after meeting with our physical therapist Jamee and speech therapist Taylor. They are soo good at guiding us with resources and exercises, and always believe in Dottie and encourage her and me.

Rainbows works! And it works because you have capable, dedicated and loving people in position to challenge and support families like us. I could NOT do this without our Rainbows’ team, AKA Dot Squad.

We are forever indebted and always in your corner!

Randi Waller, Dottie’s proud Mom

Watch Dottie’s video here.