Three years ago, a special place took a chance on a young man with Down syndrome and offered him employment. Looking back, I still have a sense of awe about it how the process unfolded. When Bailey was born, I remember projecting into the future. I was fearful that there would never be a place for him. A place to thrive, learn, and be loved. But, when he was in a vocational program and job prospects where slim, I took a leap of faith and asked the question, “Is there a place for Bailey here?”.
This place – an established high school – responsible for educating my youngest, my spouse, my brother-in-law, and three of my nephews, had always been a dream for Bailey to be apart of too. So, when I think of the meeting that was the catalyst for my son’s future, I am overwhelmed with an intense feeling of gratitude. Three years of people being willing to teach him even when they had never worked with anyone with Down syndrome. Three years of comfort knowing that he is safe, loved, and thriving. Three years of him being proud of his job and grinning ear to ear whenever I drop him off. And it all started with a simple question, “Is there a place for Bailey here?”.
Last year, I met with his two bosses. They wanted to discuss how to handle a situation with Bailey. Their approach was loving and they simply wanted my input and my experience. It wasn’t a big deal, but I appreciated that they cared enough to want to understand the best way to talk with him about it. After we were done, they told me that Bailey would always have a home there. And there it was -wrapped in a big red bow – acceptance.
Twenty-three years ago, when I stared down at my son, uncertain about his future, I prayed for a world that would accept him. He found his place. He is loved, safe and growing. He is home.