Unfortunately, not every child is born physically or mentally flawless—some babies may be born with some conditions that may affect their development into adulthood. Nevertheless, they remain perfect in their parents’ eyes!
Twins Charlie and Milo McConnel were born with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is the result of a tripling—instead of a doubling—of a specific chromosome. The genetic malformation causes some developmental difficulties, including moderately reduced cognitive abilities, delayed cognitive development, and a characteristic facial appearance, and other related problems.
Instead of lamenting the condition of their children, parents Dan and Julie have chosen to embrace it.
The couple regularly posts photos of their adorable twins in an attempt to show the world the “upside” of the condition. These photos share the challenges, the joys, and the insider’s truth about raising children with Down syndrome.
“My hope is to attract families that are receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child because that can be really scary. I hope that people will find us, and see that this is what life can be like,” Julie said. “It can be fun, it’s full of love, it’s not scary. We have no regrets, and there is so much joy in our lives, and I hope that people will see that.”
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Throwback to three years ago. We had just gotten the results of the genetic testing to determine if Charlie and Milo were fraternal or identical twins. . In the United States 1 in every 700 babies is born with Down syndrome or about 600 babies per year. One U.K. source states that the chances are less than one in a million that fraternal twins with Down syndrome will occur. . Until I became pregnant with twins I had no idea how to determine what type of twins one might be carrying. Did you know that identical twins can still be in separate sacs in the womb? With my “advanced maternal age” ? my doctor originally assumed the boys were fraternal. That is most common. However once we received the prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for both boys, the geneticist assumed they must be identical. . Charlie was born a full pound bigger than Milo and has remained taller and bigger even since. So from the beginning it was easy to tell them apart. As babies though, we wondered if Milo were to just plump up a bit if maybe the boys would look more identical. We just couldn’t tell for sure by looking what type of twins they were! . So we had them tested. Just a simple cheek swab and mail in the results (and a nice fat check!) and within a couple weeks the results showed that the boys are indeed fraternal twins! . And what we also know about Charlie and Milo is that these boys are remarkable in every way, nothing about them is a mistake and they are precisely who God created them to be! We could not be more thankful for them! . #downsyndrome #upsyndrome #nothingdownaboutit #lifeisbetterwithyou #twinswithdownsyndrome #t21 #theluckyfew #downsyndromeawarenessmonth
While some people may not agree with their actions or that the twins are beautiful in their own way, it is undeniable that they are creating a community for parents of children with Down syndrome—a safe space where they can share their experience, too, and learn more about others’ experience.
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Day 11. Things are definitely looking up. We only woke the boys once in the night for medicine and they slept wonderfully the rest of the time! ?? . There was still some sadness from Charlie with his lunchtime medicine so I think we may need to step it back up a little during the day again. I may have cut out some doses too soon. ☹️ Poor little dude. . And then this morning, randomly, Milo threw up! He was cranky when we dropped Andy off for school and then I had the bright idea to take them to a little open gym to play until it was time to pick him up. Milo was grumping the whole way and I just figured it was his usual displeasure with the car. . He didn’t quite make it in the door. Barfed right there on the welcome mat. I looked in at the lady at the desk and said, “Maybe we will come back a different day!” ?♀️ . She didn’t argue. . So a little more lying low with Signing Time this morning. And then Charlie goes and does this! Crawls up on the couch (as you can see, wisely covered by a blanket, just in case) and puts his arms around his sad brother. Awwww!!! ❤️❤️❤️ Heart melted!! . At least I’m assuming this was a hug and not a sneaky choking attempt…. ? . #downsyndrome #upsyndrome #nothingdownaboutit #lifeisbetterwithyou #twinswithdownsyndrome #t21 #theluckyfew
“It takes them a little longer to meet milestones, but when they meet goals we celebrate like no other parents alive,” sid Julie. “We throw a party and we’re so excited for them when they accomplish those things.”
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Game Day! And the boys are still pretty much at the top of their game. There were a few tears today, extra long snuggles after nap and getting them to eat required some persistence, but overall it was another surprisingly great day! . Just to catch up any new followers, Charlie and Milo had their tonsils and adenoids removed on Tuesday and we have been bracing ourselves for a very difficult recovery. . Today was Day 5 and their breath, well, let’s just say we couldn’t always tell if we should give them a stick of Trident or check their diapers, ya know what I’m sayin’? But for whatever reason – we don’t really care why, just are thanking God every day for it – they continue to act as if they feel very well! . The boys spent the evening watching Boise State’s first game, playing our own version of football and eating ice cream, French fries and soft, heavily buttered Eggo waffles. Now we have a relaxing Sunday and Monday holiday to rest up! . I believe it truly is a mercy from God that the boys have been feeling so well. I took a look in their throats today and there was some definite major work done in there! I’d probably be crying all day if it were me! . Thank you all once again for following along, checking in on us and encouraging us! (((Hugs))) . #downsyndrome #upsyndrome #nothingdownaboutit #lifeisbetterwithyou #twinswithdownsyndrome #t21 #theluckyfew
“It’s big to show everyone else that we are here, and there are all these kids in our community, and we hope that they will see us and remember us and that things will continue to change in our communities with lots of acceptance,” their dad added.
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And that’s a wrap for the birthday celebrations! Today we celebrated with our family and close friends with a yummy grilled cheese bar (Google this right now and plan a party – YUM!) and cupcakes baked in ice cream cones. Charlie and Milo are crazy about ice cream cones – ice cream is fine and all, but it’s the cones they love! So it was the perfect treat and both boys ate every. last. bite. . Milo decided today that he is officially a threenager. All day long it was “No! No! No! No!” At church, he didn’t want to go with us down the hall. “No!” At home he didn’t want to take a nap. “No!” At dinner he didn’t want his grilled cheese. “No!” And I kid you not, when I turned on the camera to record this behavior, he instantly became aaaallllll sweetness! Swipe left for the video. I’m concerned for this kid’s future now… ?? . Friends, thank you so much for all your kind words and wishes for us this birthday season and every day! I wish I had time to answer every comment. Please know that I read them all and I can feel the love you all share! Thank you for following our crazy story! Blessings!! ❤️❤️ . #downsyndrome #upsyndrome #nothingdownaboutit #lifeisbetterwithyou #twinswithdownsyndrome #t21 #theluckyfew
“We’re standing on the shoulders of other parents that have paved the way for all these things to happen and it’s an exciting time to have a child with Down syndrome…I want to see them grow up and do whatever they want to do.”
Don’t you think these twins a beautiful? We’re sure they will take on every challenge and conquer every obstacle because they are so loved! Please share to spread the message of love and acceptance!