Julie McConnel was ready to begin a new life after she remarried. She already had three kids from a previous marriage, and after her and new husband Dan had a son, they decided to try for a girl.
In the midst of their attempts, however, Julie was taught once again that life can be utterly unpredictable. She fell pregnant, for sure … with twins.
Now, the odds of a woman having a child with Down syndrome increase to 1 in 100 after she turns 40, so Julie and Dan knew they’d undergo all the necessary checks. After a time, they discovered that her twin boys would indeed be born with the condition.
At 45-years-old, Julie felt that the added strain of raising two children with special needs might be too much. Instead, her and Dan found a family who wanted to adopt the twins, through the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network…
After finding a new family for their sons, however, Julie and Dan found themselves continually putting off the signing of the paperwork that would make the adoption official.
“We wanted to do our due diligence, so we connected with the local Down syndrome association,” she said.
“They were hosting a picnic, so we went and met with some wonderful families who shared their experiences with us.”
It was there that the parents came upon the realization they were letting fear get in the way of adding to their family.
“You love your kids no matter what. When we finally decided that we weren’t going to let our fear stand in our way, it was easy to make our decision,” Julie said
Whilst in the third trimester, they made the decision to keep their sons after all. Milo and Charlie were born healthy and happy, and now Julie and Dan can’t imagine their lives without them.
“My heart came out of my chest when I saw them. I was so smitten,” Julie said. “It’s hard to imagine life without them, but I think I’d miss them every day if we had decided not to keep them.”