What we did and when we did it. Sometimes.

What we did and when we did it. Sometimes. People, places and events to remember.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Meet Gillian. (31 for 21:3)

Nearly a year after Ben was born, someone sent me this link: To the New Mother of a Baby with Down Syndrome.  The sender was a friend from a former workplace, and she had been part of a church that supported the blogger on missions.

It was timely, because I had been reading Gillian's blog for a while, and I loved it.  She said thoughtful things, she said hard things, and she said good things about God and His love and presence in the hard things.  

And she has two daughters with Down syndrome, two without.  And she lives in Chicago and loves MOPS and in the happy imaginary world in my head, I totally felt that we would be BFFS if we ever actually met in person.  

Yes, I am creepy online stalker lady.  And it went a little farther than that - I actually invited myself over to her house when we went to Chicago on vacation!  It turns out that we couldn't have a playdate because our schedule was packed, but I did get to talk to her on the phone.  

Since then, I've emailed her (only every once in a while - I try to reign in my creepy stalker tendencies) with questions about church and kids with special needs.  I told her about our group, and I've asked for prayer.  

She's been helpful and friendly and I have plans to marry Ben off to one of her girls one day.  And maybe Evan, too.

Since beginning to read her blog, I have wondered about her story.  I knew the basic framework: missionary in Ukraine gives birth to daughter with Down syndrome.  Returns to United States with family.  Eventually adopts another child with Down syndrome from Ukraine.

I wanted details!

And now, finally, I have them.  Gillian has written a memoir called Sun Shine Down.  It's a short read, but it gives more depth and detail to the events of her life.  I think the book is too short - there are parts where I wish she would tell me more, but I love the story.  It seems trite to say "she has a way with words," but ... she does.  She's an excellent and insightful writer.

This book fleshes out the hard parts of Polly's birth and diagnosis.  Gillian writes about her failings, and it is freeing - especially as a Christian mom - to hear someone say that they failed.  One of the poignant lines in the book: "I know of other mothers who have children with disabilities, and right away they loved them and decided to fight for them.  That isn't my story."

I have an extra copy of Sun Shine Down that I would love to give away to one reader.  If you would like to enter the drawing, please leave a comment on this post.  I will draw the winner next Friday, October 11th. 


  1. I love that you are a creepy stalker blogging person. That just made me smile 100 times over.

  2. I hope i win the book! Best wishes for the walk!
    Miss ya'll
    Tonny w

  3. I just met Gillian...via your link to her post, "To the New Mother of a Baby with Down Syndrome." You are right. She definitely has a way with words. Thank you for your post! :)