Our daughter, Jeannette Isabella, was born with Trisomy 18. Doctors will tell you that children with this affliction have little or no hope of survival. Indeed, she died at 10 weeks of age. We brought her home from the hospital at 3 days old, knowing that her days were limited. Her life brought such light into our lives as we could have never imagined.
This little 4 lb. girl rarely saw her lovely cradle. We and our seven other children held and cuddled this tiny infant for hours on end. She was tiny, easy to handle, and hardly fussed. She loved to reach out and touch our faces with her bent Trisomy hands. Her life was to date, and will be forever, the greatest experience we have ever had as a family.
True that parents hope for a healthy child at birth and all the days thereafter. But we do not know of a single parent who would trade their child, healthy or otherwise, for any other child in the world. Jeannette was Jeannette and, like all our other children, she was exactly who we wanted the minute she arrived.
She touched our lives deeply and, for a child with no hope, she became, for us, an icon of hope and love. And her short life touched so many other lives that, though she did not spend long upon this earth, her funeral was packed. She helped so many to hope that one day, with more Jeannetties, the whole world might come to realize that all life, however long or short, is a precious gift from God.