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To My Daughter With Down Syndrome, I Want to Tell You… Your Story

Dear sweet Hannah Grace,

My beautiful daughter, my life changer, my literal gift from God. I want you to know some things about yourself that others may not know. I want to tell you how you’ve impacted not only mine but so many lives around this whole big world. I want to tell you about the special way your Creator knitted you together. I know you’re only 3 years old at the time I write this, but when you’re older you will understand just how amazing you really are. One day I may not be here to tell you how proud I am of you. So I’ll write it down and put it in a book for you to read when you’re older so you never forget how special you are. I want to tell you… your story.


Paperdolls Photography

I want to start by telling you about the day you were born. We came all the way from Maui, Hawaii, back to Tennessee so we could be around family. The big day came and I was so excited to meet you! I had you all-natural, so yeah, ouch! Nothing in this world could’ve prepared me for the moment they laid you on my chest. I knew that I loved you already, but when I saw you look at me with those almond shaped eyes… I knew.

It’s as if you said, ‘Mommy, it’s me, your baby. I hope you love me. I’m the heartbeat you heard that you were so excited about. I’m the same baby who curled up safely inside you. I’m the same one who fell asleep to your heartbeat lullaby. I heard you sing to me in my cozy darkened world. You told me you loved me so much. I will change your life if you will accept mine. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am different, but that’s okay, Mommy, that’s how God wanted me. I will do amazing things if given the chance. I will make you smile every day. God made me especially for you. He said you needed me, and I am all yours now.’

Yes, my gorgeous girl, I knew you were an angel. You see, when Jesus made you, he gave you something very rare. It’s a gift to this world, though some may not realize it. And the people who choose to see what a beautiful gift you are, know for certain they have been touched by something bigger than themselves, and they will never be the same after seeing your heart.


Paperdolls Photography

This gift is called Trisomy 21. God gave you one extra copy of your 21st chromosome. I don’t know how he packed so much love in that tiny microscopic chromosome, but he did. He wanted you to stand out, to teach, to love, and to show others to love unconditionally. He made you on purpose, and for a purpose.

However, every story seems to have some sad parts in it and ours is no exception. All parts of your story are necessary to tell so that you can truly see just how bright you shine. It’s only in the darkest of rooms that you can see how brightly a candle can glow. You were diagnosed with [three] holes in your tiny heart and possible leukemia within hours after your birth. I was devastated and terrified I would lose you. They said that without open heart surgery you wouldn’t make it to age 3 (which by the way you never had to have). I was like a zombie during our stay in the NICU.


Paperdolls Photography

Your daddy did not understand your special gift and the difference it made in you. Sometimes people are afraid of what they don’t understand, and unfortunately, he was one of them. He did not understand how to love with his heart, but instead, he only looked with his eyes.

He left when you were only [five] days old before ever having the chance to know your heart, your smile, or how you love with your whole being. He missed out on what would’ve been the biggest blessing of his life. He taught me that while some people are born with different abilities, others choose to foster ‘disabilities’ they aren’t born with, and he chose a blind heart. Though your earthly father was gone, your Heavenly one never left us. He gave us so many other father figures who love you like you’re their own. But don’t fret my precious daughter, because this is only one chapter of your story. (Spoiler alert: it gets way better!)


Paperdolls Photography

It was a scary time for us, back and forth to oncology and cardiologist appointments. I cried every visit. Your Aunt Anita was at every single one and kept me sane. You were hooked up like an appliance. We didn’t have a home to call our own anymore, a car, or a job. We lived in a hotel for a bit and then with family for several months. I was on a government program that gave me vouchers for pre-selected foods we were ‘allowed’ to eat. I hid my tears from you so you wouldn’t see me cry. I wanted to be strong for you, I wanted to give you the life you deserved, and couch surfing wasn’t that life. After much prayer, God sent me a job so that we could begin rebuilding the broken pieces of our lives. We rented a little old farmhouse. To most people, it didn’t look like much, but to us, it was home. Our new beginning and chance for me to give you a future. Our furniture was donated by a church member and for months we slept on a used mattress on the floor.

Stephanie Mullowney
Stephanie Mullowney
To become a globally published photographer only days after opening her business is an incredible feat in itself. But it’s the unbelievable story leading up to Stephanie’s International recognition that makes her portraiture so special and sought after. She and her newborn daughter were abandoned and left virtually homeless only 5 days after her baby was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Since then, Stephanie has made it her mission to use the platform of photography to capture the hearts of her subjects teaching the world to love like Jesus does with her universal mantra, “Look with your eyes, but see with your heart.” You can find her global publishings, media features, and her amazing testimony at www.paperdollsphotography.com. Stephanie’s home base is in Nashville, T.N. but her extensive portfolio includes clients from all over the U.S. of ALL abilities, colors, shapes and sizes. You will also find Movie, Music, Reality Show, and Pro Athlete Celebrities among her Collections. Her daughter and inspiration, Hannah Grace, is an Ambassador for the global non-profit Nothing Down, a brand rep for Littlest Warrior apparel, and huge part of her local Down Syndrome Community at DSAMT. Hannah's face has been seen in dozens of media and TV features across the globe as she advocates for others like her by just being herself. Inclusion Matters. "Love like Jesus-Advocate like the Devil" -Stephanie Mullowney. See more from Stephanie on her website or connect with her on Facebook.

Gone Without a Trace: Understanding Ghosting and Its Emotional Impact

Ghosting is the act of abruptly ending all communication with someone without any explanation, leaving the person on the receiving end feeling confused, hurt, and often questioning what went wrong.

10 Fascinating Facts About Sleep Paralysis Demons That Will Help Shed Light on This Scary Phenomenon

Discover 10 intriguing facts about sleep paralysis demons. Learn what they are, if they can harm you, and explore their cultural significance.