Angela and Cesar first heard about the Down Syndrome Network when they were in the process of determining the official diagnosis for their soon-to-be-born son Joaquin.“We were looking for local resources about Down syndrome online and we found the Down Syndrome Network,” Angela said.

Since becoming part of the Down Syndrome Network, Angela and Cesar said the organization has helped them, Joaquin and his older sister Ximena in a number of ways.

“I have been in the D.A.D.S.’s (Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome) program since May, 2017,” Cesar said, adding that the group gives him and other dads a place to share their experiences with their children.

“The first day I met the group of dads, we sat around and swapped stories. Some of stories were pretty similar, while other experiences were very different. They all had one thing in common, their love for their child was eternal,” Cesar said.

“As a parent, you want to be able to provide for your child, and you want to be able to give them all available opportunities, so they can develop and reach their potential. Just by participating in the D.A.D.S.’s group, I see there is opportunity to express your feelings and hear other suggestions and tips from more seasoned parents.”

Angela also finds it helpful to meet and speak with other parents of children with Down Syndrome.

“As a mom, it is nice to have a local group to turn to if I have questions,” she said, adding that participating in events has also been a wonderful way for young Ximena to get more education about and exposure to individuals with Down syndrome and to feel more comfortable.

“We try to go to events for Joaquin’s age; for example, we did the Down Syndrome Network’s Buddy Walk as a family in October, 2016, and Ximena has also really enjoyed being part of the events,” Angela said.

Angela and Cesar said watching their “very social and charismatic” baby boy grow and learn has been a delight.

“After a year of ups and downs, at the end of the day our little one’s smile brightens anybody’s day. He just brings us so much joy. He is always ready for mischief, ready to learn and already tests the boundaries of what he can get away with,” Cesar said.