Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We received this from Darren’s sister, Matthew’s Aunt Karen.


Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.”

I cried as I read this. I am no longer mourning the fact that we didn’t go to Italy. We’ve been to Italy twice before. It’s wonderful, but I’ve never been to Holland. I’m excited that we are going to a different place. We'll enjoy and cherish Holland. It will be good for our family!

With that though, I am scared…when I think too far in the future, about all of the unknown. I’ve never been to Holland. What is it going to be like? How am I going to navigate my way around? Then I’m reminded again of what I realized that early morning before our hospital stay…this moment is the only one we’ve been promised. No one is promised a particular future.

At this moment, I am thankful we are joyfully experiencing the typical newborn issues (Matthew’s sleeping when he should be eating and awake when he should be sleeping) and learning the craziness of 3 kids 4 yrs old and under. I just need to be reminded (probably time and time again) that we’ll deal with tomorrow when it comes.

Thank you to everyone who sent welcome home messages and have followed and celebrated with us!


  1. Katie - You had never been to Italy before you met Alyssa right? And look how well that has worked out. Remember that you have all the personal qualities needed to have a great experience in Holland. You probably have a few more things up your sleeve that you never needed in Italy and never knew you even had. Have a great time. You are the perfect parents for Matthew and he is the perfect third child for you. You were hand-picked for each other after all. Looking forward to hearing about how you discover that to be true. Easy for me to say, maybe. So, if you want to talk to someone who has been to Italy and then to Holland, don't hesitate to reach out to Charlotte. Not only will she be a great resource for you, she has already identified lots of great guide books -- literally and figuratively.

  2. Katie and Darren - I can tell you from our experience of having 3 three kids. It's definitely an adventure. And you will never be bored - EVER! Though are excitement is different now that our kids are older (12,11 and 6) it's still an adventure every single day. When our youngest Sean, was 12mos old he accidentally turned a bowl of boiling water over on himself. We spent 5 days in the Jaycee UNC Burn Unit. He had 2nd degree burns on 20% of his tiny body. When I would begin to feel sorry for us, I would pick up my baby and take a walk around the burn unit. By the time we made it back to his room, I felt so blessed. My baby was ok, he was talking and moving around on his own. So, I too understand about going to Holland. Every once in awhile I would remember what is was like in Italy. We too had been there twice. But I tell you what we absolutely adorn Holland now. He's the light on our family. He's fine by the way. He still has scars mainly on his chest and arms. But he knows what they are and enbracing them as being part of him. You guys have a long road ahead, but you won't be able to imagine your life without it. Welcome home baby Matthew!!! God Bless - Nikki

  3. Katie- I am glad someone else sent you "Welcome to Holland" . Keep a copy readily available. I still read it as I often need to be reminded. Holland is a beautiful place to be. Our little Claire is the most delightful child. She has a gift of drawing people to her and she always lights up the room. Matthew will find his way in this world with the help of two amazing parents. I firmly believe that special children are given to special parents. God chose you and Darren to be the parents of Alyssa, Jackson and Matthew because you have the ability to provide them everything they need.
    I'm so happy all five of you are home and together. Claire was in the hospital for 47 days before she was able to come home. I remember being so excited when all five of us were finally living under the same roof. God Bless the Hoys! - Charlotte

  4. God bless you, Holland, and even Italy.

  5. They speak English in Holland, and it is very pretty there.

    I'm going to send you guys a private message about our special kiddo. Little ones are very resilient. Matthew will find his way with his unique set of tools.

    ...and I whole-heartedly agree that Matthew was sent to you two because you are best equiped to help him on his journey.

    ~big hugs to you all~

  6. I was in tears as I read this. What a wonderful piece of writing. Most certainly you have been very specially chosen by God and entrusted with Matthew's care here on Earth. He is a very lucky little dude. Just you can teach other people how to speak Dutch!

  7. beautiful. best wishes to your family.