(by Diana Stadden, Guest Contributor)
A beautiful bride, a handsome groom, surrounded by family and friends celebrating their love, it seemed like a typical event in many people’s lives. But this wedding was not a typical one. Their love was foretold as something that would never happen, not because of common obstacles to a relationship, but because these two young sweethearts have developmental disabilities.
My son David, diagnosed with autism at an early age, and Brittany, who has a genetic disorder that includes a learning disability, met while in high school and attended the same church youth group. Brittany, a very shy and charming young lady, was introduced to David by a friend and they immediately shared a bond of friendship that grew into love.
A few months after they began dating, Brittany’s family came upon hard times and she needed a stable place to live. I invited her to move in with our family, sharing my room, enabling me to really get to know her sweet personality.
There were many things that Brittany had never had or experienced, one being a special birthday party, so for her 18th birthday we held a big birthday dance. Brittany and David’s love had continued to blossom and at the birthday party, with their family and friends surrounding them, David nervously got down on one knee and asked Brittany to be his wife. Eight months later they were married and began living their dream.
Today, they are settling in to their new life as husband and wife. They are both on a pathway to employment; David enjoys fixing computers and Brittany is working with children with developmental disabilities in a Head Start program through her high school transition program. Eventually, they plan to have their own home and someday start a family.
Everyone has the right to a full life, and they often just need the support of those around them to help make it happen. I have been blessed with a wonderful son, who I am so incredibly proud of, and a daughter-in-law who is everything I could have hoped for to share his life with him.
Believe your child is capable of anything and they will show you that they are!
From a very happy mom,