Fashion Lifestyle

A Piece of My Story In Motherhood: How I Embraced Special Needs

May 10, 2017

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This thing we do called life can be a tricky one sometimes. Just when we think everything is going right something gets thrown into the mix and throws everything off. The unexpected can be frustrating and at times even devastating. When these obstacles occur we go through several emotions trying to understand how and why they happened. Some of us even question and doubt God with thoughts like “what did we do to deserve this?” and “how could you allow this to happen?”. This is the way my story as a mother started.

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As some of you know, our first born son Dominic was diagnosed in the womb with Down Syndrome and a heart defect 13 years ago. This unexpected and painful news came over my husband and I like a whirlwind that at times nearly knocked us off our feet. The amount of heartache and sadness from the challenges we were faced with was overwhelming and quite unbearable at times.

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Over the years, my saddened heart continued to ask God those very questions “Why did you allow this to happen to me? Did I do something to deserve this?”. One day God decided to answer me. He said, “What did “Dominic” do to deserve this? Annette, no one did anything to deserve this. I know it hurts and seems hard, but I promise if you turn it over to me I will turn it into good and My glory WILL shine through. Will you help be that vehicle for me?”.

His tender words immediately stopped me in my tracks. The thought that I was making this all about ME and how it affected ME, and not once had I considered the fact that my sweet boy didn’t deserve it either….broke my heart beyond words. I felt so selfish and ashamed. That powerful moment was a moment I will never forget. It was my “aha” moment, my moment of release from allowing an unfortunate circumstance steal my purpose as a mother.

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God helped me see that he specifically hand picked my husband and I as parents to properly care, nurture, and guide His precious son Dominic in this world. Not because He felt we needed to experience heartbreak. It’s because He loved Dominic and believed we had exactly what it would take to accommodate his special needs so that Dominic’s purpose could be fulfilled.

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At that moment my perspective changed from doom and despair to a higher calling for His glory.

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The truth of the matter is, we were never promised an obstacle free journey in this life. We will ALWAYS face new unwanted circumstances along the way. However we were promised that if we seek God and trust Him and His Word, He will turn all things into good for His glory for those that love Him.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Dominic. It was during a time when we were having extreme challenges with his behavior. As we were sitting in church, I looked over and saw him praying to his Heavenly Father. Seeing this blessed my heart so deeply. I believe God wanted me to know He is working with Dominic and that everything is going to be ok.

God has a plan, a purpose, a higher calling for every single one of our lives. When the obstacles in life are thrown at us like a whirlwind, I pray that we seek His face for guidance. Choose to be that vehicle for His ultimate glory to shine through.

*The meaning behind the name DOMINIC is: Belongs to God

These photos are from his Special Olympics Tournament this past week. He won 2nd place in the Softball Throw. 🙂

Dominic, Tatum (sister), August (brother)

♥ My family ♥

In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

Life can be hard and blow us in directions we don’t want to go. But if we trust God, seek His face, and stand in his strength, He will turn it to good and His presence will shine through and get all the glory.

I always knew the day would come when I would share this experience with you here at Textures of Grace. Who knew a little windy photo shoot experience that I captioned on my Instagram photo here  would be God’s way to open that door for me to share. 🙂

To the parents and families who have individuals with special needs:

Please know that you are not alone. We were chosen for these special individuals because we have that special something to see them through according to His plan. It’s a big responsibility and the journey is not an easy one. But we have been given a special gift…choose to embrace it. And the blessings will come.

I am no expert, nor do I feel I have it all figured out. I am just a mother sharing a piece of my own story. I pray that anyone that reads this that may be going through a similar situation will feel some form of hope and encouragement.

God bless you and yours.

Annette ♥

P.S. Whether it be in the comments below or via email at I am always here for you.

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TOP Who What Wear || SKIRT Old Navy || SHOES Charlotte Russe || BAG Cato


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  • Reply Pamela Canard May 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    thanks for sharing Annette, I always get a blessing reading what you have to say. your pics are Prety too.

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Thank you Aunt Pam. I really appreciate you reading and your support. xo

  • Reply Brenda May 10, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    God bless you and your family Annette!! You can’t imagine how much this touched my heart. Being parents to a Special Needs son is so hard but very rewarded. With every loving hug and every “I Love You Mom”. Thank you for blogging about it and giving others courage and light. <3

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Thank you Brenda for reading and your continued support and friendship. Your right it is so rewarding….just being a mom is rewarding. xo

  • Reply Megan Jones May 10, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Love your pictures, and your sweet family!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you Megan, I appreciate you reading. Have a great night.

  • Reply Amy Jones May 10, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Such a great perspective! Thank you sharing a piece of your story!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you Amy. 🙂

  • Reply Patricia May 10, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Annette, This truly touched me. I’m so happy that you opened up here. Dominic is blessed to have you as parents and what a powerful word God gave you. Sometimes it’s hard. I’m in a season of wanting to question a lot right now, but as I continue to trust in him I know it will always lead to the peace, comfort and answers we seek. You are blessed!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you Patricia for your continued support. God is always there for us no matter what. I appreciate you reading. Have a good night. xo

  • Reply Stacy Rogers May 10, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    I’m so impressed by you and your family Annette. I just love your heart!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you Stacy for your kind words and support. xo

  • Reply Alyssa Funk May 10, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! What a sweet boy you have. God is so good!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Thank you Alyssa. I appreciate you reading. Have a great night.

  • Reply Dell Mara Lovell May 10, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Annette, my eyes are overflowing with tears. They are actually tears of joy for seeing how God has used Dominic and your whole family. I am a firm believer the “angels unaware” are often in the form of Dominic, my friend Shelly, and so many other children and young people. Sometimes I think it’s us that have the special needs because God chooses to give us the love of people who see us with his eyes, not our preconceived ideas. Thank you for sharing your family’s story.

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you Dell Mara for reading and your continued support. Your so right they bless us in so many ways. xo

  • Reply Jennifer May 10, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Your story has touched my heart! God chooses very special people for his most precious children. God bless you and your family!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you Jennifer. I really appreciate you reading. 🙂

  • Reply Silvia May 10, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Annette this was so beautifully written but not as near as beautiful as you are a person. You are so strong and I love how you unfolded your situation into something for good and saw it it in a completely different light! You have such a beautiful family and I know God chose you for everything that you have because you are strong, loving, caring, and an amazing mother to those kids. One day I hope to be the same as you when I have my kids and I hope I am just as strong and graceful as you are! Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and a little more about your sweet son! He is a cutie like his mama!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Awe thank you Silvia for your kind words. You touched my heart. Thank you so much for your continued friendship and support. xo

  • Reply Andrea May 11, 2017 at 5:21 am

    He looks like he’s a really great kid – and how proud you must be of him!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Yes he is! 🙂 Thank you Andrea. I appreciate you reading.

  • Reply Amy Rillf May 11, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! You are beautiful inside and out!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you Amy for your kind words and continued support. I so appreciate it. xo

  • Reply D at Be you and thrive May 11, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Annette! Thank you for sharing from your heart! Absolutely God uses our gifts through all sorts of vehicles. I am so proud of you for seeing the gift that Dominic has to offer others! What greatness in finding our voice and passion in something we would have never planned.
    Big love to you!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Thank you so much. I appreciate you reading.

  • Reply Courtney May 11, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Such a beautiful story to share. Thank you for showing the world how God can use such challenging circumstances and pain for His glory and our good! Your family is so lovely!

    • Reply Annette May 11, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you Courtney for your kind words. I really appreciate you reading. 🙂

  • Reply Charity May 11, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    This is beautiful. I love your faith and perseverance through it all. What a testimony!

    • Reply Annette May 15, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Thank you Charity. I appreciate you reading and your continued support. xo

  • Reply Keala May 11, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Annette this was beautiful. What a heart you have and the lord knew that when he placed Dominic in your lives.

    • Reply Annette May 15, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Thank you Keala for your kind words. I appreciate you taking the time to read. 🙂 Have a great week.

  • Reply Kendel @ Little Misadventures May 11, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    He looks like such a sweet boy! I had a ‘why me?’ moment when I was in NICU with my son. Thankfully, everything is okay now, but it was a real struggle when he was only two days old. I love how strongly I can feel your faith through this post! Absolutely lovely!

    • Reply Annette May 15, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Thank you Kendel. I’m so happy to hear your son is doing well. Those “why me” moments are tough, but thankfully God is right by our side through it all with loving arms. I appreciate you reading. Hope you have a great week.

  • Reply Angela Amores May 11, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Annette, thanks for sharing your story. I love your story, and learning more about your sweet family. You are a strong and amazing women. I love how you found answers in your faith, and saw that you were the answer for your sweet boy. Loved reading this!!

    • Reply Annette May 15, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Thank you Angela for your kind words. I really appreciate you reading and your continued support. I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day with your babies. xo

  • Reply Bailey May 12, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Annette, thank you for being so vulnerable. God will use this for your good and His glory! I have no doubts.

    • Reply Annette May 15, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Thank you Bailey, I really appreciate that. I hope you had a great weekend. 🙂

  • Reply Kami Guertin May 13, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Absolutely beautiful- both the words and the pictures! You amaze me!!!!

    • Reply Annette May 15, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Thank you Kami. 🙂 I really appreciate you taking the time to read and your continued support. I hope you had a great Mother’s Day with your littles. xo

  • Reply Amber Battishill May 13, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Simply beautiful mama! Your son is lucky to have such an amazing mother. My sister and brother in law are both special needs and I can relate to how overwhelming it can be at times. I’m so happy that you have found peace and comfort in that you were made to be his mother because you are able to care for him so well.

    • Reply Annette May 15, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Thank you Amber for your kind words. It is definitely a life that is often misunderstood unless you have lived it. I wish you and your family warm wishes. I really appreciate you reading. Hope you have a great week. xo

  • Reply Jackie May 15, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Thank you for sharing. He could not have picked better parents.

    • Reply Annette May 15, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Thank you Jackie for your kind words and continued support all these years. I appreciate you reading. xo

  • Reply Cheryl July 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you for allowing yourself to be vunerable with us. I know it will help many because even though I may not have the same circumstances, your story of how faith can get you through anything will resonate with many! I plan to share it to try and reach others with it as well

    • Reply Annette July 16, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Thank you Cheryl for your kind words. You are so right…we all face varies challenges in our own lives, but God can use pieces within our unique testimonies in so many ways to bring hope to others. I’m so glad you plan to share your story to encourage others. That’s what it’s all about. I appreciate you stopping by to read Cheryl. xo

  • Reply Molly October 22, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Annette, I loved reading this post and hearing about your story of your son. Your words really touched me. Though I don’t have a special needs child, I applied your words to my role as a single mother. I guess I never thought of it that way to be thinking more of how it affects the kids and less about how it affects me. Thank you for that reminder and that God has placed me as their mom in this situation for a special purpose. Thank you. ❤️

    • Reply Annette October 23, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you Molly for sharing your thoughts. I’m so happy to hear that my experience resonated with you in our own situation. It really is so hard sometimes to look outside our own hurt and pain in a situation and forget others are affected too. I was so thankful God showed me that revelation. It was exactly what I needed to move on and be that mom Dominic needed me to be for his future. Prayers and warmest wishes for you and your children in this season in your life. Life is hard…but as long as we are doing our best and continue to seek Him, He will continue where we can’t. xo

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