My friends have a little girl with trisomy 21 whom they adopted. They adopted her when she was about 15 months old and she was already responding to the name she had been given, which was Joyce. I don't know if they liked the name so much at first but they were not going to tamper with it so they just started calling her Joy and that was that. The name is so perfect for her as she has brought so much Joy to those around her. I think you always take a chance when you name a child a name that is associated with an emotion but this one was so bang on. Since then, I've met other people online who name their children with trisomy 21 names like Hope and Merry and am in awe. I have not lived through the diagnosis part of trisomy 21 as when I adopted Mikey, I knew he would have trisomy 21 but I think its amazing that in the middle of learning about a diagnosis that can be scary and painful, names like Joy and Hope and Merry are used. And, in time, the names become a perfect reflection of just what these children are.
Micahel means "who is like God" and Alexander means "protector of mankind". Some would question my reasoning for giving Mikey such a strong combination of names as he appears to be the one who needs to be protected and taken care of. But then there are moments in time like at his graduation night when you start to wonder at the very role that "leaders" in this world are meant to take. Each child that evening went up to the microphone and said "My name is - - -" and then showed the sign for their name. After that they said "My favorite color is - - -" and then said and signed the color. Signing is new to the class since Mikey joined and will remain part of the curriculum once he leaves as the children each year have really taken to it and the teacher can't imagine not teaching it anymore. Anyway, each child came up to the microphone and said their piece to which you saw parents and grandparents beaming with pride and also a bit of sorrow to see their baby at the end of their kindergarten year. Each child came up, said their piece and sat back down while the audience waited quietly for the next child to come up.
Then it was Mikey's turn. Mikey, who at 6 years old, still has a limited number of spoken words and who could never put together those two very long sentences all the other children were saying effortlessly. The teacher started for him by saying "My name is..." and then placed the microphone in front of him. He stepped up to it and started babbling in to it. The audience responded with a small roar of laughter. Mikey's face looked around and then his face lit up when he realized that he had been the one who made that happen... so up he stepped to the microphone again and this time he babble was much louder and much longer and it ended in that giggle that comes from the bottom of one's tummy. I got the feeling that the laughter that errupted after that was actually a realize of the sheer Joy that Mikey often inspires in others. The teacher then said "and my favorite color is..." and he promptly signed and said "yellow" and smiled up at the audience with such pride that this time it wasn't laughter that errupted but applause. As he walked across the stage to sit back down in his seat, I was once again humbled by how very much this little boy can and will inspire others around him and at the complete Joy that he makes others feel. I wondered for about the billionths time why out of all the people in the world, I was blessed with this special soul in my life.
And to me, he is like God... everyday he teaches the lessons that God sent Jesus here to teach us just by being the person that he is. And to me, he does protect mankind... he may not touch everyone he meets but the ones he does touch, he also teaches about the value of life and how happiness is not found by being the smartest or the faster or the richest but rather by living in the moment and being all you can be given who you are. If teaching that lesson isn't about protecting mankind, I don't know what is!