When mom Jennifer Kiss-Engele found out that someone in her son Sawyer's class gave everyone else in the class birthday party invitations except for him, she instantly knew why.
The happy, funny, sweet little boy was excluded because he was the only one in the class with Down syndrome.
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Kiss-Engele knew she had to respond to the classmate's parents SOMEHOW. It probably would have been easy for her to point fingers and get into a heated exchange with them. But instead, she took a totally different approach.
In a public Facebook post that has since gone viral, she wrote an open letter to the parents, saying, "I am not mad at you. Rather, I think this is an opportunity for you to get to know my son better. You see, having Down Syndrome doesn’t mean that you don’t want to have friends. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have feelings. It doesn’t mean you don’t like to go to birthday parties."
Kiss-Engele then confesses when she first heard her son's diagnosis, she was scared and misinformed, too.
She wrote, "I was so worried that my other children wouldn’t be able to connect with him in the same way as other siblings do. But I was wrong. In fact, my children are closer than most other siblings are."
She explains that them having a brother with Down syndrome helped them become compassionate people who know that it's okay to be a little different from everyone else.
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Kiss-Engele then pleads for them to open up to conversation and to teach that same lesson to their children. Little did she know, they were listening.
In an update to the mega-popular post, she wrote, "The parent read my letter, spoke to their child about Sawyer, and the child created a special birthday invite for Sawyer. Of course he's been beaming ever since and can't stop talking about it."
What a huge difference a simple conversation starter can make! How beautiful.
You can read the entire statement--and the "happy ending"--below.
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