Pure joy; it’s not often you see a person so full of it that you want to smile just looking at them. Luke is so happy that when his chubby, round face bursts into a grin so large that his eyes squint into sparkling crescents, those around him cannot help but chuckle in response.
Two years old on August 10, Luke came to the orphanage almost immediately after birth. We knew as soon as we saw his jaundiced, sickly frame that he was going to need an extra dose of love.The orphanage realized that a family was the best place for him to get the TLC he needed. Thankfully, God brought an American foster family almost immediately, and they took him home.
Though medical tests revealed a liver infection and a small thyroid problem (none of the heart, hearing or eye problems that frequent plague children with Down syndrome), months of special care and antibiotics stabilized him, and Luke began to thrive.
Very early on, we could tell that Luke was quite high-functioning for a child with Downs. At three months he could roll over (with a little help)…
…and at four and a half months he could sit propped up on the couch.
During his transition to his new foster family, Luke stayed with us for two nights, and my whole family completely fell in love. Never had we had such a sweet, happy, easy to care for baby in our home before. He slept in my room, and I was up in the night checking on him because he wasn’t up crying like babies usually do. What a problem to have.
How could we not love that kissable face?
Unfortunately, since we were scheduled to return to the States for a visit, we couldn’t keep him. He bonded quickly with his new foster family, however, and began to blossom in earnest.
Soon, his skills included crawling…
…using his sippy cup…
…and engaging in interactive play.
That playful, engaging spirit is one of Luke’s trademarks. Social with all age groups, one of his favorite things to do is go out. From his stroller, he waves or blows kisses at all passers by, and expects them to greet him in return. When he sees the shuttle bus coming, he tries to wave it down, because he wants to get on and go!
Though not fond of being left behind, when his loved ones have to go to work or school, he’ll crawl up, give them a kiss, and then pulls back with a pouty face, as if to say, “Do you really have to go away?”
He’s much happier when people come, crawling towards them as fast as he can with a yell and a huge smile on his face.
People are naturally drawn to his effervescent personality, and always ask after him if he is absent. Naturally, when the sunshine is missing, everyone wants it back!
Luke enjoys few things so much as a good laugh.
His intelligence and mischievous spirit frequently manifest themselves in his practical jokes and goofy antics. He helps dress himself each morning, but if he can’t put his clothes on, he’ll stick them on his head with a grin.
The other day, his foster mother said she caught him hiding the dog’s bones behind a bamboo ladder. When she said “Luke, what are you doing?” he looked up and started laughing. He’ll frequently hide things behind his back and then put up his hands in a “where did it go?” gesture.
Does that not look like mischief and personality plus in a one squeezable bundle?
Musically inclined, he loves to play his drums and xylophones. His favorite things to play, however, are ball and blocks. Whatever he’s playing with, he loves to throw it, and will hold it far behind his head, gustily chant his version of “One, two, THREE!” and throw it as far as he can, before dissolving into laughter. He also loves knocking things (like towers of blocks) down; always proceeded by his signature “One, two, THREE!”
Whatever he does, he’s proud of it; fist bumping or high-fiving those around him, and reveling in it when they clap for him.
Though he’s generally active, crawling up and down stairs, learning to walk, and playing with abandon, Luke also has a very snuggly side. Every night after his bath (which he loves), Luke cuddles up next to his foster mother with some books (Clifford the Big Red Dog and Goodnight Moon are his favorites). After reading together, turning the pages and pointing as he goes, Luke crawls up to each member of his family and gives them sloppy goodnight kisses.
When his loved ones pick him up, he snuggles in, sticking his bottom out and burrowing his head and knees in. Love just oozes out of this little sweetie, whether he’s blowing kisses…
…pulling faces to make people laugh…
…or lavishing the pets with affection (something admittedly he sometimes enjoys more than they do, as he’s rather fond of pulling tails); he wants to shower everyone around him with loving attention.
Please pray that God would show you if this little sunshine boy should belong to you or someone you know. Luke is such a precious child- bubbling over with life, love and laughter.
Look into his sweet eyes. Do you see the face of your son? Could you be the next one his sunny personality lavishes with affection? Could you love this little boy forever?