Bobbi will never forget what doctors said after she gave birth to a son with Down Syndrome.
They advised her to “put him away” and told her he’d never have a normal life.
But Bobbi refused to hide her child, and this year, he’s celebrating in a big way!
Bobbi’s son, Joey, was born with Down Syndrome at the tail end of the 1950s.
During that era, it was common for families to hide, ignore, or even abuse individuals with developmental disabilities.
So Bobbi’s doctors initially told her to do the same with her son, starting with the very day he was born.
“The doctor came in and never asked my name and said to me, ‘You have to put him away,’” Bobbi remembered.
“He’ll never talk,” the doctor told her. “He’ll never walk. He’ll never know who you are. He will live to the age of 11 and that will be the end of it.”
His words are a stunning reflection of the disdain that many still feel toward those with Down Syndrome and other disabilities.
“Sixty-two years ago, nobody knew about [people with Down syndrome] and they kept them in the house. I mean, you did not have them out walking or one thing or another,” Bobbi admitted.
As a fragile newborn, Joey was in danger, but his mother chose to love him fiercely and trust that God had a plan for his life.
It was during a conversation with her priest that Bobbi fully realized what a gift she’d been given in Joey.
The priest told her, “Bobbi, you were gifted by God, you were chosen by God to have this child. You can’t turn your back on him.”
The priest didn’t promise that Joey would have a long or healthy life, but he encouraged Bobbi to remember that God has a purpose for everything.
“When [Joey] leaves you, then you will know the purpose of him coming to you,” he told Bobbi.
And Bobbi took the step of faith to raise Joey in the loving, gracious environment that he deserved.
Now, due to his mom’s constant love—and in total defiance of doctors’ expectations—Joey is getting ready to celebrate his 62nd birthday!
Joey has lived a full life and given a lot of joy to his family and friends, so they’re planning to surprise him with a gigantic birthday parade!
They’re even inviting others from Joey’s hometown of Struthers, Ohio to join the fun by participating in the parade or sending cards.
For Bobbi—who’s almost 90 years old herself!—it’s an occasion to celebrate Joey’s life and the lives of all those with Down Syndrome.
Since Joey was born, Bobbi has been vocal about the importance of loving and including those with developmental disabilities.
It’s her mission “to let people know that these children, these adults are just as human as you and I,” Bobbi said.
“They have feelings like we do. They give extra special love.”
According to Bobbi and the others in Joey’s life, you only need to meet Joey to know the amazing capacity for love that God placed in him!
He’s a special person, and Bobbi couldn’t be happier that he’s lived so long.
Bobbi hopes to make Joey’s 62nd birthday celebration a happy surprise for him, and she plans to continue advocating for the rights and needs of those with developmental disabilities as long as she can.
“I want people to start understanding, when you see one of our children, don’t turn your back at them like they did years ago,” Bobbi said.
“They are human, they are special from God and please learn to love them as much as they love you.”
Babies with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities are among the most vulnerable groups in the world, since they’re often targeted by pro-abortion doctors.
Even though we’ve made progress since the era in which Joey was born, it’s more important than ever to stand up for the rights of unborn babies with disabilities.
Please pray that pro-life moms like Bobbi will continue to stand firm and love their children, even as doctors advise abortion or neglect.
And let’s wish Joey a very happy 62nd birthday! May his life continue to show the faithfulness of God.