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Mother stands up for son in heartfelt Facebook letter

Betty Wondimu | posted Monday, Jun 27th, 2016

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A B.C. mother penned a sincere open letter to parents everywhere on Facebook on behalf of her son Sawyer.

Jennifer Engele, of Langley, posted to Facebook Thursday after she learned Sawyer was the only child in his class who didn’t receive an invitation to a classmate’s birthday party.

I want you to know that we don’t have an expectation of being invited to every birthday party,” she wrote. “I know if you knew more about Down Syndrome you wouldn’t have made this decision. I am not mad at you. Rather, I think this is an opportunity for you to get to know my son better.

Engele’s letter, which has been shared over 2500 times, continues on to delicately explain her son’s condition. She even wrote she was also once “scared, uncertain and misinformed” about Down Syndrome before having her son.

“I’m really proud that my letter has reached so many people because it’s not just this birthday party and it’s not just Sawyer. There are so many kids with special needs (and without of course) that just don’t make the cut.

“Maybe you are struggling with the words to say to your child because your child did not want my son at their birthday party. Maybe you let your child decide that it was OK to single someone out. I know it can be difficult to teach our children about something we may not understand ourselves. I struggle with this as well. But this is a great opportunity and life lesson to have with your child,” Engele wrote.

“As parents, we want our children to be liked, to have friends, and to not be left behind. And how we do this is by setting examples ourselves and encouraging them to make choices that they might not be old enough to fully comprehend.”

Fortunately, the unfortunate exclusion was resolved the next day. The parent of the child hosting the birthday party reconsidered their decision, spoke to their son or daughter about Sawyer and decided to create a special invitation for him. Engele wrote Sawyer has been beaming ever since.

“I’m really proud that my letter has reached so many people because it’s not just this birthday party and its not just Sawyer. There are so many kids with special needs (and without of course) that just don’t make the cut. I think as parents we all need to do a better job of fostering these relationships, myself included,” she wrote.

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