Local family pushes for Down Syndrome awareness

Elijah and Gabriel Coffee

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB)- Adopting two sons with Down Syndrome was never part of the plan for Kristen and David Coffee.

“We originally were adopting just domestically, typically developing, after some secondary infertility. And then we really felt led to adopt a child with Down Syndrome and Elijah was born the day after we talked to each other about that,” Kristen told News 4.

Shortly after bringing Elijah home, the family was contacted by their adoption agency in California; another child with Down Syndrome needed a home.

And the Coffee’s welcomed another son, Gabriel.

So did big brother Caleb.

“It was really cool having a little brother for the first time, because siblings were all I really wanted for a really long time. And then when Gab came home it was even more amazing, to have two,” Caleb said.

Caleb is the Coffee’s oldest and only biological son. He’s now big brother to three: Elijah, Gabriel, and the Coffee’s newest adopted son, Micah, who’s deaf.

Elijah and Gabriel couldn’t be more different.

“Elijah seems to be more athletic, and he likes trucks. He likes being rough and tough. I’d have to say Gabriel on the other hand, Gabriel is a cuddler,” said David Coffee.

Still, they’re good buddies, which Kristen said will be a strong support system for them as they grow older.

Their start in life wasn’t without struggle: both needed open heart surgery.

Now, the healthy preschoolers are always on the go.

The Coffee’s want their story to be a reminder of what a blessing children with Down Syndrome can be.

She said despite the challenges both boys will face, she’s optimistic for their future.

“We see people with Down Syndrome that are opening up their own bakeries, opening up their restaurants, we see them getting acceptance letters to college, we see them getting their drivers license,” she said.

She said resources are getting better, but that more adoptive families are needed.

“That’s the goal, is to get them into families, is to get them where they’re loved, just like any other child. Because they are just like any other child, they’re just getting there a little bit slower,” she told News 4.

For information on the adoption process, contact Kristen via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristen.g.coffee

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