Philip's Special Brother

Rhoda Bontrager

Down Syndrome, special needs child, handicapped, Trisomy 21, extra chromosome -- terms to terrify and petrify parents.

But how shall other children perceive and relate to children born with such a genetic "aberration"?

They too can learn to appreciate them as God's special children!

This story of Philip and Nathaniel, occasionally illustrated with very nice pencil drawings, is written to help children understand children with Down Syndrome.

Philip could scarcely keep his mind on his math problems. The numbers looked like smiling baby faces! He had prayed for a baby brother for so long that it seemed like years. He hoped Nathaniel would grow up quickly so they could play together. It was no fun playing alone. How could a fellow play ball by himself? It would be so nice to have someone to help him feed the chickens and gather eggs. Oh, having a brother would be wonderful!

"Whoa, son! First of all, it will take a long time for Nathaniel to grow up." Daddy sighed deeply and continued, "Philip, God has blessed us with a dear baby -- just like you were; but Nathaniel is also a special baby in another way. He was born with Down syndrome, which means he will have some handicaps. He will most likely never be able to do everything you can, and it will take him a long time to learn to do the same things other babies do." His voice faltered and he cleared his throat. "Nathaniel is a special gift of God."

Daddy pulled into an empty space in the hospital parking lot. Turning to Philip, he asked, "Shall we go meet that new brother of yours?"

Daddy gently placed Nathaniel in Philip's arms. Philip sat quietly holding the baby, gazing thoughtfully into his face. How soft his tiny body felt. He even smelled sweet! Philip noticed the wisps of silky brown hair on Nathaniel's head, his little fingers, and his button of a nose. Nathaniel's eyes looked so cute slanting upward at the corners. Really, he was the cutest baby Philip had ever seen. And best of all, he was Philip's own brother! He wouldn't mind holding him for a long time!

Then suddenly, Philip remembered what Daddy had said about Nathaniel being handicapped. But he couldn't see anything wrong with Nathaniel; he looked just perfect!

Glancing up, Philip was suprised to see Daddy and Mama watching him with tears in their eyes.

"What's wrong, Daddy? Aren't you happy? Didn't you want another boy?"

"Yes, son, we are very happy that God has blessed our family with another boy. We're not sure why God chose to give us a baby with special needs, but we do know we have lots of love to give him, don't we, Philip?"

"I already love him, but how will he be different from me? Will he be able to play with me?"

"I am sure you will enjoy playing together," replied Daddy. He thought for a moment before continuing. "As I told you, Nathaniel has Down syndrome. In some ways he will be different from you and your friends. His eyes slant upward, and his nose is somewhat flatter. He has a tiny hole in his heart which may cause him to be sick more often, and he may need surgery someday to repair it. His muscles are weak, so it will be more difficult for him to jump and run. But in many ways he will be just like you," Daddy concluded.

Philip's face fell. "Why did God give me a brother that is different? That's not fair. I've waited so long for a brother to play with, and now I get one that has something wrong with him. I just don't understand." He swallowed hard and began to cry. He felt like pushing Nathaniel away.

"Philip," Mama began in her gentle voice, "we don't understand, but God knows we have plenty of love to offer Nathaniel. By the way, we chose Nathaniel for his name because it means 'Gift of God'. I am sure you will enjoy patiently teaching him to do new things because you love him. You will be a special big brother to a special little boy!"

Philip smiled weakly through his tears and hugged his brother a little closer. Mama understood.

30 pages -- paperback
Dimensions: 6" x 8"
ISBN: 0878136304
ISBN: 9780878136308
Copyright: 2006
Christian Light Publications
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SUMMARY: Philip's Special Brother by Rhoda Bontrager