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Communities with young children

For many parents of young children with an intellectual disability, it is difficult to look into the future, and so difficult to be at ease in a community with adults suffering from disabilities. They only have just enough strength to live from day to day with the small child. This is how communities with young children were created.

Vfamille paingery often whole families : father, mother, brothers and sisters meet up and forge ties with other families who are experiencing in the same situation. Adolescents make friends with the children and discover real trust and hope in life. Parents and friends forge new ties between each other, creating a new extended family and they find umpteen occasions to help each other, share their experiences, exchange advice, meet up of an afternoon, for a week end, for a holiday camp...

  • Starting a community

Testimony of a young couple “What if it happens to us? ”

Both of us were regular visitors to Lourdes. That is where we met. In 1981 Faith and Light was asking for some volunteers to help out with the international pilgrimage. We both accepted, choosing that occasion to get engaged. During the pilgrimage I was responsible for the nursery and I said to Jean-Luc : “Do you realise if this were to happen to us one day, what would we become?”

A few years later, Laetitia, our fourth child was born with Down’s syndrome. For six months all I did was cry. Even through our love, we didn’t have the words to be able to share our suffering. Difficult years went by, even with the support of our family and friends, due to the very serious health problems that Laetitia has. Then I remembered Faith and Light, but it was totally inconceivable for us to join a community with disabled adults. We were just beginning to accept little by little the Downs syndrome of our little girl Laetitia, but to think forward to her adulthood
was unbearable.

Two years ago, a few parents in the same situation and some friends got together to think about the possible creation of a small community with young children. We were all looking for a place to chat about our lives with our children, a place where we could talk about them as a whole being and not just about their health problems or their I.Q. We were looking for a place where we could express in confidence and friendship all our difficulties and our refusals, and also a place where we could grow alongside others, through others by sharing our hope. A place of faith where each person would feel accompanied by He for whom all things are possible, when for us, everything is impossible.

I went right ahead! Today, this place exists. For two years now we have been meeting regularly in our young chaplain’s parish. With deep moments of sharing and prayer, the fiesta time is a joyous chaos of God’s children !

There are still too few communities with young children across the world. Many young parents, subject to all kinds of pressure around them, often completely isolated, are waiting to find a place such as this. So, go on “Open the doors wide and let Christ in”!

Annick (France)