A newly-adopted baby with Down syndrome shows off her “new smile” in a video that has taken social media by storm.
In the loving footage, the new mom of the youngster can be heard asking the baby how her day is going, before the 8-month-old lights up with an adorable grin from ear to ear.
The mother then responds, “Awww, I love your new smile,” causing the baby to continue beaming to the camera and sending mom into bursts of laughter at the adorableness of the moment.
The footage was shared on the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network’s Facebook page, and before the network knew it, the beautiful moment had soon gone viral, with tens of thousands of people commenting on how the video brightened their day.
To date, the video has had more than 15 million views, and the network’s followers have almost quadrupled.
Due to the delicacies of anonymity in the adoption processes, the baby can only be referred to as ‘Baby H’ at this current time, with her new family living in Texas.
The baby’s adopted mother said: “When Baby H was almost eight months old, she woke up one morning with this brand-new smile.
“We noticed it several times and realized she was showing us a cheesy grin – we laughed and laughed every time she did it, and she just loved the attention.
“She got to where she could do it on cue and I just happened to be talking to her, in our home, one morning and she started cheesing for me.
“You can tell by my laughter how much we adore this smile and she actually only smiled like this for a couple of weeks so this video is a treasure for us.
“We hope that all the viewers will see the beauty that lies in people with Down syndrome.
“Although a Down syndrome diagnosis can be scary, the reality is that your child has a purpose, and will be able to live a full and happy life.”
By sharing the video through the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network’s Facebook page, the mother hopes the attention the footage is getting will help spread awareness of the work the organization does.
Each week, the network aims to post videos tied to joy and adoption success stories, and on October 7 they posted Baby H’s.
Stephanie Thompson, the director of the network, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, stressed that the network’s aim is not to simply run an adoption program, but also to educate individuals about becoming parents of a child with Down syndrome.
Each year, Stephanie estimated, the network receives around 75 outreach calls from parents who are faced with having a child with Down syndrome.
The network looks to educate such individuals on what that will involve, she said, with around half deciding to keep the child, while others opt for an adoption process that finds the child a loving home.
Should parents opt for the latter option, the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network also helps with the placement process, and so Stephanie knows the backstories of many children like Baby H – sometimes being able to finally put a face to a name when such videos are submitted.
Stephanie said: “I feel this way about all of the children that we help: I was so happy to put a face with a name.
“I indirectly meet these children before they are born, I meet them on paper, so I fall in love with these kiddos early on.
“I walk the journey with the expected parent and the child, so when I have a chance to meet them, it brings it full circle – I can’t explain the joy that it brings to me.
“Our message is that adoption is actually an option.
“Our program is a pro-information program – which means the options of parenting and adoption are given to the mother when they call us.
“We educate them on parenting and what Down syndrome is.”
Story courtesy of T&T Creative Media