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Love at first sight

In 2003, my husband and I were blessed with Bennett Ryan, a beautiful red-headed boy with big brown eyes, tiny fingers and feet. So perfect, so sweet - we were so in love with him. So in love, it was not until many months later that we realized that Ben was not progressing - not moving his head or body, not making sounds.

Since we did make the realization that something was not completely right, we have been through a lot. It is my hope to share our story and possibly make it easier for others in similar situations. Everyone has a story to tell and I am a firm believer that sharing the good and bad of your own life is the best way to heal, best way to connect with others and the best way to find out that we are all alike in some way or another.

And I am selfish too. This is not just for others, this is for me too. I have wanted to be a writer for a long time. I wanted to be Carolyn Keene (author of the Nancy Drew series) first, then Erma Bombeck. By sharing our story, I also get to try out something that seems to sit somewhere inside of me.

Since I am starting this 6 years into Ben's life, I will skip around from practical stuff I do now, to some of the early years coping with it all. I posted the web address "Welcome to Holland" poem. My mom gave it to me when we first learned about Ben. It did a great job expressing how I was feeling. I read it again about a month ago and it has such a new meaning for me now. One line talks about how you may meet people you would have never met because of this experience - we have met some of the most wonderful and caring people through Ben. He seems to attract only the cream of the crop.

So here we go...


  1. Yeah Ben! It is an honor to know this happy, healthy, joy filled child and his loving family.
    Ben brings out the best in everyone and eventhough children notice Ben is different they notice more that he is the same. Ben, like all children, wants to play, laugh, interact and be accepted for who he is.
    Knowing Ben has brought only a sense of love and caring for him. We see his struggles but also his potential. Like every child he deserves all that life has to offer. He is a joy even as he is pulling your hair. We hope to be there for the monumental milestones in his life.
    Vanessa, we are proud of your undertaking and wish you and your family the best!
    Ben, see you on the playground!


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