This month we invite you to get to know two of the most amazing women we’ve ever met… Christine Rosenow and her younger sister, Barb. Barb is full of joy, always has a smile to share. Barb was diagnosed with Down syndrome as a child in 1973. Christine has been Barb’s caregiver for almost 6 years, since their father passed away in May of 2014.
We got a chance to hear from Christine recently about their family’s journey and we are excited to share that conversation with you today.
Tell us a little bit about things that you and Barb enjoy…
We like to be involved. We like to help people. We volunteer at different places. We like to walk, swim, go to the library, shop, stop for drinks at the gas station. At home, Barb has her favorites on her I-Pad. We play Uno Golf, Scrabble and Sorry. Barb really likes to do jigsaw puzzles.
What was your family’s initial response to Barb’s diagnosis?
Our parents response was to dig in and get all the services for her to make her life as good as possible. In 1973, that was an uphill fight. And she was the youngest of five. My parents did a tremendous job with her. So when it was my turn to have my sister, my goal is to make her as independent as possible and to push her to do more, yet take time for rest, as she is aging.
How did you first learn about Rising Above Ministries?
Before [I became Barb’s caregiver], I knew about Rising Above through The River Church. I knew Jeff Davidson and Jon Alex personally through mutual friends. I learned about his heart at an event that had cardboard testimonies. And then became familiar with what Jeff and Becky were envisioning.
How has Rising Above Ministries impacted your life?
When God told me to move to Tennessee, we were living in our parents home in Illinois. I was concerned about taking Barb away from all she knew, both her routine and her family. The first week we were back in the community was the first time that Rising Above was meeting on a Saturday night since Jeff had passed. I was so lost and anxious. We went around the circle and introduced ourselves. Barb had her own thing to do. Before the evening ended, three moms came over to me and gave me ideas and suggestions and avenues to pursue. They gave me their phone numbers and words of encouragement. By the next afternoon, Barb was a part of SACC. Those three women helped me know I made the right decision to be here. Rising Above has been a solid piece of our new lives here. I know that if we need a break from errands in town, we can stop and rest a minute at the RAM office. And no matter what the women in the office always have kind and encouraging words.
Are there specific Rising Above events that you and Barb enjoy most?
Story Time is terrific. So enjoyed Heroes Ball. The Egg Hunt was so great. Christmas dinner and play was fun.
Is there anything you have found especially encouraging on your special-needs journey?
As a sister of a special person, I have not known a lot of information that parents start to learn right from the start. BUT I do know that as the caregivers that God has allowed us to be to special people, we need to encourage one another. If we hear of helpful information including an inclusive program or legislation that we need to get behind, we need to share. This can be an isolating and lonely journey at times, but it is a joyous part of my life. My sister brings joy to people and I am truly grateful.
Stories just like Christine and Barb’s are our reason for pursuing our mission to bring the love of God and hope in Christ to special needs families through support, encouragement, inspiration, and community. We are so grateful for the support of so many donors and volunteers. Your partnership makes it possible for Rising Above Ministries to carry out this vision both locally in the Upper Cumberland and around the world.
Want to partner with us in lifting up the special needs community? Click here to make an impact today.