Rory Feek, the husband of late country singer Joey Feek, is preparing to release his wife’s video memoir, which will be screened in select theaters on September 20.
For Rory, this summer has been full of the challenges of raising a child alone, but also full of blessings as he has pours over hours and hours of footage for his wife’s film, “To Joey, With Love.”
One of those blessings is his daughter, Indiana, who has Down syndrome.
Rory writes in his most recent blog post:
When we first learned that Indy had down-syndrome, Joey and I weren’t really sure what to think, or what it meant to our lives and hers. Over the years at the concerts we’d played and in our travels, we had met a number of young-adults and older people that had downs… including our manager’s grown son Greg, but we never knew any, not really. Especially babies. All we really knew was that Indy had an extra chromosome and that was going to make her different. She would look different and develop slower, but outside of that, we weren’t really sure of anything else. Until we called the people around us. Everyone was anxious to hear how the birth had gone and how Joey and the baby were doing, and so in those first few days, I dialed and spoke to many close friends and family members and told them that it all went well, and then I told them how the doctors suspected that she has down-syndrome. And almost everyone said the same thing. “I’m so sorry”.
That’s such a strange response to the birth of a child. Maybe they were just sensing the confusion in my voice or more likely, they didn’t know what to say. I didn’t and don’t think anything negative about their responses. I probably would’ve said the same thing in their shoes. It’s what society has told told them – told all of us… …awe, you didn’t get a regular baby… you got something less… a burden that will last a lifetime. And I get it it. That’s the messaging that is out there most I think. But it’s wrong. At least I think it is. And I know Joey did too.
God doesn’t make mistakes.
Indiana is not less than any other child. Different is not less. Having down-syndrome doesn’t make her life any less meaningful than someone else’s or her dreams or feelings any less important. Not as a child and I suspect, not in the years to come when she grows to be an adult.
Joey and I have since met many many kids and babies with down-syndrome and other special needs. I’ve had the blessing of seeing lots of them at Indiana’s school High Hopes in the past few months alone, and they aren’t less. None of them are. Like typical kids, they come in all shapes and sizes. Some learn faster, some slower. Some are silent and some vocal. Some crawl and walk earlier than others and some, like Indy…take their time. But they are all beautiful. All gifts from heaven above.
Over the past couple of years Joey and I have heard the statistics, and they broke our hearts. They still break mine. That somewhere between 70 – 90% of pregnant mother’s that get tested and learn that their unborn child has down-syndrome abort the baby. I get it though. The world has told us that they are less. A mistake. But I don’t believe they are. At least I know Indiana’s not. When she was born, Joey and I said, ‘this is the child God wants us to have’, and we believed it. And we were right. I can not imagine Joey not having those two years to be a mama to Indiana and get to experience the love and happiness that Indy brought to her. God knew that. He made it so. It was His gift to her. Like Indy is my gift now. She is the smile on the face of father who should be crying. She is the joy in the life of a family that should be filled with sadness.
You can watch the latest footage released by Rory Feek below, which features his beautiful daughter and late wife.
Share this story if you believe as Rory does that all children are a gift from God!