Rainbow of hope

Camillia Adkison and her husband Ryan didn’t choose to see it as a twist of fate.
On March 20 of 2016, Camillia gave birth to her family’s sixth child. His name is Pierson. Though they didn’t know during the pregnancy, Camillia had a feeling in her heart that something was off.
“As soon as he first sat in my lap, I remember thinking, ‘You know, I think he may have down syndrome,” she said. “…In hindsight, I’m really glad I didn’t find it out (beforehand), because I think I would have been more worried during the pregnancy.”
It was the next day, March 21, when he officially was diagnosed, which also coincidentally happened to be on World Down Syndrome Awareness day. While that seems like a bad twist of fate, Camillia and her family keep faith in the Lord, and now Pierson can be a testament to him, too.
“You can just play that off, but we really don’t. We really feel like it was the Lord being very gentlemen-like in saying ‘This is my plan for you guys,” she said. “It was just a very surreal moment. It’s a very neat part of our story.”
Unfortunately for Pierson, that was just the beginning. The Adkisons soon found out he had a Congenital Heart Disease defect, which required open-heart surgery when he was five months old. Heart conditions can often be a side effect of having down syndrome. He also had severe sleep apnea and had a surgery to remove his adenoids and tonsils just a couple of months ago. He fought through all of that, and the family was able to celebrate his first birthday.
“It was a very momentous occasion to get him to March,” she said.
While their faith got them through the tough trials, they also turned to Rainbows, an organization that supports children with special needs.
“Our biggest thing is to give him all praise and glory for helping us either through support of others like friends and family, and also finding the right people with Rainbows being a part of that,” Camillia said.
 Rainbows coach Melissa Baumgartel visits the Adkison family every other week. She helps brainstorm different eating habits or other forms of therapy to help maximize Pierson’s development.
Rainbows helped the Adkison connect with other families who have kids with similar. And the symbol of a rainbow itself, which was given by God after the flood, is a promise of hope.
“It’s been very encouraging. It’s been good that people have done this before me,” Camillia said. “Down syndrome is amazing. [We’ve] improved in the acceptance of down syndrome now versus 70 years ago. You were pretty much shunned then. Right now, the sky is the limit, and I think Rainbows gives you that hope even more to build on your faith. We know that anyway as believers, but they give that extra help.”
Camillia constantly keeps the scripture from Proverbs 16:9 close to her heart, which says: In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
“You never think, ‘We’re going to have a child that will need open-heart surgery and have sleep apnea as a newborn and have down syndrome,” she said. “…But now that we have him, we would never even change him. We love him. Our family is completely smitten with him.”
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Rainbows hosting Glow Run-Walk event in Augusta May 20

Rainbows will have its 6th annual Glow Run/Walk event at Lincoln Elementary School in Augusta at 7 p.m. May 20.
Rainbows is a non-profit organization that supports children with special needs. The past year alone, Rainbows served 247 special-needs children in Butler County with its Early Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers program, which helps young children with developmental delays play, share, learn and grown.
Anyone interested in connecting or learning more about the organization can visit the web site RainbowsUnited.org