Family Tribute by son Karl Saxton

I would like to share my families story with you. So sit back, prepare yourself for some reading and enjoy.

I am the youngest of 5 biological children. I could have been the 4th but I've been told my twin bother gave me a solid straight arm because he wanted out first! I say youngest of 5 biological children, but in reality I am a middle child. I became a middle child after my family adopted 3 girls in a 2-4 year span beginning when i was 10. After the completion of the final adoption our number stood at 8. 4 boys and 4 girls. We were a loud bunch. We like to call it Saxton loud. Try rolling 10 deep (don't forget mom and dad) in to the local McDonald's without being noticed. You can't! It was always an adventure when we went out.

What I haven't told you is that my biological sister has Downs Syndrome. 2 of my adopted sisters also have Downs Syndrome and the 3rd adopted sister has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and here's how that all came about. Having only 1 little girl my mom got the itch for another one when I was 10. As the story goes... she wanted another little girl so my biological sister would have a sister to hang out with. My parents contacted the adoption agency, went through the paper work process, and 9 months later they were contacted about a newborn baby girl who needed a home. A newborn baby girl who just happened to have Downs Syndrome. She was under a month old when we took her home. This made her 12 years younger than my biological sister Tanya.

Soon realizing that the age difference between Tanya and Lisa wouldn't provide an immediate interactive sister relationship my mother got the urge to adopt another girl. Only two real criteria this time. Closer in age to Tanya and she had to have a mental disability. If you are not seeing the complete picture here let me take a moment to give it to you. Having a biological child with Downs Syndrome anyone who was close to our mom knew she had a special place in her heart for these children and a purpose given to her by God to take care of them in any way she could. So the search begin and this is actually how it happened. My parents or mother (not sure) were looking through the San Jose Mercury Newspaper for no particular reason and stumbled upon the Foster child of the month or week. A 12 year old girl named Evette who had lost her mother and been in foster care for some time. Evette also had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome due to an a mother who used drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. We all went to meet Evette as a family and my parents were lead to begin the adoption process. We would soon call Evette sister as well.
Now I'm not sure how long it was after my parents adopted Evette that we then adopted Anna, but that really doesn't matter. My parents weren't actually looking to adopt anymore when one day they were contacted by the adoption agency about a baby girl who had Downs Syndrome and needed a home. Having a great affection for children with any Syndrome my parents decided to go meet this little baby girl and they brought us along with them. It was instant love. My parents almost immediately begin the adoption process for Anna and soon we would bring home the final addition to our family. Anna was only an infant when we did bring her home. So that's how 7 became 10 (again don't forget mom and dad in the total number!)

As for the biological children there is Brian the oldest brother, next in line is Eric, then comes Tanya, and My twin brother Kevin and I round out the 5. We really aren't the focus of this so let's move on.

Tanya is the oldest girl and is 3rd in the pecking order as far as age goes. She is not afraid to let anyone know that she is older then myself and Kevin as well as her sisters. Tanya is what I would call the most adult out of any of my sisters. She knows how old she is and she knows what that means and finds it more than easy to insert herself in to conversations she wants to be involved in. Tanya is one of the most loving, caring individuals you will ever meet. I'm pretty sure there isn't a mean bone in her body. She loves her mom, sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends with an unconditional love only God could provide and a kind of love that most of the world should envy.
Evette is the most shy out of all my sisters. A rough childhood, a cleft pallet, and trachea scar added to this. Evette is also the greatest success story of all my sisters. A girl who would speak very little and show Little affection towards others when she first joined or family has turned in to a women who will give anyone a hug and talk your ear off if you let her. One of the best listeners I know as well. My Uncle Jim (a talker himself) would proudly testify to this! I believe that this turnaround happened not only because of the love our family showed her but mainly because of the continuous love that my mother showed her even during the most difficult times. Having Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and not Downs Syndrome makes Evette completely aware of who she is and she sometimes struggles with that. It took a little while for my mother to figure out how to deal with this but in the end she realized that love was the answer (along with what I like to call a little corrective action).

The easiest way to describe Lisa is as a self proclaimed princess. A women who carries her head high, knows she is beautiful, dances better than most, always gets the shotgun seat in the car and never uses a napkin (that would not be princess like!). Lisa is easily embarrassed especially when the conversation turns to boys. Most days you will find Lisa perched on her chair with everything she needs surrounding her. Books, pens, coloring materials, a drink and the TV. Lisa and Tanya are both extremely impressive when it comes to keeping up on what's cool with music and TV.

Anna is the most low functioning of all my sisters. I say that with caution though. Anna has Downs Syndrome but we believe she is Autistic as well. She loves to be in her room (her own world) playing the keyboard, watching a video, or playing with any other toy that she has. Anna often surprises you with how alert and receptive to information she is. On the outside it appears there isn't much going on but you would be remiss if you believed this. She captures everything around her and understands the world around her for the most part. In most instances she is just unable to communicate that understanding to anyone. Anna is all about routine. When the routine gets interrupted things can get difficult. Luckily the Lord has given my Mother, Evette (Anna's biggest helper other than Mom) and in some cases Tanya and Lisa the ability to discern what part of the routine has been interrupted so they can correct it. Anna also loves to be physical in a Karate, Taebo kind of way. She is deceptively strong and you must be careful if you choose to get in to it with her.

The most valuable player in all of this is Mom. A women who decided a long time ago that her families needs would be put in front of hers for her whole life. All 4 of my sisters still live with my mom. I'm not sure how she does it because I know I couldn't. Actually I do know. God has a purpose for all of us and His purpose for my mom was to care for and love these girls. My mom will be the first to tell you that it hasn't been easy but she will also be the first to tell you that she wouldn't change a thing. The love she gives to these girls is returned tenfold by them. My mother is the greatest role model I have and if I can be half the parent she is I would be more than successful. Thank you Mom for all you have done and continue to do. Everyone you know would testify to have one of the biggest hearts ever created and our family is and continues to be blessed by it. I'm sure I speak for all your children when I say We Love You.
Posted by K. Saxton at 11:58 PM