When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum.  The Michelangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy!  I’m supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan.  They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place.  It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever  go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

By Emily Perl Kingsley

The Holland story is well-known among families who are raising a child with special needs. It’s a beautiful expression of the journey a family embarks on from diagnosis to acceptance to joy.

Children’s Village is honored to offer a ‘new diagnosis’ support group for parents who have just received a diagnosis for their child. This group is called Holland and meets every Thursday for 8 weeks. The next group starts March 8th at Children’s Village from 10am to 12pm. Free childcare is available upon request.

The diagnosis or the age of the child doesn’t matter. This group is open to all parents or caregivers who are processing a new diagnosis for their child. Meet and gather with other families who REALLY understand how you might be feeling.  This is a time for learning, processing, sharing and making new friends.

For more information or to ask a question, don’t hesitate to call the Parent to Parent office at:

(509) 574-3260/ (800) 745-1077

Registration is required. Groups offered in English

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