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Destiny: A foster child with Down syndrome Finds His Forever Mom
From Down Syndrome World 2018 Issue 2 of 4
When people first meet 15-year-old Brett Logan, they see a charismatic young man full of joy, laughter, and love. What they don’t see at first glance are the many struggles he has overcome to get to where he is.
From the time Brett was just an infant, he faced severe, life-threatening medical challenges. Doctors questioned if he would live into his adolescent years. Defying the odds, Brett prevailed. But in addition to being a medically fragile child with Down syndrome, Brett developed complex behavioral and social difficulties as a result of the neglect and abuse he endured during his upbringing. One evening when Brett was 8 years old, the local Department of Human Services found him wandering the streets of Greeley, Colorado, by himself in filthy clothes and no shoes. He was sent from foster home to foster home, never truly getting a chance to reach his potential.
A ROUGH START
Born with two heart defects, Brett was diagnosed with failure to thrive. At 20 months old, he had both croup and the flu, which caused his heart to stop and required weeks in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado. During that time, he became addicted to sedation medication and had to be treated with methadone.
When Brett began school, he w as delayed in all areas of development, ranging from nutrition to verbal language. At age 8, Brett was transferred from a different school district into then 22-year-old Jennifer Nelson’s class.
“He was very tiny — about the size of a 3 y ear old at age 8,” Jennifer recalled of the young Brett. “But through all that, I knew there was something really special about him. He had me wrapped around his finger from day one, and we developed a really close student-teacher bond.”
As the school year went on, Jennifer fell in love with Brett’s infectious personality. “He is really loving, empathetic, and funny,” Jennifer said. “He can always make me laugh, and he truly loves others like nobody I’ve ever met.”
After a year of being Brett’s teacher and getting to know him, the 23-year-old, barely out of college, took a life -changing gamble and adopted Brett. At the start of their journey, “they told us he was too old and if he hadn’t learned yet, he wasn’t going to,” Jennifer recalled.
“They were so wrong!”
Brett is now a sophomore in high school, more active and happier than ever before.
BECOMING A FAMILY
After a court hearing where it was clear that Brett would not be returning to his last home, Jennifer stepped up.
“I had decided pretty early on that I wanted to adopt him,” she said. “So many people had given up on him in his life, and I knew he deserved more. Somehow destiny brought us together.”
In 2015, Jennifer and Brett officially became a family. For the first time in his life, Brett had a real home.
“I was happy!” Brett said of learning Jennifer would be his adoptive mother. “My favorite thing about being adopted is that I get to sleep in my bed every night.”
“I will admit, it was very challenging at the beginning,” Jennifer said. “I became a parent of a 9-year-old overnight, when I was just barely out of college myself. I knew he was capable of learning. He just needed someone to teach him.”
THE POWER OF POSITIVITY
With the proper nutrition and medical care, Brett has grown in everyway imaginable, Jennifer said. He is physically larger, very verbal and talkative, and learns new things everyday.
Now a student at Legend High School in Parker, Colorado, Brett has a full calendar with show choir and varsity cheerleading. Off campus, Brett is involved in a number of extracurricular activities as a multi-sport Special Olympics athlete, Junior Denver Broncos Cheerleader, and active participant in Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Dare to Cheer Camps. In fact, this will be his fourth year attending Dare to Cheer.
His newest interest, modeling, got him on the runway with Sam Cronin, a midfielder for the Minnesota United Major League Soccer team, at Global’s 2017 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show.
“I loved everything about the fashion show,” Brett said. “I hope I get to be in it again someday. I loved dancing on the runway with all the cameras on me and the whole crowd cheering! My buddy Sam was awesome. He even gave me a piggyback ride after the show and waited with me until my mom got back.”
Brett still deals with medical challenges, including epilepsy, sleep apnea, and hypothyroidism, all of which have a higher prevalence in people with Down syndrome. But he takes them in stride and continues to prevail. In 2015, he was named an ambassador for Children’s Hospital Colorado for his perseverance through all his treatments.
“I love my doctors at Children’s Hospital, so it was great to be involved,” Brett said. “I got to meet other kids who also battle health issues, and it was great to just be me!”
Brett and his mother don’t know what the future holds, but are excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that something is impossible,” Brett said. “I am proof that challenges can be over come and that you can do anything you put your mind to.”
BRETT LOGAN, IN HIS OWN WORDS
Favorite subject at school: “Guitar, because my teacher lets me have the stage and put on performances for my class.”
Favorite way to make people laugh: “By showing off my muscles or my dance moves!”
Best part of Dare to Cheer Camp: “I love hanging out with my friends and cheering for the audience.”
On being a Junior Denver Broncos Cheerleader: “I love my coaches Jozie and McKenna! They are my favorite part of cheer. I also love performing at the Bronco games. One time Demaryius Thomas threw a football to me on the sidelines!”