Alex was desired, waited for, sought after, and chosen by her family. She was adopted and brought home on her 10th day of life. I named my new baby sister, Alexandria Grace. And oh yes, she has Down syndrome. She grew up the youngest of 5 children, smiling and singing her way to everyone's hearts. God's love for us all, vividly shining through this gorgeous girl. She was at the very least, an active child, and as she grew into a beautiful young lady, she used that energy in sports and acting. She excels in basketball, plays in Special Olympics, and performs in several theatrical productions. These hobbies have become her passion. She is always happy, always smiling, always optimistic, in everything she does. But at the heart of it all, her first love is her family. Alex adores her family. Mom: her staple, her stronghold, that person in her life that holds everything together. And Dad: her best bud, her fellow basketball enthusiast, her friend. Brothers and sisters: her comrades, her pals, always hanging out together and having fun. Her love for her family is tremendous, surpassing all ordinary affection, her life is consumed by the warmth she gives and receives for her family members. But, in 2008, Alex's life got turned upside down when our mom had a debilitating stroke that left her left side completely paralyzed. Her stronghold was gone. Mom needed to be cared for now, so Alex learned to help. She and Dad held everything together, collectively caring for Mom and the house. And they went on, the 3 of them, enjoying life, supporting each other in love. Then, a year later, Dad passed away. Alex lost her beloved buddy. She wept, smiled through it and said, "he's in no more pain now." She always looks for good. But, in mourning for Dad, decisions needed to be made. Who would care for Mom and Alex? Her precious family talked about group homes, nursing homes'independence would be lost. But Alex's strength and optimism made it all apparent what was to be done. Alex knew what God had planned for her. God had designed her to not only give and receive great love throughout her life but to give her mom a stronghold. It was Alex's turn to be the one to hold everything together. Her cheerful, courageous attitude was everything she and Mom needed to prove independence was possible for both of them. And she succeeded. They are both thriving together now, living independently together. They care physically and emotionally for each other, serving each other in love. Alex blesses my family's life in so many ways, her cheerful attitude is overwhelmingly enriching. But I know now, that Alex finds her self enrichment in serving others. She is as happy now as she's ever been. She finds fullness in service. She loves to be needed and finds joy in it. She is the epitome of her name: Alexandria GRACE.