Trig

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, and her husband, Todd, hold their baby boy Trig in Anchorage. Trig, the Palins' fifth child, was born with Down syndrome, a genetic abnormality that impedes physical, intellectual and language development. (Al Grillo / Associated Press)

In the days after her son Trig was born, Sarah Palin received an outpouring of support and well wishes, many from other parents of children with Down syndrome.

Most notable among these was Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), whose son Cole was born with Down syndrome.

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"The hardest part is hearing the news and getting your arms around a new reality," she wrote in an intimate email. "However, you quickly develop new hopes and dreams for your son." McMorris Rodgers invited Palin to call her if she ever wanted to talk.  

"I can testify to the 'unspeakable joy' of raising a child with designer genes," wrote Alyson Dunn of Texas. "That extra 21st chromosome is the love chromosome. ... We are all much more affectionate, loving, and just plain happy since Noah has come along."

"I won't tell you things won't sometimes be hard," wrote Jane Tilton of Arizona, "but I can tell you they will be worth it."

"She will find that it [Down syndrome] is a special gift, not necessarily a special need," wrote Angie Fraize, an Anchorage police officer whose uncle has Down syndrome. "Of all the disabilities that one can be born with, Down's syndrome is the BEST. My uncle Dan has not spent a single day sad or mad…Just a simple hug will make his day!"

Twenty-one-year-old Chris Herzberger wrote Palin about his older brother, who also has Down syndrome.

"Each and every day, I marvel at his joy, his smile, his passion for life, his love of people…He can ALWAYS light up a room."

Some, who'd read about Trig through anti-abortion group Family Research Council, commended Palin for what they called her approach to motherhood. One man called it "an inspiration to millions like me who value all human life." Some offered advice, suggested reading material and sent links to resources for Down syndrome parents.

Others, simply felt inspired. "Your attitude humbled me and filled me with joy, reminding me that my challenges are small and that I can meet them," wrote on man from Vancouver, British Columbia.

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