Julinda and Dren: A Mother and Son’s Journey to Find Hope and Belonging

April 17 3 Minute Read????

Julinda and Dren: A Mother and Son’s Journey to Find Hope and Belonging

Hello April 17th, 2024

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When Julinda Keçi was pregnant with her second child, she was excited to welcome another baby into their family. She recalls those moments of anticipation as some of life's fondest. Shortly after birth, her baby boy, Dren, was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and her excitement quickly turned to fear and uncertainty.

“Before my wonderful son Dren was born, I was very supportive of families and their children with special needs,” she said, “When the opportunity arose, I tried to help as much as I could.” However, the reality of raising a child with Down syndrome was something she hadn’t fully grasped until after Dren's birth. 

Julinda had always been committed to giving support to families with disabilities, but when she became a parent to Dren, she’d never felt more alone. Her family and friends tried to offer support, but she knew they couldn't fully understand what she was going through. Holding onto hope that God would lead and provide for them, Julinda sought solace in a special needs community that offered specialized support.   

In Albania, children with disabilities are often rejected and isolated due to a lack of resources and support available. Through perseverance and an open heart, Julinda discovered TTF's Ministry Partner, Jonathan Center, which provides specialized services, care, advocacy, and development programs for children with Down syndrome.

From her very first interaction, she knew this place was special. The staff welcomed her and her son with open arms and genuine compassion. Julinda experienced their mission come to life.

At Jonathan Center, Dren received holistic care and specialized therapies to empower him to seek his full potential. Through our partnership with Jonathan Center, we offer therapies and life skill development to people with disabilities and training and support for parents and families. We’re so grateful Julinda found the loving support system she had longed for!

 “After meeting with the team and being welcomed with smiles and kindness, it was like a light that shines in those dark moments that life brings,” shared Julinda, “There, it was a place where we felt loved, found help, and a place where we belonged."

It has been two years since Julinda and Dren first stepped through the doors at Jonathan Center. Since then, Dren has made remarkable progress. He can say "ma-ma", "ba-ba" and "pa-pa," grabs toys independently, and stands without support. He also understands what it means when someone says "take" and "share with me." With each new milestone, Julinda's heart swells with joy and hope. And with Jonathan Center’s support, she can now look to the future with optimism. "Now our future looks full of hope!" she said. 

TTF Family, please pray with us for Dren and Julinda, their community, and the families receiving care at Jonathan Center in Albania.

Pray that through this special place and community, they may experience God's faithfulness and love.

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