Sometimes romances begin in groups designed for other purposes. You are spending time in the company of strangers, often sharing personal stories, until they are no longer strangers. Through conversations and side-by-side interactions, with each encounter, you come to know more and more about these people. Maybe one person, in particular, if your heart gets involved. Jessica Sawyer and Donald Wax, two adults with developmental disabilities, are no different.
Jessica and Donald met at AEDD (Arkansas Enterprises for the Developmentally Disabled). AEDD is an organization that helps empower persons with developmental disabilities. Those who are developmentally disabled face many of the struggles that others do, in addition to stereotypes about what they can and cannot do. At AEDD, individuals learn a variety of skills, including employment, independent living, and money management.
A mother's shock
Jessica is somewhat shy and was never interested in going to dances when she was in high school. But on the day of the AEDD-sponsored dance, Jessica announced her desire to attend. Not only was Jessica's mother surprised that her daughter wanted to go to the prom, when she found out why she was in for an even greater shock. Jessica had a boyfriend! Jessica's mom was completely unaware that she had a boyfriend. Her mom was happy believing that this experience for Jessica was like 'unlocking a door.' And when she saw Jessica in her prom dress, her mom said, 'it was a beautiful thing.'
A marriage proposal
Jessica and Donald had been dating for over ten years. Donald admits that he fell in love with Jessica. As relationships sometimes progress, he declared he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her and presented her with a ring. Jessica also, though not the talkative one of the two, bragged about her beau to customers at the tea shop where she works as a greeter. And as Jessica's sister and boss, Abbi remarked, 'it's good that she has found someone who loves her so much and that she can love so purely too.'
Love is a wonderful thing. Its beauty is waiting to be experienced by those who give it a chance. Jessica and Donald's story show us the possibilities when we do.
To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health section of our blog.
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