Upside-Down
Dedicated to building Christian communities for people with Down syndrome where they can be with others like themselves and fulfill their lifelong dreams and  potential. 
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Upside-Down is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization registered in  Minnesota, USA.

Mission

Provide live-work environments for Down syndrome adults where they can fulfill their life's potential and be with others like themselves.

Be a primary resource center where people can learn, experience, meet challenges, plan, and improve the lives of people with Down syndrome from womb to grave.

Goals

1.A cut above...
Raise the bar for the living standards for people with disabilities, specifically, Down syndrome from a subsistence level to one that is true home setting.

2.Caring is love…
Provide caregivers who are loving, caring, individuals who understand the challenges people with Down syndrome face.

3.Help is at hand…
Be a resource center for people touched by Down syndrome. Help provide people a good base to make decisions about children (and potential children) and adults with Down syndrome.

4. Ever learning
Educate people about Down syndrome.

5.People like you…
Provide an opportunity for people with Down syndrome to live on their own in a caring Christian environment with others like themselves.

6.Be your best…
Provide living and working environments for people with Down syndrome so that they will be empowered by their own ability to achieve and feel the same sense of pride and accomplishment as any other person.

7.Work you can do…
Provide a place where adults with Down syndrome can find employment suitable to their abilities and desires.

8.Make your dreams come true…
Provide a living environment where people with Down syndrome can fulfill their own personal dreams and be continually enriched.

9.Rise up…
Provide the opportunity for people with Down syndrome to be continually challenged intellectually, physically, and spiritually.

Vision & Philosophy

Upside-Down is about the dream and vision of two parents who have a child with Down syndrome who have opened their hearts to the needs of people like their son Andrew, and the needs of their normal son Zachary. We speak about both of our sons because every life in the family of someone with Down syndrome is affected and changed forever by them in so many different ways.

The culmination of this dream comes out of the realization of several factors:

God has put this desire in our heart for His purposes and we are trying to follow His direction to create this entity. We believe His hand will guide us to the things that He wants us to do. 

Because of advanced technology, it can now be determined  with over 90% accuracy in the first trimester of pregnancy if a mother is carrying a child with Down syndrome. Because of this test, well over 90% of pregnancies with a positive determination are being terminated compared to about 50% only two to three years ago. Children like Andrew will become almost extinct in a few short years. It would be so sad for the world not to be exposed to people like Andrew. They are truly a gift. 

We believe that people terminate their pregnancies because they are afraid of the road ahead. We truly believe that if people have a positive frame of reference to see the potential and the love and joy  these children can bring into their lives they would choose to look forward joyfully at the new life they have inside.  A choice was presented to us over 9 years ago. We chose to bring our little boy into this world not realizing until he got here that he would not be a burden, but a “Precious Angel” that God had sent to bless us and teach us things that would be so hard to learn otherwise. We believe God chooses us as parents because we have the right tools, and will develop those we don’t have through the joy, gifts and learning these children bring.  

Our job is not to cram our message down people's throats, but instead to gently and lovingly show the world at large that they have it Upside Down - these children are not burdens at all but Angels full of unconditional love.  They are not to be feared but embraced. They are full of challenges like any other children, but your investment in them is returned a hundred-fold. The world has it Upside Down and we want turn their world around in an almost accidental way (at least from their perspective) but in a very purposeful way.

People also have to make different choices along and through the journey. Facing out these choices is not well defined anywhere. From having teachers in our homes from the moment they are born, dealing with the world of IEPs, to health care coverage, medical issues, parenting styles and choices, respite care, dealing with innate stubbornness and getting stuck, where to find good and reliable resources---there is no guidebook. We need to provide a roadmap of information, choices, options and alternatives, to help guide people down this path on this wonderful journey.

These children are perfect in every way in God's eyes and in the eyes of most of their parents. The only difference is that they are visibly different and people react to them differently because they can see it. If the differences were invisible, they would be treated like normal children.  But they are just as normal as “normal” children in virtually every way.

We are defined by our children no matter if they are normal or different. In the case of Down syndrome parents, our children bring us exposure to far more people and we are known by “the Mom or Dad of Andrew” because he outwardly displays his loving spirit so blatantly and innocently that people come to love him even from a distance and feel close to us as a parents because of him. So many parents of children with Down syndrome say so many people know them and they have no idea who they are, but are remembered because of their child. It is how they shine and yet it is an opportunity for us share our experience with a world of other people with whom we would never have come in contact were it not for our Down syndrome child. We always say “God’s love shines straight through Andrew for the world to see.”

Siblings are affected by our Down syndrome children in profound ways. But along the road they need help in dealing with the acceptance they need as they are growing up. They are sometimes embarrassed by their sibling and jealous of the extra time demanded to raise them. They may at times even be frustrated by the fact that their sibling is socially more accepted than they are because the love they exude makes them a social magnet. They need help dealing with those confusing issues and how to “settle up” in their mind without taking it out on their sibling. Unlike how we as parents have to deal with the news when they are born, siblings don’t deal with it until they are older and have trouble understanding why they don’t get as much attention and are sometimes mortified by their sibling's behavior. As adults we just get over it: as children, it is so much harder to figure out. While there are some resources available, there is a need for much more.  

Being the parents of a child with Down syndrome and also being older parents, we are concerned for the future of our child and others like him. We want his future to be as bright as a normal child’s. It is reported that over 50% of people with Down syndrome are unemployed. A productive life’s work is just as important to a person with Down syndrome as it is to any other person. It gives them great pride and great joy. To take that away from a group of people who have so much to give and so much to share and so much to teach other people, is criminal. We aim to provide a safe, loving, Christian environment for people with Down syndrome who are able and willing to work.

We want the lives of these people to be fun and to be able to share the simple joys over simple things with the world. They give us such wonderful new perspective.  Please consider donating to our cause.



For more information, please call Daonna at 763-370-9687 or email her at daonna.depoister@upside-down.org
Committed to providing a loving Christian family for all who come