Trailercast Episode 081: Interview with Heather Avis
About the Interviewee
Heather Avis is wife to her handsome and hardworking man Josh, and mother to the adorable Macyn, Truly and August and Author of "The Lucky Few" (available everywhere books are sold). After working as an Education Specialist she found herself as a full-time stay at home mom when she and her husband adopted their first daughter, Macyn, in 2008. Shortly thereafter, in 2011, they adopted their second daughter, Truly. And in 2013, their son August was born and came home to be theirs. Heather currently resides in Southern California where between oatmeal making, diaper changing and dance parties she shares her heart by putting words on paper and using her hit Instagram account @theluckyfewofficial, to share the awesomeness of all things Down syndrome and adoption. She cares fiercely for the underdog and believes God's goodness and beauty are found in the most seemingly uncomfortable places.
Let’s get uncomfortable! That is what we do, right? Week after week, I sit here in the trailer talking to people about things that can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable to talk about. My friend Heather knows that feeling as well.
She didn’t plan on adopting three kids, two of which whom have down syndrome. She didn’t know going into it how that would radically change her and her family’s life in the way that it did. But she was given the gift of becoming a mama bear to some incredible children who are a little different than many others. It did change her life. In fact, the world she was stepping into was one that would challenge her to speak into some uncomfortable spaces.
Heather is a narrative shifter. With her first novel, she wanted to shift the narrative on what it is like finding out that your child has down syndrome. Hence, The Lucky Few. Her family is one of the lucky few to get to have a child (in her case, two) with an extra chromosome. This phrase took off and became huge in the down syndrome world.
“We are putting an asset where there was a deficit.” - Heather Avis
We chat about the chapter in her second book Scoot Over and Make Some Room, where she talks about being a caucasian mother to an adopted child of color. Heather is to the point, speaking with nerve about white privilege and about being a learner.
“I’m okay with offending people, but not if it’s out of my own ignorance.” -Heather Avis
Trust me, Heather and I both know that speaking publicly about our children has to be done carefully in order for it to not be embarrassing to them when they grow up. It is so valuable though to hear the “me too’s” from other parents who just get it.
So, how do we equip people when it comes to talking about children who are different? When approached by someone different, recognize first and foremost that they are fully human and fully capable. Use person first language. Be a learner. Apologize when you say something offensive, and then move on. Include them into the mainstream groups. If there’s not space for these kids, there’s not space for the rest of the population at school to learn from them! Initiate playdates. Scoot over and make some room.
Remember: “Hard is just hard. Hard is not bad.” - Heather Avis
A few resources from today’s episode:
Heather’s back to school kit for families with children with down syndrome
Lindsey Strickland - another mom and advocate for children with down syndrome
taalk.org - a website with info on how to have constructive conversations with your kids about abuse
And of course Heather’s books!
To find more about Heather, follow her on Instagram at @theluckyfewofficial
And check out my instagram too! @elysesnipes_collective