Some people see having a special needs child as a burden, but they don’t call these kids “special” for nothing. The thing that makes children so special is their honesty, pureness, and unconditional love they have for others. A typical child will lose these qualities over time, but a special needs child won’t. But if they are born to the right person, it is amazing what obstacles they can overcome. And that’s where special parents come in…
When Felicia Hamlet gave birth to her second child, Cody, she was alerted that something was amiss when she was unable to see him for almost two hours. After some time, the doctor came in to speak with her and explained to her that Cody had all the signs of Downs Syndrome. She didn’t cry or get upset at this news, she just asked to see her baby.
When she was finally able to hold her precious newborn son in her arms, she swore right then that she would do whatever she had to do to make sure her son had everything in this world that he needed to lead a normal life. At the time he was actually diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, the doctor explained to her that Cody may never walk or even talk, depending on the severity of his condition. But Felicia clung to her faith in God that Cody would surpass these barriers in life.
As the years went by, Felicia and her husband never treated Cody any different than they did his siblings, Justin and Amy. He had chores just like his brother and sister and was always encouraged to do things for himself. Cody is your typical boy who loves to deer hunt and has killed several deer. He loves video games and Subway pizzas. But most of all, he loves his family, who adore him as well.
Cody has an enthusiasm for life that is contagious to all of those around him and he gets excited over the slightest things. “Cody can get a new pair of shoes and he will run around in the yard swearing no one can catch him.”
A few months ago, Cody came to Felicia one night and asked “Mama, what’s wrong with me?” Felicia replied “Nothing’s wrong with you, Cody, God just made you special.” Not quite satisfied with her answer, Cody began asking questions about why he wasn’t doing the same things (such as classwork)as everyone else. So, for the first time in his life as a teenager,
Felicia explained to Cody what it meant to be a person with Down’s. Felicia gave him details about his limitations in life and Cody listened intently. Afterwards, he seemed happy with his mother’s answers and never became frustrated with himself after that.
All of his life, Cody has always been in a special needs classroom until last Fall, when Cody was enrolled at Clay County Christian Academy as a basic curriculum 10th grade student. Felicia was apprehensive about this making this move, but decided to support Cody’s decision because he wanted to go to the same school where his sister went. But never is her wildest dreams did she ever imagine this change would bring about what she can only refer to as “the work of the divine hand of God”. She has been in awe of the change it has made in her son and couldn’t be happier.
“This has been the biggest blessing for him. His entire personality has changed, he has gained confidence in himself and is no longer shy outside his family. He talks to everybody, even complete strangers. Cody has been embraced by the entire school for the person that he is and is not treated any differently”, she says “and this is all I have ever wanted for him”.
When Cody’s older brother Justin turned 16, it was a big deal. So, that’s all Cody could think about from that moment on. He couldn’t wait to get a truck. Felicia didn’t want to let Cody down by telling him this would never be possible, because she always taught her kids that no was not an option. So, on his 16th birthday, she took him to the DMV and explained to the lady that she wanted an Identification Card.
The staff treated him the same as they would anyone by telling him the rules of safe driving. Cody said “Oh, I would never do that, I let my mama do the driving”. When Cody finished getting his “license”, he walked out and everyone in the place stood up and clapped, high-fived and congratulated him. Cody’s present was a beautiful new dune buggy all decked out, complete with a tag that read “Codyman”.
Cody’s biggest dream has always to play basketball, and now that dream has become a reality, with the help of CCCA Coach Ricky Morgan and his teammates. Cody is an excellent shooter and frequently makes shots from the 3-point line. His teammates even call this “Codytime”.
“He is one of the most sincere and loving people you will ever meet, and I’m not just saying this because he is my kid either. He amazes and inspires me every day to be a better person. I have found him many times on his knees in his room just talking to God and praying for someone” says Felicia.
What effect has being the mother of a special needs child made on her life…nothing but pure joy and enrichment. “I feel very blessed. Out of every mother in this world, God chose me to be his mother and I take that job very seriously. I will fight for him and support him in every way possible. I love all of my children and I can honestly say that being a mother has made me a much better person, but being Cody’s mother has given me courage. I couldn’t be the woman I am today if Cody had not been born and none of us can imagine life without him.”