I've always thought it was really important for kids (not just girls!) to have dolls they can relate to, physically -- to see themselves represented in their collection of toys. This probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up as a little brown-haired girl in the days of blonde-only Barbie dolls. (Can brown-haired girls "do anything" too, Barbie? Apparently not!) Anyway, my complaints were retrospectively quite petty, especially compared to what Hannah Feda must have felt when, at 9 years old, she noticed that, while there were dolls in a toy catalog that looked like her younger sister, there weren't any dolls that looked like her. Hanna Feda, now 13, has Down syndrome.
Hanna's mom Connie started searching for dolls specifically made for kids with Down's, but couldn't find anything to her liking. So the mom of six decided to make her own (cause she wasn't busy enough already?! God bless this woman!).
"Our mission is simple. Represent children with disabilities in an honest, favorable light and give kids with disabilities a friend for life."
Incredibly moving, though the simplicity of the Dolls for Downs website tagline is somehow even more touching:
"Because everybody deserves a best friend."
That just about says it all, doesn't it? And it's heartbreaking to think that anyone could ever think otherwise ... or just not think about it at all. In my opinion, and I'm sure in the opinion of many others, Connie Feda is nothing short of a hero.
Do you feel like your child has a doll that accurately represents her or him?
Image via dollsfordowns.org