“My biggest fear is that he will be bullied by kids who haven’t been taught to love everyone. The thought of that breaks my heart but I know that he will make it through that. I did and so did many of others.”
If you’re reading this you must be a true believer in love, just as I am.
My name is Jaime Harman and I am a true lover of life. I have a little four year old son, Jaidin with the biggest, most beautiful blue eyes, and a sassy attitude. Jaidin was born with down syndrome. When I found out he would be born with DS, it knocked me to my knees. I saw all of my dreams that I had for having a son disappear; I knew absolutely nothing about DS. I thought of the worst possible scenarios. I didn’t leave my house for 2 weeks.. I laid in bed and cried. Then I decided to get up, do research, and love him again. He was still a person, a human being who deserves love. I saw light at the end of the tunnel. By the time he was born, I had learned so much. When I saw him, I remember thinking “but he’s so normal”. I don’t know what I was expecting to see. In the 4 years since he was born, I have had my ups and downs. I find myself still struggling with it sometimes. My biggest fear is that he will be bullied by kids who haven’t been taught to love everyone. The thought of that breaks my heart but I know that he will make it through that. I did and so did many of others. The older he gets, the more I start to see delays compared to typical children his age. We have been very lucky with Jaidin; he hasn’t had any serious medical issues and he is doing extremely well. I thought I would always see DS when I looked at him, but I just see him. Jaidin. Down syndrome isn’t WHO he is, it just makes up a part of who he is. It is the same concept as being gay; It isn’t WHO we are, it is a part of who we are. I am so lucky to have a little human who loves me unconditionally, who wants to hug me and kiss me, who wants to sleep next to me at night. I wouldn’t trade him for anything. Through social media, I have been able to open a few eyes to down syndrome; I have been able to share Jaidin’s pictures and videos to show the world just how “normal” down syndrome really is. Jaidin has a few fans out there who love him and they have never even met him! It’s such a beautiful thing. I am very grateful to everyone who supports him.
1. What do you do for work and how do you feel like it is making a difference in the world?
I work as a Parole and Probation Agent. Our profession tends to have the stigma that we just want to send people back to jail. Yeah, of course there are times when we do have to send someone back jail for their own actions but there are also a lot of cases that no one ever talks about. We are an authority figure, a counselor, an educator, and just someone they can rely on and talk to because most of them have never had that in life. There are times that I have gone home and cried because of something I saw or what I was told that day. We actually care about the well being of our probationers.
2. Where are you from/where do you live now?
I am originally from Charleston, South Carolina but I live in Maryland. The majority of my family is in Charleston but I love the DC area way too much to move back. I have friends that I’ve known for over 10 years here. This is my home.
3. Why did you decide to join the promote love movement/why do you think it’s important?
Love is a beautiful thing. Being loved and loving someone is such an amazing feeling. It is important that everyone feels that… It doesn’t have to be a romantic love. Just any love. Love makes you want to be a better person for others, it motivates you to get through almost anything.
4. What is one thing someone did for you at some point in your life that you’ll never forget?
I have a few young lesbians who I supervise, and I always tell them the same thing; that it breaks my heart to see young lesbians going down a path that they don’t have to go. Just because society looks down upon us doesn’t mean that we have to give them that. I love knowing that these young women look up to me as an openly gay professional – with tattoos and short hair!
5. Favorite inspiring love quote?
I have so many, no one would know it but I am a hopeless romantic – a sap for love. I would have to say my favorite is “If I have to choose between loving you and breathing, I would use my last breath to say I love you”.
6. If you were to die tomorrow, what is one thing you wish you would’ve done?
Hmm.. I would definitely have wished I would have forgiven easier and loved better.. It has taken me awhile to learn that by not forgiving someone, you are only hurting yourself. It is something I wish I had learned years ago. We are always learning how to make ourselves better. There are things that I have learned that I need to do to love better and it is an everyday growing process.
7. Why do you think it is so important to have the support of your family when your come out?
It is hard to know that you’re different, that you are feeling a way that you were always told wasn’t normal. Having no one to talk to about it or even worse having family beating you down over it causes more hurt, frustration, and hopelessness. I can only imagine the amount of loneliness that someone would feel who is going through that. I have been very fortunate to have such an amazing and supportive family. Although, my mom did say to me when I first came out “maybe if I wouldn’t have put you in OshKosh B’Gosh growing up, you would be straight”. Sorry Mom, being straight was never in my future.
8. Do you have a message for kids out there who maybe don’t have the support of their family/friends and feel alone…to encourage them not to give up?
It gets better!! It really does. I can’t stress it enough. Fight and hold on through the hurt and pain you are going through now. The other side will come.
9. What is the best adventure you and your son have been on together?
Me and that wild child have done so many things together. I share joint custody of him so when he is with me, it is usually just the two of us hanging out all day. We have flown on planes to Charleston together… He was just as wild as ever. I had to keep apologizing to the man sitting next to us for the kicks to the thighs.
10. Do you have a charity you know of that we could donate to that is centered around Down Syndrome?
National Down Syndrome Society (ndss) is a wonderful organization that works endlessly to show the world that down syndrome is not as bad as society believes it to be. They fight so hard for our kids.
Down Syndrome is beautiful