We all love the story of the underdog… Watching someone defying the odds and doing something after being told that they would never be able to. That underdog is Tiffany Williams.
On July 26th, 2013 at 8:45am, I walked up the steps of the home of Maria and Craig Williams. I was there to finally meet Tiffany Williams. Tiffany was born on 8/24/1988. Two weeks later she was finally diagnosed with Trisomy 18. If you think that we do not know as much as we should about Trisomy 18 now, back in the 80s you were lucky they knew how to spell it.
What set alarms off for doctors were her low set ears and rockabottom feet, so genetic testing began and finally two weeks later doctors made the diagnosis. Along with Full Trisomy 18 diagnosis the dreadful words were said, “You have no more then a year with her. Take her home and love her.” So that is what they did.
God is the center of this entire family. As Maria said, “I put my faith in God and he is the reason she is here.” I asked Maria what was her favorite moment of her day was and she said when she wakes up and walks into Tiffany room and she rolls over and gives her that amazing smile. That has not changed 24 years later. That is right… You did not read that wrong… The baby that was told she would not live past a year old is 24 years old.
So when I walked into their house there she was. This beautiful girl lying there on the couch watching her favorite cartoons and when I said hi she gave me that amazing smile and I fell in love with her. I had this huge smile on my face. It was clear to me that Tiffany new exactly what was going on and new exactly how to push the right buttons. She may not have the capabilities to walk, talk, or feed herself… But trust me she knows exactly what she is doing. Clear example… She knows that her mom hates when taking photos she makes this scrunchy face and what did she do… First the smile and then the face and we all laughed… Maria is like ” Tiffy stop making that silly face!” And huge smile from Tiffany as if she was saying… “Yep I did it HaHaHa!”
Here is another story Maria told me about Tiffany…
When she was 5 years old she wanted to put her in the Department of Education because she wanted her to get an education, so she needed a Psych Evaluation. The man read her profile and when they walked in the room the man said “Hi Tiffany! Can you draw me a picture?” She turned to her mom and it was as if she was saying, “What is wrong with this idiot? Does he not know I am disabled?” Maria told the doctor, ” She cannot do that.” He then responds… “Tiffany can you draw me a picture?” The rest of the interview she would not look at him and when he asked why she was ignoring him… Maria told him because you insulted her intelligence. That story cracked us both up.
During my morning with Tiffany, I got to talk to her Dad, Craig Williams. Every time he is around her, this big guy becomes this soft teddy bear. We sat down and the one thing he kept telling me was that when he heard the news when Tiffany that she had Trisomy 18, he was devastated. Not because of the Trisomy 18 diagnosis, but because doctors and social workers had nothing but negative words and reactions. “She is not going to live much longer. Go love her while you can.” That is what they told him. Not one of them gave him any sort of positive news. So he did exactly what his wife Maria did… Took her home and loved her. He tuned out all the negative thoughts and words and but it in God’s hands. Because of all this and so much more, Craig started to produce a documentary about Tiffany and all children with Trisomy 18 and continues to work on it today. Like me, he wants to help raise awareness to the world, but also let people know that this is not a death sentence.
We all hear and see that Father/Daughter bond and when you see Craig and Tiffany together it is clear, so clear. When Tiffany looks at him her eyes light up and a smile shines on her face as if she is saying, ” Yep that is my Daddy!” I asked Craig what is that moment of his day when it is just him and her. That moment where everything is good and no one else exists. He said when he gets home from work, sees her lying on the couch, smiles at him, picks her up and the two watch TV together. Tiffany sitting on her Daddy’s lap with her thumb in his mouth. Watching this not only made me realize why I am doing this project, but also made me really excited of the thought of one day becoming a dad.
As the shoot went on and Tiffany was playing her jokes with her parents while taking photos, it was time for her younger sister Symone to take some photos with her. When I tell you Tiffany completely changed and you could see and even feel the bond these two have. Tiffany just lit up. It was as if Tiffany was saying, “Ok now that the parents are gone it is sister time!” There was something just unspeakable between the two and so beautiful to see.
Maria told me a story about these two. The first was when she brought Symone home from the hospital. She laid her right next to Tiffany and said that this was her new baby sister. Tiffany then smacks Symone in the head. It was as if she was initiating her into her world…a world and a bond there forever will share.
I honestly can say it was a true honor to be around this amazing family. I truly felt when I left there that I was part of the family. I even had my little moment with Tiffany when we took a picture together on my iPhone and she held my hand and gave me this amazing smile.
Tiffany is not just God’s Miracle sent to Maria and Craig, but a Miracle sent to the world. She defies the odds everyday and have been doing it for 24 years. She is so full of love and inspiration. I am truly honored and blessed to know Tiffany and I cannot wait to see what mile stone she breaks next… Or how she annoys her sister… :)