It’s the 80’s. André and Ingrid de Jager is a young yuppie couple, madly in love and determined to conquer the world together. Little did they know, how they would be doing it one day…
Illness, miscarriage and new life
At the beginning of their marriage, the two of them worked long hours and achieved great success in their careers. They were on a roll and there was absolutely no time for children, or much else, in their lives.
Then Ingrid started losing weight, constantly feeling tired. After months of illness, the doctors started doing a series of tests again. What they discovered was heart-breaking.
Ingrid had a miscarriage of twins, not even knowing that she was pregnant in the first place.
Without recovering fully, she fell pregnant again.
The pregnancy was plagued with problems right from the start, and when Ingrid went into labour, her little girl’s heart stopped beating for a while. But by God’s grace, Linsey survived.
André and Ingrid struggled with the new adjustment as she was a difficult baby. They decided there and then that they wouldn’t want another baby.
What they didn’t know was that Linsey had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) as well as Autism, and that Ingrid was already pregnant with another little girl.
Kelly was born with Down Syndrome, blind, deaf and with a major heart-defect. All these problems were repaired, but at age three, Kelly had a major stroke which left her with extensive brain damage and paralysed on the right side.
A Fearsome Journey leads to Great Joy
There they were. Parents to two differently abled young daughters. What now?
Slowly but surely they started to embrace their new path, raising their girls with wisdom and strength. Regularly lifting their eyes to the hills for help, as their wedding verse prepared them in advance (Psalm 121).
In 2003, Ingrid excitedly started looking for job opportunities for her two adult daughters. She quickly realised that South Africa in fact didn’t have many initiatives where people with special needs could be integrated into regular society. It was a dire situation and there was a massive need.
A vision was planted, and a passion was stirred.
Care Career Connection (CCC) was established. An organisation aiming to give young adults with intellectual challenges the opportunity to follow a career of their choice, to contribute to society, build their self-esteem and gain financial independence.
They do this by training job coaches to offer individualised career-orientated facilitating and job placement, and guiding them with long-term support.
Today, Ingrid passionately serves the community of special needs adults in the Western Cape through CCC.
Linsey, now 31 years old, went on to obtained her degree and Nature Conservation, and travelled to the USA on her own to work at Disney World in Orlando. Today she works with the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO, and is currently training field guides in Swellendam.
Kelly is a happy 29 year old lady, and after many career sessions, she discovered that her passion and calling was to be a home maker and a nurturer. She loves cleaning, tidying and organising the home – all with only her left hand.