a special blend of me

“Pursue what catches your heart, not what catches your eyes.” – Roy T. Bennett, Light in the Heart

Hi, my name is Emma Wissink! There are so many things I want to share with you that I can’t wait to tell you, but first, if you are reading this blog post, I want to say thank you for taking the time to read it because it allows me to share my story.

My parents’ names are Ursula and Frank. I also have a brother and 2 sisters. My brother is named Philip and my sister’s names are Fiona and Grace. I am the oldest of 4 and I was born with Down Syndrome. For those that don’t know, I have the 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome, just like the name for 321 Coffee.

I am not a typical person with special needs. You could consider me an international person with Down Syndrome because I was not born in America. People think I am a really interesting kind of person because I was born in the Netherlands, Voorburg. My sisters and brother were born in the Netherlands too, but they were born in Delf. My dad is Dutch, and my mom is Irish.

I came to America when I was about 10 years old because of my dad’s job. At first, I didn’t know what they were saying because they were speaking a different language and it was hard to understand. During my life, I learned English, and now I speak Dutch and English fluently.

The education in the Netherlands was a little different than America because I was apart of a school that had people who had no disabilities so I was the only one who had one in my class but I made friends and they were really nice to me but my mom told me that she fight for me to stay at that school but when my dad job moved to America so I went with my family.

In America, I went into 4th grade with my sister Fiona. At school, I met Lindsay Wrege and we became good friends. I met others too, and we did everything together, including projects and trips to Florida. I still remember when we went to SeaWorld and the beach together.

Since I moved to Raleigh, I have a stable job with 321 Coffee and have tons of friends. A lot of people are rooting for me to be successful in this job. My family and the customers at 321 Coffee feel that my hard work is actually paying off, and I am happy about that.

I have had a lot of opportunities come my way, and one was YLF, short for Youth Leadership Forum. It taught me to advocate for myself and for people with IDD. Technically, it was an overnight summer camp, but it was in a school format and I liked it (maybe because I could stay up to 11:00 and I did)! It was at NC State and I got to sleep in the dorms there as well.

On the 321 Coffee blog, I will be writing about positive and uplifting stories of people with IDD that are breaking barriers in the world. I am so excited for you all to read my posts.