MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Becoming a parent is exciting, but to learn your child could be born with a disability can change your excitement to concern or even fear.
A Tuskegee woman can teach us all a thing or two about dealing with change. In fact, her lesson is one reason her family is one of Alabama's "Families of the year".
Davina and Regina love to dance, but many never thought they would. "The twins were born in what I call "the may never age," explained Lillie Ruth Hicks, "and when I say may never, all the books at that time said they may never walk, they may never talk they may never do anything."
The girls, twirling around the room together when WSFA 12 News' cameras arrived, were born with Down syndrome.
"It's always a challenge to raise children, and it's much more of a challenge to raise children with a disability," Ms. Hicks said.
When Hicks and her husband learned she was pregnant with twins she was excited, but her excitement turned to heart break when she learned of their disability. "We knew after we had the twins we had to go on. We could not discriminate. We could not leave them behind. So we decided to include them in everything." And she did.
One day while watching them dance someone suggested she enroll them in a class. Since then, the twins have won dance competitions and their talent has taken them to Europe to perform. "With love and care they've done a lot of things that a lot of people would never have imagined that they could have done."
Mrs. Hicks' husband passed away earlier this year. Her two other sons live out of state. And these days she doesn't worry much about the twins. They are her rock, and they keep her busy. But raising them have taught her a life lesson: Remember what family is all about and remember what a family can accomplish together.
Davina and Regina are both 36-years-old but discovered their talent of dancing in the 8th grade. They spend a lot of their time volunteering at the VA medical facility.
Their mother says they've logged more than 17,000 volunteer hours.
The Hicks family is one of five families that will be honored as "Families of the Year" by the Family Guidance Center of Alabama.