Sarah Burkett and Jordan Boring are planning their December wedding.
Whether they are out for dinner and a movie, camping with family or rocking out to their favorite show tunes, its clear that they just love being together.
Over the next few months, the couple will be preparing to take the next step in their relationship. In December, they’ll celebrate their union with a wedding ceremony at United Church of Granville and a reception at the Skylight in Newark.
Sarah, who recently picked out her dress and veil, said she’s looking forward to celebrating with family and friends as they start their new life together.
“We want to be together always and forever,” she said. “We have true love. It’s eternal.”
The couple first met while attending the agency provider SPARK at its previous location in Granville.
As Sarah explains it, Jordan spotted her and realized they should be together.
But their connection goes back further than that.
About 16 months after Jordan was born, his mother Jan heard about another local family who had a baby born with Down syndrome. She reached out to Sarah’s parent’s, Patti and Tom, to share her experiences and offer support
Although they attended different schools, both Sarah and Jordan shared another common experience. She was one of the first students mainstreamed in Granville Schools and Jordan was one of the first at Newark City Schools.
Once they got together, Sarah and Jordan quickly realized they had a lot in common. They both love movies and music, going shopping and playing Wii and Just Dance. Sarah loves writing — her dream is to be an advice columnist — so she was excited that Jordan enjoys writing as well.
Like all engaged couples, the support of their family and friends has been crucial to their success.
At the suggestion of their parents, the couple went through eight sessions of pre-marital counseling at Ohio State University’s Nisonger Center. With enthusiastic feedback from their counselor, they began spending more time together, with both sides of their families.
Jordan got a job, working at Wendy’s in Pataskala and both he and Sarah are working to gain more independent living skills, such as shopping, cooking and cleaning, with the help of direct support professionals.
“The wedding has been a big motivating factor for both of them,” Patti said.
Finding housing is going to be the biggest priority for the couple, said Jordan’s father Duane. It will be important to find a place that is near family, in a safe neighborhood and affordable. But the couple knows they have the support of their families while they try to find the perfect fit.
Both Sarah and Jordan’s service coordinators at the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities are working with the two families to help connect them with resources and brainstorm ideas.
Sarah, who currently lives in an apartment in Patti and Tom’s home, has had some experience with using technology to make sure she is safe and secure.
The Borings and Burketts are looking into remote monitoring for Sarah and Jordan’s new home, so they can have additional support and security, but still have the space to be a couple and do their own thing.
From the members of their bridal party to the woman they met at a Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio event who was so moved by their story she has offered to bake their wedding cake — Sarah and Jordan have received lots of support and encouragement.
But the evolution of their relationship has also provided them with the opportunity to emphasize that having Down syndrome doesn’t change the things that give your life meaning, Jan said,
“They have wants and needs and feelings and why shouldn’t they go through life with those being fulfilled,” she said.
For Patti, it’s exciting to see her daughter take this next step.
“Both of their lives are so much fuller because they have each other,” she said. “That’s what we all want.”