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Childhood sweethearts with Down syndrome to tie the knot

Childhood Sweethearts With Down Syndrome Engaged After 30 Years

Love is in the air for a pair of childhood sweethearts in Texas. Since meeting each other in a Down syndrome support group as toddlers, Austin Underwood and Jessica Smith have been inseparable, and now they're preparing to tie the knot!


"I want to marry her because I love her and she's my very own best friend."

Fort Worth Magazine spoke with Austin's mother, Jan Underwood, as part of a profile of the engaged couple.

"Austin and Jessica actually met when they were toddlers ... they got engaged at Christmas 2012."

Jessica's mother, Georgia Smith, told NBC right after she gave birth, her doctor told her, "This is a bummer ... this child is a mongoloid." Austin's mom had a similar experience. She says her doctor said, "you don't have to take him home." But neither mom let horrible comments like those get to them.

"Jan convinced coaches to let Austin play on their teams. Georgia encouraged Jessica's love of theater."

They fought to give their kids normal lives, Jan says.

According to Fort Worth Magazine, Austin and Jessica's families have spent their Christmases together for the past 30 years, and Christmas 2012 was an extra special one.

Austin got down on one knee to ask for his sweetheart's hand in marriage. This was, of course, after a romantic limo ride around town to see the beautiful Christmas lights.

Jessica and Austin live on their own. The Star-Telegram reports Austin currently works at a local Italian restaurant. Jessica also has a job.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, individuals with Down syndrome are becoming "increasingly integrated" into society, specifically in the workforce.

The happy couple will tie the knot at the end of June.

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