Well, we are about at the end of October, and all of these posts on Down Syndrome Awareness.
Hopefully, things are changing.
I feel like if we could put ourselves in someone else's shoes...in their situation...then maybe we wouldn't be so quick to judge them, so quick to dismiss them, so quick to segregate them...even more than they already are.
Because, life is tough...can I get an "Amen?"
And even in the best of circumstances, there are things that God allows, and things that we choose, and consequences we face from the actions of others...that can make life hard.
In the case of Down Syndrome, these individuals didn't have a choice. They are either wanted, chosen and accepted...or they are neglected, abandoned or aborted. Any way you look at it...it's not their choice.
Up to 90% of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome choose to abort their child. The rest of us got to be surprised with this extra-special news at delivery, and have spent our lives trying to figure things out...school, work, therapy, health concerns, relationships, independence. Lots of hit-and-miss.
It's like someone giving you material, and telling you to make something without a pattern or instructions. Raising a child with special needs, without the support of family, friends and the church community, is like telling you to make something without a pattern or instructions...in the dark...in a storm...while hanging off a cliff.
It can be very isolating...but it doesn't have to be.
I don't have a lot of answers. I'm just here to talk about awareness...which I hope will lead to acceptance...which I hope will lead to us realizing that it's not good for anyone to do life alone.
Did you know that the divorce rate in families who have a child with special needs is between 80-90%?
Instead of making things easier on these families, we sometimes make it even harder.
In order to know how to support them, we have to get to know them. It's time-consuming and messy to jump into anyone else's life, especially into one where we have no knowledge of how to help.
But we can learn, right?
And, if we don't know what to do for a specific child, maybe we can support the parents?
I realize that we can't make every situation "okay" for every family, but maybe we can do something.
Because, you know...it might be you one day. Or me. We are all a fall...or a heart attack, aneurysm, amputation, car accident, disease, brain injury...away from losing our mental or physical abilities, needing lots of assistance...and being labeled, "special needs."
I guarantee we all have ideas of how WE would want to be treated, right?
I wonder what would happen if each of us reached out to one person or family in our own little corner of life...single moms, foster parents, families dealing with illness, special needs, job loss, etc.
It's almost like all of us, coming together, could be a kind of net. And then, if life got hard, for any of us, we could hold each other together.