Well, we are about at the end of October, and all of these posts on Down Syndrome Awareness. Hopefully, things are changing for individuals with Down Syndrome.
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 like Joshua: wanted, chosen and accepted...or they are neglected, abandoned, or aborted. Any way you look at it...it's not their choice.
The other day, I watched a documentary called, "A World Without Down Syndrome."
I watched it with tears streaming down my face. It was heartbreaking.
I learned that countries like Iceland, have a 100% termination rate after a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome, and the UK is way up there, too, at 96% or something outrageous like that.
Here in America, up to 90% of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome, choose to abort their child.
This about tears my heart out.
Is this how we want to live?
Is this what we want to do?
To completely eliminate lives we deem to be unworthy?
The anchor on this documentary interviewed a woman who had had a late-term abortion after a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. She was 25 weeks pregnant.
To put this in perspective, those of y'all who know us...my Clark was just 2 weeks further than that when he was born.
She said she was given a shot to stop the baby's heart, and that it was "strange to feel him moving and kicking around one minute, and then nothing after that."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
We should not have this power, y'all, and any presidential candidate, from any political party, who says this is okay is wrong. This is NOT okay
The rest of us...the ones who did not have a prenatal diagnosis, got to be surprised with this extra-special news at delivery! And we have spent our lives trying to figure things out...school, work, therapy, health concerns, relationships, independence. Lots of trial and error...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, of needing lots of assistance...of 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.