There are two issues in life that always lay heavy on my heart- abortion and adoption. Today I read something that rocked me to my core.
9 out of 10 families in the US abort their unborn baby that is diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
I mentioned a month ago REECES RAINBOW- an organization that helps raise money and find homes for children in foreign countries that have Down syndrome. Children who are the least likely to ever find families and are not valued in their societies any more then a piece of dirt. The more I researched, the more I felt God pulling at my heart saying- you're not done. Just months after my heart feeling full and complete, He opened up a little more room for, hopefully someday, adding another daughter or son to our family through this organization. We are not quiet ready yet for an addition, but I know God will provide a way for us to help the "least of these". And my heart hurts everyday for my unknown child who will have to suffer before we find them.
Children with Down syndrome in these countries are discarded, left in "special" unvisited rooms in orphanages, malnourished, drugged and only given till the ripe age of 5 to find a home before they are doomed to a mental institution for the rest of their, sadly, usually short lives. When reading this, my ears where burning with anger and a knot formed in my stomach that made me want to hurl. I viewed these countries as barbaric and ignorant, cruel and unjust. "Here in America we were more advanced then that", I thought. And we are- technologically, but not in humanity. Americans treat these children the same way, they just discard them before they are born. Writing that hurts. It hurts when I look into Fionas eyes and can see so much potential and love. She laughs and smiles, eats and pops, plays with her hands and feet, adores her brothers. She is a normal baby in almost every aspect, she just has different chromosomes. And what is just as sickening to me as the fact that 9 out of 10 babies diagnosed like my daughter are never given the chance to thrive, doctors are wrong. They make mistakes. 1 in a million times ( yes small odds, but still odds) amnios are wrong. 1 baby, out of a million babies that was aborted, was actually fine.
I remembered someone, when hearing the news of Fionas diagnosis and health conditions, asked if I was going to have her. I starred at the words on the screen, sadden that they even thought that way. I confidently and without hesitation typed, "I love my daughter. If I found out tomorrow that one of my boys was disabled, I wouldn't throw him away." I cannot grasp the concept that people can so quickly fall out of love with their unborn baby at the news there is something wrong. I fell deeper in love with Fiona. My whole body wanted to wrap my arms around her and protect her and make life the best possible for her. Getting rid of her was never a thought, helping her was all I thought about.
Thinking about that doctor that tried to give me no hope, and knowing this statistic now, I feel the need to shout from the roof tops for all to hear how wrong that choice is. I am not the only one. I read and talk to mom after mom of Downs children who not only love their children, but are proud and encouraged by them. These kids succeed in life more often then not- and one of the biggest contributors to their success is loving families- people giving them a chance.
Approximately 5,500 babies are born each year with Down syndrome- 55,000 are conceived. There are thousands of parents out there, fighting for acceptance for their kids, something that we are still far from fully achieving. Thousands of parents are voicing their stories and proving the wonders any person can be if given a chance, but our world seems to be turning a deaf ear. I'm not going to lie, its at times hard and painful to have a special needs child, for the parents. But its also hard and painful to have a normal child at times as well. I know, I have both. To discard a baby purely because you are afraid and it hurts you is selfish. Unfortunately, this is a selfish world. I will keep fighting for my daughter's acceptance and keep showing anyone who will listen how taking a narrower path is far more rewarding.
Do you know there is an actual waiting list to adopt a US baby with Downs? I thought it was amazing so many people wanted to adopt a Downs baby that there weren't enough to go around. But, no, the reason being is that in most cases, American parents find out pre-birth that their baby has Down syndrome and if they don't want it, they just abort right then and there. Few of the parents who actually birth their babies and then find out the diagnosis want to give up their sweet blessing. How many of those aborted babies would have been so loved by their parents if given the chance to meet them?
Fiona Hope, I cannot imagine life without you.