Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Some thoughts on Down syndrome

I have been very honest about the fact that one of our twins will have Down syndrome (DS). Some of you may wonder why I have been so open about this fact. It's not to evoke pity or convince more people to donate to our cause. In fact I have been pleasantly surprised by the reaction we usually get when we tell people we are adopting twins and that one of the boys will have DS. I honestly expected some looks or comments of pity and there have been a couple, but for the most part everyone has been so supportive and have told us how happy they are for us. We hear stories of the joy that a child with DS brings or we are just told stories that don't even bring in the fact that sweet Baby A will have DS, instead the boys are seen as equals. It has been truly amazing. So why talk about it and be open about it? Mainly because I know that we are going to face the question "did you know before you adopted them?", which I feel like implies "would you have still adopted them if you had known".  If I can reduce the number of times that we are asked this question, it will be better for all of us. We already love both of these babies and the more I learn about DS, the more excited I get for everything the future holds. I want everyone to know that we chose BOTH of these babies to be our sons regardless of the fact that one would have an extra chromosome. I would be lying if I said we didn't have to pray and even question our decision before being asked to be the boys' parents, but even before saying "yes", we knew that if we were chosen, that this was God's plan for us, them and their amazing expectant family. I also want everyone to understand that our expectant mother did not choose adoption because Baby A has DS. In fact, she was asked 5 times if she was going to selectively abort this sweet baby because 92% of children with a prenatal diagnosis of DS are aborted. She choice life for both of them and has now chosen to give them more and we couldn't be more grateful for that decision.

I have been reading a book called "Roadmap to Holland". The woman who wrote this book has twin boys where one has Down syndrome. She didn't know until 5 days after her sons were born that one had DS and she is very honest about her fears and grief as she learned about her son's diagnosis. We didn't grieve necessarily, but we struggled and wondered what this would mean for our future. We struggled with selfish thoughts and feelings and I avoided learning too much too soon out of fear. As I have continued to read this book I have watched her transform. I have watched her thoughts and feelings about DS change and her love for her son grow. The more time I spend learning about DS, the more excited I get and the less fear I feel. The more I learn about having twins, it becomes hard to imagine only having one. As I was reading the other day, I saw the softening that had happened in their family and the joy that both boys brought, where as before it seemed like the diagnosis of DS was like a dark cloud that hung over her family. As I read this, I felt like God was telling me that He was going to transform and soften our family. That He was going to bring us more joy than we could ever imagine through these sweet babies. We are getting so excited to meet these two sweeties and we continue to be blessed by our growing relationship with our expectant family. 

We continue to ask for prayers as the day draws closer for all parties involved. We also want to thank everyone who has supported us financially and continues to do so through our Lilla Rose fundraiser and Thirty One fundraiser, we truly could not have pursued this adoption this without your prayers or financial gifts. Both fundraisers are still open if you feel led to give or you can give a tax deductible donation through the Both Hands Foundation by clicking here

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