I've been pondering a variety of things this week. Things that encourage and some that do anything but encourage. Being the Mom of a special baby comes with a new set of challenges, but many things also remain the same. All Moms want their children to be accepted, liked by others and able to be part of a group. We all enjoy the comments from friends, family and even strangers who notice their good behavior or how smart or cute they can be. All of us appreciate the encouraging word, don't we?!
On Sunday we watched Extreme Home Makeover. One of the family members was a young man, Patrick Henry Hughes , with great talent - and also disabilities. Over and over again you saw people on the show who were deeply touched by this man. People who were glad to know him and who had been impacted significantly by him. It was so encouraging to see people who were able to look at him and see his "abilities" and not his disabilities. Isn't that something we would all like to be better at? I know I can be guilty of being judgmental and it just isn't pretty. How much better when we can look at people and see the value in them, appreciate them and learn from them. I'm sure that's what God would want. I have prayed many times that God would give me His eyes to see others. I still want to learn that lesson. I've been given a lot of opportunities this year.
Also this week, there was a huge uproar about some comments a professor made in an upperlevel class. I heard a lot about it on a local loop since it happened at a local university. (UNC, where my dh also works.) The professor made a statement that all older women should have an amnio so that if they were carrying a child with Down syndrome, they could do the moral thing and abort the child. (He clearly doesn't know that most children with DS are born to mothers who are younger than 40.) He also related that he had known someone who had a child with DS and that this had ruined their lives. There's more if you would like to read the whole article HERE.
Many people locally have responded and written letters to the professor and the University President. I hope that it will have an impact. I am stunned and saddened that this is being taught in a college class. I realize that things have changed significantly in the last several decades. The life expectancy and also quality of life for people with DS has improved greatly. I'm so thankful for the opportunities we have to help Eliana grow to her potential.
Many people have called this view eugenics - an attempt to wipe out a group of people. What would the effect had been had he selected any other minority group of people? Is it a stretch to imagine that if we allow/encourage this type of action against one group of people that it then becomes far easier to allow it for another group? It is certainly far from "moral" in my opinion.
As I was bathing Eliana last night and watching her splash happily in her tub, I couldn't help but smile. As I think about it, when I or anyone else is watching her, that is usually what happens - you smile. She is such a delight!!! I love our little girl so very much and am so thankful that she is a part of our family. We are blessed - and we all feel that way! I love watching my children with her and the delight that she brings each of them. I love watching her learn new things and I think about how smart she is to be learning them.
One of her newest things is blowing kisses. We didn't really set out to teach this, but she just picked it up and really likes doing it. Last night while she was in the bath, she noticed the "baby" in the mirror. I had been pointing out her reflection when she wasn't engrossed in her splashing. At one point, she looked at her image and blew herself a kiss. It was adorable.
I hope that I can be a voice of encouragment about Down syndrome. Our lives have not been "ruined" by having a child with DS - far from it! Have things been difficult at times? Yes! Have we had new worries and doubts? Yes! Have we grown in our faith and learned lessons we might never have learned? Yes! Am I thankful to have the precious child in our family? Yes!!! I have found my heart stretched and my faith deepened as I learn more about loving and living in a way that would please God. We are truly blessed.
With a thankful heart,