As I sat waiting for my ultrasound,the television droning on with news, celebrity antics, and daytime talk shows, the voice of the doctor rang out clear. In her professional tone, she coldly related to the person on the other end that the test showed “the fetus” did have Trisomy 21, and without even taking a breath, that she now needed to decide whether to “terminate” the pregnancy. My husband and I sat in stunned silence. We were both thinking of our little 5-year-old boy with Down Syndrome: his sweet hugs, his cuddles, his chubby hands, his infectious laugh. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I didn’t know if they were from sadness, or anger. I felt angry, actually it was rage. To hear that Dr. speak so nonchalantly to a mother about killing her baby. Killing that sweet precious life because he or she would not be as smart or successful as she had hoped for. I WANTED to jump up and grab the phone from the Dr., to assure the woman on the other end of all the blessings the person in her womb would bring her; to assure her that that person could still fulfill God’s plan for his or her life, and that, that is enough. I just sat there. By the time I had worked through all of this in my mind, the phone was hung up. It’s been almost 10 years since I overheard those words; they still affect me deeply.
I will admit, that when we found out our son had Down Syndrome, I felt a sadness. It was buried beneath some very immediate, very scary health issues, but it was there. I loved him, to be sure, but MY hopes for him, my hopes and dreams for who he was to be seemed to be crushed. Brutal, I know, to admit such a thing, but crucial for you to understand my journey. Funny isn’t it, that this is almost always how God starts any work in us. We have to die to make room for His perfect plan. I spent months trying to make my son “normal” I would sit on the edge of my seat at each therapy session, trying to will him into doing things faster. Isn’t that what we all want in everything in life . . . faster, smarter, better? However, one day as I watched my son playing and giggling in his crib, completely content, God showed me a truth that was the beginning of a change in my thinking. What does it mean to be in the image of God? Simply breathing? Being smarter, faster, better? God is better, right? God is smart, right? But, our ideas of what is better and what is smart, those are not always God’s idea. Our definitions are not God’s. As I watched my baby playing happily I realized that there was a depth of contentment that most people do not have.The apostle Paul was content in every situation. To be content with what you have and who you are, to not always be striving against where you are. To not always be thinking ahead to something better; this is something foreign to most of us. This quiet peace of spirit is definitely an aspect of God.
Since that time, we have welcomed a daughter who has Down Syndrome into our family. Within minutes of her birth we recognized familiar markers and knew that she, too, had Down Syndrome. Funny, though, the laughing and rejoicing in that room didn’t even pause. We talked about it easily, like parents would a familial nose, or a head full of hair. It was just a part of who she was and that was easy for us to accept. It is not who she is, but a part. She is as different from her brother as night and day, she actually has more attributes in common with some of her other siblings.
Both Rudy and Desi are unique individuals who’s very life speaks of God. Each person on earth speaks something of God, because we are all created in His image. My children were created in the image of God. They are the people God created them to be. They can show me more about God by watching them and their lives. God has a purpose and a plan for their life. God formed them in my womb. They are fearfully and wonderfully made. They are marvelous works. Their frames were not hidden from Him (God knew as each chromosome was formed how many there were). His eyes saw their substance when it was yet unformed (He knew who they were and what kind of people they were, what character they would have, BEFORE they even had form) and He wrote it all in His book. Every day was fashioned for them, when as yet there were none of them! (Psalms 139:13-16) God allows things for PURPOSE, His purposes are always higher; they are eternal.
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Let’s rejoice in all life, and learn about the struggles of others in order to come alongside of them and share those burdens in love.
You can learn more about Down Syndrome at down syndrome group of the ozarks
There is a give away of some awesome movement props at bear paw creek!
. . .and also some other great articles on Down Syndrome here