With the latest recommendations from the ACGO & the SOGC regarding prenatal testing, and with my friend, Nicole's ( http://all4gals.blogspot.com/ ) connection to adoption, many of us in the T21 community have been thinking a lot about adoption lately.
I’ve always felt that I would have more children with T21 in my life – I don’t even know the clear path to how that will come about, its just one of those peaceful feelings that you sense deep in your soul.
And as Nic will attest to, sometimes it happens when you are least expecting it.
Even with that, I must admit that I have given relatively little thought to the adoption process other than announcing almost daily to my husband, my family, and anyone who would listen, that I would love to adopt a child with Down syndrome.
My views on adoption have always been very one-sided, as I am sure most people’s are. I imagine a loving family who desperately want a child finally being given that gift. I see the Hallmark commercial in my mind where that baby, or that child, is welcomed by a family so very grateful and so very happy.
Of course, as much of my life perspective’s have been wonderfully changed by Paige, I almost always relate that commercial to a baby with Down syndrome. (In fact, I relate every baby commercial I see to Down syndrome, but that’s a whole different post, and a whole other campaign we must embark upon!)
I know the statistics – that there are many families waiting to adopt a child with T21 – that these families are comprised of single parents, and married couples, and young people, and older people, and quite often, of people who’s lives have already been touched in some way by T21.
But through the beauty of Nic’s story, and through the very real contemplation of the fact that the medical community wants to identify ALL babies with T21 prenatally, I have now given much thought to those families who chose adoption for their children.
As a mother who screened kindergarten teachers just slightly less than the Secret Service screens people who will be near the President of the United States, I cannot for a moment place myself in the perspective of a parent or a family contemplating adoption for their child.
What a leap of faith it takes to make the adoption decision for your child. To do so truly means that you must face the unknown, that you must believe in a process and a system that will ensure your child will have the best possible future.
And all of these processes that are put in place are not infalliable. No matter what we do, no matter how many questions are asked, we are all humans, and that child will live with people who are not perfect.
At the absolute best, he or she will live with a family that makes mistakes, is grumpy sometimes, is overwhelmed, who faces hardships – financially or emotionally.
At the absolute worst, well, that is unimaginable.
So, how can we, those who are fighting so hard to tell the world about the beauty and wonder of people with T21, not embrace those who make the adoption decision? How can we not come together, with our hearts open, our shoulders available to lean on, our arms outstretched, to make this journey a bit easier for those who make this choice?
How can we possible not celebrate their decisions, commend their unselfish choice, and stand up for them against those who would judge.
Just imagine…imagine…having to make such a faith based decision – so unsure of the unknown for your baby or child, and then having those around you criticize you, judge you, tsk at you?
Imagine the strength that one must have to make this decision.
For some families who give birth to a child with Down syndrome, choosing adoption is a very real option. And we must embrace this option – we simply must do this. And we must do a better job at supporting those who make this choice.
I frequently write in my blog about how I feel called to this world of T21 – that it is my “ministry” and that I am very honoured to be a very real part of it.
Just as I have grown and learned and changed my mind about topics relating to T21 over the years, I think that we must acknowledge with great respect the fact that all of our stories are very different – all of us have paths and journeys that are exclusive and unique to us.
Just as I embrace and advocate for Paige in my own way, there are families who have touched by T21 who will find their own path – and that path may very well be the road less taken, just as mine has been – one that gives them strength and makes them pioneers in this adoption route – perhaps a child was given to them to show the world that families are made in many different ways. And perhaps their intended journey is to help all of us understand a little better how the decision to chose adoption for a child comes about.