Today is World Down Syndrome Day. We are forever grateful for our little Budgie. And completely and overwhelmingly grateful his birth mother knew he was worthy of life. Did you know approximately 67% of prenatal diagnoses of Down Syndrome END in abortion? Derick is worthy of life because he is a child of God. He blesses the lives of many people on this earth.
I have found a disturbing trend of late in the disabilities community. I feel that many people try to justify their child’s life by showing all of the great things that they can do. They seem to say, “You should keep children with Down Syndrome, because look at all the unexpected things they can do! They will surprise you!” Like: “Susie goes to college! Brad acts on a show! John got a job!”
Well, not all children with disabilities will do ‘great’ things in the eyes of the world. Derick doesn’t talk. He breaks stuff. He still doesn’t potty with consistency. But he does smile. He hugs. He teaches me endless lessons like compassion, humility and patience. And even if he didn’t do any of those things, his life matters because he IS. He had value before he was ever conceived. I am a better person because he came to earth and found his way to our family.
When the church made a video of our family 7 years ago, we received a variety of feedback. One criticism lobbed against me (more than once), was how selfish I have been to have two disabled children. That this was going to be an undue burden on my ‘normal’ children.
Well, let me tell you that there is nothing selfish about having our boys and they have driven the selfish out of my girls. Jane and Grace actually call dibs on who gets which boy after Greg and I die.
It is more selfish to raise children in a vacuum with no challenges to shape their character. Serving those who cannot serve themselves shapes character. Ethan and Derick are good for society, because they make us all better. So Happy World Down Syndrome Day! Go hug a Budgie today. Go get outside of yourself and learn to love.