I feel in love this week. I was at the grocery store and saw a young man pushing the cart for his mom, he was probably 15 years old. Brown hair swept across his forehead, button-up shirt, medium build. He had this look about him that said he was greatly loved and cared for. I came home and told Kyle about him saying, "he was beautiful!" In a sea of people busily pushing about and ignoring everything around them, he just seemed so cool and relaxed, so unfazed by all that everyone else cares so much about. . . those things that I myself wish I did not care about.
You don't see many people like him, even though the "risk" is about 1 in every 800 babies. I saw one figure that said as many as 90% of children like him are aborted, lets say that figure it high and only 75% are, that is still 75% too many. As I am sure you have guessed, the boy I fell in love with at the grocery store had down syndrome. I should have gone up to his mother and told her how beautiful her son was. People do that to me in the grocery store all the time, "oh, you have such beautiful boys!. . . Eeek, they are so cute, you are giving me baby fever!" But, I'd never seen a child with down syndrome at the grocery store before and the thought did not occur to me until later. That momma probably really needed to hear that! I think every mom needs to hear that! It's hard getting kids ready to go anywhere, let alone make them look presentable and yourself. I wonder if she had ever been told that by a complete stranger?
Why do people have such a hard time accepting things that are a bit different than themselves? People with down syndrome are still people! They are just as innocent and you and I (which, is not very innocent. . . ) and as deserving of life! And, they are every bit as created in the image of God as "normal people" are. All people with "disabilities" are created in God's image and they, along with everyone else help us to catch different angles of God's infinitely great character.
This was talked about in Church (Podcasts> the only basis for human value) today and it really touches on what has been on my heart for the last few months, we are all created in God's image, and we belong to God, we don't belong to our government, our state, our spouse, parents or even to ourselves. We are God's and life is a gift, and to think that we have the right to terminate a life, no matter what stage it is in, be it someone else's or our own, is trying to play God, and it is a dangerous place to be.
I am Pro Life. I have always been, but, at various stages of my life I have thought it an "OK" option for other people because I believed it was their decision. I do not think that anymore. I believe that life belongs to God and we have no right touching what isn't ours. God gave us lots of things to take care of, and we've screwed all that up - let's leave human kind alone and stop killing one another. (Completely aside, I've never understood the argument of "the baby is not viable without the mother"- I feel like most people (myself included) are not viable without the grocery store. There are people who are exceptions, but, most of us need someone else to help us survive - that condition does not condone ending someone life. )
Up until recently I would save I have been a rather apathetic Pro Lifer, and not because I don't stand in front of Plan Parenthood with a sign, but, because I've said, "Adoption, not abortion!" but, took the natural children route to having a family.
A few months ago I prayed one of the hardest prayers I have ever prayed in my life. I asked God to close my womb and to give us children through domestic fostering and adoption, and I asked for kids, not babies.
If you've never had a baby before, let me tell you what it is like for me. Imagine the most wonderful gift you've ever received and then multiply it by 10,000. I understand that it is not like this for everyone, and there are many women (and men) that don't want babies(or children), and that is fine! But, I love babies! But, I've already been blessed with two, and there are lots of people out there who also want babies, but, haven't had one yet. People would probably fight over babies if they could, so I'll try to stay out of that. There are so many kids in the foster system who do not have people fighting for them, some who are completely "normal" and others who have many disabilities. I think being Pro Life means caring for orphans, and Lord willing that is what Kyle and I are setting out to do.
Is the first child that we bring into our home going to have severe disabilities ? No. At this point in my life I know that I cannot handle that, I am far, far, far too selfish. I am not sure if that is trying to play God or not. Is the idea of bringing a child with severe disabilities into our home out of the question? No. There was a time in my life where I was probably (I say probably because I have 5 younger siblings, and have always thought myself pretty capable. . . )not mature enough to raise children, now I've managed to raise one to 2 + years, and another to almost 1, and most days I can handle them just fine. Yes, now and again I want a break, but, when they go to bed I look at pictures of them on my computer and want to wake them up. So, I think the plan is to just keep adding to the load and see where we end up. That may be playing it safe, I don't know, this is all new for us.
So, in the coming years our family may look a little different than yours, we hope that you can support us in this. We pray that we will do an enviable job in raising our family, because we love life and want you to want life that is different than what you expected.
To those who may be reading this who have children with disabilities of any kind, it is my sincerest intention that I did not offend you in any way, shape, or form. I do not know what it is like to be a parent of a child with disabilities and I know it cannot be easy. I am positive that I am completely naive in this area. I want you to know that I commend you and think the world of you, and that I think you are doing a most excellent job raising your children. I ask for your help in the months and years to come. I am scared out of my skin that I will mess this up, the only greater fear I have is what happens to a child if no one ever loves them.