Today’s fact: 88% of people who have a sibling with Down syndrome feel that they are better people because of that sibling.
I had to renew my drivers license last month and by chance I ended up sitting next to a woman at the DMV who has a sister with Down syndrome. We talked about Daniel a little and she talked about her sister a little and then she told me something that I’ve heard before. She said, “My mother had her in a Catholic hospital, and after she was born the nuns said, ‘We’ll just take her away and you won’t have to think about her anymore.'” To which this mother had replied that they would absolutely not take her away, that she would be taking her baby home with her.
Over and over I’ve heard versions of this. Doctors who recommended institutionalizing babies with Down syndrome. Nurses who expected that parents wouldn’t want to keep the baby. Even relatives who assumed such a baby would be placed for adoption. And parents who said no. Parents who insisted that THIS child was just as deserving of coming home to a loving family as any other.
That was not so very long ago. Those parents paved the way for the experience we had when Daniel was born. We got up to date information in the hospital. People were positive. Early intervention started right away. I didn’t have to fight to take our son home, because other people had already done that.
So thank you to those parents. It means more than you might ever know.