“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.”
~A.A. Milne, from "Winnie the Pooh"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Ugly Truth

I have learned a lot about Down Syndrome during the last (almost) 10 months. Not just about the condition itself, but about how people view and treat these amazing beings whose only crime is that they were born with an extra chromosome.
It's sometimes extremely disheartening just exactly how many believe that children like mine should never be born and even more disheartening to realize the horrifying abuse that precious babies in other parts of the world are forced to endure because they are unwanted, unloved and viewed as a curse on the societies they happened to be born into.
My heart celebrates with each child who is saved from the cruel, barren existence they have faced and brought home to a family who will love them and give them the care that every child deserves. But at the same time, my heart breaks for those who remain left behind.

A friend posted this video this week and it made me ill. You see, I can't help but see the face of my most precious gift in each and every one of those faces. But for the blessing of being born where she was, one of those faces could be hers. It's a thought that I truly can not stand. It tears me apart.
It has to be said, however, that our country has not always been immune to these types of abuse, neglect and mistreatment. Not so long ago, in our very own "progressive" society, children born with Down Syndrome and other mental disabilities were locked away like a dirty little secret and often suffered the same fates as those in other countries still do today. Watching this clip about Willowbrook and others about various institutions which previously existed across the country are horrifyingly reminiscent of the videos of Serbian institutions as they are today. To me, it's just as heart breaking to know that had my daughter been born 40 years ago, even in our country, this might have been her fate.
I'd like to believe that faced with the same circumstances as these other parents were not so long ago, I would act differently. Watching the revolting images parade across my computer screen makes my heart scream that  my child would never languish in a place as horrible as these. That I would absolutely refuse to allow her to spend even one day in such a place. But the facts are that when faced with society's view of her and those who share her genetic makeup back then, I can't completely fault the parents of these children for not having the strength or the courage to stand up and fight for children that the population at large thought were hopeless causes.
All of which makes me even more thankful that some of them did have that courage, that strength. Some of them did stand up and say, "No. Not my child. I refuse to allow my child or the children of others to be condemned this way."
It took that one parent, that one doctor, that one nurse, or that one reporter who refused to back down, who refused to allow the shame of our inhumanity to be swept under the rug or be kept locked behind what amounted to prison doors. People who fought to expose the heinous truth to the world so that others would join them in demanding change. Those people made it possible for me, and other parents like me, to show the world the value and the beauty that can be found along with an extra chromosome.
Things in our world still aren't perfect for our kids. They face prejudice, ignorance and hatred still. Yet despite it all, they are allowed to thrive in the love and care of their families because of a few people's courage.

I wish so much that it was within my capabilities to save all the children with eyes like my daughter's. I wish I could take them all in my arms and show them what it is that they have been missing, love. Unfortunately, I can't. Others are doing far more than I could ever hope to, moving mountains to bring these babies home where they can finally have the God-given right of being a part of something greater than themselves, a family, and have opportunities that would never be possible in the countries of their birth. Families like this one and this one and this one and hundreds of others who first saw their child's face through a photograph and are raising the ransom to bring them home.
I don't have money to give. I don't have the resources to bring a child of my own home.
But I can pray. I can become one of many who, like those who have come before us, possess the courage and the strength to stand up and say NO MORE.
No longer can we allow God's precious children to wither away in a life without hope.........
Please do whatever you are able to stand with us. If you can give to any of these families who are working hard to ransom their child from the Hell they exist in, please do. If you are like me and unable to provide financial support, pray, pray, pray. But most importantly, please, I beg, do not be afraid to lift your voice and make a stand. I promise you will never be standing alone......

1 comment:

  1. You are not standing alone. I am standing right along side of your along with many others. That video always brings tears to my eyes and it is one of the reasons I will never stop fighting in helping those families bring their forever children home. Thank you for spreading awareness.


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