I have a serious soft spot in my heart for kids and adults with Down Syndrome. My dad’s brother, Frankie, had it and lived for over 50 years, mostly because the love and care his family provided for him. Frankie was born during a time when the doctors told my grandma that he would be better off in a home/orphanage and people often called him “mongoloid” and my dad got in a lot of fights protecting his brother.
Times have changed, I know. It would be rare to hear someone call out a slur against a child with Downs and it would be unheard of for a doctor to suggest an orphanage to a family with a newborn born with Downs.
Times have changed so much that it is now possible for expectant mothers to have a simple blood test during the first trimester that checks for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by the placenta in early pregnancy. Abnormal levels are associated with an increased risk for chromosome abnormality. If the test comes back positive, more tests can be performed to determine if the unborn baby has Down Syndrome. If that test comes back positive, the parents have the choice to abort the pregnancy.
More and more people are choosing to terminate a pregnancy that will bring forth a child with Down Syndrome. I make no judgment of parents who choose this route, but because the Down Syndrome population is dwindling, so is funding, and that is a shame.
Thsi is one of the reasons I donated and am urging everyone I know to donate as well to The National Down Syndrome Society. The blog, Enjoying the Small Things, by Kelle Hampton, has become a nationally recognized blog since the birth story of her daughter Nella made its way around the blogging (and facebook and twitter) world. I’ve already been thankful for this blog before and the reasons are numerous, but I enjoy it mainly because it’s a well-written, heart-warming account of being a mother to a baby with Down Syndrome (and other things as well).
Well, as the one year birthday of her daughter Nella comes around, Kelle decided to ask readers to pay it forward and donate to the NDSS. As of today, $37,000 has been donated. I am proud to have contributed a few dollars to that amount.
My dad always said Frankie was an angel sent to teach us all how to love.
I think he was right. I think all kids and adults who struggle with a genetic condition are angels.
And who wouldn’t want to help out an angel?