***Warning: this post contains my opinions about abortion. If you don't like what I have to say, then you can write your own blog post!!!
Well, I don't know about where you live, but here in central Arkansas, it is POURING down rain, and has been since last night. I have been so spoiled by the nice weather we have had since the beginning of March, and although I know we needed the rain, I am ready for it to end and the sun to return!
Ava has been doing really, really well in therapy recently. Especially PT and OT. She seems to just make progress and learn every time we go! It is amazing to watch, and I am so thankful she will work while I am there so that I can watch her! I just know that she will take her first "real" steps at therapy with Angela (our PT) so I really hate having to leave for errands during PT especially! I don't want to miss it! I might start packing our camera just in case. I know they are coming!!!!
Recently I have had some friends on my heart that are struggling with infertility. There are several reasons why they are on my heart, but I have been praying for them daily (you know who you are ladies!). And every time I feel sad about our "lot in life", with Ava having Angelman Syndrome, I think of them and realize that, although she has special needs, Ava is a MIRACLE! As all children are! And despite our challenges in life, we also get to experience great joy and celebration when those challenges are overcome!
I don't really talk a lot about political or social issues on my blog. Although I am pretty open about how I feel on those topics, I just have never felt the need to discuss them here. But today happens to be World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. I have three friends with children with Down Syndrome. Two of those children were adopted. And after reading more about DS and learning more about the statistics, I am just overwhelmed that so many babies that test positive for Down Syndrome in prenatal testing never get the chance at life. That is, they are aborted. That just breaks my heart so much. Conservative estimates place the abortion rate for Down Syndrome babies at 90%! That is just unfathomable to me! Not to mention all of the false positives- which would have been perfectly healthy, typical babies, that were aborted.
First I would like to say that I judge no one. That is not my place. Secondly, I would like to say that I am pro-choice. Before my close friends fall on the floor, gasping for air, let me explain. I believe that a woman has a choice to have sex (except in cases of rape and incest, I know. That is a whole 'nother thing!). I believe that they have a choice to protect themselves against pregnancy. Those are their choices. But after a baby is made, the choices are (in my opinion) over. A new life has been created. You don't have to raise that life, but there are other options. My life is literally FULL of people that could have been aborted, but a mother chose life. And I am so thankful that they did! Babies are *never* mistakes. Each life is precious, each life is a miracle. Regardless of the circumstances. Regardless of how the chromosomes stack up! I know that is easy for me to say. I know that some women feel that they have no choice. Again, I judge no one. But I do pray that anyone considering abortion reconsider. Especially if they are considering it because of the possibility of having a special needs child.
As a parent of a special needs child, I totally understand the panic you feel when you get the news that your child isn't typical. The concerns you face. The questions you have about life and the future. But I also know the love, the fulfillment, and the satisfaction that a special needs child can bring to your life. Is it always easy? Not at all. But when it is your child, you don't really think about that. You just work for each smile, each milestone, each "good" day, whatever that might be for your child.
I was once asked by a total stranger if I would have aborted Ava if I had known that she had AS before she was born. I was dumbfounded. First of all, I couldn't believe that a lady in the craft store was asking me this in front of my child. But I was also shocked that someone could look at my daughter- her beautiful deep blue eyes, her ever present smile, her creamy light skin, her halo of platinum hair- and ask me that!!!! What was her problem?!?! Could she not see the love that I have for my child and the love that my child has for the world? Could she not see the miracle that Ava is? Could she not see what a blessing and light Ava is to me and this world? No. All she could see is the disability. Sadly, that is all a lot of people see when they see a special needs child. They see the "needs" but not the "special." And I have determined that those are the people that have never had the privilege of spending time with a child like Ava.
And that makes me so sad. Because I don't know that my life was really much of a life before Ava.
If you want to learn more about Down Syndrome, start here, with a blog post that my friend Beth (who has a three month old with DS) posted today.