Not the child you wanted? What if someone decides she wants only a blond child? Blue eyes, button nose? A boy? The path to eugenics begins with this sort of thinking.”
That’s the thing about parenting, having a baby, to quote Forrest Gump’s mother’s musings on life, “is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” And have mercy on us, parents, if we DO want to know. If we DO feel it necessary to choose their gender, their IQ, their physical characteristics, BEFORE they are born. Have MERCY on us if we want cookie-cutter babies rather than the unique and wondrous surprises God brings to life every time a child is conceived. Have MERCY if we begin to think that we, rather than God, know what we really need.
Daugherty talks about his daughter Jillian, and how her Down syndrome has been the “singular blessing” in his life. He doesn’t want to go back to a time when he could have chosen for her to be born without DS…because her life, the way it IS, has enriched his in ways he could never have imagined and would never want to be without. He goes on to refute Marcus’ notion of all people with Down syndrome having “limited life choices:”
“Limited life choices? This is something someone who doesn’t have a child born with Down would say. It’s something a person entirely unfamiliar with anyone born with Down would believe. What Ruth Marcus doesn’t know, and unfortunately probably never will, is this:
Our citizens with Down syndrome are, on the whole, better people than the “abled” among us. The character traits they inspire — kindness, loyalty, genuine compassion and concern — should be what we aspire to. Their love is genuine and unconditional. They lead by example.
Those are “limited life choices”?
Bring ’em on.
Meantime, swim more rivers and climb more mountains. Our citizens born with Down syndrome will be happy to show you the way.”
BRING ‘EM ON, indeed. Bring on those precious, wonderful, FULL lives of children made in the image of God who also just so happen to have Down syndrome. Bring ’em on, because they bear a LIGHT our world of darkness so desperately needs to know it cannot live without.
March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day. It’s only a week away! On that day, I ask you to post photos of your friends and loved ones with Down syndrome all over social media. Wear crazy socks, your favorite advocacy t-shirts, and share, share, SHARE the beauty that is Down syndrome. Let’s change some minds and about disability, and change our world for the better.
For more on Paul and Jillian Daugherty, check out his memoir about raising her, An Uncomplicated Life.