After Ben was born, I learned many things that I did not want to learn.
I learned that the termination rate for moms who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome is 67% (which is lower than it used to be).
I learned that in many other countries, when a baby is born with Down syndrome, he or she is institutionalized right away, kept in a house for babies until age four or five, then moved to an adult mental institution for the rest of his life.
I have haunted “termination for medical reasons” boards online – never posting, but heart breaking to read of women who wanted their babies, loved their children, but who felt that a diagnosis of Down syndrome would be too much of a burden – would cause too much suffering – to the child, to themselves, to their other children.
Babies like Ben are not wanted ... despite the following statistics:
According to a study published in July 2011 by the American Journal of Medical Genetics,
nearly 99% of people with DS indicated that they were happy with their lives,
97% liked who they are, and
96% liked how they look.
Nearly 99% people with DS expressed love for their families, and
97% liked their brothers and sisters.
Overall, the overwhelming majority of people with DS surveyed indicate they live happy and fulfilling lives.
I’d like you to meet some organizations that do good work:
IDSC for Life is dedicated to serving individuals with Down syndrome from conception throughout their lives. We will achieve this by supporting families who have been given a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. We direct families to accurate and up-to-date information about Down syndrome. We extend our heartfelt compassion, and hope and healing to parents who who were pressured to terminate, and ended their pregnancy because of a Down syndrome diagnosis and later regret that decision.
The mission of Reece's Rainbow is to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption, to raise awareness for all of the children who are waiting in 25 countries around the world, and to raise funds as adoption grants that help adoptive families afford the high cost of adopting these beautiful children.
The NDSAN is committed to providing support for families who are considering an adoption plan for their child, and for families who would like to adopt a child with Down syndrome. The mission of the NDSAN is to ensure that every child with Down syndrome has the opportunity to grow up in a loving family.
And if you have time, I would encourage you to read about this family and their daughter Katie.