March 13, 2014

Let’s Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

by DRVC Website

March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day.  This date is the 21st day of the third month of the year.  It signifies the extra chromosome which ties itself onto the 21st pair of chromosomes and causes Down syndrome.

Trisomy 21 is the most common form of Down syndrome. It is not a fatal diagnosis. It is a diagnosis of an extra chromosome. I see the extra chromosome as a gift from God creating an innocence, a loving nature that people without that extra chromosome simply do not have. But I am prejudiced. I have spent 27 years living with the blessings of Down syndrome. In a world that looks for perfection, my children are not “perfect,” but then, neither am I. We have found each other, and together we have come closer to God. On second thought, maybe that really is perfection!

Many of the medical conditions which can accompany Down syndrome are correctable. I do not want to correct the other conditions which frequently accompany it. I do not want to correct the kisses and hugs, the hand that still holds mine when we cross a street, the “Are you happy, Mommy?” that I frequently hear. Those “conditions” are blessings, my blessings. The birth mothers of my three children chose not to raise them. I am grateful that they gave them life. I am grateful that God sent them to me to raise as my own.

People with Down syndrome are sometimes subject to unfair stereotypes. Don’t fall into that trap! Instead, join in the global celebration of World Down Syndrome Day. Let everyone know that people with Down syndrome should be valued and included, especially in our faith formation programs and worship. Let us pray that babies with Down syndrome will not be aborted, but that they will be accepted and loved by families, by our Church, by a society that simply cannot understand that this little gift from God, created in His image, can teach us what life is all about!