This post is a long time coming. And there's way more on my mind than I can share in one blog post, but I need to start *somewhere*.
I have multiple Facebook and blogging friends who have adopted or are currently in the process of adopting a child (or multiple children!) who has Down syndrome. In the countries where these children are born, it is perfectly acceptable to leave a child who is differently-abled at the hospital (or worse). When children with Down syndrome are born in some countries in Eastern Europe, those children have little if any hope of life past the toddler years if they are not adopted. Why? Because in those countries, a child with Down syndrome is sentenced to life in an institution if not adopted by age 5. At age 5 these children are basically confined to life in a crib with no education or love.
Some of the families who have announced that they are adopting a child with Down syndrome have received CRAZY criticism from others here in the States. Such criticism includes: "Aren't you busy enough with the challenges of your 'own' children?" and "Why put such a burden on ALL of us in the U.S. with those children who will grow to be adults and drain our country of resources?" "There are plenty of children here in the U.S. who need families... why not adopt THEM?"
I'm not going to answer those questions. Because those are PERSONAL questions. Questions that each adoptive family must struggle through and answer within their family. The decision to adopt is HUGE, whether that be domestically or internationally, newborn or older child, "special needs" or not.
Michael Gerson wrote a column about adoption in the Washington Post this summer (the column has nothing to do with "special needs" adoption, but I found many of his points to be wonderful). One of the most profound statements he made was, "It is one of the noblest things about America that we care for children of other lands who have been cast aside." Here's the column:
So, back to the adoption of children with Down syndrome. Did you know that there's a list of some 200 families in the U.S. who are interested in adopting a baby with Down syndrome? That probably sounds crazy to those of you who don't have a child with Down syndrome. But for those of you who truly know our family, hasn't Micah's life blessed you already? He's not even three years old. He has certainly changed ME. There is no small accomplishment with Micah, no "milestone" that goes ignored.
So who will take care of the "least of these?"