5 quick and easy reasons to not adopt

Adoption isn’t for everyone. This is such an oft repeated statement that we should, really, get t-shirts made of it. I mean, seriously. They would sell like hot cakes. You know how crazy adoption peeps are about the t-shirts!

For everyone’s convenience, here is a conveniently compiled list of the top 5 reasons that adoption is not for everyone. This is a great list to have handy when challenged by those crazy people who adopt, making one feel all squirmy with those shocking photos, inconvenient statistics, and, for Pete’s sake, stop with the t-shirts sales, people!

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5. FROM ANY ANGLE, ADOPTION IS A CHALLENGE

If you’re a person who strives for a life paved with smooth, sparkly stones and peaceful vistas, adoption is probably something best to be avoided at all costs. For most, the challenge of running a 5K or working out in the gym should definitely be satisfying enough. Why put yourself through the equivalent of a lifelong marathon when a weekend marathon can satisfy the challenge itch? Plus, with adoption, there’s no visible finish line, no cheering crowds, and not one single shiny trophy in sight as far as the eye can see.

What attraction is there in the thankless, broken, lifelong marathon of adoption?

Although, I HAVE heard rumors that the adoption marathon could bring enormous, yet quietly celebrated victories that cannot be measured by earthly standards….but those are just rumors and who can trust those?

4. ADOPTION WILL BREAK ONE

Adoption will break the hardest of hearts in all the most tender places. This is definitely NOT good for your physical health, mental state, and definitely puts the blood pressure into digits only recommended for elephants. For example, once you’ve walked through that room, lined with silent cribs occupied by glassy eyed children, your heart will feel like it has been through a shredder and it’s a much larger shredder than the cheese one.

No longer can you enjoy a simple sunset or a cozy Christmas without being gouged by the double edged sword of happiness laced with remembrances of those who aren’t experiencing your current blessings. There is an undeniable shattering of the heart when you weep as your adopted child weeps, as they mourn their loss, as they rage against the life change, clawing through the trauma of a brief but scarred life.

A broken heart is something to avoid at all costs in life.

Although rumor has it that a tenderized heart expands in capacity and endurance, and didn’t Jesus Himself weep over the lost?….. but I could be wrong on that one.

3. ADOPTION WILL GREATLY AGGRAVATE ONE’S FLAWS

If you are like me and you work on an orderly existence with possessions that haven’t been repaired with duck tape and spit, then adoption definitely isn’t for you. If testing the absolute limits of your patience and tolerance isn’t a goal in life, definitely don’t attempt this.

In cautiously avoiding any and all situations that will challenge the assorted fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, self-control, etc…), you can be sure to never embarrass your Christian testimony in front of others, your faith quota will always be a lavish overflowing waterfall, and you can rest assure that your spotless reputation will stay  solidly intact.

Also, another benefit is that one will not ever have to rely or lean upon your church, friends, family, village, town, tribe, or even perfect strangers, and one’s fierce independence will stay firmly in place.

On second thought, I DO recall that a muscle that is exercised becomes stronger with use,  and the whole “not needing anyone” could possibly be a pride issue……but exercising is hard work, and sweating through these problems might ruin the hairdo or chip the nails….and independence is SO American…so let’s just go with that.

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2. ADOPTION WILL CHALLENGE ONE’S MARRIAGE

Long walks on the beach? Dinner and a movie? Gazing at each other minus the eye bags of extreme exhaustion…. If you just ADORE these romantic things, and they are what make your marriage tick, then I’d recommend continuing on with the comfortable journey you are currently traversing. You don’t need those pesky late night migraines of trying to figure out where the next adoption payment is coming from or which kidney you need to sell to make it happen. Not to mention that the therapies and sleeping at the hospital will DEFINITELY put you out of the loving mood and who wants that?

That sweaty hand in his as you ride that elevator up to meet your child for the first time, the mascara running down your face, those whispered prayers for sleep to come in the traumatized dark hours, the bleary mornings….definitely not.

Besides, who wants to get all sorts of creative with what a date night constitutes? A 15 minute ride in the car with the child who finally fell asleep and you can miraculously finish a sentence….it’s a hot date! Grocery shopping together, catching each other’s gaze over the mushrooms and diapers (hopefully not in the same section)

DATE!

Sitting through a church service for the first time in a year because your child will FINALLY stay in the nursery without exhibiting trauma-related behavior. It’s a DATE…and if you’re lucky, you may EVEN attend a church where you can hold hands or he can slip his arm around you. * helpful hint* Sit in the back. (Not sure if making out will be overlooked, though, unless it’s one of those super progressive churches where you have to feel your way to your seat in the dark.)

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Nah, long walks on the beach are DEFINITELY preferred….

the moment your eyes lock over the photo of that child, and both of your hearts leap with united Divine intent…

…that’s definitely not as glam. Stick with the beach thing.

And the number ONE REASON to NOT adopt is:

1. ADOPTION WILL CHALLENGE  EVERY SINGLE AREA OF ONE’S FAITH

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If you have a huge interest in questioning the goodness of God or why bad things happen to tiny, helpless humans, definitely adopt…..if you really don’t want to challenge your faith with these head scratching conundrums, then absolutely avoid adoption.

Is God good? Will He really, truly provide this Mt. Everest of cost? What is true worship? What does the Bible really say about laying down your life? Why are we commanded to do certain things? What is a soul for eternity worth?

Man, lots of questions like these can almost shove you out of the Christian kayak of belief and then where would you be? Floundering in the water? Getting eaten by a giant whale?

Yep.

Though, there IS some ancient text where a certain person (starting with “P” and ending with “TUR”) was commanded to step out of a boat willingly and if he kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on water. I could be mistaken though.

Who wants to step out of a satisfyingly safe kayak for a water stroll? Not everyone.

Let’s not get crazy here, folks. Safety is our top priority, right?

Although, I have heard whispers of if a believer wishes to save one’s life, one must lose it.

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These pesky, Bibically-laced whispers….always so inconvenient and they make one just want to turn up the Netflix binge and block things out.

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“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” Luke 17:33

“But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:16

fear is an anchor…

What if I told you I was afraid….yes, I’m afraid.

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Ignorance really is bliss during your first adoption. There’s SO much you just didn’t know and you looked at SO many smily, family photos, watched SO many tear inducing YouTube Gotcha day videos. Everything is new and amazing, sweet and lovely. You step forwards in “faith”, but a lot of it is stepping forward blindly because you really have zero idea what it is you’re getting in to.

Similar to being a new parent, there are all of these pre-conceived notions of what your birth, delivery, and basically what parenthood will be like and most of those fantasies are really shiny and pretty.

The reality of it is that when you’re staring at the pregnancy test of your second or third child, there is joy, but it’s laced with a bit of anxiety and fear, and just plain exhaustion…Am I enough? Can I love this child the same as the first? Will there enough of me to go around?

Am I right? It’s different the second time.

I’m feeling the same way with moving forward with this next adoption. I look at Lian, I look back over the last 2 years, and yes, it has been AMAZING, and we’ve learned so much, and have been so blessed, but there’s a weariness and a caution laced with fear that I feel dragging us down, holding us back, anchoring us to this earth.

There’s no shiny happily-ever-after view, it’s now all reality…..in all of its hard and wonderful, broken and healed hallelujahs.

And I’m afraid. The “what ifs” press down upon me like stormy waves. The “Was Lian an anomaly? Was he too easy or was he hard?” “What if Ella is hard, like seriously hard…..harder than Lian?”

And fear whispers in my ear because I allow it to be heard.

BUT……

Nowhere is God involved in fear. 1 John 1:18 talks about how “perfect love casts out fear…” and while the correct context of the verse instructs us to not fear eternal judgement because we have accepted Christ’s perfect love, I believe that the Holy Spirit can also give us a perfect love for others, a love that can ascend past the anchor that is fear.

And so, my prayer for this journey isn’t that we would have a blinded, rosy view again…. it’s that God would give us perfect love for this next little one who needs a home….the one who waits.

God, give me perfect love through the long, exhausting, international trip. Give me perfect love through Ella’s grieving process, through her health issues, the specialists and doctor’s visits. Give us all perfect love to, once again, step forward, accepting the hard with the glorious.

Give me perfect love to climb this mountain again. Cast aside fear because You have no part in that.

Recently, this song by Matt Kearney popped up one day in the car…and the words…struck me….and I listened to it with tears streaming down my face, because every word of it is TRUE.

NEVER BE READY

We got our feet on the wire
Talking ’bout flying
Maybe we’re diving in over our heads
Scared of what I’m feeling
Staring at the ceiling
Here tonight
Come on and lay down these arms
All our best defenses
We’re taking our chances here on the run
The fear is an anchor
Time is a stranger
Love isn’t borrowed
We aren’t promised tomorrow
We’ll never be ready if we keep waiting
For the perfect time to come
Hold me steady, we’ll never be ready
When we don’t know, though we can’t see
Just walk on down this road with me
Hold me steady, we’ll never be ready
You’re OK here with me
Here in the silence
With all of the violence crashing around
Saying we can’t go
Saying we don’t know
This road that is narrow is the one we should follow
We’ll never be ready if we keep waiting
For the perfect time to come
Hold me steady, we’ll never be ready
When we don’t know, though we can’t see
Just walk on down this road with me
Hold me steady, we’ll never be ready
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Basically, friends, we’ll never be ready. But God doesn’t call us to be emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially ready, He just calls us to  be willing. The simplicity of being willing is something to rest in, at least it is for me. Because we’ll never be fully prepared for the twists and turns of another broken heart that God calls us to love.
If fear is an anchor, I don’t want it. I don’t want to be held back from the perfect will of God.
Perfect love has no fear.
“And we’ll never be ready if we keep waiting for the perfect time to come.”
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The perfect time is now.

the heart part…

“Wow”, he whispers in his husky, little boy way as I open the locket for the 9th time that Christmas day.

“Who is that in there?” I whisper back. He smells like juice and crackers and boy.

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His dark eyes meet mine. “Mama.” and he solemnly points to himself.  Leaning down he plants a wet kiss on the locket. I brush off the goldfish crumbs and close it.

Stay close to Mama’s heart. Here you are.  And I’m suddenly overwhelmed with the fact that isn’t this every child’s desire? That connection…that love…to be held close to their parents’ hearts? It’s such a basic desire….so easily given to our biological children….and yet, there are so many who never feel that love.

Lian just revels in this closeness….being this sweet center of the family. Not in a  spoiled way…well, sometimes…yes…

but in the undeniable way that he is something that he never was before.

A part of a cohesive group of people who just adore him.

Have you ever been in a large group of people, sometimes for many years, and yet you’ve never felt like you were ever truly a part of them? As if there’s this whole whirling universe of connection out there and you see it, but you’ve never experienced it?

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You don’t know what it feels like to be a part of the group, but you see that some people have it, they are IN, they are a welcomed, beloved part.

Take that feeling, because we’ve all been there, and magnify it by about 1000….because being a part of a family, feeling that closeness is something that children absolutely long for, dream of, cry out for.

The least we can do is hear their cries, make them a part.

I’ve always kind of been a loner in my life. I’ve longed for deep relationships, longed to be included, but I’ve always struggled. Being left out is my normal. I don’t say that for sympathy at all. I say it merely because I understand it thoroughly.

I cannot even imagine what it is like for some of these children who see their friends, their bunk mates, their buddies in the cribs next to them, be taken away to be with family. And many of these older children fully comprehend what is going on….that the more beautiful or the less medically challenged children get chosen first….they get to go away to be the heart of a family….and she is left alone for a myriad of reasons.

This just kills me.

You know what else kills me? Yesterday I was scrolling down the adoption list for children 3 and under….the number 1 age group to adopt from, the most requested age group…..

And this list went on and on…and every other child was Down syndrome, Down syndrome, no other health issues but Down syndrome….quiet, healthy, has Down syndrome, extroverted, healthy, Down syndrome, VSD Down syndrome, repaired heart with Down syndrome.

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Why? LOOK at the videos of our son! He is a happy, wonderful, sweet PERSON who simply has ONE EXTRA CHROMOSOME.

And yet the world says that because of that chromosome, most children don’t even deserve to LIVE and if they DO live, they don’t deserve families. They will sit, day after day, in a crib in an orphanage….

This KILLS me.

And it’s one thing to look at Lian, to look at us and say, “Oh, it’s so amazing what they’ve done, but I COULD NEVER DO THAT.”

Yes, yes you could do this! This is doable for you, for many people. These children deserve you, a family, to LIVE and thrive in.

They deserve to be put in a locket and worn close to their mama’s heart every day. They deserve to be sung to at night and to choose between whether they want blueberries or blackberries for snack.

THEY DO NOT DESERVE TO BE CONFINED AND TREATED WORSE THAN CRIMINALS in broken systems that churn out damaged human beings.

 

They deserve to know that God loves them, that they are valued more than they could ever imagine.

Church, Christians, we need to EXAMINE ourselves and our priorities….examine why we elevate comfort over sacrifice.

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We are not called to live this way.

We are called to be leading the way to rescue these small souls.

If you are feeling called to adopt, please consider a child who has Down syndrome. They are the least of these. Trust me, their extra chromosome will fill up your family with so much love and life, excitement and wonder.  You won’t know what hit you.

Let’s live life this way. Without fear. Let’s say “yes” to hard things.

What you think it the hard part will definitely be the heart part.

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screaming into the wind…

We can no longer exist in this state of soft and sleepy Christian denial, we must move forwards as the army of Christ and sacrifice everything we have for the cause of those who are lost. We want to stand confidently before God, look him in the face and say that we did all we possibly could to lead these small ones to Him.

 

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I’ll be straight up honest with you. In the church, I feel like I’m screaming into the wind, banging my head against a wall, yelling underwater…my voice is breaking.

And I keep screaming, even through the funny, uncomfortable looks or the rolled eyes or the “it’s not what God is calling us to do” statements…because there’s too much at stake here to simply let my voice take a permanent vacation.

You see, it’s not that there is an actual “no” being said. You can’t even get to the point where people actually make a yes or no decision. What always get me is the vast, unending silence and it relentlessly presses down upon my soul. It’s the total lack of interest, lack of questions, it’s the uncomfortable look people get when I start talking about the rows of cribs, the little faces, and how many children there are who wait.

It’s the endless excuses and statements of “Well, you can’t guilt people into adopting,” and “Adoption isn’t for everyone,” and “We just aren’t called to this.” And, honestly, I somewhat agree with every statement here…

You CAN’T guilt people into adopting, but you CAN challenge them to at least be honestly, wholeheartedly open to praying about it and being willing to accept the scary answer. Adoption ISN’T for everyone, I agree…but orphan care in some way, shape, or form IS. “We aren’t called to this” is the most frustrating one…because you ARE called, you ARE equipped, you ARE strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

Now, I know that people look at adoptive families and think we are all a little crazy. And we are, in all the good ways. We are CRAZY about getting children into homes…we are CRAZY about lost souls for Christ…we are CRAZY about having completely open eyes to the reality of the crisis in this world…sometimes, we are just plain crazy from lack of sleep. 🙂

When you get to the bottom of the problem, it’s an idol of convenience and comfort that we, as American Christians, must battle. Never before in all of history have American believers been so rich, so comfortable, so healthy, so free, so crowded around a man made wealth/health/prosperity theology…and it weakens us greatly. For while we think we are so strong with our coffee/Bible instagram photos and our trendy worship services, these children are going to hell in a hand basket and we are fully, completely, undeniably responsible for our utter lack of interest in them.

I AM responsible. I fully know that ONE DAY, I, Cady Beth Driver, will stand before God and give an account for my life. For the time I have spent, the resources I have spent, the talents I have spent….and I am guilty in so many ways of unrelenting selfishness. I AM so spoiled, I fully admit that. I FIGHT these urges to just continue my life, that I’ve done enough, I’ve adopted one special needs child and isn’t that enough?

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Well?

I don’t know….I’m not calling for legalism, but, I beg of you, please stop making us shout into the wind. I’m imploring  you, as a church body, to HEAR our hearts, ask the hard questions, fully open your eyes to the reality of what is all around you. Just because you cannot see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Orphans are a hard and ugly reality.

It’s a slap-you-in-the face reality. We can no longer exist in this state of soft and sleepy Christian denial, we must move forwards as the army of Christ and sacrifice everything we have for the cause of those who are lost. We want to stand confidently before God, look him in the face and say that we did all we possibly could to lead these small ones to Him.

I KNOW that there are parents out there who adopt terminally ill children. I know that when they walk through those pearly gates, that that child will be flying into their arms. I know that there are parents who walk incredibly hard roads for the sake of these small souls for eternity, but what if we all did it?

What if every church service had the hiss of oxygen machines, the humming of special needs kids, the adorable off-key singing of children with Down syndrome?

What if we had to turn up the pastor’s voice just to hear him speak over the din of welcoming the least of these into our church bodies with open arms?

What if?

Why must we shout into the wind? Why???

Why must we beg and plead, why can’t we all be this giant crowd of believers running to the helpless?

I don’t have all the answers and yes, I AM fully crazy for this cause. Because I don’t want to close my eyes and pretend like these children do not exist or that they’re not worth every piece of paperwork, every penny, ever sleepless night, every mama’s broken heart…they are WORTH IT.

My heart’s cry is this…Ask questions of adoptive parents…ask them how many children are in their child’s orphanage. Ask them what you can do to help, how you can be involved, how can you pray, how can you support.

Asking is the first step in a journey of illumination and let me tell you, you’ll never want to go back to the time when you didn’t know the answers.

This will break you in all the right ways. All the God ways.

And you’ll join the crowd of adoptive families who are shouting to come and experience the good, the bad, the heartbreak, the triumphs that make up our topsy turvy worlds of adoption.

Come and shout with us. Join us and do hard things…

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what if?

#whatif

What if mama’s stomachs were never supposed to be flat and hard…what if our softness was simply a continual visual wonder for the life that quietly grew within?

What if God designed us to be soft, because our arms and stomachs and laps so often cradle a little one for sleep, for comfort, for teaching….

What if the strength of our arms comes not from push ups and lifting weights, but from lifting littles high, catching them when they fall, carrying them through the rough places of life….

What if our hands aren’t meant to be soft and photo-finish smooth, but worn and calloused….each mark representing a dish washed, a child cleaned, a household fed, a tear wiped, a garden planted…

What if our faces were never meant to be flawless, but every worry and laugh line was a reflection of shared compassion, shouldered burdens, unexpected laughter….

What if we were never meant to be mannequins, endless slaves to the ever changing, demanding whims of fashion…but we are seen for the love we hold in our hearts…. the ideas and passions that change this world for the better.

What if our hair was never meant to be continuously coiffed but as silver streaks our temples, we welcome this gradual crowning of wisdom that only time can gift.

What if our feet were never meant to be tortured in shoes designed to draw the stares of men to our legs, but instead, they were shod with shoes that only helped us run faster to the weary, the waiting, the downtrodden…

What if we have it all wrong and we strive for things that will never bring us closer to God?

What if how we, as women, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives….what if how we are made is simply the best thing as we are……untouched, un-refined…that we don’t need the wearisome race of the unnatural……and we can joyfully rest in the undeniable gift of being a woman.

What if?

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grant me this one request….

It’s October 1st and October is Down syndrome awareness month!
 
Let me share a bit of my past with you. When I was a teenager, I was very involved in the pro-life ministry at our church. We would go to the local abortion clinic in Bridgeport, CT and do sidewalk counseling with the women who were entering the clinic. We would offer to pray with them about their decision, we offered practical help, options for them and their baby, diapers, clothes, classes, anything they needed….ongoing care and support through their pregnancies and after the birth of their child.
 
We offered options for them other than abortion. We truly cared for the mother and the child and we cared what happened to them.
 
Being on the front lines like that at a young age, I knew a tremendous amount of information about the bitter reality of abortion. Every Saturday, we would stand out there, rain or shine, freezing cold or bitter heat…and we’d pray…and sing…and counsel. Sometimes, as we sang, we could see the women peeking through the blinds to watch us. Sometimes our singing would draw them back down, back outside, back to us….back to life for their child. The ministry saved hundreds of babies’ lives, and helped SO many women throughout the years.
The front lines…that’s what it was. We were the last stand between life and death for those children.
We were passionate about LIFE for these children.

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In high school, I was a cheerleader…yes, hard for ya’ll to imagine…haha…but our principal’s daughter had Down syndrome and she was a part of the cheerleading team. We all just adored her and she was the brightest, happiest girl. The basketball fans roared their approval when she’d do the end cheer with us lifting her up or she’d slide her way to the front of the orchestrated cheer. Everyone adored her. She was a beloved and accepted part of the school.
We didn’t think anything differently of her. We just loved her.
 
Because of my pro-life involvement, I decided to write a research paper about abortion for one of my high school projects. In my research, I discovered that a very high number of unborn children who have Down syndrome are aborted….just because they have Down syndrome. I was stunned. I knew people who had Down syndrome and I loved them. They were happy, loved, attending school, living their lives in their own sweet way.
The day I read those statistics….I had a request…. with tears in my eyes, I prayed a sincere prayer. “God, when I grow up and get married, please let me become pregnant with a child who has Down syndrome, because it’ll mean one fewer child that will be killed.” And I meant it with my whole pie-in-the-sky teenage heart.
Now, God didn’t answer that prayer. Not in the way I asked it. Does He ever?
None of my biological children have Down syndrome and it wasn’t even anything I was thinking much about when we started the adoption process.
But God….
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And so here we are.
And here he is, a miraculous part of our family. Lian’s name means “God has answered”.
It still gives me goosebumps because this was the name the orphanage gave him.
How?
How does this happen? How does God take a prayer from decades ago and answer it in this glorious way?
He takes our desires and transforms them as His own…He takes our dreams and consecrates them into His holy plan.
Who knew that He was preparing the way in my heart for the moment when this child’s life would be forever entwined with ours.
I still shake my head in wonder. I still pinch myself. I still look at him and marvel that he’s here….this package of wonderful, extra, mischievous chromosomes.
Let’s celebrate the fact that these beautiful people are in our lives, making us see God more clearly through their sweet spirits and amazing journeys.
Two years ago, on October 30th, Lian was placed in our arms. I am grateful and humbled beyond words to be a part of his story.
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Micah 6:8
“He has told you…what is good…and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Let’s just do this.
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And so it is.

a downsy?

How we label people matters simply because our society has so incredibly devalued the lives of humans who have Down syndrome.

“Oh, he’s a Downsy? He’s a Downs kid…a down syndrome baby.  Is he a Down syndrome boy? That cute little downs kid! That Down syndrome girl…she just had a Downs baby! Was he abandoned because he’s a downs?”

I know that any parent of a child who’s rocking the extra chromosome is cringing right now.

 

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Seriously, I’ve heard all of these and more! Before we had Lian, I really didn’t give much thought to these phrases and I probably used them a time or two, unthinking, unknowingly. I mean, what’s the big deal, right?

Are we, as parents of children who just happen to be blessed with that minuscule extra chromosome, are we being overly sensitive? Too demanding? Too picky?

Hmmmm….. Let’s just do a little experiment here. Let’s switch Down syndrome with something else.

“Oh, that palsy boy? What a cute, little, palsy baby! Oh, she’s a bifida kiddo. Did you know that Amy has a cancer brother, too? Yeah, she’s a cleft girl.”

No. We would respectfully say, “a little boy who HAS cerebral palsy, a little girl who HAS spinal bifida, Sally has a brother who HAS cancer, she HAS a cleft palate”.  None of these things degrade the value of the person at all.

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For example, above is a photo of Lian, who has Down syndrome, with his grandfather, who has cerebral palsy. Neither of these two men allow their condition to limit whom God has made them to be.

It’s called “people first” language or terminology. And, to be honest with you, I learned this AFTER we adopted Lian, but it makes SO much sense and I’m very grateful I learned it.

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As parents of children who just happen to have special needs, it’s so incredibly important to us that you aren’t counting chromosomes and handing out labels before you first see our child as a person. He’s a person first. A person of value who isn’t defined by a diagnosis, and, in fact, has struggled to overcome, to fight for, and accomplish more in his short life than most of us will in a lifetime.

How we label people matters simply because society has so incredibly devalued the lives of humans who have Down syndrome.

Their lives are demeaned to the point that these tiny persons are routinely aborted, never given the chance to brighten the world with their sweet spirits and sunshine smiles. These children are routinely abandoned in many countries solely because of their chromosome count.

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“For God sees not as man sees. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

So, the next time you see a parent of a child who is obviously blessing all around him with his cute wave, his husky boy hello…Just smile and allow his sweet spirit to lift your day.

I don’t want this defining question, “Is he a Downs kid?” to be the first thing Lian hears every time he meets someone new.

I want him to hear, “Wow, great signing, Lian! I hear that new word you’ve been working on for months! I love your smile! What a strong boy you are! Thank you for helping!”

And if you feel like you can’t possibly say anything nice, just move on. Please!

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Because who he is isn’t defined by a chromosome. If you could just look past the label, you’d see a child with an enormous heart, sensitive to those who are hurting, ready to dole out hugs and light up the room with his smile. You’d see a little boy who reminds us to pray when we forget, who raises his hands to God in worship service when I’m too self-conscious to, who insists on praying for someone who is injured or sick. You’d see a little person who speaks to God as if they are best friends, who commands the rain to stop with all the audacity of being a beloved son of the King, who makes us laugh all day long.

He, and all of our beautiful children who just happen to have Down Syndrome…they are infinitely more than the label.

So don’t introduce them with the label first.

 

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