Gifts, Not Mistakes

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A response to: The Hard Case of Down Syndrome

Thank you Michael for calling attention to this senseless tragedy. When my 6-year-old daughter was born with Down syndrome, I too was horrified by this statistic, and have dedicated my writing career to raising awareness that our children DO have a positive contribution to society, or God wouldn’t send them to us. Christina has taught her family to see beyond outward appearances, to contents of the heart. She teaches us patience, and how to enjoy the small victories and simple pleasures of life which we might have missed. Her smile brightens the lives of her classmates and teachers.

My friend Eileen Haupt and I have started a group KIDS — Keep Infants With Down Syndrome — to remind society that our children are gifts to be accepted, not mistakes to be rejected.

A registry of potential adoptive parents has been provided for in the US by the recently passed «Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act.» This act will provide expectant parents with up-to-date medical information about the surgical interventions increasing the lifespan of people with Down syndrome, the plethora of free educational opportunities available, and the extensive support networks to help parents find these resources, as well as emotional support.

New research has blossomed recently, promising improved cognition and every week, there is another news story of an accomplishment of someone with Down syndrome. They are graduating from college, getting married, starring in movies, breaking athletic records, and living longer, more fulfilling lives than ever before.

Dr. Lejeune, who discovered the cause of Down syndrome 50 years ago, and passed away in 1994 still seeking a cure for Trisomy 21, is smiling down from heaven with loving pride at those he affectionately called, his «little ones».

Leticia Velasquez

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