Matt and I donated blood today at a Red Cross blood drive and I think this is a simple yet vitally important thing you can do to make a difference. We always take the boys with us when we donate and we take turns sitting with them while the other is donating.
The woman who took my blood today and I were talking about Casey and Connor who are my favorite conversation topic. I said something about them having Down syndrome and she looked shocked. Then she looked sad. Then she looked like she wanted to apologize.
I smiled and said, "It's rare to have twins with DS- about 1 in 1 million births but they are the most amazing blessings I never knew I wanted or needed."
She is originally from Lebanon. She told me in her country women hide the fact that their child has DS. They don't take them out, they are ashamed. She asked if C&C go to a special school. I told her we plan on enrolling them in a regular pre-school and then in a mainstream school and she looked amazed. I went on to tell her that Casey and Connor have a FaceBook fan page (Are YOU a fan yet? I'll post a link at the bottom of this entry) and that they are going to be in the newspaper soon. She told me that I am an amazing mother. I told her that *I* am the lucky one.
It always surprises me that some people really believe that Down syndrome is something shameful or awful. As wrong as America gets it on some issues with those who have disabilities- and we *do* get it REALLY wrong sometimes- see Hollywood you Suck for reference- America is so far ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to Down syndrome.
A family I have been blessed to meet because of C&C have spent the better part of a year trying to raise the money to adopt an orphan in eastern Europe with DS. Max was left to an orphanage and later transferred to an institution just because he got a bonus 21st. The Marks family worked their tails off trying to raise the ridiculous amount of money to bring this angel home to his never met but much deserved family here in the USA. In a heart breaking turn of events they found out that Max's biological family decided to reclaim him after 6 years of letting him go unhugged, uncelebrated and unstimulated for 6 years. He was *not* unloved because Debbie and Paul and his siblings here in Ohio loved him as much as anyone has ever loved a child or a brother.
Children with Down syndrome are tossed aside and treated without dignity or respect in many countries. This is a fact that both sickens and saddens me. I can not even begin to imagine my life without my miracle men. I would not be the person I am today if it were not for my sons. More importantly, I continually strive to be better, to do more, to change and grow because I want to be a mother that they can be proud of- that they *should* be proud of.
It is my mission in life to change how people view DS. I will spend the remainder of my life letting people know that there are far worse things than having a child with a disability or an extra chromosome. My life is better than I could have ever imagined it would be. I think I changed someone's mind today. Maybe she will go and tell someone else about my miracle men and the love I feel for my sons and the admiration I have for them will continue to spread.
One day maybe the love and hope will spread faster than the fear and ignorance. Maybe one day people will be shocked when they hear that someone doesn't value their child with DS as an important member of society.
That is the true miracle of Casey and Connor. They teach people how to love. They bring out goodness and decency. They, and all those with extra 21sts, are the sparks that will ignite the fire that will set the world ablaze with love.
They are gifts.
If you would like to help a child with DS in need of a forever home you can visit http://reecesrainbow.org/
If you would like to be a fan of Casey and Connor on Facebook you can visit their page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Casey-and-Connor/188134334562942