That Special Extra Chromosome!

Posted by April Freund on Apr 26, 2017 11:00:00 AM


We have all seen children and adults with Downs Syndrome at some point in our life. Some of our families have actually been directly affected by this.

I remember as a child it seemed so sad for a family to have to deal with this issue. However, something happened to completely change my attitude. My mother was a stay at home Mom who took in children to watch as an in home day care. She had the privilege of being trusted to care for a sweet little girl who had Downs Syndrome. She became the joy of our days when she was with us part time. She was only 2 or 3 and had learning challenges but was so happy and carefree it made everyone in the room relax and have fun.

I also recall listening to a talk radio show where the host was interviewing the wife of a state politician and she was waxing on and on about how thrilled they were to finally have their baby. They had been on a list to adopt a Downs baby for many, many years. When asked why in the world one would want to do that she explained the she and her husband volunteered every summer during college before they were married at a summer camp for Downs children and adults. She talked about how much joy was in that extra chromosome and they made a vow that once they were married they would absolutely apply to adopt a Downs baby.

Unfortunately, a huge percentage of Downs pregnancies end in abortion once the tests come back positive. It took them over 10 years to finally get their baby. She just gushed over how much they love their baby. When asked if they planned to have biological kids she responded “we have a 10 year old and a 5 year old”. It was amazing that she never mentioned them until asked but couldn’t say enough about their “special” child.

In my early journalism career I had the task of covering the special Olympics for a paper I worked for at the time. It was an amazing and completely uplifting experience. I suggest that if anyone has the opportunity to volunteer at any of the games that they definitely do so. You will be the ones served, not the other way around.

Topics: Social Services Industry News, Nonprofit General

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