Recently, an acquaintance of mine from my size-4 running days gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, who turned out also to have some serious congenital birth defects. She set up a Facebook page to update people on his progress. A few days later "he" posted that he was a proud new member of the Babies with Down Syndrome Club.
I don't know for sure, but it seems like they didn't know this was coming when the baby was born. Rayne and I discussed all of these possibilities, of course, when we were pregnant. But after the nuchal translucency test came back "ok," I think we mostly dismissed the possibility of the baby having any serious issues. Even though I was 36, we declined the amniocentesis.
I guess you never know until these things happen, but I imagine I would have disintegrated into a useless mess had something serious been wrong.
In contrast, I have been humbled and inspired by the optimism, candor and grace with which this family has handled baby Nolan's birth. He has been bathed in an outpouring of love, that, thanks to his mom and dad, has extended well beyond the usual circle of close family and friends.
He recently posted this lovely poem. I think more people should read it. I'll wait for you to grab a box of tissues.
Ok, ready? Here it is:
"My face may be different but my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry and I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you to teach you to love
As God in the heavens looks down from above
To Him I am no different his love knows no bounds
It's those here among you in cities and towns
That judge me by standards that man has imported
But this family I've chosen will help me get started
For I'm one of the children so special and few
That came here to learn the same lessons as you
That love is acceptance it comes from the heart
We all have the same purpose though not from the start
The Lord gave me life to love and embrace
And I'll do as you do but at my own pace"