Saturday, October 4, 2008

Supportive Family is Important

Later that same day I called family from the pay phone, to let them know there was a new member of the family and tell them she had Down syndrome.

My mother's reaction was, "A defective grandchild, how sad." That pretty much ended our conversation.

My mother-in-law responded with pleasure: A girl, and healthy other than the Down syndrome. Did I know that my brother-in-law had worked at a camp for people with mental retardation?

No, I hadn't.

She put BIL on the phone and he told about some of the characters he met in the camp setting. One gentleman with DS was very childlike, in spite of his advanced age, his white beard and hair, and very much enjoyed having his beard brushed. Another had a marvelous sense of humor. Another had a very sweet disposition. I cannot remember all that he told me, but the sense of it was that these individuals were people first, with foibles much like other people. I was much reassured.

After I was off the phone, I spoke briefly with a weepy young woman. She could not fathom my joy in having a daughter with Down syndrome when she had borne a normal child and felt so unutterably sad. She didn't say so when we spoke, but she was giving her little boy up for adoption.

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