The Gift of Love
The Life that chose Me
It was like I was doing battle with myself—explaining to a heart that knew where it was going why this logically did not make any sense. For some time, the logical side of me prevailed. I moved forward believing that there was no way I could be an adoptive parent. But a seed had been planted within me, and the battle between heart and mind raged on.
This child deserved to be called something more than “Baby Boy Fields.” Did they think he wouldn’t make it; did they think we wouldn’t want him? I rushed back to my room, dripping tears of anger on the concrete floor. I ripped the card off of his bassinet and thrust it toward the nurse. “His name is Koby . Please write down his name.”
Griffin does not make us worry any more than our other boys. We no longer worry about his dependence; instead, we are planning for his independence. I no longer worry about his future; instead, I wonder about it. I used to think I knew what was in store for him. Now, I realize that I honestly have no idea.
What happened to that instant bonding I’ve been told mothers are supposed to have with their babies? Why don’t I feel that? I kept wondering. Where is my motherly instinct and love? It didn’t seem fair—Joe was walking around beaming like the proud father he was. I had just given birth to my first child. Why wasn’t I elated? I felt like something was terribly wrong with me. This is one reason for my guilt.
I find it deeply satisfying that so many people have embraced Sofia with open arms. This same warmth has been extended to me and to our whole family as I have become involved in the “Trisomy 21 Family,” that unofficial network of connections that exists for people whose lives are touched by Down syndrome.
The Blessing of an Imperfect Life
Cariana was completely at peace with herself. She reached out to others with love and didn’t fear rejection. This trait was apparent from the time she was born, but it became even more evident when she developed leukemia just before her second birthday.
I was afraid that I would be unable to bond with her after she was born. I’d wrap my arms around myself and say, “Oh, baby; oh, baby,” as I rocked from side to side. I didn’t realize at the time how close I already felt to my child. I didn’t realize how confident I already was that Paul and I could do this, could love and raise this unknown, surprising child, could provide the best possible home for her.
Through the Eyes of Love
At bedtime, Bob and I would lay on our bed with our hands on my stomach, feeling Dale’s kicks. There’s going to be a new kid in town, he seemed to be telling us. He was my miracle. His having Down syndrome didn’t change that.
Crecer Con Amor
A son is a son always. It does not matter how he is. A parent loves his or her children no matter what. You must accept your son as I accepted you, exactly how you were, without wanting to change anything about you.
With these words my father taught me about unconditional love, a love that conquers all. From that moment, I stopped seeing Down syndrome and I began to see the beautiful soul of my son.
Quality of Life
The information about Down syndrome that we were later given was discouraging, to say the least. All we kept hearing was, “She will not do this or that; she’ll have delays here; don’t expect a lot.” I saw nothing but darkness and pain in our future. What quality of life would Lacey be able to have? And what about me, what about the rest of the family?
The Luckiest People in the World
We get a lot of interesting reactions to our family. Some people pity us. Some go on about “how brave” or “how patient” we are. We hear “you must be so strong” all the time, along with a long list of other comments (and sometimes they are not so nice). Our story is very different—we chose this road after many childless years, and our road just keeps expanding and growing all of the time.
Live Long, Laugh Often, Love Much
My husband and I talked for hours on end and cried together and separately. We raged at the injustice of our situation. We mourned the loss of our healthy baby boy who we had never even met. We mourned the loss of our happiness, of our innocence. We struggled to justify this decision to terminate our much-wanted pregnancy.
When Avery was first diagnosed, we were told many things, mostly about how hard our life would be, how difficult. He was presented to us as a set of complications. What they left out was Avery. No one told me how beautiful he would be. No one told me how sensitive he would be. No one told me he would hug me with his whole body, wrapping arms and impossibly nimble legs around me at once, such a strong embrace. No one factored in love.