Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Haftorah Beam - Toldot

This week's Haftorah is a bit disturbing, from a special-needs perspective.  The prophet Malachi decries the people dishonoring G*d by offering "imperfect" animal sacrifices:
 7 You offer defiled food on My altar. But you ask, "How have we defiled You?" By saying, "The table of the Lord can be treated with scorn." 8 When you present a blind animal for sacrifice-it doesn't matter! When you present a lame or sick one-it doesn't matter! Just offer it to your governor: Will he accept you? Will he show you favor?-said the Lord of Hosts. 9 And now implore the favor of God! Will He be gracious to us? This is what you have done-will He accept any of you?
and again a bit later:
13 You say, "Oh, what a bother!" And so you degrade it-said the Lord of Hosts-and you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; and you offer such as an oblation. Will I accept it from you?-said the Lord.
14 A curse on the cheat who has an [unblemished] male in his flock, but for his vow sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord! 
How does this square with a vision of universal divine love, and acceptance of all?  This passage is certainly more in line with the pagan notions of examining entrails of sacrificed animals.  How do we read this in a more elevated interpretation, consistent with modern sensibilities?

I struggled with this for a while, but then I looked back to the Torah portion. This is, after all, the story of Jacob and Esau competing for the birthright and their father's favor. Isaac directed Esau to "make him an offering" not unlike the ones offered to G*d in the Haftorah:
1 When Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, he called his older son Esau and said to him, "My son." He answered, "Here I am." 2 And he said, "I am old now, and I do not know how soon I may die. 3 Take your gear, your quiver and bow, and go out into the open and hunt me some game. 4 Then prepare a dish for me such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my innermost blessing before I die."
Jacob, at the direction of his mother Rebekah, brings a dish of prepared goat under the pretense of being Esau.  Although Isaac seems suspicious, he does in fact give Jacob the blessing intended for his brother.  This is but one in a string of deceptions which characterize Jacob's life.  Is he in fact the "cheat" referred to in verse 14 above?
14 A curse on the cheat who has an [unblemished] male in his flock, but for his vow sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord!
Granted, there is no reference in the Torah reading to blemished animals.  However, Jacob's offering was clearly NOT what his father had requested!  If he wanted to usurp his brother's place, should he not have at least earned it by hunting down game as Esau was bidden to do?  At the very least, should he not have prepared the meal himself rather than have his mommy do it for him?! Certainly seems like the spirit of the cheater who takes the easy way out of fulfilling his duties.  And yet, he received his father's blessing.

The Haftorah asks several times, "Will such an offering be acceptable?"  This is presented as a rhetorical question, and yet, the very beginning of the reading states,
2 I have shown you love, said the Lord. But you ask, "How have You shown us love?" After all-declares the Lord-Esau is Jacob's brother; yet I have accepted Jacob 3 
G*d has already accepted Jacob's offering! In spite of all his faults, Jacob is beloved.  The answer to the seemingly rhetorical question is, surprisingly, YES.

The real question is not "Will G*d accept disabilities?" but.... Will we?

31 4 21 Impact

Ever wonder how a child with T21 might impact her siblings? This little boy not only learned how to be helpful without being suffocating when he plays with his sister, but was able to find his voice -- despite being naturally shy -- to explain her differences to other children.  Now the other children learn acceptance ("she is different, but normal and okay") but he has learned the strength one gains from being a stand for another.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

31 4 21 What is disability?

I just came upon this article by a physically disabled woman.  She bucks the trend of "people first language", insisting that she is NOT a "person with a disability":
The main argument in favor of the phrase “person with a disability” is that it’s “person first.” Whaaaat? No one has ever told me that I should describe myself as a “person with gayness” or a “person with womanliness.” I’m gay and I’m a woman -- no need to qualify that I’m a person too. But I have been told that I’m wrong for calling myself “disabled” rather than a “person with a disability.” 
However, unlike "gay" and "woman", she sees "disabled" as relative to society as opposed to an intrinsic aspect of her being:
Most people look at the word “disabled” and assume it means “less able.” It doesn’t. It means “prevented from functioning.” When I turn the wireless connection off on my computer, I get told that the connection has been “disabled”:imageDoes this mean that my wifi has suddenly become less able or broken? Has my wifi acquired a disability? Of course not. It has been prevented from functioning by an external force. In a very similar way to how I’m disabled by bus drivers that just won’t stop if they see me -- a wheelchair user -- waiting at the bus stop.
I find this a fascinating construction of the concept of disability, especially as it relates to my own writing on this subject.  How would Lisa's understanding of her own condition change if instead of creating "accessible environments" society responded by inventing step-climbing wheelchairs?

...and made them widely and cheaply available?

I imagine the result would be similar to nearsightedness, which is no longer truly considered a "disability".

What would it take to do this for people with T21?  To create not only accessible environments via inclusive educational opportunities, but to actually give them the tools with which they can function without disruptive impairment?

Many T21 spokespersons worry about this devaluing people with T21 and their unique perspectives and contributions.  I believe that creating technologies, whether mechanical or medical, which address the specific needs of the people themselves, is the best way of VALUING them.  Was the wheelchair in the video above invented by engineers who devalue people with mobility impairments?

Haftorah Beam - Chayei Sarah

The connection between the Torah reading and the Haftorah this week (well, last week....) is the theme of an elder leader planning for his succession.

In the Torah portion we see Abraham, returning from the trauma of the near-sacrifice of Isaac, as well as grieving for his beloved wife. He finds a suitable burying ground, buries Sarah, and sets about finding a wife for Isaac.

In the Haftorah we see King David on his deathbed, learning about the treachery of Adonijah, and scrambling to set the record straight, crowning his son Solomon within his own lifetime.

This reading lacks the poetry and deep meaning of some of the other Haftarot.  It is very matter-of-fact, and discusses King David's failings, both as a leader and as a man:
1 King David was now old, advanced in years; and though they covered him with bedclothes, he never felt warm. 2 His courtiers said to him, "Let a young virgin be sought for my lord the king, to wait upon Your Majesty and be his attendant; and let her lie in your bosom, and my lord the king will be warm." 3 So they looked for a beautiful girl throughout the territory of Israel. They found Abishag the Shunammite and brought her to the king. 4 The girl was exceedingly beautiful. She became the king's attendant and waited upon him; but the king was not intimate with her.
Where other Haftarot seem to take a theme from the Torah reading and develop it to a deeper level, this one seems to expose the harsh reality of imminent death and human frailty.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

31 4 21 Blog Hop!

I joined another 31 for 21 blog hop.
This one is all about ACCEPTANCE.  Acceptance of differences, not just special needs, but acceptance of each and all of us, with our individual strengths and weaknesses.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

31 4 21 Hey Jude

Hey Jude, don't make it bad

Sasha in Ukraine, 2013

Take a sad song and make it better

IMG_4536 (480x640)

Remember to let her into your heart

Temperance (2)

Then you can start to make it better

Benjamin 2 months home

Hey Jude, don't be afraid


You were made to go out and get her

30812173916 Blossom (3)

The minute you let her under your skin

Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

Friday, October 18, 2013

31 4 21 Another link

Since I am still behind, I will happily link to Confessions of the Chromosomally Enhanced, whose author is both a sibling of a person with T21 and adopted her first child intentionally with T21 as well "The Dual Divas". Great compilation of links on a variety of issues.

Oh, and this one, too.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

31 4 21 This and that

I'm falling behind on 31-for-21, so I figured I'll just cop out and link to a few other blogs....

Some T21 cuteness....

Some advocacy....

Some angst about awareness vs. acceptance.....

And a new facebook group I just joined, to motivate me to run more, AND advocate at the same time!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

31 4 21 Buddy Walk pics!

Sorry I'm a few days late...  We had a great time at the Buddy Walk on Sunday!

We met Rachel Coleman of Signing Time:

We met some new bloggy friends:

And walked:

...and walked....

...and walked:

All in all, several thousand walkers participated, raising about half a million dollars for educational and medical services, research, and advocacy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Haftorah Beam - Vayera

In my Torah Connection on this last year, I focused on the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.  But the Haftorah links to the other major theme in this week's parsha -- the binding of Isaac.

Actually, there are 2 parallel stories of near child-death in this parsha.

First, Abraham sends away his firstborn son, Ishmael, and Ishmael's mother Hagar.  Wandering in the desert, the young boy nearly perishes of thirst until Hagar prays to G*d, who shows her the way to a spring of water so the two of them revive themselves and receive G*d's blessings.

Then, the famous story of the Akeidah, where Abraham himself takes Isaac up Mount Moriah, binds him on an altar, and prepares to sacrifice him before an angel of G*d intervenes to save Isaac and a ram is substituted.

Now, to the Haftorah.

Here, too, are 2 parallel stories.  The first one is a short story which seems to connect both to the Hagar story and, interestingly enough, to Hanukkah, which is coming up next month:
1 A certain woman, the wife of one of the disciples of the prophets, cried out to Elisha: "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know how your servant revered the Lord. And now a creditor is coming to seize my two children as slaves." 2 Elisha said to her, "What can I do for you? Tell me, what have you in the house?" She replied, "Your maidservant has nothing at all in the house, except a jug of oil." 3 "Go," he said, "and borrow vessels outside, from all your neighbors, empty vessels, as many as you can. 4 Then go in and shut the door behind you and your children, and pour [oil] into all those vessels, removing each one as it is filled."
5 She went away and shut the door behind her and her children. They kept bringing [vessels] to her and she kept pouring. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another vessel." He answered her, "There are no more vessels"; and the oil stopped. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, "Go sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your children can live on the rest."

The parallel theme is that the resources we need to save our children are right there, and we just need to (a) pray, (b) open our eyes, and (c) be a little resourceful in order to make use of them.  This is a valuable lesson to remember when we commemorate the Hanukkah miracle of the sufficient jug of oil (which, coincidentally, falls on Thanksgiving this year!).

The second story in fact parallels the Isaac story, and is quite a bit longer.  Like Sarah, the Shunnamite woman in this story is elderly and barren.  Like Sarah, she offers hospitality to a stranger who promises her a baby boy one year hence. Like Sarah, she assumes he is mocking her, and yet his prophecy is fulfilled.

The child grows, and we learn,
18 The child grew up. One day, he went out to his father among the reapers. 19 [Suddenly] he cried to his father, "Oh, my head, my head!" He said to a servant, "Carry him to his mother." 20 He picked him up and brought him to his mother. And the child sat on her lap until noon; and he died.
Where in the Isaac story we read in great detail the father's (Abraham's) point of view, here we see a different perspective.  The child went to his father, and suddenly suffered an unidentified trauma to his head. Did he have a stroke or other medical injury? Was he struck by a weapon? or perhaps, by a farm implement? Did he have an accident? We do not know. The father delegates one of his servants to take the boy to his mother, who holds him till noon, and he dies.  At this point, we see the mother's reaction:
21 She took him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and left him and closed the door. 22 Then she called to her husband: "Please, send me one of the servants and one of the she-asses, so I can hurry to the man of God and back." 23 But he said, "Why are you going to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath." She answered, "It's all right."
She does not tell her husband what happened, but she puts the dead boy in the prophet's bedroom and calls upon her husband to get her a donkey so she may go fetch the prophet.  We see her negotiating with the prophet and his servant, doing whatever it takes to bring the boy back to life.  She shows perfect faith and level-headedness as she does this, putting on a face of "everything's ok" to everyone until she speaks to the prophet himself. She recognizes that the G*d who gave her this child would be perfectly capable of reviving him, and she places her trust in this.  How does the husband feel about all this?  We do not know.

What did Sarah do when Abraham went to the mountain with Isaac?  We do not know.  The Torah is silent on this.  Some commentators take a guess based on the observation that after the Akeidah, neither Sarah nor Isaac ever speaks to Abraham again.  In fact, the very next chapter Sarah herself dies.

The Akeidah is one of the most disturbing passages in the Torah, read each year on Yom Kippur when we see ourselves in both the role of Abraham and Isaac.  But where is Sarah is the story?  What is her role?  Do we, in fact, have to wait for this Haftorah many centuries later to redeem her? And why are these men so callous?  Don't they love their sons as much as the mothers do? Surely that is not the message we should take from these passages!

And yet, from Abraham's point of view,
9 Sarah saw the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing. 10 She said to Abraham, "Cast out that slave-woman and her son, for the son of that slave shall not share in the inheritance with my son Isaac." 11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly, for it concerned a son of his. 
Here we see Sarah as self-centered, concerned about Isaac at the expense of Abraham's other child.  Abraham is clearly trying to balance the needs of the whole family, and he is "greatly distressed" about it.  Incredibly, G*d directs him to disregard these concerns, and to listen to Sarah instead:
12 But God said to Abraham, "Do not be distressed over the boy or your slave; whatever Sarah tells you, do as she says, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be continued for you. 13 As for the son of the slave-woman, I will make a nation of him, too, for he is your seed."
The Torah is mostly written from a masculine point of view, and yet it is clear that there is more going on here.  Did Sarah know what Abraham was up to with Isaac? If she suspected, the what did she say to him? If she said something, would G*d have told him to heed her, as He had with respect to Ishmael? Was the Akeidah preventable?  Should it have been, or was it necessary for the spiritual development of the Jewish people? Also, what does this say about what the woman ought to do?  Should she speak up, or defer to her husband? How does the Haftorah answer these questions?

Clearly I'm reading all this as a woman......

Thursday, October 10, 2013

31 4 21 Beautiful

Just after coming across this lovely post on Our Cora Bean, which references this photo montage, this video appeared in my facebook feed:

Haftorah Beam - Lech L'cha

How providential that this week's parsha is Lech L'cha -- "Go forth (to yourself)" -- as we get ready for the Buddy Walk.  The Torah portion is about Abraham walking the walk -- literally and figuratively -- that will change the world and the way that humanity understands the spiritual realm.  Buddy Walks are about walking the walk -- literally and figuratively -- to change the way that humanity understands those who are "different".

The Haftorah reading clearly echoes this theme:
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
Why declare, O Israel,
"My way is hid from the Lord,

My cause is ignored by my God"?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is God from of old,
Creator of the earth from end to end,
He never grows faint or weary,
His wisdom cannot be fathomed.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
Fresh vigor to the spent.
30 Youths may grow faint and weary,
And young men stumble and fall;
31 But they who trust in the Lord shall renew their strength
As eagles grow new plumes:
They shall run and not grow weary,
They shall march and not grow faint.

Actually, I struggled to take an excerpt out of this.  It is all SO GOOD.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

31 4 21 Buddy Walk this Sunday!

The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress will be running the 17th annual Buddy Walk this Sunday.  Why do they have to do it on Columbus Day weekend?  I'm trying to recruit people to walk with us, and everybody is going away for the weekend!  It's not fair!  Waaaaahhhhh!!!!

Anyway, if you want to sponsor me, please click here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Haftorah Beam - Rosh Hodesh

I'm a bit late posting Haftorah Beam this week, because while I was expecting to write about Parshat Noach, when I attended Shabbat services on Saturday morning I found out that it is Shabbat Rosh Hodesh (new moon)!  Which means, a special Haftorah!

Mostly, the link to the new moon appears in one verse:
23 And new moon after new moon, 
And sabbath after sabbath,
All flesh shall come to worship Me
— said the Lord —
However, the reading begins with an extensive exhortation to pay heed to the spirit, as well as the letter of the Law:
1 Thus said the Lord:
The heaven is My throne
And the earth is My footstool:

Where could you build a house for Me,
What place could serve as My abode?
2 All this was made by My hand,
And thus it all came into being
— declares the Lord —
Yet to such a one I look:
To the poor and brokenhearted,
Who is concerned about My word.
3 As for those who slaughter oxen and slay humans,
Who sacrifice sheep and immolate dogs,
Who present as oblation the blood of swine,
Who offer incense and worship false gods —
Just as they have chosen their ways
And take pleasure in their abominations,
4 So I will choose to mock them,
To bring on them the very thing they dread.
For I called and none responded,
I spoke and none paid heed.
They did what I deem evil
And chose what I do not want.

This is important because the New Moon was a relatively important occasion in Biblical times.  It was important to inform all communities about the New Moon so that holidays will be properly celebrated at the same time.  Isaiah here points out that it is not sufficient to bring fancy sacrifices -- one must match his ethical behavior to G*dly standards, as well.

Haftorah Beam - Noach

The second parsha in the Torah recounts the famous story of Noah's Ark, as well as the slightly less famous story of the Tower of Babel.

The Haftorah reading echoes the Flood theme:

7 For a little while I forsook you,
But with vast love I will bring you back.
8 In slight anger, for a moment,
I hid My face from you;
But with kindness everlasting
I will take you back in love
— said the Lord your Redeemer.
9 For this to Me is like the waters of Noah:
As I swore that the waters of Noah
Nevermore would flood the earth,
So I swear that I will not
Be angry with you or rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may move
And the hills be shaken,
But my loyalty shall never move from you,
Nor My covenant of friendship be shaken
— said the Lord, who takes you back in love.
This reading uses the Flood and the Ark as a metaphor for G*d's forgiveness and redemption after a time of crisis and despondency. Some congregations end at this point, while others continue on with elaborate descriptions of the rather material delights offered to those who follow Torah:
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
Your gates of precious stones,
The whole encircling wall of gems.
13 And all your children shall be disciples of the Lord,
And great shall be the happiness of your children;
14 You shall be established through righteousness.
You shall be safe from oppression,
And shall have no fear;
From ruin, and it shall not come near you.
This echoes the motivations of the Tower builders, who said, "Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world."  It is through Torah and righteousness that we can reach the Heavens, make a name for ourselves, and live unafraid.  The Tower builders sought closeness to G*d, honor, and security.  But they went about it the wrong way.  The Haftorah answers them (and us) with the correct way to achieve all of these aims.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

31 4 21 A Sonnet

What deserves protection, love, and care?
And what do we reject and cast aside?
In building a society that’s fair
Do differences unite us or divide?

The prejudice that poisons our minds
Builds prisons, metaphorical and real
Where lives are lost or squandered to our blinds
Are we, or they, more difficult to heal?

For gender, race or disability
Our preconceptions must be ripped apart
We’ll build a world of Possibility
And give our children’s world a better heart

It isn’t easy now, nor ever was
To herald Love and Justice in one’s Cause

Saturday, October 5, 2013

31 4 21 Heaven on Earth

On the way to the park, my 5-year-old said, "We can touch the sky!"

I asked, "How can we do that? Isn't the sky too high?"

And he answered, "No, because we are on the Earth."

I thought about this, and understood that he is realizing that the atmosphere comes all the way down to the ground.  So of course, the "sky" begins right here where we are.

So if you think about it like that, there is no distinction between saying, "G*d is in Heaven" or "G*d is all around us".  It's the same thing!  Heaven begins right here on Earth.

About a month ago, we read in Deuteronomy,

יא  כִּי הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם--לֹא-נִפְלֵאת הִוא מִמְּךָ, וְלֹא רְחֹקָה הִוא.11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off.
יב  לֹא בַשָּׁמַיִם, הִוא:  לֵאמֹר, מִי יַעֲלֶה-לָּנוּ הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וְיִקָּחֶהָ לָּנוּ, וְיַשְׁמִעֵנוּ אֹתָהּ, וְנַעֲשֶׂנָּה.12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say: 'Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?'
יג  וְלֹא-מֵעֵבֶר לַיָּם, הִוא:  לֵאמֹר, מִי יַעֲבָר-לָנוּ אֶל-עֵבֶר הַיָּם וְיִקָּחֶהָ לָּנוּ, וְיַשְׁמִעֵנוּ אֹתָהּ, וְנַעֲשֶׂנָּה.13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say: 'Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?'
יד  כִּי-קָרוֹב אֵלֶיךָ הַדָּבָר, מְאֹד:  בְּפִיךָ וּבִלְבָבְךָ, לַעֲשֹׂתוֹ. 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

Spirituality is not distant, esoteric, or distinct from our earthly existence.  It is a contiguous part of it, just as the air we breathe -- in our mouths and in our hearts.

Friday, October 4, 2013

31 4 21 Expectations and happiness

These two stories intersect in my mind:

Spoiled Generation Y kids are unhappy.   This unhappiness may be traced to unrealistic expectations, inflated notions of their own talents, and exaggerated images of their peers' success on social media.

Many adoptions fail, and with inadequate resources, some adoptive parents resort to unethical channels to "re-home" (a.k.a. disrupt) their adopted children.  While this is clearly wrong, the real question to ask is what are the factors which lead to the failed adoptions in the first place.  To some extent, corrupt adoption agencies may be culpable, offering inadequate pre-adoption training and post-adoption support to families which may be overwhelmed by the needs of their new child(ren).  Many Christian organizations also encourage ill-advised practices such as adopting out of birth order and adopting multiple unrelated children, seeing adoption as an absolute good regardless of context.  Such adoptions can certainly work, but they require even greater preparation, resources, and support.

At the same time, it seems that part of this trend is traceable to similar factors as the unhappiness of Generation Y. A quick search of the internet yields countless adoption blogs.  Families present this as a wonderful process, often glossing over the difficulties.  Disrupting families rarely express themselves openly around these sensitive issues.  The result is that adopters have unrealistically high expectations of their child(ren)'s transition, and a muted awareness of the potential pitfalls.  When they run into any kind of difficulties, they may give up, feeling inadequate.  They are likely to think that they are to blame for the problems, or that these problems are far worse than average, since their image of what the adoption "ought" to look like is far rosier, and other adopters appear more competent.

The advice most often offered by successful, experienced adopters is compatible with this analysis.  They consistently urge potential adopters to keep expectations extremely low.   They also encourage parents to seek support, both within the adoption community and in other arenas (family, friends, faith communities, professional counseling, etc.).

Reformtalk.net is a watchdog website that highlights potentially problematic practices in adoption.  It is highly critical of the adoption industry, which sometimes sets parents up for failure, as well as government agencies responsible for the welfare of children.  They provide a list of red flags, which represent potential risks in a given adoption situation.  None of them necessarily has to be a showstopper, but are important to keep in mind in assessing a course of action.

Adoption is not unique in this regard.  Many young women have a similarly idealized image of babies, prompting them to get pregnant without adequate preparation.  In most cases, though, they spend their pregnancy preparing and adjusting their expectations.  They also have mentors (mothers, aunts, older friends) who can support them through the hard times.  As a result, most mothers learn to mother their babies effectively.  With adoption, these resources are less available, since there are fewer potential mentors in the community.  They are there, but they need to be actively sought out.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

31 4 21 Future face of Down syndrome

An excellent piece over at Patheos, interviewing Faycal Guedj, a Tufts University/University of Paris geneticist who also has a sister with Trisomy 21.   To a large extent, this echoes and amplifies what I wrote about disability a few weeks ago.  New research offers more choices for individuals to determine how to best improve their own (or their child's) quality of life.

Most interesting, I thought, was the commentary on a little-discussed effect on early prenatal testing (non-invasive prenatal testing, or NIPT) .  Many in the Down syndrome community worry about the projected increase in T21-related terminations.  However, Dr. Guedj points out that,
An early diagnosis of trisomy 21 with NIPT (10 weeks of gestation) offers a tremendous opportunity to intervene in utero using safe and well-designed therapeutic strategies that will potentially lead to a very significant, which is not to say a complete, normalization of brain development and cognitive outcome in newborns and children affected with DS.
....as well as cardiac and thymic development, as he explains later.

In other words, more research, more treatments, and more attention will translate into both higher quality of life for individuals and more acceptance for differences.  As with nearsightedness, more options empower individuals to make the choices that are right for them, which ultimately reduces, not increases, the stigma. It is not either/or, but and/also.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 4 21 Boston Sardine Tour

I love my minivan.

My aunt and uncle are traveling around the US with a bunch of HIGH SCHOOL buddies (we are talking people in their 60's), and they made a 1-day stop in my neck of the woods. They wanted me to show them around town.

I have an 8-seater Chevy Venture. There were 8 of them. Plus me.

After some consideration of the various alternatives, we decided to try piling all of them into my car. Amazingly, it worked. I drove them all over in a quick survey of the major sites, and apparently they had a blast. They never did get a chance to take a ride on the Boston Duck Tours. But at least they had the Boston Sardine Tour.

31 4 21 2013

No, that's not my gym locker combination.

It's October, which has 31 days.

It's also Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Down syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21.

So this is the 2013 31-for-21 blogging challenge, hosted by Big Blueberry Eyes.

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