Wednesday, April 23, 2008

for Anika

Anika asked how many children we had and how many had Down Syndrome. Well, we gave birth to three kids and adopted 18 more. Four of those children have died. We disrupted on another child way back in the 80s and had several kids who were here on medical visas from Haiti for a while.

I had to stop and count how many kids with Down Syndrome we've had. Christopher was the first. He was a year old AA baby and had Tetrology of Fallot in addition to Downs. He died after heart surgery. He was a real sweety with a stunning smile.

Matthew was our second DS baby. He came with various holes in his heart, and had been placed with a family who eventually decided they couldn't handle a child dying on them. Having just lost a child, we weren't sure we could either. but we got him at 5 months with all his cardiac problems. But a miracle happened and Matt's cardiac checkup here showed that there never were any holes in his heart. Never mind the conflicting medical evidence. He just got healed.

Caitlyn was our third DS baby. She was 22 months and profoundly mentally handicapped and extremely self abusive. She's been living in a group home for a few years now. She's 24. Gorgeous AA baby girl who ripped her hair out, bit herself and banged her head until it bled.

Jennifer came right out of the hospital. 5 pounds and a very beautiful little DS baby She was born to two Taiwan folks who handed her over in the airport. Really nice, and very short people with an older son. They didn't speak English at all, but I had learned through a translator before placement that in their culture intelligence was everything. Jen at 23 looks a lot like her birth mom, and is just as short.

William was our first adoption after we moved south. Also DS, but he was born with his stomach not connected to his intestines and had surgery after surgery and ended up with a tracheostomy for four year. I got to know his young birth mom, and she visited until she moved away. Still have some contact though. Pictures, etc.

Emily was born the next year to a young mom who wouldn't admit she had been pregnant, and therefore couldn't have delivered a baby, and certainly not one with Down Syndrome. Her birth father was well off, but never heard from him or the mom after placement. She's 19 now and a real joy. Soft spoken and very sweet.

Ethan came the following year. He had DS and a heart condition called AV canal. They surgeons here were just going to let him die, as they felt he was too bad for surgery. But I talked the one guy into doing it anyway. I said I'd rather have him die while giving him a chance at life than not. Ethan lived, but he was plagued with illnesses like pneumonia, and died at the age of 13.

Robin came next. She was the daughter of a navy guy and a Korean woman. Robin was about 4 months old when we got her, and they lied to us to get her placed. Shortly after she came home she started having serious trouble breathing and was hospitalized. Tests show that she had severe broncho pulmonary dysplagia and had had several brain bleeds right after birth. So she went on O2 and was hospitalized at least once a month until she reached about 12-14 months. They had to have known about her condition as we got her when they finally released her from the NICU. Robin is a sweet quiet child who never cries. She says few words, but understand everything said to her. She likes to watch TV, but she isn't into playing games with her siblings. No sweeter child born ever than Robin.

Jeremy came next, right out of the hospital. A big healthy AA DS boy. He's soo athletic but he also has some severe behavior problems. We've had some real lovely times with this kid. But I wouldn't trade him for anything! If he was my first adoption I probably would never have adopted anyone else.

So I guess that's nine of them. They are all growing up and I'm very proud of each of them.

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