Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
She is referring to this heartbreaking news story, in which an Italian mother, pregnant with twin boys, attempted to abort her son with Down syndrome, but mistakenly aborted the 'normal' child. She ran to the police to accuse the doctor of malpractice, and returned to finish off her son with Down syndrome. Now she is without both of her sons. How sad.
While this story is shocking, unfortunately, it is not really news. In Europe, the abortion rate for Down syndrome actually exceeds the 90% of the USA.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I am honored to be nominated by such a devout lady blogger, and to be in the company of such good Catholic writers. I like to think of us as civilizing the sometimes harsh world of the blogosphere, by speaking the truth in love.
Here's my list of nominees.
Congratulations, ladies, you have inspired me, and taught me, and never lost your civility while doing so! You are making the blogosphere a kinder place.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
CHASK provides family to family support helping families raise their child with special needs. Loving Christian homes are waiting to adopt these children if the birth moms and dads are not able to parent. Little Flowers Foundation is a similar organization which helps Catholic families who are seeking to adopt special needs children from other countries.
Friday, August 24, 2007
This made me examine my daily life with Christina. She is very independent and while there are plenty of times this must be curtailed, as in "NO, Christy, you may NOT go to the road and take the mail out of the mailbox by yourself". There are, however plenty of times when I limit her independence unnecessarily in the course of an average day for my own convenience. I don't want to wait for her to pull her pants up after potty time, or pick out a mismatched outfit to wear, or let her clear her own dish from the table when it's sure to lead to spills on the floor. I clean up her toys rather than asking for her help, and don't remember to let her help set the table for dinner. She's good at pulling laundry out of the dryer, whether she's asked or not, so why not ask her? In addition to setting up artificial settings for learning, perhaps I could slow down a bit and allow her some of the opportunities she's been throwing herself on the floor and crying for!
I think we special moms run the risk in this area particularly because our children may not be able to do what their typical peers can do, and we fall into the overbearing mom trap. I will always remember a story of a mom in my family whose son with Down syndrome was 50 years old before he put on his own hat. His mother, then deceased, had always done it for him. What pride Mickey in putting on his own hat! What a shame he missed 43 years of doing it!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
HT Catholic Exchange
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Down Syndrome Originals© were created to help close this troubling knowledge gap.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Ellen Hsu writes a loving post to her son on the occasion of his first birthday in Elijah's gift. Karen discusses her ambivalence at Lion and Magic Boy. Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes gives us Ten Facts about Down Syndrome where many of the myths about Down syndrome are cleared up. I add my recent post on Dr. Jerome Lejeune, the geneticist who discovered Trisomy 21 in 1959, and firmly believed that Down syndrome could be cured, "with less effort than it would take to send a man to the moon".
Barbara Curtis of Mommy Life compares society's reaction to Down syndrome to her acceptance of being the mother of her son in about that extra chromosome.
I like to include links to resources for those parenting children with Down syndrome in each post. Band of Angels has a wonderful outreach which includes, scholarships,lovely calendars and note cards, and books about Down syndrome like Common Threads and my daughter's favorite, Hi, I'm Ben, and I Have a Secret.
Thanks to all you who have participated in the second carnival. The next carnival will be here at Cause of Our Joy, so be sure and send me your posts. In September the carnival will be moving to other host sites, but the next site will always be posted on the previous carnival.
How about letting us know if you are walking in a Buddy Walk?
HT A Catholic Mom in Hawaii for the carnival logo button.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I have often said "I love my Christy 'just as she is' and wouldn't change her if I could". One day, my 14 year old Gabbi asked, "you mean if there were a cure for DS, you wouldn't get it for her?Do you really want her to stay the way she is?"Of course, that question caught me flat footed! Who would deny our children cures? I DO love her unconditionally, but if she woke up tomorrow with regular abilities, would that change my love for her? Certainly not!
We have to remember the terrible lives people with DS had in the recent past. Even Dr. Lejeune, who discovered Trisomy 21 and loved our children deeply, wanted to find a cure for DS. He called Down syndrome an illness, but never meant it as a put down. As a doctor, he was confronted on a daily basis with the side effects and limitations of Down syndrome, of course he wanted a cure! He said, "it would take less effort than sending a man to the moon to find a cure for Down syndrome" (from his biography, Life is a Blessing) His greatest regret upon his death from cancer in 1994 was that he hadn't found it. His Fondacion Lejeune continues his research to this day, never losing hope, that Down syndrome, like Polio, may be relegated to the honor roll of conquered diseases.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Compare that with Pope Benedict XVI's affirmation in his best-selling book Jesus of Nazareth: "I trust the gospels." The Pope, a serious scholar who is one of the genuinely distinguished theologians of the day, judges it reasonable to believe the gospel accounts. Some religion teachers in a Catholic high school do not. Now, who do you think is right?
Over the years, many conscientious Catholic parents like the father quoted above have been scandalized and dismayed by the religious formation they've encountered in the Catholic schools, colleges, and religious education programs to which they've entrusted their kids. Not infrequently, it seems, a mischievous counter-catechesis has contributed to the young people's loss of faith.
To be sure, CTSA members aren't the people who teach religion in Catholic grade and high schools and religious education programs. But there's a link. It resides in the trickle-down effects of what these (academically speaking) humbler souls may have picked up from academicians in college courses and professional publications, as well as from the CTSA's own well-publicized proclamations of dissent.
In other words, the Catholic school teachers who have the religious studies credits they need to teach theology have been in the liberal propaganda machine long enough to believe this nonsense. And teach it. These are positions which I learned in my 11th grade Biblical Theology class from Sr. Pat, a young novice whom I admired so much, I came in on a Saturday to watch her take her vows at the convent.
"The miracles in the Bible didn't really happen the way they're written. People of those days didn't understand science and psychology the way we do today. For example, the Red Sea was really the Sea of Reeds, and there was no wall of water, the tide went out, allowing the Israelites to walk across"
I once heard a Pentecostal preacher enjoy this view very much. He said, " do you mean to tell me that all of Pharaoh's army, including his horses and charioteers drowned in two feet of muddy water? Now, THAT'S what I call a MIRACLE!!"
All the miracles were similarly debunked by Sr Pat, even Christ's multiplication of the loaves and the fishes." The people had the loaves and fishes, Jesus just convinced them to share them" Mother Angelica had fun with that one. "Do you think, that if I had been listening to Jesus preach for three days, with a salami sandwich in my pocket , I'd need Him to tell me to eat it? I got news for you; that salami sandwich would be long gone!"
The corrections to this nonsense came much later in my life. In high school I absorbed this stuff readily. I even went on a trip to a Protestant friend's home, notebook in hand, ready to defend what I believed then was the truth. Her correct interpretation of the Scriptures put the lies I'd swallowed to shame, and I never pulled out that notebook. I could tell she was right to believe that the Scriptures tell the truth. I am grateful for her understanding.
Sr. Pat has left the Academy since, but continues teaching the historical-critical method of theology in Catholic settings elsewhere, and was seen at a Voice of the Faithful meeting asking the bishop for more of a leadership role in the Church because of her education. Heaven forbid.
Meanwhile, since I live too far away from the one Catholic high school on Long Island which has the courage to teach from the Magesterium (ie. like Pope Benedict says, the Scriptures are trustworthy) while we live here, I either subject my daughter to the sewer of popular culture and anti-Catholicism in the public schools, or continue to home school her. Reluctantly, I have chosen the latter, but not without a bit of anger towards the Catholic Theological Society of America.They have robbed countless students of their Catholic faith, and essentially deprived my daughter of the legitimate pleasure of attending a good Catholic high school.
We meet a baby girl walrus and her clan, and watch her grow and learn to catch food and pull up on the ice. When the polar bear cubs emerge from their birthing cave, we see their adjustment to outdoor life, learning to hunt seals with their mother under the ice. The baby animals are, of course, engaging and the children begin to care about them.
The next season, the ice melts early causing problems for both walrus and bear cubs' ability to obtain food and rest. We watch scene after scene of these animals struggling with lack of polar ice, going hungry, and we are told, ' if we don't reverse Global Warming which is responsible for the melting of the polar ice, all these creatures will soon die. '
I haven't seen any reviews of this film yet, but I imagine the critics will wax poetic about this film's 'inconvenient message'. It seems that Global warming is one of a short list of causes for which a film can become didactic, without drawing fire from the establishment.
As a parent, I was not pleased with this attempt at manipulation of my children's feelings, especially the lectures given by children during the credits, on how to save the polar bears by turning off lights. I know young children may carry a sense of guilt if they forget. Or is that the point?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The mission of Little Flowers Foundation is two-fold.Many qualified families find adoption's high costs prohibitive. Little Flowers works to provide grants to families who need financial assistance in order to pursue an adoption. Are you interested in adoption but afraid of the high costs involved? We may be able to help.
Many children from around the world are in need of a loving family. Older children, sibling groups, and disabled children can be hard to place. Little Flowers works to find loving families to adopt these special souls. Do you feel God may be calling you to open your home to one of his precious children? Please contact us.
Another website, Reece's Rainbow helps get overseas orphans with Down syndrome adopted by loving families here in the USA.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
It amazes people when I tell them that there is a 60 point IQ range for individuals with Down syndrome, just as there is with the typical population, it just starts lower. There are people out there with Down syndrome who are smarter than the average Joe. So there!
HOWEVER, even if they aren't more intelligent according to some test, I have NEVER seen a person with Down sydrome call another person such a hurtful name.
They're way too emotionally intelligent for that!
Monday, August 13, 2007
A mom named Christina shares her daughter Kallie's birth story here, she shares how an unexpected diagnosis of Down syndrome has brought such love into her life, and her belief that God never sends us something we can't handle. Leslie, the Joyful Mother of Six Children shares in the Eyes of a Child how her daughter Eliana's birth has effected her family. Her friend Hollie, wants us to read another lovely post of hers, where she details the heartbreaking procedure of holding your little child's arm for blood tests. That really terrifies me, but Leslie is brave and sustained by her strong faith in God.
Rachel from 100 Lessons I've Learned from Jennifer shares The First Lesson she has learned from her special daughter.
Kristi, over at Above All I Could Ask or Imagine tells us about her son's 7th birthday. She says, "I do not know if this makes sense...but God understands my heart. Thank you, Lord, for giving us the gift of all of our children. May they all grow up totally sold out to you. Thank you, especially on this day of remembrance and celebration, for J and the treasure he is to our family!"
Alice at has shared articles from three women with Down syndrome who inspired her, in Ups and Downs. A talented author about Down syndrome, and contributor to Gifts, Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives, Jennifer Graf Groneberg at Pinwheels has a post Sweet Sleep about listening for her son's sleep apnea that I most certainly could relate to, having stayed up many hours listening to see if Christina had an apnea.
Catherine has a moving montage entitled, A Life Worth Living. Mindy tells a story about going through medical testing with her son Liam in Sharp Pointy Sticks.
Tara Marie Hintz, beautiful Emma Sage's mom has a favorite website with lots of resources for people with disabilities to share. It's called, "disability is natural". Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes responds to a comment about her reaction to her daughter Kayla's diagnosis of Down syndrome. This is a conversation that most of us have had, and Michelle handles it with grace and insight.
Reasoned Audacity's Charmaine Yoest wrote about Sam Ingersoll's son Gabriel, and how he was inspired to start Gabriel's Angel Network to raise Down syndrome awareness. Just watch this amazing video Sam produced for new parents of a child with Down syndrome.
Donna Wirth at My Nesting Place reviews the book Gifts and shares her love for working with children with Down syndrome. Jodie at Jodie's thoughts has a post which was published on Beliefnet. Its about three words that can change the world.
Francine mom of Two Pirates and a Princess has some great photos of little Miss Sofia.
Lianna of Life with Gabriel shares, " Leticia, I just read your beautiful post about Christina. I found out about my son, Gabriel, having Down syndrome when I was 20 weeks pregnant. It has been an incredible journey -- and my husband and I have been so fortunate. Thank you for your kind words, and for your post on my blog. I would be grateful to be included in the First Ever Down Syndrome Carnival!"
Gloria P. Huerta Sr. sent me this story about life with her 25 year old daughter for the Down syndrome Carnival, however it seems that she is without a blog, so I gave her a post on mine. Read this and see if you agree with me that Gloria should start a blog!
Look, my dear friend Esther at A Catholic Mom in Hawaii is linking to us, and made us a button! Thanks, Esther!
Our only father to contribute, Kim Ayres tells how he reacted to his daughter's diagnosis, and his reluctance to join a Down syndrome support group. "When Meg was born it sometimes felt as though we had joined a Down’s Club and we were expected to go out and join Down’s groups. We found this idea more than a little uncomfortable."
I also had difficulty believing, when I began this blogging a year ago, that I could feel this close with complete strangers, from such varied religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds. You have proven me wrong. Thank you, my new extended blogosphere family!
Christina from Prince Vince Meets the World has this post about a film festival in Salzburg, Austria featuring Down syndrome, and how it gave her so much hope. Great things DO happen when those who love a child with Down syndrome get together: let's do this again soon!
A big thank you to those of you who participated this week, if you check the Blog Carnival Website, you will see that this is a weekly carnival, and I will gladly let you be the next host. Leave a comment below, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to be next week's host blog for next Sunday's carnival.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Read this and see if you agree with me that Gloria should start a blog!
The Day Gloria Jr. Came into My Life
Gloria Jr. is my 3rd and youngest daughter. Born May 5, 1982, 25 years ago. The birth was complicated by a c-section. I had no idea she was going to be a Down syndrome child, as at twenty six years old I was too young to ever have that happen.....So they say. I awoke from surgery to find Tony (her dad) crying above my hospital bed. I asked him what was wrong and his replied was "The doctor will be coming in to talk with you" and walked out the door. At first I thought he was upset that she was a girl, as we already had 2 daughter's and he might have really wanted a son. We knew this would be our last child. When the doctor finally came to talk with me, he asked me "Do you know what Mongolism is?". I answered "yes" and then asked him, "isn't that called Down syndrome?" Well, he gave me all the details and then finished up with another question for me. This one was before I even got to see her. "Do you want her? If not, we will put her in a place where she can be taken care of." WHAT A QUESTION!!!I would not have wanted anything else in my life at that moment. I knew that, right then and there, the second I saw her, it was instant.........LOVE!!
What the doctor told me she would not be able to do.......SHE DID!!I wanted to breastfeed her even thought he told me she would have poor muscle tone in her mouth to be able to eat right. Well, let me tell you she proved them wrong! I don't know where to start with all the things she has accomplished in her young life. Yes, her reading and writing won't be par with her peers, but she still tries very hard at this. She has grown up to be a very gifted child. I found her strengths and have made that her strong point in her life, which is her love of dance, friends, family.
There are a lot of things that have happened in her life that have been hard for me to understand. Like why at 16 years old, while home alone from school due to menstrual cramps, she decides to call 911. They sent an ambulance to the house, they picked her up, and she then gets a ride to the hospital in Petaluma...all by herself!!
Or why she goes completely numb when I am trying to correct her (like most teenagers).Or just when everything seems to be going well and she is learning more and more to not lean on me so, she does something that sets her back. At times like these I feel that we need to start all over again. And then we move on..........it's O. K.
But for all the not so good times, there are so much, much more wonderful, special and even emotional times in our lives together. She has such a trust in everyone that comes into her circle of life. Her love of people outshines everything she can't do. She has no problem walking up to a man or woman and letting them know how handsome or beautiful they are.We were at a Mexican restaurant one evening. As we were eating and listening to a live Mariachi band, 4 young men came and sat down at the table next to us. Well, low and behold she starts up a conversation with one of them and then the others join in. As the band starts to play again, Gloria goes and requests a dance from one of these guys, (who by the way was about my age!!) and you know what....he did!!! There she was in all her glory, as everyone else looked on, dancing and having fun!!! I would have never, ever have done that!!! But that's what make her so special. We had a wonderful time that night. Stuff like this happens all the time, when we are together.
I have come to admire Gloria Jr. for who she is and not what I want her to become. She has taught me not to judge others by their appearance. She has shown me to be kinder to all I meet. She has given me a big lesson on forgiveness. And she has shown me to be happy everyday.For me, I see Gloria Jr. as wearing her "spiritual soul" on the outside for all to see and you know what? I want to be just like her."Thank you Lord for giving me your gift of Love"My Daughter Gloria Patricia Jr.Gloria P. Huerta Sr.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
I took the end of the Veil, and wrapped around Christina's kicking leg, and she instantly calmed down, looked up at the Monstrance and whispered, "Jesus". My heart soared, because I am reassured that she continues to recognize Jesus in his Body and Blood. Only five years old, hardly verbal, yet her faith surpasses that of many Catholic adults who don't have her gift of simple innocence. Fr. McCartney once told me that he thinks that people with Down syndrome feel sorry for us, as we don't understand things as clearly they do. The important things, like where Jesus is, and that He loves us.
I'm beginning to see what he meant.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
If you want your children to be happy adults and even happy children -- and what parent does not? -- minimize the excitement in their lives. The more excitement, the less happy they are likely to be.
In both adults and children, one can either pursue excitement or pursue happiness, but one cannot do both. If you pursue excitement, you will not attain happiness. If you pursue happiness, you will still experience some moments of excitement, but you will attain happiness only if happiness, not excitement, is your goal.
So many of the best things in life are routine, and could be described initially as dull; eating meals together as a family, your children's nighttime prayers, the same flowers blooming in your summer garden, year after year, your mother's phone calls, the slow progress your children make in their studies, a bug discovered by your toddler in the backyard, the same vacation spot you always go to, and the same liturgy every Sunday, with the same Body of Christ you receive.
See what we would be missing if we look past the routine in mad pursuit of novelty?! Our Lord Himself, who chooses to come to us in the humble appearance of ordinary bread.
That's why advertisers are making commercials which change scenes every three seconds, and include special effects like things blowing up, magic cereal, and flying kids. Anything I have to offer as a homeschooling mother is pretty dull compared to this display.
As a high school English as a Second Language teacher, I remember my Principal saying, "you have to stimulate the students, and include the five senses in every lesson." Oh, really! This includes, of course, smell and taste, which I foolishly believed belonged to Home Economics.
So I designed a St. Patrick's Day lesson around the five senses. I made Irish soda bread and Irish tea (smell and taste) brought in my Aran sweater and linen tablecloth set with Irish Belleek china (which I let them touch with trepidation) and played Irish music, so that their ears wouldn't get too tired of listening to their teacher. There, I thought, all five senses stimulated, the Principal and administrators observing me will be impressed.
But alas, it was not enough! The Principal's comments were negative, and this was his suggestion for improving the lesson, "you should have danced the Irish jig". The Irish jig, a pregnant middle-aged teacher dancing (poorly) a jig for adolescents! The image was too nightmarish to be funny!
So, now that I realize I will never be an exciting teacher to anyone, I can relax, and simply help open up the universe of learning. My children, freed from the need to be constantly stimulated a can settle down, learn, and enjoy life. Our family can relax and be our ordinary selves, loving one another, day after day so predictably. I will try to cherish my 52nd dandelion bouquet from little hands as much as the first, and we will be happy. Happy to have comforting, dull routines which constantly ensure me how much I are loved.
Monday, August 6, 2007
If you have had difficulty finding books to read while mourning your little ones, you might find comfort in Karen Garver Santorum's book, "Letters to Gabriel". In it, she published her actual journal entries during her pregnancy with her son Gabriel, whom she lost due to an infection caused by inter uterine surgery to save him from a fatal anomaly. The extraordinary lengths which Karen and her husband Senator Rick Santorum went through to save Gabriel's life while the Senator was defending the Partial-Birth Abortion ban, is truly poignant. The babies killed by this gruesome procedure, were the same gestational age as the Santorum's son, who was fighting to live. Once, during a particularly tense moment of Senator Santorum's speech, the cry of a baby pierced the silence of the Senate chamber. Senator Santorum felt it was the voice of Gabriel, pleading for innocent lives.
Gabriel's brief life was full of love from his family, and his legacy, which we now see, is the uplifting of the dignity of all human life, and the eventual decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Partial-birth abortion ban.
Thank you, Senator and Mrs. Santorum, for allowing us a look into this most painful episode of your private life, in order to give us a glimpse of true courage in suffering.
"I some shoes".
We were ecstatic, as she had never put three independent words together before!
When she said, "I some" it was always with relation to food, as in, "I some" indicating the rice she wanted me to put on her dinner plate.
This time, she was indicating another type of need, using "I some". All of her other multiple word phrases have been learned in their entirety from us, like her favorites, "I don't want to", or "I don't like it".
"I some shoes" is totally unique for her, and a big milestone in her slow linguistic development. Her sisters, delighted, have given her a new nickname, "I some". We hope to respond to many more such requests in the future!
Nice job, Christina! We are all SO proud of you!
Photo credit: Grandma
Thursday, August 2, 2007
1. Are you a life-long Catholic or a convert?
2. What parish do you attend? Are you active in your parish? Do you participate in any Catholic organizations or apostolates? (please list)
3. Did you receive a prenatal diagnosis? Y/N
—If yes, please tell us about your baby. What was your baby’s diagnosis? When in your pregnancy was your baby diagnosed?
—If no, tell us when you learned that there was a problem with your baby.
4. How specifically did your Catholic faith help you to accept what was happening to your family?
5. Did you then, or do you now have devotion to a particular saint as a result of your baby’s diagnosis, experiences, or from your own previous devotions? If so, are there any particular stories about the saint (or other saints) interceding for you, your family, or your child?
6. If you don’t already have a story written, consider setting up a very basic outline of events that walk us through the experience you wish to share about. We can help you to fill in your outline if needed.
Thanks very much for participating! We will use this set of questions to identify and draw out the different elements in your story that are most appropriate for our book.
Monica and Leticia