Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Help Genetic Counselors help Down syndrome parents

From the National Down syndrome society
Just as we all work to provide medical professionals with information that will enhance their skills in delivering a diagnosis of Down syndrome, there are others within the medical community doing the same thing.
Currently, there is a survey online, written for a Master's thesis project, which hopes to construct practice guidelines for providing information to new and expectant parents receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
The study's author says, "This study combines the complementary perspectives of parents and Genetic Counselors (professionals trained in clinical genetics and counseling skills) for the construction of guidelines to ensure that the first information parents receive about their child's diagnosis is balanced, accurate, and consistent. Your involvement is extremely valuable to healthcare professionals involved in distributing information and resources and those involved in the care of individuals with Down syndrome and their families." Please go online to take this study, and encourage your members to do so, too. This is a terrific place for your voice to be heard!
Click here to participate.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Feast of the Archangels, Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael

Danielle Bean has a great post over at Faith and Family Live on how to celebrate this important feast with your little angels.
My father is Ralph, my daughter is Gabriela, and my nephew is Michael, so this is a big feast day in our home.
This is my favorite prayer:
St Michael the Archangle, defend us in battle,
be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil,
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
Cast into hell, Satan, and all the demons who prowl around the world, seeking the ruin of souls.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Formerly homeschooled child's worst nightmare

For your entire academic career, you have been homeschooled. You wait two years before you and big sister tell Mom you'd really like to go to school.

Mom moves the family three hours from home to a school she deems Catholic enough to educate you, and signs you up for school. You attend school for two weeks, emerging from the classroom each day bursting with talk about new friends and the yucky things the boys in class said. You do your homework enthusiastically and cover your new textbooks.

Then Mom tells you the bad news. She has just gotten a job to help pay your tuition.

It's a teaching job.

It's in your school.

She'll be teaching your class!

This Monday is her first day. . .

NO!! It can't be true! you wail.

But there she is in your classroom, learning the ropes from your teacher who is going out on extended leave for two months, and your new friends pump you for information on how mean your mother is. And you aren't allowed to tell her.

Poor Isabella!

How to make your teenage daughter cry

Tonight we were housecleaning for Dad's arrival from work. While I was busy in the bathrooms, I got my very first invite on a Hollywood junket; free plane, hotel, etc. to see a preview of High School Musical III as a film critic. Several other writers were invited, and one beat me to accepting it.
I made the mistake of telling Gabbi who accompanied me to Hollywood for the first time to see the premiere of "Mr Blue Sky", only we paid for that trip.
She won't let me leave the computer now.
Sigh. At least I don't have to fret about what I would wear!

Hope in the midst of suffering

Former Senator from Pennysylvania, Rick Santorum was just on my favorite news program, "The World Over" with Ray Arroyo on EWTN, and shared that his wife Karen just gave birth to their 8th child, Bella, who has Trisomy 18.
When I interviewed him for an article in this month's Canticle magazine, about his valiant defense of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, we discussed the blessings which these special children bring to the lives of their families, in fact he told me about the young man, Brendan with Down syndrome he mentions in this column in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"In a country where some politicians now promise to end suffering, and where our usefulness seems to be measured in dollars, these special individuals stand as complex, mysterious contradictions from a loving God.
They remind us that it is not just our capacity to achieve, but our capacity for sacrificial love that will change the character of America for the good. And that character will inspire true hope - and that hope does not disappoint."

Bella was born in May, nine months later. God, in His providence was using me in a small way to help prepare Rick for this new challenge. Now I join the thousands who are praying for Bella to beat the odds, and live a long and healthy life.

President Bush is the one to sign "Prenatal Awareness Bill"

from Citizen Link
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act (S. 1810), which will provide up-to-date information to families that receive adverse prenatal genetic diagnoses.
The bill, which now heads to President Bush's desk, would supply families — prenatally and up to the baby's first birthday — with a connection to support services and networks that can offer assistance.
“Passage of this bipartisan bill in both the Senate and House is a great victory for expecting parents who learn that their unborn child may be born with a disability,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Susan B. Anthony List

Exciting update: The Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act passed in the Senate this week! Thank you for your action on this bill. We need your help again for it to pass in the House.
This bill helps parents when they need it most. It would provide for resources so that if a parent is given a difficult diagnosis, they will have the information they need to face tough decisions ahead.

Go here and urge your Congressman to support this bill.
Speaking about her experience with prenatal diagnosis, Governor Sarah Palin
said, “I was grateful to have all those months to prepare. I can't imagine the moms that are surprised at the end. I think they have it a lot harder.” When given a difficult diagnosis about their unborn child, shock and fear rise in the hearts of most parents. This bill would help educate parents about the condition and provide support in their time of need.This bill has the potential to reduce abortions! Help make that happen.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I love your blog award

Esther and Heidi, two of my favorite bloggers have given me this award.
As a recipient of this award, there are rules to follow. I have to answer the following questions with one word answers and one word only! Then I must pass it on to seven others!

The questions are as follows:
1. Where is your cell phone? kitchen
2. Where is dh? bed
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? home
5. Your father? home
6. Your favorite thing? Heaven
7. Your dream last night? nervous
8. Your dream/goal? Rome
9. The room you're in? dining room
10. Your hobby? gardening
11. Your fear? hell
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? TV
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? patient
15. One of your wish-list items? camera
16. Where you grew up? NY
17. The last thing you did? work
18. What are you wearing? PJs
19. Your TV? off
20. Your pet? cats
21. Your computer? fast
22. Your mood? content
23. Missing someone? yes
24. Your car? van
25. Something you're not wearing? hat
26. Favorite store? LandsEnd
27. Your summer? busy
28. Love someone? yes!
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? today

I nominate the following bloggers:
1. Elizabeth
2. Jean

Now, for you recipients of this award, here's the deal:
* Display your award.
* Link back to the person who gave you the award.
* Nominate at least 2 other blogs.
* Put links to those blogs on yours.
* Leave a message on the blogs of the people you've nominated.
* Enjoy your award!

Was this great legislative victory due to Thomas Vander Woude's intercession?

I certainly think so. Here is the press release on the passing of the Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act. I think Tom is on the road to sainthood.

BREAKING NEWS: Brownback bill passed!!!

Thanks be to God, and all of you who have taken action, we have taken one more step towards giving babies with Down syndrome a better chance of making it to birth by giving their parents access to the truth.
Sen Sam Brownback, a pro-life Kansas Republican and co-sponsor of the bill, told LifeNews.com he's glad the Senate approved it.“This bill will greatly benefit expecting parents who receive the sometimes overwhelming news that their unborn child may be born with a disability," he said. "This legislation will provide parents with current and reliable information about the many options available for caring for children with disabilities.”
from Life News.com
The truth of the positive lives lived by people with Down syndrome,the truth that treatments are being discovered to help the cognitive abilites of these childrenthe truth that there is a waiting list of parents waiting to adopt babies with Down syndromeThe passage of the Kennedy Brownback bill in the Senate is a triumph for the truth.Will the House now pass this important legislation?
Read the entire article here on Life News.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thomas Vander Woude is a true hero

I found the blog of the family of the heroic man who gave his life for his son with Down syndrome who was drowning in a cesspool. Here is the video of Senator Brownback's speech on the floor of the Senate where he tells the story of Tom's noble sacrifice.(when you click on this link the player will display the time of the speech on the upper right hand corner. Senator Brownback spoke from 1:05 ET)
Here is the blog of Tom's daughter-in-law A Lee in the Woudes where you can find photos of Tom and the inside story as well as the widespread news coverage. Senator Brownback said that he wanted to pass this bill in honor of Tom's sacrifice, however Bernie Sanders defeated the bill in favor of partisanship.
He should be ashamed of himself.

40 Days for Life Opening Mass

In the Cathedral of St Patrick this evening we attended a beautiful Mass with a very informed homilist on life issues. We sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" as a recessional hymn, and it struck me that the abolition movement gained this wonderful hymn in Hartford as Julia Ward Howe heard abolitionists sing "John Brown's Body". Now, only an hour away from Hartford, a new generation of "abolitionists" this time for the abolition of abortion, is inspired by her beautiful words.
It was part of the sendoff for Norwich's 40 Days for Life Campaign. It was followed by a reception and rally downstairs where we met some friends from the Pro-life Coffee House at the Academy and made some new friends. People in this diocese are very friendly and when you add the bonding which comes with being on the front lines in the abortion wars, you get instant SOLIDARITY.
Reminds me of a certain Polish Pope, who overcame Communism with prayer and unified protests.

Please help St Joseph School

As you know we have just left Long Island, my home for four decades, for a very good reason. Two excellent, faithful Catholic schools are here in Baltic, CT for my two girls. I have posted about St. Joseph and the Academy of the Holy Family here.
Isabella is happily attending school at St. Joseph, meeting new friends, and growing confident about her ability to function in a school setting after being homeschooled for her entire six years of schooling till now. She is surrounded by love and the glory of Catholicism every day at St. Joseph, so when she came home with a fundraising catalogue, I promised to do my best to help her help her school. It's a small school in an area which has many other Catholic schools, but what St. Joseph offers is unique. Habited sisters from the Sisters of Charity of Mary Mother of the Church operate and teach at the school, giving a living example to the children of the joys of consecrated life. Dedicated lay teachers with rich spiritual lives, teach there in the same spirit of joyful traditional Catholicism.
St. Joseph is a treasure which must be preserved. If you feel inspired, please click on the image of the Yankee Candle catalogue on this link and email me with your orders, giving me the item description, number and price. I'll return your email with payment instructions. We have one week (till Sept 29) to show St. Joseph that great Catholic schools have the support of the Catholic faithful.
And the candles are fantastic too! Yankee Candle has always had the most fragrant candles, which I buy regularly at the same price from home stores. Now we can stock up for Christmas, and help a good cause too.
Thanks in advance for your support.

Padre Pio's feast day

Father Stefano Manelli, FI
“It has also been written that ‘Padre Pio penetrated [the mystery of] Mary’s sorrows and participated therein, copied them and relived them; just as his soul was made a participant in the sufferings of the Passion, so too did he have the gift of participation in the sorrows of Mary.’ It could not be otherwise, since there is an intimate and ineffable unity between the sufferings of Jesus and the sufferings of Mary, not only on the level of the flesh, but even more so on the level of the heart and of love…”
Mary at the Foot of the Cross, V (Academy of the Immaculate: 2005), 496.
from the daily email meditations of Mary Vitamin

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Senator Sam Brownback's speech on Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act

This speech was given Thursday September 18 on the Senate floor
Madam President, we also, I think, need a government that will stand up for the weakest and most vulnerable amongst us as well. I have got a real story of human heroism that I wanted to share with the body, and then I am hopeful we can agree to a piece of legislation that Senator Kennedy and I have done that has been rolled into this bigger package that has drawn a lot of difficulty. But this is a piece Senator Kennedy and I have worked on for a couple of years now. There is no reason for this to be blocked. So I am hopeful we can then move to it and pass it through this body, move it on forward.
I have got a picture of a gentleman. I want to show you a wonderful man. This is Thomas Vander Woude. This is an incredible story here in the suburbs around Washington, DC. On September 8, Thomas Vander Woude returned from mass that he had gone to in Gainesville, VA. He attended mass regularly and was working in his yard with his youngest son, who is 20 years old, Joseph. He is known by the family as Josie. Josie is a Downs syndrome adult. He fell through a 2 foot by 2 foot piece of metal that covered an opening to a septic tank, Josie did. His dad Thomas immediately rushed to his aid. According to an account in the Washington Post, when he saw that Joseph could not keep his head above the muck, Vander Woude, who was 66, jumped in the tank, ``submerged himself in sewage so he could push his son up from below and keep his head above the muck.''
Tom Vander Woude saved his son, but he drowned in the process. As it is stated so eloquently: There is no greater love than to lay down your life for another. And Tom Vander Woude laid down his life for his 20-year-old Downs syndrome son. This is a beautiful story that has taken place of the dedication of a father for his son, an act of heroism, but in his quiet life of dedication to his son, to his wife Mary Ellen of 43 years, to his six sons, 24 grandchildren, and to his country. Tom served his Nation as a pilot in Vietnam, and after the war worked as a commercial airline pilot. Around the community of Gainesville, though, he was known as a generous neighbor, a volunteer at church, a basketball and soccer coach for the high school in Manassas that five of his sons attended. He was also a farmer, something dear to my heart, I know to the Chair, the Presiding Officer as well. Most of all, he was known as Josie's devoted dad. Wherever you found Tom--at a game, at church, helping a neighbor--there was Josie, lending a hand. Tom Vander Woude knew the value of his son's life. He considered it so precious that he gave his own to save it. He never considered the special care and attention that Joseph required because of his Downs syndrome, he never considered that a burden to the family. On the contrary, ``he always considered Joseph a wonderful blessing to the family,'' a special gift from God who brings out the best in his family and the lives of all of those he touches.
This is true of so many families who have children with difficulties. They find that through all of the difficulty and trial of caring for and providing for their child who has a mental disability, these special individuals are ambassadors of love and of understanding, filled with an openness and unconditional affection that acts as a humanizing force of compassion in their families and in their communities. But we have to be open to this kind of gift and to the potential of every human life to make our world a better place.
Now that I reflect on Tom Vander Woude and the value he placed on the life of his son, I also thought of Sarah Palin and what she said about her son, Trig, born in April. When the Governor and her husband Todd were told last year that the child she was expecting in May would be born with Downs syndrome, they knew that ending that pregnancy was never an option for them. After all, why would it be? ``We understand,'' she was quoted as saying at the time, ``that every innocent life has wonderful potential.'' The problem is that between 80 and 90 percent of the children diagnosed with Downs syndrome in the United States will not make it to the world, simply because they have a positive genetic test in prenatal screening, tests which can be wrong, by the way.
I have had a number of people come up to me and say they had a positive Downs syndrome designation and the child was born and the child did not have Downs syndrome. America is poorer because of this. To deny children with disabilities a chance at life will make us more insensitive, callous, and jaded, and will take away from the diversity of American life. I do not think this is what we were meant to do. So Senator Kennedy and I, for about 2 years now, have been working on a bill. What we are trying to do with this bill is to see that more Downs syndrome children make it here and get here. It is a pretty simple bill that establishes a registry of people who are willing to adopt Downs syndrome children. So that if someone gets that diagnosis and they say, I cannot handle it, fine. The answer is not to kill the child, the answer is to put the child up for adoption. We have got people willing to adopt it, and also to put forward information to people about the current condition of a Downs syndrome child and what all is available, because a lot is available for this child.So we worked a long time, got the spending lined up--we are in good shape on that--and we are ready to move forward with this so we can get more of these special kids here. What I was hoping we can do, and we had it almost passed through, and then this got caught up in the clutter of things, was that we could get this bill hot-lined--Senator Kennedy's sister is a big proponent of this, has done great work with the Special Olympics--that we could do this. It got caught up in this overall package. Nobody objects to this bill. What I would like to see us do is let us take the pieces of this overall omnibus that we can agree to and let's do them. So then we have got some progress that is being shown.
UNANIMOUS-CONSENT REQUEST--S. 1810 I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 701, S. 1810, the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act. The lead sponsors are Senator Kennedy and myself. I ask unanimous consent that the amendment at the desk be agreed to, the committee-reported amendment, as amended, be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no interviewing action or debate, and that we can get more of these special children here.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was the lone dissnenting vote that defeated this measure.
Email him and let him know how you feel about this.

News on Kennedy-Brownback bill from NDSC

NDSC and NDSS Urge the Down Syndrome Community to Take Action Today!
Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act - ANOTHER CRITICAL VOTE SOON!
The development of up-to-date, accurate and evidence-based information should never be a partisan issue.
The Senate may soon hold another critical vote on S. 3297, the Advancing America's Priorities Act, a package of 35 bills which includes the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act (S. 1810), introduced by Senators Kennedy (D-MA) and Brownback (R-KS). This may be the first of several votes on S. 3297. However, this first vote likely will determine whether the Senate passes the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act this year!
Therefore, please contact your Senators immediately and tell your friends, family, colleagues - and everyone you know - to do so as well. Urge your Senators to vote YES on S. 3297. Even if you already have contacted your Senators this week, your outreach is still needed. We want to fill Senator's inboxes and make it clear that they must pass the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act this year.
Letters you can personalize and send to your Senators are available in the Advocacy Action Center of the NDSS website, here: http://capwiz.com/ndss/home/. If you don't know the names of your Senators, don't worry. The Advocacy Action Center automatically will identify them for you and enable you to contact them directly from the site.
Talking Points

Please use the following talking points when you call your Senators' offices today:

I am a of the Down syndrome community calling to urge my Senator to vote YES on S. 3297.

The two national organizations, National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), representing over 400,000 individuals with Down syndrome and their families, also support the passage of this bipartisan legislation.

The S. 3297 bill includes, Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act, which is a bipartisan compromise that will promote and develop up-to-date, evidence based information and materials for parents who, increasingly in the 21st century, receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome and other genetic conditions.

This is a nonpartisan issue that affects all of our children and adults with Down syndrome and their families.

The development of up-to-date, accurate and evidence-based information should never be a partisan issue.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Brownback to introduce our bill today: Take Action!

9/19 UPDATE:Senator Brownback DID introduce the bill yesterday for an unanimous vote (if any one Senator objected, the bill was not approved) and the lone vote of protest was Sen Bernie Sanders of VT. He is in the tank for Harry Reid who wants this now popular (thanks Trig Palin) bill to be attached to his omnibus spending bill.
This, Senator Brownback's office informs me, is how to kill a bill.
Why don't you let Sen Sanders know how you feel about his killing a bill which would provide information and support to parents expecting a child like Trig Palin? Click here.

We have received word that Senator Brownback (R-KS) will bring up the Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act at 1:00 pm TODAY.They have asked us to call the following Senators:
Lieberman (I-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Webb (D-VA)
Casey (D-PA)
Please contact these Members' Offices and encourage them to say something on the Senator Floor in support of the bill today.
Please ACT NOW! The Capitol switchboard is (202) 224-3121
The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act will provide funds to develop accurate, up-to-date materials and information for families that receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or other genetic conditions so that parents can make informed decisions.
It's time to take advantage of all the buzz created by Sarah Palin's son Trig. Let's help parents expecting a child with Down syndrome overcome their fear and understand the reality of life with a special child.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two Down syndrome babies

I told you babies like my Christina would change the world.
Here's proof: A Tale of Two Down Syndrome Babies by Paul Kengor, a professor of Grove City College in the National Catholic Register.
How the candidates Sarah Palin and Barack Obama treated unborn babies with Down syndrome may just be the make-or-break point in this election. AMAZING!
Jesus told us we would be held accountable for how we treated the "least of our brothers", for that is how we are treating Him. It is my deepest hope that Barack Obama may feel His judgement on his sinful position on abortion before it is too late. Before more children with Down syndrome have to die, and our nation falls even deeper into the Culture of Death.
Here is Paul Kengor:
Obama’s intransigence was best shown in the eyewitness experience of Jill Stanek, the nurse at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., who provided testimony to Obama’s committee in the Illinois Senate. To Stanek’s amazement, Obama was unfazed by her devastatingly sad testimony of cradling a newborn baby who had just survived an abortion. That baby was refused medical care. He was sent to the soiled utility room to endure a heart-wrenching, excruciating death over the course of 45 minutes.
“He was too weak to move very much,” remembered Stanek, in testimony for which the hospital fired her, “expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end, he was so quiet that I couldn’t tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall.”
Why was this poor, innocent, helpless little boy sentenced to this unjust, wicked execution? Because of this crime: He had Down syndrome.
That Down syndrome child was unable to affect Obama’s oft-expressed “least-of-our-brothers” compassion and protection.
But a Down syndrome child fully received Sarah Palin’s motherly compassion and protection. And pro-lifers everywhere feel the difference in this selective “social justice.”

As Fr Frank Pavone says, a candidate's fitness for holding the most powerful position in the world is determined by his character. Governor Palin and John McCain have the courage to stand up for the unborn. They have the moral fiber we need to bring this country forward.
We can see this so clearly in the stark contrast of the treatment of these two baby boys. Children who are considered the 'least of these' have much to teach our society. Are we able to listen?

"TG" New magazine for young Catholic women

I review "TG" magazine on Catholic Media Review. If you're looking for a healthy alternative to teenager or immoral woman's magazines, this is it!Give it a try for yourself of a young woman you love.

We can change society for our kids

As a result of The Arc's work, a trailer is being added to the DVD movie versions of Tropic Thunder. The same PSA is going to be aired in Walmart stores nationwide. The Arc is also approaching movie theaters and video store chains about it as well.
The PSA can be viewed at the Blueberry Shoes website.
Well done, Arc of Northern Virginia, parents of children with intellectual disablities salute you!

The Movie Meme

1. Which actor do you think hasn't gotten the attention he/she deserves?
That's easy: Jim Caviezel who should be up to his eyeballs in decent film offers since "The Passion of the Christ", but he has virtually disappeared.
Has anyone seen him since "I am David"?

2. What is your favorite movie line?
Olympia Dukakis in "Fried Green Tomatoes" said, at Julia Robert's character Shelby's funeral "that which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger". Pithy yet so true.

3. What is the absolute worst movie you've ever seen?
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" hands down. Why that film had a devoted cult following is one of life's mysteries.

4. Is there a movie you hated when you first saw it and then later had to admit you were wrong?
I hated "Moonstruck" till I realized that the overacting was intented to mimic Italian opera, the central theme of the film. Once I got that, it has become one of my all time favorites.

5. What is your biggest guilty pleasure movie - the one you're ashamed you enjoy?
"The Exorcism of Emily Rose" you're not supposed to 'enjoy' exorcism movies, but it's good when the Catholics win for a change!

I will tag the following bloggers with this meme but if you want to participate, go ahead. I ask that you offer a link back here and that you tag three other people.
Consider yourself tagged:
Jean of Catholic Fire
Esther of A Catholic Mom in Hawaii
Elizabeth of The Divine Gift of Motherhood

My girls are on a brochure about Down sydrome

A press release from Concerned Women for America
State Director Anne Downey launches an informational resource for new parents
Washington, D.C. — Concerned Women for America (CWA) of New York today launched an international project aimed at reducing the 90 percent abortion rate for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. This new project, developed in consultation with the major Down syndrome groups in America, makes available a free informational brochure titled, “When you’ve learned that your baby may have Down syndrome … There is help and hope!” The brochure offers reassurance to families facing a prenatal diagnosis and provides them with a list of resources and support groups to help them learn more about their baby’s opportunities. At the companion website, DownSyndromeBrochure.com¸ the brochure is available in English and Spanish for free download or for ordering of printed copies at a nominal charge. Eventually, CWA of New York intends to offer the brochure in many different languages and with country-specific versions, such as a French version listing agencies and resources in France.
The brochure is timely because of a December 2007 practice bulletin issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) which states, “After the diagnosis of a chromosomal abnormality, the patient should receive detailed information, if known, about the natural history of individuals with the specific chromosomal finding. In many cases, it may be very helpful to refer the patient to a genetic counselor or clinical geneticist and national groups such as The National Down Syndrome Society (www.ndss.org) or National Down Syndrome Congress (www.ndsccenter.org) to help the patient make an informed decision.” The brochure will allow busy OB/GYN doctors and others to provide expectant mothers with easy-to-read information.The brochure features the photographs of children and young adults with Down syndrome and their family members. Anne F. Downey, Esq., State Director for CWA of New York, says, “The brochure features the faces of a number of children and adults with Down syndrome. Each of the persons featured in the brochure came to me in a special way and has his or her own wonderful story to tell. In the photos you can see the joy that these young people and their family members have. Just looking at them, you can see that there truly is help and hope.”Medical professionals, disability groups and others wishing to obtain the brochure in large quantities may contact State Director Downey for special arrangements.Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.
I submitted this photo for inclusion in this brochure. Our family does have a happy story to tell about life with a child with Down syndrome. I try to tell it here every day.
We had no idea how popular this subject would be when the brochure came out.
Isn't God's timing great?!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's not a cat and it doesn't fish

We have been discussing the flora and fauna of our new neighborhood in rural Connecticut with the locals. We live in the Quinebaug-Shetucket River valley, dubbed the last green valley on the over developed East Coast. Gabbi, who is my city girl, said, not without a bit of irony, "leave it to you, Mom to find the last green valley".
It's a beautifully rural area which seems to have escaped the ravages of modern development, colonial era farms dot the landscape and tiny rural villages surprise at the bend of a meandering road. We are getting excited as fall colors begin to tinge the leaves, thinking of the joys of discovering a new pumpkin farm, and pouring over pamphlets about October harvest events and nature walks. This little corner of New England is one of those areas of this nation which has retained it's unique regional flavor, and I am often surprised at how different it is culturally from Long Island, which is only an hour south of here. But that's another post.
I was asked by a friend to discuss the animal which is reputed to prowl the woods beyond our home; the Fisher Cat. Reintroduced to cut down the Porcupine population (was that a problem?) this ill-tempered member of the mink family is a threat to domestic animals like cats and small dogs. I had heard of them from friends in Northern Vermont and New Hampshire, but now they are down here in Eastern Connecticut, and I was not happy to hear it. They are particularly aggressive, and don't seem to be frightened off easily by humans or dogs.
My girls are afraid to let the cats out at night, since Fisher Cats are nocturnal, and our neighbor described a deep wound one of his cats received after an encounter with one of these 'weasels with an attitude'.Yikes!
We may be overreacting, but we are suburbanites, after all, the country life is new to us!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Fr Dwight Longnecker has a beautiful meditation on why today's feast immediately follows the feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross. Our Lady leads us by her example of sharing in the suffering of Our Lord, we follow her, carrying our crosses. See the beautiful collection of Marian art at Salve Regina.
I have friends who carried the contents of their desks out the door of Lehman Brothers in New York today. Please pray that they may see their current suffering as an opportunity to make up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ, and to trust their futures to Christ's mercy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Morning Star Camp 2008

The beautiful camp videos are out for Isabella's two weeks at Morning Star Camp in Washington, NH. You can access week one here and week two here. The sisters certainly made some unforgettable childhood memories, all centered around the Holy Eucharist and Monfort Style Marian devotion. I especially love the second slide show with the candlelight procession for the Feast of the Assumption.
Morning Star Camp is run by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the St. Benedict Center in Still River, MA.

Thank you for your prayers we've moved to CT

I have spent a week without the internet, up to my eyeballs in boxes. Things started to improve just a bit, then we were reconnected to the internet today, and I had over 4oo emails, so please excuse the brief post to thank all of you who prayed, by saying God has helped us past all the hurdles, and we are settling into our new home.
I came accross this irresistable post from Faith and Family Live about how little Trig Palin is the most influential lobbyist for pro-life causes ever.
That is the reason I started this blog; to let Christina's beauty speak volumes about the intrinsic value of all human life, no matter how many chromosomes you have.
Next Sunday, September 21st, a photo of Christina will be part of a slideshow in Times Square, New York City. The National Down Syndrome Society will be sponsoring it as part of their annual fundraising Buddy Walk in Central Park. We hope to make it to Times Square, with a camera to capture the moment.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Birth of Mary

“As the dawn is a cause of joy after the darkness and gloom of night, so was the birth of Mary.”
St. Alphonsus di Liguori, The Glories of Mary, (Tan Books: 1978), 628.
HT Mary Vitamin
Friends, I want to remember the birthday of Our Lady since I am moving tomorrow, to our new house in Connecticut, YES in the middle of Tropical Storm Hannah (we have a truck rented; we're trying to outrun the storm!). Don't ask.
I always look for feast days near big events and I am so honored to be beginning a new life in Connecticut near our Lady's Nativity. Please keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Special Needs Moms; we have a friend in Sarah Palin

For me, a special needs mother, listening to Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at the Republican Convention; THIS was the takeaway line of the night:
"Last April, we were blessed in my family with a baby boy. Sometimes our greatest blessings are also our greatest challenges. (HUGE OVATION, everyone focused on adorable Trig sleeping in Daddy's arms) For Special Needs Parents: For years you have been working to make the world a more welcoming place for your children. I promise you, that if we win, you will have a friend, an advocate in the White House". (BIG OVATION)
Sarah had reached through the TV screen and grabbed my heart! I have been working so hard these two years, since I met Senator Sam Brownback, supporting the "Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act" only to see it tossed into the mix for partisan bickering. Now, I know that if Sarah Palin is elected, legislation like this will be taken seriously, and maybe, just maybe, the scandalous persecution of unborn babies with conditions like Down syndrome, aborted at a rate of 90% will end.
For this position alone, Sarah Palin has earned my full support. What kind of superpower are we, the wealthiest nation on earth, who had no room for the special needs child?
You can always judge a society by how it treats its weakest members. Thanks to Sarah Palin, the USA may emerge from this grave violation of civil rights, and once again like in the 1960's, give human rights to an overlooked segment of our population.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Proverbs 31 Woman and industriousness

The Proverbs 31 Woman

10An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
rare, precious
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
Her Character as a Wife
13She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
works joyfully
14She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar.
goes extra mile to get choicest goods
15She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
enterprising, prudent with money
17She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18She senses that her gain is good;Her lamp does not go out at night.
good steward
19She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
Her Devotion as a Homemaker
20She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
compassionate, generous
Her Generosity as a Neighbor
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household,For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates,When he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them,And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Her Devotionas a Homemaker
25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
26She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Her Influence as a Teacher
27She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
manages her home
28Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29"Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all."
Her Effectivenessas a Mother
30Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.