Saturday, January 31, 2009

Help Educate Medical Professionals about Down syndrome

from the Down syndrome Information Alliance
If you have a child or grandchild with Down syndrome you probably remember everything about the moment you received the news. For many, it was a painful and negative experience. Well, it doesn't have to be - it shouldn't be.

As a DSIA parent or grandparent you can change the diagnosis experience from one of pain and sorrow to one of acceptance and hope by becoming a Family Sponsor of the DSIA's Hungry for Life Progressive Dinner Party on Monday, May 18, 2009 in midtown Sacramento.

Click here for more information.

90%. Really.

One in 733 babies is born with Down syndrome in the U.S., making it the most common chromosomal abnormality. We don't know the true incidence of Down syndrome because a prenatal diagnosis results in termination 90% of the time.

It's hard to believe, until you look at the facts:

Nearly 25% of physicians in an anonymous survey admit to actively urging or emphasizing the negative information so that parents will terminate a pregnancy. Wertz DC: Georgetown University Press; 2000, 261-87.
81% of medical students say they are not getting any actual clinical training regarding people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics: The health and care of people with intellectual disabilities.
45% of obstetric fellows say that their training on how to deliver a prenatal diagnosis is “barely adequate” or “nonexistent.” Cleary-Goldman: Obstet Gyncol 2006; 107:11-17.
In 2009 a new diagnostic will be available to detect Down syndrome more accurately with a simple blood test in the first trimester of pregnancy, creating an even greater need for the DSIA.

How can you help?

The DSIA is working to expand our hospital outreach program to provide health care professionals with peer education and updated materials so that they can share with new and expectant parents the reality of life with Down syndrome and the tremendous abilities and opportunities our children have. We want new and expectant parents to see videos like the DSIA's Dreams in Reality so that they can be inspired and comforted, rather than terrified and overwhelmed. To view this exceptional short film (about 3 minutes) about local adults with Down syndrome log onto

We know times are tough. But now more than ever we need your help to raise critical funds for this program. As a parent or grandparent of a child with Down syndrome you know what it's like. Please help us make a change.

Each year the DSIA presents "Hungry for Life" a progressive dinner party in Sacramento. Our 2009 event will be on Monday, May 18th in midtown Sacramento, and feature Sacramento's most exclusive restaurants while raising awareness about the abilities and value of people with Down syndrome to change expectations and remove the stigma. This is not your typical banquet fundraiser! There are now awards, no keynote speaker and no auction. Just a great date night!

The DSIA is offering an exclusive sponsorship opportunity for parents and grandparents of children with Down syndrome! For $250 you will receive two tickets to the Hungry for Life 2009 Progressive Dinner Party and a listing in the event program. This is just $50 more than the price of two tickets.

But you must be a parent or grandparent of a child with Down syndrome to qualify for this exclusive sponsorship opportunity. Click here for more information.

Change the life of a baby with Down syndrome.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Want to drive your teenage daughter crazy?

NO, it's nothing conventional like cutting off her cell phone (she doesn't have one) or taking away her in-room TV (ditto) or credit cards (ditto). We who hold a pretty strict line on our teens or are cutting back with the struggling economy have to be more creative to find ways to keep our teens from thinking they run the house. Or finding out that they do already.
Since working at Isabella's school was initially an effective way to drive her nuts, but after four months, I was exhausted from taming middle schoolers, and she was starting to like the idea of being the teacher's kid, I had to change tactics.
SO, I got a job subbing for the Literature teacher at my 15 year old's high school. I won't be teaching her personally, but in an all girl's school, there are no secrets, so Gabbi was more than a little dismayed.
Next, I came back from Blogs for Life in Washington DC with a mandate to Twitter and get a profile on Facebook. Notice the profiles in the sidebar, and please understand as I tweak them. I'm new at this. Come visit me and be my friend.
I think going on Facebook bothered Gabbi more than becoming a teacher at her school.

She said, "I mean, MOM, Facebook is for cool people, come on!"
"And, so, I'm not cool, so no one will want be my friend, right?"

So, as my friends list grew, surpassing hers on the first day ( this is unfair, she has restrictions on her list imposed from on high) her frustration grew. Mom actually has friends on Facebook. Who knew old people were on Facebook?

True, I am not personal friends with everyone on my profile, but I would like to be. And I want to help the pro-life movement in it's time of greatest need. So I will Tweet and Facebook my way into a position where my photos of the March for Life reach far and wide, overcoming the fact that even Fox News wouldn't cover it.
Or NBC won't play this awesome video during the commercials.
Sorry, Gabbi. It's for the Cause.
Come follow me on Facebook and Twitter and lets' take over the means the Left used to take over this country, before we are blocked from them.
And show this video wherever you can, it's been blocked from YouTube too.
From Catholic

Thursday, January 29, 2009

National Institute of Health has a plan for Down syndrome research

This is a major victory. If there is no plan for research, the only remedy for Trisomy 21 is prevention; AKA abortion. It took the efforts of many parent advocates coupled with the leadership of the Congressional Down syndrome Caucus, and Rep Cathy McMorris-Rogers, mother of Cole, to bring the NIH to forming a plan to research therapies for treatment of Trisomy 21. Amen!
Read about it here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Novena for the Conversion of President Barack Obama

Please begin this novena for the intention of invoking St. Josephine Bakhita's intercession for the complete conversion of President Obama and in particular that he be directed by the power of the Holy Spirit to call for an end to the evil of abortion that destroys the sacredness of life. Novena begins on January 30th or 31st. St. Bakhita's feastday is February 8th.
St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin

PRAYERO Holy Trinity,Father, Son and Holy Spirit,we thank you for the giftsof humility and charitywhich you bestowed onBlessed Josephine Bakhita.Deign to glorify herfor her singular virtuesand grant the prayersof those who invoke her,Amen

Loving God, rewarder of the humble, you blessed St. Josephine Bakhita with charity and patience. May her prayers help us, and her example inspire us to carry our cross and to love you always. Pour upon us the spirit of wisdom and love with which you filled St. Josephine Bakhita. By serving you as she did, may we please you by our faith and our actions. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. To obtain the favor of President Barack Hussein Obama's conversion through the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, please also say an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be and kindly remember to pray for our suffering Christian brothers and sisters in Sudan, her native land, who at this very moment are being persecuted, sold into slavery, and converted against their will to the Muslim religion.
More information on St. Bakhita below:

Bakhita was born in Eastern Sudan around 1869 and was captured by slave traders, who named her Bakhita, which means "lucky one".
Bakhita came from a happy, loving tribal family, which consisted of her parents, three brothers, and four sisters. In comparison to other African tribal families, her family was well to do, as her uncle was the village chief and her father owned cattle and large plantations. When Bakhita was about nine years old, slave traders captured her.
During the course of her life, she was sold five times before she received her freedom. She was subjected to many cruel tortures, some of which included whip lashing, which tore off her flesh, and being tattooed multiple times on her body via incisions with a razor and having salt rubbed into her womb. Despite the cruel treatments, she had no resentment or bitterness in her heart, but prayed for those who hurt her.
When Bakhita’s fourth owner, Callisto (Legnani), an agent of the Italian Consul in Sudan, was recalled to Italy, Bakhita insisted on accompanying him, and her master could not refuse her. On the ship bound for Italy, however, the Consul gave Bakhita to some fellow countrymen, Mr. and Mrs. Micheli, who needed a nanny for their child in Mirano Veneto, Italy.
It was in Italy at age 21 that the Canossian Sisters in Venice introduced Bakhita to the Catholic faith. Accompanying the five-year-old child she cared for to the Sister’s boarding school in Venice, Bakhita received religious instruction along with the child. When the child’s parents returned from Sudan to take them both back to Africa, Bakhita refused to go, but insisted that she remain in Italy to complete her religious instruction and to practice her faith. When Mrs. Michieli's pleas and threats toward Bakhita failed, she appealed to the King’s Procurator, who informed her that slavery was illegal in Italy. Bakhita was now a free woman – free to serve the One she loved. Approximately two months later, on January 9, 1890, Bakhita was baptized and confirmed and was given the names Josephine and Margaret and Bakhita. She also made her first Holy Communion on the same day.
Bakhita continued her studies at the school for four more years, then began her postulancy with the Canossian Sisters on December 3, 1893, in the same house where she had lived for five years. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1896, Sr. Josephine made her final vows at the Motherhouse in Verona, where the foundress, Magdalene of Canossa, had lived and died.
For six years, Bakhita remained in Venice, performing simple household tasks. Then, in 1902, she was transferred to Schio, a small town in the beautiful mountain area of northern Italy. Her first assignment there was as a cook. She sought to do her best, taking special care that the food she prepared was as pleasing as possible and she even heated the dishware in the winter to ensure warm meals for the boarding school girls and the Sisters.
In 1935, the Sisters asked Sr. Josephine to go on a speaking tour to tell her faith story as a form of missionary work. The shy and modest Sister reluctantly consented, as she disliked being the center of attention. She relayed her witness to captivated audiences for the next year and always did so "For God’s Glory." For the next two years, she served as the doorkeeper at the Sister’s missionary novitiate in Milan.
In 1938, Sr. Josephine’s health was beginning to decline, so she returned to Schio to perform household chores. She celebrated a joyous golden 50th anniversary as a religious on December 8, 1943 with nearly the whole town present, congratulating and thanking her for all her work.
As Bakhita’s life drew to a close, she began to spend more time with the Lord, gazing upon Him in the tabernacle or on the crucifix and praying. She spent much time in prayer for her fellow missionary Sisters."
At times, I have sleepless nights: then I feel bored and sad. But I do not pay any attention to it: I offer my suffering and I feel happy. I thank God for the many graces granted me, happy to have something to offer in return, as a token of my gratitude."
As she was nearing the end of her life on this earth, some of her Sisters, expressed their concerns and fears about God’s judgement to her, to which Bakhita replied, "When a person loves another, she wishes to be together [with him], so why be afraid? Death takes us to God."She added, "I am going slowly, slowly towards eternity…I carry two bags with me; one contains my sins, the other, much heavier, contains the infinite merits of Jesus Christ. When I appear before the tribunal of God, I will cover my ugly bag with the merits of Our Lady. Then, I shall open the other and will present to the eternal Father the merits of His Son Jesus. I will tell Him: "Now, judge from what you see."
Sister Josephine suffered from a violent attack of pneumonia in the winter of 1947 and her fever caused her to go through periods of delirium and unconsciousness. When she regained consciousness, someone asked her, "How are you Sr. Josephine? Today is Saturday." As she lay dying, she replied, "Yes, I am so happy: Our Lady, Our Lady!" These were her last words on February 8, 1947.
Pope John Paul II canonized St. Josephine Bakhita on October 1, 2000.
"Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!"~ St. Josephine Bakhita
Visit this website to learn more about the life of St. Josephine: Bakhita: African Flower . It contains a poem commissioned by the Canossian Daughters of Charity and a pictoral biography.
Bakhita: African Flower (1869-1947)
Bakhita (Arabic for "fortunate one") was only a young child in the Sudan when she was kidnapped, imprisoned, and sold into slavery. The winds of change blew her first into freedom, and then into religious communal life with the Canossian Daughters of Charity in northern Italy. Despite the horrific cruelty and torture to which she had been subjected, Bakhita never condemned those who treated her badly. She continually praised the circumstances of her life which led her to her religious vocation. Serving as a missionary, she often closed her talks with the following words:
"Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know him. What a great grace it is to know God!"
Bakhita was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 17 May 1992. Eight years later she was canonised on 1 October 2000, at the Basilica of San Pietro in Rome, a Saint of the Jubilee Year. Her memorial is celebrated annually on 8 February.
From the blog:
view photo album one page at a time at
Lead Us to Christ Jesus
Based on the story and words of Mother Josephine Bakhita.Commissioned by the Canossian Daughters of Charity, F.d.C.C.on the occasion of the canonisation of Bakhita, 1 October 2000.© 2000 Jane Ellen (ASCAP). All rights reserved.
African Flower, gentle one,stolen away from fam'ly and home;sold into slav'ry and despair,given the name of Fortunate One.Seeing the sun, the moon and stars,seeking the Master of nature there.Yearning to know, to touch and see,wishing the Master's praises to sing.
Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia!O Saint Bakhita, lead us to Christ Jesus!Alleluia, alleluia!
No longer slave of man but free,desiring to be a slave of Christ,loving with pure humility,making her life a sweet sacrifice.Forgiving all who caused her pain,knowing the myst'ry of the Lord's plan.Seeing that all things work for good,placing her faith in God's mighty Hand.
Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia!O Saint Bakhita, lead us to Christ Jesus!Alleluia, alleluia!
Daughter of God and friend to all,longing to fly home to those in need,wanting to spread her Saviour's love,joy and compassion, and perfect peace.O Saint Bakhita, hear our prayer:teach us to spread our Lord's sacred Word,praying for those who know Him not,help us to "be good and love the Lord."
Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia!O Saint Bakhita, lead us to Christ Jesus!Alleluia, alleluia!
The Shrine of St. Bakhita in New York City and the address of the NATIONAL BLACKCATHOLIC APOSTOLATE FOR LIFE (witnessing the Gospel of Love and the Gospel of Life in our Community) is located at St. Clare Friary, 440 West 36th Street New York, N.Y. 10018-6326 Phone: 212.868.1847, Email:
Vision Video carries the docu-drama Two Suitcases which offers some interesting tidbits and glimpses into the places in Italy where St. Bakhita lived. It will play on EWTN on Feb. 1 and Feb. 5 in 2009. (dubbed English from Italian original)

Another snow day!

This is the very first snow day my girls have had with me as the stay at home mom and them as the go to school kids. No, I didn't say, "Oh NO! I wanted some time to myself". I looked forward to a day like the old days when we homeschooled for ten years. I looked forward to having some help with Christina who has been recovering with me from a cold all week, and to making popcorn and watching our favorite movies in bed.
And it's time to put away those Christmas decorations!
Did I mention that I have dozens of unfinished writing projects,and that since I temporarily retired from teaching at Bella's school, I have had only ONE day alone at home? A day which included packing for the March for Life (we spent three days in the Liason Hotel in DC, compliments of ALL' s pro-life blogger award) and crying as I watched the Inauguration.
So, yes, I'm still anxiously awaiting my first real day home alone, finally finishing the unpacking so I can invite friends without shame, and getting caught up with my writing. But meanwhile I'm enjoying the girls. And no one is getting dressed today!

Monday, January 26, 2009

KIDS at the March for Life

A preview of my coverage of the March is at Causa Nostrae Laetitiae including a dozen members of the group Youth with a Mission who were with us. They posted their photos here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christina on "The Face of Pro-life"

Click here to watch my interview about Christina and KIDS on "The Face of Pro-life"on a beautiful way to commemorate Sanctity of Life Sunday.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rest in Peace, Ricardo Montalban

He was one of my favorite actors, not only because of his devout Catholicism and his fidelity to his wife Georgiana, but for his delicious accent. Ricardo was the epitome of the Catholic gentleman.
I loved his role as a priest who enjoyed carpentry in "The Singing Nun".

I loved watching him as Mr. Rourke on "Fantasy Island" growing up. I remember an episode on Fantasy Island when a young woman was contemmplating a vocation insprited by St Therese. She prayed to a statue of the Child Jesus on the Island.
Who can forget the commercial for the Chyrsler Cordoba where Ricardo described the seats as having "rich Corinthian leather"? I also remember his wonderful accent narrating various Catholic documentaries.
Patrick at Creative Minority Report has the definitive sendoff to heaven for an outstanding Catholic artist. He gets credit for finding this photo of Ricardo receiving this medal from the Vatican for this accomplishments. He looks so proud. He should be, he's a true Catholic artist, which is a dying breed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I won one of the American Life League Pro-life Blog Awards!

Welcome to Pro-Life Blog Awards, the first and only pro-life blog awards.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 Pro-Life Blogs Awards:
Best Overall Pro-Life Blog - Mommy Life
Best News and Reporting - Jivin Jehoshaphat
Pro-Life Unity Award - Causa Nostrae Laetitiae
Pro-Life Whistleblower Award - Catholic Fire
Best Pro-Life Apologetics - Mark's Blog
Pro-Life Instigator Award for Activism - American Papist
Pro-Life Blog Awards promotes, encourages, impassions and rewards pro-life bloggers for excellence in spreading the culture of life.
Bloggers are heralding news and information about the pro-life movement when traditional media have ignored the most pressing crisis of our day - the war on LIFE.
Blogging is an often thankless and solitary job and it's time we recognized pro-life bloggers for their contribution to the pro-life movement and potential to transform the landscape of our common cause to protect and defend the sanctity of each human being's life.

KIDS is on Life Site News

Yesterday, Eileen and I were interviewed by Kathleen Gilbert for this article on Life Site News. Word is spreading that we parents of special needs children are marching as a group in the March for Life.Leave a comment below or email me if you can join us. We are meeting at the National Right to Life Headquarters at 11:30 AM on 1/22. The address is 512 10th St NW Washington, DC, a couple of blocks from the Mall where the March will be starting. If you are coming by bus you can still make it, no need to make 'reservations' the more the merrier!Just bring a camera so we can get good press coverage of the event.After the March, around 2:30 -4:00 we are going to visit our friends Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ) at the Rayburn Building, and Sen Sam Brownback (R-KS) on Capitol Hill, to present them with thank you certificates for the "Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act".

Join us at all of these events and make your voice heard!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jennifer Graf Groneberg describes her experience with her son Avery's birth

I have reviewed her excellent book, "Roadmap to Holland" here.

New tesiting for kids with Down syndrome from University of Arizona

This is something I have been waiting for! A battery of psychological tests geared for our kids with Down syndrome. Now we can see how our children are doing based upon standards set by other children with Down syndrome. This is much more meaningful to me than to keep hearing about how 'delayed' Christina is.
Read the entire story here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The fatherly example of Tom Vander Woude

Many of you have read my posts about Tom, the man who gave his life on Sept 8, 2008 for his teenage son Joseph who has Down syndrome. I also wrote this article about how his example was cited by Senator Brownback and helped pass the "Pre-natally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act" last September.
Or was it heavenly intercession from Tom?
Tom Hoopes, Executive Editor of the National Catholic Register, like so many of us, has been deeply moved by this story, and writes about it at "You Pull, I'll Push".
I've said it before, Tom Vander Woude may be on the road to sainthood. We have great need of inspired fatherhood in this fatherless culture. Read the extensive news coverage on his daughter-in-law's blog.
Tom Vander Woude, pray for us.

Pray to stop the Freedom of Choice Act

If you are opposed to abortion then there is bad news on the horizon.
For those of you who do not know, the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is set to be signed if congress passes it on January 21-22 of 2009. The FOCA is the next sick chapter in the book of abortion. If made a law then all limitations on abortion will be lifted which will result in
the following:

1) All hospitals, including Catholic hospitals will be
required to perform abortions upon request. If this happens Bishops
vow to close down all Catholic hospitals, more then 30% of all hospitals in the United States.

2) Partial birth abortions would be legal and have no limitations.

3) All U.S. tax payers would be funding abortions.

4) Parental notification will no longer be required.

5) The number of abortions will increase by a minimum of 100,000 annually.

Perhaps most importantly the government will now have control in the issue of abortion. This could result in a future amendment that would force women by law to have abortions in certain
situations (rape, down syndrome babies, etc) and could even regulate how many children women are allowed to have.

Needless to say this information is disturbing, but sadly true. As Catholics, as Christians, as anyone who is against the needless killing of innocent children, we must stand as one. We must
stop this horrific act before it becomes a law.

The Plan :

To say a novena ( 9 days of prayer ) along with fasting
starting on January 11th. The prayer of choice will be
the rosary with intentions to stop the FOCA. The hope is that this will branch and
blossom as to become a global effort with maximum impact. We have very
little time so we all must act fast. Just do three things:

1) Pass this letter to 5 or more people

2) Do it in three days or less

3) Start the novena on January 11th and pray for nine consecutive days.
(please also fast for at least two days during the novena)

Remember that with God all things are possible and the power of prayer is undeniable. If you are against the senseless killing of defenseless children then the time is now to do something
about it!

New line of clothing for Down syndrome

I wonder why I never posted about this; it's a PAIN to find pants and shirts for Christina. She is not at all heavy, but has the typical shorter arms and legs of T21 kids, so regular pants are out of the question. I have to buy off season capris, which up in Connecticut are too cold for her.
This website says they will be making clothing specifically for people with Down Syndrome. That would be awesome!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hidden Treasures Montage (my girls are in the middle)

Please pray for Bella Santorum

Please pray for baby Bella Santorum, daughter of former Senator Rick Santorum of PA a Catholic pro-life senator. Just after I met and interviewed him on his heroic work to pass the Partial Birth Abortion Ban he and his wife conceived a special needs child, Bella with Trisomy 18. She was born in May 2008.

Below are email updates from Rick Santorum on the illness of his daughter Bella who is in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with pnemonia. Most children with Trisomy 18 do not live longer than one year, if they make it to birth. Senator had a beautiful interview with Raymond Arroyo on "The World Over" on EWTN. Listen to it here.

I wanted to send out a quick note to ask for a special prayer over the next couple of days. Bella
worked her way off the ventilator a week ago Sunday and with her
accustomed smiling good cheer has slowly, but steadily gotten
stronger. The doctors have pinpointed two issues that are
compromising Bella?s lung function which they believe are at the root
of her two bouts of pneumonia. Both can be repaired surgically. So
Bella is scheduled for surgery on Friday at 1030 at CHOP at which
time both issues will be addressed. We are hopeful that this will
give Bella a great chance to avoid future serious respiratory problems.
Unfortunately, in this evening Bella began to spike a low grade
fever. This is worrisome generally when you are in a hospital given
the variety of bad bugs that can be contracted, but this has the
added complexity of delaying the surgery that the doctors believe she
needs to have as soon as possible.
Karen and I ask for one extra prayer over the next couple of days
that she is healthy enough to have successful surgery.
As our family celebrates the birth of a little child that changed the
world forever, we continue to thank God for the his gift of another
child that changed our world forever.
With love and gratitude,
Rick, Karen and our children
P.S. I have talked to many of you recently who have apologized for
not responding to these emails. Nonsense. If you hold up Bella in
prayer or in any other way pursuant to your beliefs, you have
answered this email more eloquently and supportively than we could
have hoped for.
Some have also asked about whether we minded if you would forward
this email to others. Our answer is if you think they would pray for
Bella, send away!

This is the previous email which explains how Bella entered the hospital.
Last week on November 13 we celebrated Bella's six month
birthday. A day later she had her six month pediatrician
appointment and checked in at over 15 pounds -- a weight that most
T-18 children take years to reach. That was in spite of the fact
that she had battled pneumonia for several weeks a few weeks prior
to the appointment. She is exceeding expectations of the doctors
both physically and developmentally.
However, on Wednesday night Bella began to get a little congestion
again. She continued to have congestion on Thursday, so we began to
continuously monitor her blood oxygen and pulse with the pulse
oximeter to see that if she did begin to have difficulty we could
get her help before it got too bad. On Thursday evening in a matter
of a few minutes she just ran out of energy and began to fail. As
we were getting her ready to go to the hospital she stop breathing
in my arms and her heart was barely beating. Karen performed CPR
and revived her until the EMTs arrived.
Because she was so critical, we had to get her to the closest
hospital, DC Children's Hospital instead of our favorite Children's
Hospital of Philadelphia. The diagnosis appears to be like the last incident, she contracted a cold virus, that quickly turned into pneumonia.

This time she is in for a much more difficult road
back. She is in critical condition in intensive care on a ventilator with more lines going into her than baby. Because she is on a ventilator, they have sedated her into a coma like
state. Please pray for her lungs to heal and for the doctors to make wise decisions concerning her care.
God has been so good to us. Bella is the most pleasant, sweet bundle our family could have ever asked for. She loves listening to classical music and being held by everyone in her family. She
has become the axis around which our family turns and we thank God every day for that fact.
We are confident with your continued prayers we will have our
smiling cooing little girl back home with us again.
Thank you so much,
Rick and Karen

"I regret aborting my special needs son"

Read this heart-rending article at The Daily Mail and understand why I am so motivated to attend the March for Life with my daughter with T21.
"Now aged 43, still desperate for that large family and still suffering miscarriages, I have to accept that I may never have another child. It's very hard. The ghost of my son lingers painfully, haunting my thoughts.
In the past nine years, not a week has gone by when I haven't thought of him. Despite the support that others - including those closest to me - expressed for my decision at the time, I don't think I can ever truly forgive myself for what I did.
What I do know, and often think, is that if my son had been born alive and perhaps with two years to live, were those not two years of my life that I could have spared to nurse him? Would it really have been such a sacrifice for me?
With hindsight, I think I could have offered that at the very least to a child I had wanted so much.
Our children are a light to the world who can save expectant mothers this type of tragic choice which will haunt them forever. I applaud the author for sharing such a painful story. I wish her God's peace.

Join those of us who are marching with KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome) in the March for Life this year.
We will be meeting at 11;30 at the
National Right to Life Committee Headquarters
January 22nd at
512 10th St, NW
Washington DC.

Wonderful pro-life educational opportunity here in Connecticut

The seminar will introduce the leading "all natural", "all green", Creighton Model FertilityCare system, for the full spectrum of women’s health issues, for doctors and nurses,
and all of us, in the Tri-State area, PA and RI. It is

Saturday, Jan 17, 200911:30 am to 4:30 pm
(Optional Mass at 10:30)

Location: The Villa Maria Guadalupe Retreat Center, 159 Sky Meadow Dr., Stamford, CT, 06903

To Register or for questions contact: Dorothy Dugandzic, CFCP, 914 476-4858.

Fee: $45 Lunch will be offered.

With the explosion of medical data and information on the Internet in the 1990’s,
women have become more discriminating in their medical selections. "All natural"
“all green” is popular. The FertilityCare all-natural system aligns with these trends
and delivers the associated benefits that women seek. For example:

· The hormones used in treatments are bio-identical and have the same exact chemical formulas as the hormones made by the body. This enables full
· cooperation with all of a woman’s reproductive functions. Whereas hormones
· used in the pill are not identical to those produced by a woman’s body and
· cause problems.
· Biomarkers are used. This enables doctors to customize treatments to the
individual woman and to cure causes of problems. Whereas the pill treats
symptoms, and masks causes.
· Of the natural family planning systems supported by the Catholic Church, this is the most scientific capable of curing
1) complex conditions with multiple causes such as some cases of infertility and miscarriages
2) sophisticated techniques for early pre-cancer detection and
3) treatments for the widest spectrum of conditions – including: Menstrual Cramp, Premenstrual syndrome, Ovarian cysts, Irregularities, Abnormal bleeding, Polycystic ovarian disease, Hormonal abnormalities, Chronic discharges, Female Libido Wellness, Related Depression.

As a result, the Creighton Model FertilityCare system has a great track record with impressive published success rates such as

· 85% for the treatment of chronic infertility is 85% vs 35% for IVF. For additional information, see and
· For pregnancy postponement it offers a very competitive 98.7-99.9% method effectiveness without the risks of the pill – associated with taking the pill’s artificial hormones.

Come and hear Dr. Scanlon and Dr. Watson
discuss this system in great detail. Also hear
Alexandra and Paul McLaughlin discuss the
role of the practitioner followed by a review of
the NaProTECHNOLOGY textbook by Dr. Scanlon.

Dr. Hilgers has done his job for the Church,
and it is now our job to spread the word. Each of us
is vital to God's plan.

A special mother's worst nightmare

Is this kind of "oversight" happening to her child.
If we kill 90% of our babies with Down syndrome in the womb, should we be surprised that medical workers will value such people less than others, and accidentally allow them to starve?
HT Life Site News

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"The Face of Pro-life" my first TV interview

If you are considering attending the March for Life to greet our new President this year, watch to my first TV interview and get motivated.

Barbara Curtis

Here's an article in the Christian Post about fellow Catholic and mother of not one but four children with Down syndrome, Barbara Curtis who writes at Mommy Life.
"After the adoption of their first child with Down syndrome, Barbara and Tripp received a phone call from a man who explained that his wife was pregnant with a Down syndrome baby. She had agreed not to abort the child if she could find a family willing to adopt the child. In an interview with Marriage Partnership magazine, Barbara and Tripp said, “God has extended such grace to us, how can we not extend grace to a child who needs a home?”
What a wonderful example of a Christian home, to open their family to other special needs babies.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Down syndrome and IQ

I have read that there is a 60 spread in IQ scores for individuals with Down syndrome. Here is a blog with a lot to say on this topic.
That being said, IQ is NOT a determinant of a person's future happiness, or their worth. I took the exam for MENSA, as a project for Psychological Testing course in my BA in Psychology. By the way, I passed, but so far won't pay the fee, so I'm not an official member. Intelligence has made learning easy for me, but it has often made me lonely. Here's an example of how intelligence can isolate you. I attended a Mensa meeting for brunch in Houlihan's a mall-based restaurant, full of loud chatter one Sunday morning. Talk about geeks; these guys were doing calculus problems on cloth napkins for fun, and proudly displaying the answers to the waitress who was NOT impressed. Neither was I.

Christina scores a 70 IQ on her tests, which bodes well for her educational future, she will learn to read and have a job, etc. But I have more faith in her go-getter personality and her persistance at a task she is interested in. She will be a happy, beloved woman, of that I have no doubt. I want to quote from a thank you note I received today from her teacher's aide in her typical Kindergarten class.

"The gift I cherish the most is your gift of allowing me to work with your beautiful daughter.

Christina has truly brought new meaning to my life. I have learned so much from her,and look forward to getting back with here after vacation. "

That is true intelligence, having the ability to touch someone so profoundly in only three months with limited verbal skills, but with a limitless ability to love.

Christina has much to teach me as well.

I'll share it with you here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Our first young visitors

Our life in Connecticut has resembled a convent. We girls return from our schools, to spend the evening eating, chatting, watching EWTN and doing homework, and praying the rosary before bed. We have weekend visits from Francisco who must continue to work in New York during the week, from old friends from Long Island, and family, but none from local friends up here, since we have been too busy withour whirlwind schedule, and embarrassed at the state of my office, overflowing with half-unpacked boxes. But today was a perfect sledding (or as they say here, "sliding") day, so I picked up the phone and invited Isabella's friends before she could protest.
I am a genius.
It was a wonderful day, full of chilly fun in the snow, and warm conversations gripping hot cocoa with cold hands in front of a roaring fire. The four children who visited had a great time, and promised to return soon. One little boy lives just up the hill, and this was his first visit. Shame on us for being too shy/busy/proud before this wonderful day! His mom brought over the most exquisite cookies, made by his father. I have wonderful neighbors!

One of the boys took a liking to Christina and personally watched her for me while they all played in the snow. I felt intense satisfaction at the view from our living room window of Bella and Christina, in a circle of friends, enjoying the beautiful snowy yard.
This afternoon alone make the move worthwhile. Good, wholesome Catholic friends for my good, wholesome Catholic daughters. It was a taste of Heaven.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the inspiration which started a year ago with a link to a Catholic school, and ended in friendship and fun.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, and a new header

I finally worked up the courage to add a header to the blog, and I love it. Hope you don't mind scrolling down a bit more.
Here is the story of this exceptional painting, by Andrea Mantegna at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which depicts the Madonna and the Child Jesus with Down syndrome. The story is as beautiful as the painting which is on my desktop as a reminder of why I blog.
I have always been certain that Jesus has a special love for children like Christina, and I am sure He would appreciate being portrayed as one of our vulnerable little ones, the "least of these". They reflect Him so clearly in the world, yet, like Him, the world rejects them, aborting 90% of them.

All our children with Down syndrome are Christ figures, and we are like the Blessed Mother who cherish them, nurture them and see them hurt.

A Prayer for the New Year

Come, Holy Spirit,Spirit of the Risen Christ,
be with us today and always.
Be our Light, our Guide,
and our Comforter.Be our Strength,
our Courage, and our Sanctifier.

May this new year be a time of deep spiritual growth for us,
A time of welcoming your graces and gifts,
A time for forgiving freely and unconditionally,
A time for growing in virtue and goodness.
Come, Holy Spirit,

Be with us today and always.