By Ciara* *Pseudonym
It’s been a few years since my husband, and I faced the biggest decision of our marriage. Looking back now, I hate to think how close we came to not having our little Nathan*. After several miscarriages, we had finally been blessed with our first daughter, Leah*, who was three at the time. The year had been a rough one for us. My husband had faced serious health problems that left us low on cash and high on stress. Yet, we were excited to find out that we were going to have a little brother or sister for Leah.
The first 16 weeks of my pregnancy passed with no problems until at a “routine” OB visit; the doctor told us that our baby would have Down Syndrome. To say that we were devastated doesn’t come close to describing the panic we felt. We didn’t even know anyone with Down Syndrome, let alone know how to raise a kid with it. I am embarrassed to admit that abortion was the very next thought that jumped into our minds. After all, wasn’t it our right? Who would judge us under these circumstances?
The next afternoon, I happened to see a billboard for Pregnancy Center East. It said, “Unexpected, unsure? A safe place for help.” I wrote down the number and made an appointment as soon as I got home. My husband was doubtful that they could really help, but I talked him into coming with me.
To our relief, we were met with compassion instead of judgment. We really had found a safe place to share our fears about the situation.
Our Client Advocate gently mentioned adoption to us as an alternative to abortion. She told us that there were couples who were especially trained and approved to adopt babies with Down Syndrome. There were actually couples waiting to adopt a baby like ours!
The next week, we met with the adoption agency that PCE had recommended. The social worker showed us photobooks of couples who had been approved to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. We had no idea that we would have a choice of couples to adopt our baby. Abortion quietly faded from our minds. In the following weeks, we met with one of these couples who explained that they “felt called to parent a baby with these challenges.” We were amazed at their courage, and we became fast friends.
A strange thing began to happen in our meetings with the possible adoptive couple. We drew strength from them and began to feel that we could keep our baby. They encouraged us to meet other families with kids with Downs. It became obvious to them that we were falling in love with the baby growing inside me.
Meanwhile, PCE continued to check in with us and support us the entire time.
By the time our baby came, we felt nervous, yet hopeful that we could handle it. He was born without many of the heart problems that can come with an extra chromosome. We named him Nathan which means “Gift from God.” Today, I can say that he certainly lives up to his name! He is our joy.
We thank PCE for being there for us in our darkest times and for the adoptive couple who helped us to believe in ourselves.
(Footnote: The prospective adoptive couple went on to adopt a beautiful baby girl with Down Syndrome the following year.)
-67% of unborn babies with Down Syndrome are aborted in the United States