Friday, 30 March 2012

We loved our little Down's baby so much we adopted another

This family were interviewed in the Mail on Sunday after they decided, after having one child born with Down's Syndrome, that they would adopt another.

'Freddie and Mimi bring us a richness, a fulfilment we wouldn't have known if they hadn't come into our lives,' says Amanda, proudly. 'When we go out and meet other people, they assume I've given birth to two children with Down's syndrome and feel sorry for me. But I always try to tell them that Mimi is adopted. I want them to know we actively chose her.' The pitying reaction is indicative, she says, of the negative attitudes and prejudices that prevail towards people with Down's syndrome. And this is the very reason that Amanda is giving this interview. She wants to reassure people that having a child with the condition, far from being a 'bad' thing, is simply, just 'different'. 
Amanda is a GP and sees first hand the issues connected with mothers and children with Down's Syndrome:

"The very fact that expectant mothers can be tested for it is suggestive of it being a bad thing; that if your test is positive, the "difficulty" can be "sorted" with a termination."

The interviews continues explaining that they know life will be difficult, but that things are much better now than they ever have been:

"Amanda believes that although there remains some stigma attached to Down's syndrome, in some ways attitudes have changed for the better. 'Education has improved and you do see people with Down's syndrome in jobs, and some of them marry and lead semi-independent lives. Medical advances mean that the life expectancy is much longer now, too. There was a time when it was 20 to 30. Now it's 60 to 70."
It was difficult for them to adopt, but now declare themselves incredibly happy and want to share their story to encourage others and continue to work against the attitudes that some people have about having a child born with Down's Syndrome or other disabilities.
Read more:

Do you think it is okay for the couple to specifically choose a child to adopt with Down's Syndrome? Do you think they are telling a very positive story? Do you agree that the language used reinforces the fact that many people see a child with disabilities as a negative thing?

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