Archive for the ‘pro-life’ Category

International Day of Acceptance

I am bogged down with emotion as I prepare for another meeting with Chloe’s school today. My heart, my resolve, and my brain are all very tired and stretched thin. I would love your prayers today if you think about us.

Today, January 20th, is International Day of Acceptance. I was going to attempt to write a wonderful post about what this day means to me and to my family this year. But, as I said, I’m a little emotionally-spent right at the moment.  But in re-reading my post from last year, I have to concur that that is what International Day of Acceptance means to us.  You can reread it here.  🙂

We all have our Wheelchair Heart t-shirts to wear today — even my dad has one to wear this year!

Today we are celebrating and embracing Zachary just the way he is … for it is his disabilities that make him who he is  … that make US what WE are.  And the more I can educate the people around us on his hidden disabilities, the more he will be accepted and embraced and empowered.  Really.

Today we celebrate Chloe just the way she is. . . for it is her disabilities that make her who she is.  She is a strong girl with a perseverance that just won’t stop.  She has a tender heart that has room to love a million more.  And the more I can educate the people around her the more she can live her life to the fullest without being held back or pitied.  For it is pity that will slam on the brakes to her success.

I wear my t-shirt proudly today.  I’m very proud to have Zach and Chloe in my life.  I’m very proud to be a part of the disability community.  I’m very proud to have many friends who live life with a disability.

Educate. Embrace. Empower.

(Again, read last year’s post here.)

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Well Done!

Sometimes I think I can talk all day . . . write a dozen posts . . . scream from the mountaintops . . . write letters . . . over and over and over trying to explain the life we want for Chloe — the life that we think Chloe wants for herself.  Oftentimes my words fall on deaf ears (figuratively speaking).  Oftentimes my words fall on non-understanding ears.  Oftentimes my words fall to the ground because the hearer doesn’t want to hear or understand.  Oftentimes my words are given a sympathetic grin and pushed aside as a sweet mama in denial speaking non-sense.

And then I see a video that a precious mama made this week for her 2 year old daughter who has Down Syndrome.  The video is powerful — I cried and cried with the power and the truth.  At the time I am posting this, this video has only been viewed 301 times.  I’m hoping many more people see it.  I’m hoping that lots of the people who see it will be changed by it.  I’m hoping that through this video more people will understand the civil rights issue that our family and other families are fighting for.

Well done, sweet Mama!  I am sending my friends to watch your video:

Annie’s Coming Out (the book)

Annie's Coming OutI recently read the book Annie’s Coming Out and was challenged and educated and stirred. The book is about a young girl, Annie who was born in Australia in the mid ’60s, diagnosed with cerebral palsy/athetosis, and sentenced to a life in an institution for mentally retarded children.

To think how recently ago children with less-than-perfect bodies were nearly-across-the-board placed in institutions is harrowing. I know that there were still a few families that chose to keep their children at home, but most saw institutionalization as their only option. Most were told by doctors that the child would be better off in an institution. Once dropped off at the door of the institution, a lot of the children never saw their families again. Some only saw their families once or twice a year.

The book Annie’s Coming Out paints a pretty nasty picture of life in an institution — cruel treatment; starvation; no stimulation; no conversation; no touch; no music or toys; nurses and caregivers who didn’t care or understand; tiny, helpless lives stuck in a void and an emptiness and a cruelty by a bureaucracy and society that is blind to their own repulsive actions.

While our society today is not as quick to drop off a child with different abilities in an institution, it is a practice that still occurs certainly.  And I have heard that perhaps the living conditions in these institutions has not made a ton of improvement.  It is a sobering thought.

Thankfully for Annie and several other children who had spent their lives in the institution, a wonderful teacher came along and believed in stimulating them.  Rose, the gifted teacher, admits that she had no idea of how bright the children were before she started teaching them, but she saw it more as a right that they had to be spoken to and stimulated.

What follows is an amazing story of unlocking the communication of a few of these children.  These children who had never in their lives been able to communicate with another person were finally supported enough to be able to communicate to Rose.  What she learned was that some of these so-called mentally retarded children were extremely bright, able to learn to read and do complicated math and understand politics and law!

The power of communication is a great emphasis of the book.  For it is communication that made the difference for these children.  Communication brought life to them . . .  brought purpose for them . . . brought the ability to dream to them.

Rose’s efforts with and on behalf of the children were far from supported by the bureaucracy and the governmental authorities.  Society was so set on pushing these seemingly worthless children aside that they could not begin to accept the fact that they were perhaps intelligent beings.  Everyone in authority tried to shut Rose down and keep her from educating and communicating with these children.

Through the book, Rose grows close to Annie and to a couple of the other children.  She takes a couple of the children home for the weekends and exposes them to real life outside the bland walls of the institution for the first time in their lives.

And the second half or so of the book is the story of Annie’s legal battle to become free.  Annie wants more than anything to be free from the institution.  She endures much hardship and several court battles to basically earn the right to be human — the right to live her own life and to make decisions for herself.

The book is a pretty easy read, only about 250 pages.  And it is certainly eye-opening and telling.  I recommend it to anyone who loves or is interested in supporting someone with intellectual or physical disabilities.  You can find the book at Amazon.com here, but it is not really a widely-available book.

The book was later made into a movie.  Paul and I will watch it in the next couple of weeks and will let you know our thoughts on it.  Let me know in the comments if you read Annie’s Coming Out!

May 14, 2001

Nine years ago today, a woman went into premature labor.  She was very surprised.  Not surprised that the baby was coming so early, but surprised that she was carrying a baby at all.

You see, the woman was in a bad place.  She was in a bad season.  She felt out of control of her life and couldn’t find solid ground on which to stand.

She gave birth to a baby that day.  It was a boy, and he was 11 weeks premature.  His lungs were not quite ready to breath air on their own so he was put on a ventilator.  He was cocaine positive at birth and immediately started to have nasty withdrawals from a nasty drug.  The baby experienced an intracranial hemorrhage  at birth — much like a stroke.  He was left with brain damage on both sides of his brain.  Four pounds, brain damaged, hooked on cocaine, and not able to breathe on his own, Baby Boy G struggled for his life.

The woman, shocked and overwhelmed, never asked to see the baby and left the hospital as soon as she was well enough to walk off the premises.  She went back home where no one was even aware of the pregnancy or the delivery.

But she did talk to a social worker and began the process of lining up an adoption for the baby boy.  She knew she could not take this baby home into the life she was currently living.  She had to do something different for the baby.  She painfully began talking to an adoption agency.

Nine years ago today, across the state, a family yearned to adopt a baby.  The couple had a 20-month-old son and were pregnant with a little girl.  But God had placed a willingness and a desire in their hearts to adopt.  They were ready and eager to bring their baby home.

But the couple across the state wouldn’t learn of Baby Boy G for three more weeks.  They prayed everyday for the baby and for the birth-lady.  But they didn’t know the baby had already been born.  They didn’t know he was struggling for his life.  They didn’t know that he was being cared for by nurses and doctors and loved on by a foster mom in a hospital 2 1/2 hours from their home.

Thankfully, Baby Boy G was a fighter.  He pushed through his withdrawals, he gained release from the ventilator, he put on some weight, and he was ready to leave the hospital three and a half weeks later.  He was ready to go home.

That baby boy was later named Zachary.  He was our baby.  We immediately fell in love with his tiny, imperfect body — in fact, we thought he was perfect!

And we still think so!

We brought him home when he was three and a half weeks old and introduced him to his big brother, Elliot, who was still a baby himself.

Our lives, our family would be so incomplete without Zachary.  God designed him for us and us for him.  We are a family, and we’re super glad about it!

So today, I wish the happiest of birthdays to Zach —  I cannot believe you are already nine!!  You are so big and so smart.  You are kind and funny.  You are as strong as strong can be.  I am amazed at you.  And I am proud of you!  You have accomplished much.  And I know you will accomplish much, much more!  You are an awesome kid, and I like you very much.  And I love you!  I love you more than I can even begin to express.  Happy, happy birthday, Zippy!

And guess what, Zip?  I hate to tell you this, but the countdown to your birthday is back up to 365 days!!  Stink.

Life . . . Pro-Life

Here’s an amazing song.  Enjoy!

“Everything to Me”  by Mark Schultz

I must have felt your tears

When they took me from your arms

I’m sure I must have heard you say goodbye

Lonely and afraid had you made a big mistake

Could an ocean even hold the tears you cried

But you had dreams for me

You wanted the best for me

And you made the only choice you could that night

[Chorus]

You gave life to me

A brand new world to see

Like playing baseball in the yard with dad at night

Mom reading Goodnight Moon

And praying in my room

So if you worry if your choice was right

You gave me up but you gave everything to me

And if I saw you on the street

Would you know that it was me

And would your eyes be blue or green like mine

Would we share a warm embrace

Would you know me in your heart

Or would you smile and let me walk on by

Knowing you had dreams for me

You wanted the best for me

And I hope that you’d be proud of who I am

[Chorus]

You gave life to me

A chance to find my dreams

And a chance to fall in love

You should have seen her shining face

On our wedding day

Oh is this the dream you had in mind

When you gave me up

You gave everything to me

And when I see you there

Watching from heaven’s gates

Into your arms

I’m gonna run

And when you look in my eyes

You can see my whole life

See who I was

And who I’ve become

[Chorus]

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