Lets just jump right into this..This is not a topic that brings joy or happiness, but yet this week EVERYONE seems to be talking about it. CBS news covered it, 60 Minutes covered it. My Facebook has been flooded with articles about it...Everyone seems to have an opinion about it but no one wants to hear from people who have Down Syndrome, or from the people who love those with down syndrome. They only want to hear from the uneducated, inexperienced, naive third party people. The people who have probably never spent anytime with a person with special needs. 

As I watch Adaline sleep in her crib, Im filled with so many emotions. Today (8.18.) I received a comment that said the following: "Kids with down syndrome need to be put down. Everyone thinks downs kids are "so cute" " A gift from god". Bust as soon as they turn 45 and shit and piss in the bed and no one wants them around anymore, the tax payer pays for your mess." 

Wow....just wow. Now the original argument that was floating around this week was that all babies who received a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome need to be aborted. Because their lives are not worthy of living, and they are a burden to society and people don't want to pay for their medical insurances and all their "therapies". This point is sooooo invalid its ridiculous. First off.... there are a lot of women who get a prenatal diagnosis and don't end up having a baby who has down syndrome. There are also women who received a normal diagnosis and then when they have their babies, they receive a birth diagnosis. Thus proving that these tests are not 100% accurate. So the chances of "normal" babies being aborted is pretty high. ( To me even that 1% chance is enough to not terminate) Secondly, if you ask any mom who has given birth to their child with a down syndrome diagnosis, WE will NOT tell you that we wish we didn't have them in our lives. Its actually the complete opposite. Thirdly, what about the babies that are born "normal" but develop cancer or any other health issue? What about their life? Should we just kill anyone who isn't 100% healthy? 

* If my choice of the word "killing" is offensive to you, Im sorry. I am not calling you a murderer if you have had an abortion, however I believe life starts at conception. A baby has a heart beat as early as 12 days after conception. Most women don't eve know they are pregnant before a living thing has formed within them. So to stop a heart beat, is to kill it. Thats why I use the words like kill when referring to abortion* 

Now back to this trolls comment... She doesn't just think unborn babies should be killed....she believes that LIVING, BREATHING, WALKING, TALKING, HUMAN BEINGS with Down Syndrome should be....put down. Like a dog. Euthanized...Killed...MURDERED. All because she would rather her taxes go to paying to keep criminals alive in jail? 

There aren't "levels" of down syndrome. Either you are born with 3 copies of the 21st chromosome or you are not. There are 3 types of down syndrome. Mosaic being the least "severe". But there is not a test to determine how capable these children will be, or how healthy. Just like me and you...as our parents raised us they watch and learn how we grow. If we have a harder time with certain things. During Adalines therapies, the waiting rooms are filled with kids who need extra help and they DON'T have down syndrome. Some of us need more help in different areas. Some of us blow through high school without needing to study and maintain a 4.0 GPA while others of us (me included) struggle and struggle and study and work hard and get A's & B's & C's and D's & F's. You cannot test your baby in utero to see if he or she will have the highest brain IQ, or if they will never get sick, and if every organ in their body will operate perfectly.

You wouldn't believe how many historical figures or actors/actresses have learning disabilities. Did you know that Charles Darwin had an obsessive compulsive disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and dyslexia. Agatha Christie, one of the greatest mystery authors, suffered from dysgraphia. Albert Einstein suffered from Asperger’s syndrome. Many also believed that Einstein suffered from dyscalculia, a mathematical learning disorder that allowed him to see numbers and formulas differently. George Washington is known for his pronounced learning disabilities. Leonardo da Vinci apparently had nearly as many learning disabilities as talents. Experts believe he showed signs of dyslexia, ADHD and other learning disorders and attention issues. So where is the line we draw between deciding who deserves to live with their disabilities, and who doesn't? 

The better question is when did humanity decide that they get to play God and choose whose life is worth of living? This next section is more focused on the topic of abortion. If this topic offends you, I suggest you move along. Keep in mind we are Americans who have the freedom of speech and the right to our own opinions even if they don't align with yours. 

I spent about 2.5 maybe 3 years total working at a non profit, crisis pregnancy center. Now before my training and time spent there you could say my views on abortion were very...one sided and naive. I thought women who had abortions were selfish and I just couldn't bare to hear about the word because I would get so angry inside. But all of this changed when I sat down face to face with many many young girls, and women, who were faced with this unplanned pregnancy. All of their scenarios were different, but one thing remained the same in all of their lives. They had this innocent life growing inside of them, and the mothers were beyond confused. The young lady that broke my heart the most was a 13 year old girl who was pregnant with her 3rd pregnancy...seeking her 3rd abortion. She didn't talk much, and all I could gather were that her parents were not in the picture. We didn't get to spend much time with her as she left once she realized we were not a medical center and would not be performing any of the services she wanted. Other women and found them selves in the wrong place at the wrong time, or mistaken love for lust and not being careful. Each girl told a different story. 

Once we walked through their possible gestation and discussed what was going on in their bodies they would decide if they wanted to watch a powerpoint educational video (non graphic) to go over the types of procedures that would happen to remove the "fetus" based on their current gestation. We believe in education and being informed on every choice you have. Not just the one you feel trapped in. After they learned how far along they were and that their baby already had a heart beat and was alive their views had completely changed on abortion. But... they still felt like they needed to go through with terminating. Mostly because of their parents, or their S/O or their doctors. Rarely ever because they didn't want to become a mother. It was in those moments that a lot of these women first connected with their baby because they were now educated on what was going on inside them. There were the few who had cold hearts due to their life circumstances and still decided termination was best for THEM, and it was hard to not get attached and want to just love on them and find out the root issue. We always thought and prayed for those girls who walked out that door and never came back. But the women who decided to carry full term and raise their babies, or allow another family to adopt them, always came back and shared their story and how they were so wrong in their  initial thinking. That their lives are more richer now that they have their child. Healthy or not. 

Hopefully you can understand my passion for the unborn. It wasn't until I was pregnant with Adaline and the doctors constantly found something wrong with my pregnancy and child, so they pushed and pushed for termination at almost every appointment. Now I truly believe had I not experiences all of these real tangible stories of women who chose life for their babies even when others told them not too, I might have been able to be persuaded by fear. I remember crying in that ultrasound room where I first saw Adaline's heart issues (that healed them self within the next few weeks). My doctor kept telling me how hard it will be to have a special needs child, and that her heart might not ever develop and that would mean lots of surgeries had she even made it through the entire pregnancy. He referred to her as a fetus. At 21 weeks I could feel her move, see her move. She was my child. And yet he wanted to reassure me that he could rush the results so I could still terminate "in time". I believe 23 weeks is the cut off in California? 

Rewind back to my time at the crisis pregnancy center. I got attached to a lot of our clients. But one in particular really pulled at my heart strings. Now looking back I probably got way too involved in their personal life outside the care center. She gave birth to her first daughter and I can't tell you how much I loved that child, and her mother. A few years later she found her self pregnant again, but wanting to allow another family to raise this child. (Which let me say, to me, Adoption is the most heroic and selfless act. I don't find it at all to be "giving your child away".) Long story short, she found her self in a predicament, and if you know me you know I love to "save the day". I thought I was financially being supportive and helping out, but turns out that money was used to terminate that pregnancy. I actually don't talk about this much because I somehow take full responsibility for that loss of a child. It broke me. I felt so guilty. I had spent so much of my time fighting for the sanctity of human life, and now I had participated financially in killing a life. Now, this might seem crazy to you. But my passion for the unborn is almost as intense as my passion for Adaline. So you can imagine the guilt I felt. I actually for a while after I received Adalines diagnosis, had convinced my self I was going through that because of my participation in abortion. Now I know thats not the case now, and I really had to forgive myself and know that God doesn't see it that way. I just felt so dirty. And then I realized how much worse must it feel for the women who have had abortions. Ive heard so many stories about the P.ost A.bortion S.yndrome. A lot of those women have some sort of trauma after they terminate. Not all, but some do. Im not sure why Im sharing this long story with you, but my hope is that you can see my heart and understand why I am so passionate about this certain topic. And not just aborting based on a prenatal diagnosis, but abortion in general and the women who feel like its the only way. My heart breaks for all involved. 

Maybe this is also why I couldn't listen to the doctor and terminate Adaline. And let me tell you, I do not regret my decision. There are hard days. And days where I long for the normal-icy of motherhood. Where I don't have to constantly prove to others that my child deserves to live. And its only been 17 months. I fear for the day she hears these comments her self, or when she begins to notice the small differences between her and her sister/friends. Or the first time someone tells her "you look downs". Having to explain to her why she feels like she doesn't belong to certain groups of people. Or when her friends are doing things she can't just yet. And these are all just small little things. We are blessed and lucky that she is so healthy. Yes, there are children with DS who have multiple surgeries during their first couple years of life, who need feeding tubes, and many other surgeries or assistance. I know their mothers. And they will also tell you they don't regret their decision. And that they would stand by any of their kids who got sick and needed the same help. Not a day goes by where they wish they didn't bring them into this world. And a friend of mine received a prenatal diagnosis that her son would have DS and he was born sleeping and woke up in Jesus' arms and she will tell you that she would rather have him here with her and be up to her ears in appointments and therapies than to not have him with her. All life is valuable. Not one is greater than the other. If were going to be eradicating or terminating anything in this world....let it be Hate. #TerminateHate 

If you've gotten this far, I applaud you, I wasn't too sure just how this post was going to go, and Im not convinced this is how I wanted it to go either. But I just let these pregnancy hormones get the best of me and my fingers do the typing. Thank you for following along our journey and loving on me and Adaline. This past week has made it clear that my purpose on social media isn't to be one of those cute mom bloggers who shares all her fashion tips or lifestyle ideas with you. Its to educate and bring light to where their is darkness in this world, and I can only do that by sharing Adaline with you all. The good, the bad, all of it. Which seems to be what you all like most anyways... ha. Which is okay because I'm not that fun or interesting. She's the cool one. 

Alright. Im done. Im exhausted and my fingers are cramping. 
Love you all, 

Hannah xoxox