Happy World Down Syndrome Day

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. We are forever grateful for our little Budgie. And completely and overwhelmingly grateful his birth mother knew he was worthy of life. Did you know approximately 67% of prenatal diagnoses of Down Syndrome END in abortion? Derick is worthy of life because he is a child of God. He blesses the lives of many people on this earth.

I have found a disturbing trend of late in the disabilities community. I feel that many people try to justify their child’s life by showing all of the great things that they can do. They seem to say, “You should keep children with Down Syndrome, because look at all the unexpected things they can do! They will surprise you!” Like: “Susie goes to college! Brad acts on a show! John got a job!”

Well, not all children with disabilities will do ‘great’ things in the eyes of the world. Derick doesn’t talk. He breaks stuff. He still doesn’t potty with consistency. But he does smile. He hugs. He teaches me endless lessons like compassion, humility and patience. And even if he didn’t do any of those things, his life matters because he IS. He had value before he was ever conceived. I am a better person because he came to earth and found his way to our family.

When the church made a video of our family 7 years ago, we received a variety of feedback. One criticism lobbed against me (more than once), was how selfish I have been to have two disabled children. That this was going to be an undue burden on my ‘normal’ children.

Well, let me tell you that there is nothing selfish about having our boys and they have driven the selfish out of my girls. Jane and Grace actually call dibs on who gets which boy after Greg and I die.

It is more selfish to raise children in a vacuum with no challenges to shape their character. Serving those who cannot serve themselves shapes character. Ethan and Derick are good for society, because they make us all better. So Happy World Down Syndrome Day! Go hug a Budgie today. Go get outside of yourself and learn to love.

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Rochelle likes teenagers a LOT. She teaches a class of 25 of them every morning in seminary. And she lives with 4 of them. She loves her husband. She's a happy person. The End.

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  • Marilyn
    March 21, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you for this post. It sound like Derick and Ethan are an inspiration to all. God Bless you and your family.

  • Liz
    March 22, 2017 at 10:08 am

    All children are beautiful. Especially Derick. I appreciate deep thinking pieces like this and it makes me wish Planned Parenthood aka Death Hut would lose all funding. Let the children live!

  • ElGuyo
    March 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Who would have the audacity to call you selfish for raising those boys?! Some people are so unbelievably nasty. We love love love your boys and your girls and your whole family. This was a very touching tribute that shows you have your head screwed on straight. Thank you!

  • Tracy
    March 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Hello Rochelle, I am one of Kami and Dustin’s good friends and am so grateful for your words in this post. This is such an important message in this time when life is viewed as dispensable. I believe life is precious because God has infused the person with life.

    Sending much love to you and yours!


  • Peyton Kilgrow
    March 23, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I have three cousins with down syndrome they are honestly some of the happiest people I know. People will sit and harass them, thank you so much for this article.

  • Cheryl H
    March 24, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Hi! It’s your Aunt Cheryl, and I just want you to know what an amazing woman and mother you are. The patience and love you have for all the members of your family is outstanding. You have raised four beautiful children who are all unique individuals who we are all proud of and love. You are awesome and we love you.

  • Jane Tallmadge
    March 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Derick is cool I suppose. He just made me stop doing my homework so I could turn on the TV for him though.

    • Jane Tallmadge
      March 29, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      And yet somehow he’s taught me to be a better person while doing all of his Toy Story watching.