I had someone make a comment to me in real life about favoriticism and my talking about Julianne's "extra". I thought I'd hit that here along with explain why I talk about her more than the other kids on the blog a much of the time.
First of all, many of our children have special needs. We have 5 on the autism spectrum, 5 with attachment issues, many with issues from their time with birthparents and in foster care, some with special learning situations, and then there are FAS, CP, drugs in utero, selective mutism, brain differences, cognitive delays, developmental delays, etc. Special needs are just not a big issue here. I don't know of any adults that don't have differences and I hope that all my kids are different from one another. We talk about special needs here as a matter of fact, not an excuse or as a bad thing.
My children who have Autism, know they have autism. I was teasing Destiny one day and said "You have issues!" when she was giggling and running about being silly. She stopped and said "Nope, I have Autism!" with a smile and a wink. We don't view Autism or any other things considered "special needs" to be a negative. My kids with Autism know that they have some challenges they have to work to get past, but also that they have EXCELLENT memories! We teach them to use their excellent memories to help them in areas that may be harder for them.
We always teach our kids that God uses all of these things that people make into labels as ways to make each of them special. Julianne having something "extra" is just a part of that. That is the way He made her special (and the 5 more on the way!)! We talk about it in the same way that we do any other "labels". We also talk about those "special needs" in the same ways that we do hair color, skin color, eye color, or any other thing that makes us each different and into the unique people God made us.
Where Down Syndrome is different, is that our world devalues people based on that "extra" chromosome! 90% of the babies who should be born with Down Syndrome are aborted in the US. In Eastern Europe the children are abandoned at the hospital, put into orphanages, and transferred to institutions at the young age of 4!
See why parents of children with Down Syndrome shout a little louder???? No one is creating tests to try and eliminate all people with CP, all people with Autism, or all people with selective mutism. No just Down Syndrome! The world is misinformed. They don't understand the wonderful, glorious, and amazing people that they are trying to sentence to death. We have to shout, scream, and yell about their worth because the world needs to know!
I don't love Julianne MORE than my other children. I just know what a gift it is that she made it into the world. She wasn't born of my body. She could have been aborted, but she was the 1 in 10 that wasn't! She could have never been here to grace our home with such love and joy. She could have been killed like the other 9 out of 10.
Parents who have seen that joy and that gracious gift want to share it. We are the ones jumping up and down. We are the ones going to adopt more children with Down Syndrome. Do you think we adopt them because our children are the "burden" that society tries to convince the world that children with Down Syndrome are????? NO, WE ARE ADOPTING MORE BECAUSE THEY ARE THE GIFT THAT GOD MADE AND PUT HERE FOR US TO APPRECIATE!!!!
So when you see me jumping up and down, yelling at the top of my lungs, and posting pictures of my beautiful girl know that is is because she is the opposite of what the world tries to make everyone believe. Every child in this house would tell you that Julianne is who makes them all better. I've had kids with behavioral issues who might not have even cared about themselves, but would have done anything for her. It is a gift that God gave her. She can make everyone love her with a love that would make them do anything in the world for her. She makes the other children want to be good, just so they are free to do her bidding instead of grounded. lol
Down Syndrome is a gift. God gave Julianne, Keith, Aleshia, Anita, Nicholas, and Ahnja all a little something "extra" in every cell of their bodies. For that our entire family is thankful and we will continue to shout as long as there are people who need to hear it!