When I first went public with our adoption, I had a number of “why would you do this?” questions posed by both friends and family. Why would you put so much time and effort into bringing a child into your family, who you already know has so many challenges? I didn’t have a perfectly choreographed answer in place at that time, but as I became less defensive, I was more able to explain why. At this point in time, this is my answer: In a purely selfish way, I want my world to be a better place. Special people make the world a better place, and I want that in my life.Clearly that’s not the only reason we are adopting. Obviously, there’s the biological need to be maternal. There’s also the fact that a beautiful little girl is sitting in a crib in an orphanage, desperately needing a family. In addition, there’s the logic that my step-daughter with Down Syndrome will have a little sister who shares some of her challenges, and with whom she can face the world together. But, the selfish part is that I want what other parents of special needs kids have. I want to value the little things more. I want to be forced to slow down and just breathe. I want to know that my child makes a difference in the world, not because she will become a brain surgeon, but because she will inspire other people’s children to become brain surgeons.
We live in an era when science has become so advanced that early detection of many disabilities prevents them from presenting in the way that they did, even 50 years ago. We also live in a time when “no child left behind” assures that ALL children are allowed and encourage to excel to the best of their ability. It’s a strange intersection that results in less people being born with disabilities into a world that encourages those with disabilities to be able to reach goals never before considered attainable. It’s a weird contradiction? As a society, we are far more excepting of the people that we are far more likely to prevent from existing? Why do we do this? Why? No seriously, I’m asking, why?
There are a couple things I do know: Connor made all the people around him better human beings. Connor loved juice. Connor loved pop songs, but HATED the “Happy Birthday” song. Connor will be truly and honestly missed by more people than he even knew. I love you Buddy! I’m sorry that your newest cousin won’t get to know you, but you will always be remembered! You did a great job living your life. Like a shooting star, you stood out from the rest and we will love you forever!