The Truth About Kids with Down Syndrome

Last week, I wrote about a case, reported on the CNN Belief Blog, involving a church’s effort to find parents to adopt an unborn baby believed to have Down syndrome. The biological parents planned to have an abortion if adoptive parents could not be found. After reading the church’s message on Facebook, hundreds of couples contacted the church with adoption offers.

While this outpouring of offers may have amazed some readers, Linda Nargi, executive director of the International Down Syndrome Coalition, was not surprised at all. A mother of four, Nargi of Colorado Springs, Colorado talked to me about children with Down syndrome and the public’s misconceptions.

Lynne: Why were you not surprised by the number of inquiries from people who were interested in adopting the unborn baby?

Linda: It doesn’t surprise me because the (Down syndrome) adoption community is small. We are very tight knit. We look out for each other. If a couple got a prenatal diagnosis and they knew they wouldn’t keep the baby, our community would rally. We saw that.

Sometimes the general public has a different view of people with Down syndrome because they just don’t know. We know their lives are precious and worth saving.

My 2-year-old girl, Lexi, is adopted. I found her on a Facebook post. She has Down syndrome. My 6-year-old, Lila, has Down syndrome as well. We got a prenatal diagnosis with her. She’s our biological child.

Linda Nargi with her daughters
Linda with daughters Lila, 6, and Lexi, 2. The girls have Down syndrome.

Lynne: Why did you adopt a child?

Linda: We weren’t looking to adopt at the time. It’s a very funny story. I was going through Facebook one day and saw a baby with Down syndrome who needed a forever family. I knew there would be a lot of people interested in adopting that baby. There are waiting lists of people waiting to adopt a child with Down syndrome. People don’t realize that.

A couple of months ago, our adoption attorney contacted me about a baby boy (with Down syndrome). All I did was make a Facebook post and I had 20 some people contact me (expressing an interest in adopting the boy).

Kids with Down syndrome are loved, cherished and wanted. That’s not just a cliché. It’s proven all the time when cases come up. People want to put their name in (to adopt the children).

Lynne: What do potential parents need to know before they adopt a baby with Down syndrome?

Linda: You have to be realistic and know raising a child with Down syndrome will have its challenges. It has a lot of joy and blessings. I also raised two typical kids and they were challenging as well. All kids come with challenges. (Linda laughed.)

Lynne: What are the misconceptions about children with Down syndrome?

Linda: I think it’s the age old, in-the-past idea, where when people with Down syndrome were born, doctors would say, ‘you have to put this child in an institution. The child has no potential.’ Now we know people with Down syndrome have lots of potential. They didn’t know that in the past. We’re starting to debunk those myths but it will take a long time.

That story (on the CNN Belief Blog) opened people’s eyes. The fact CNN grabbed on to that story gave it a lot of exposure.

16 thoughts on “The Truth About Kids with Down Syndrome

  1. Thanks for bringing exposure to this Lynne. The fact that you found someone who had one child with Down syndrome who wanted another one shows that the desire for these babies does not merely grow out of naïve idealism but out of loving experience.

  2. I like the way Linda characterized motherhood. Whether you’re raising typical kids or those with Down syndrome, it’s a challenging job. Thanks for reading my blog, Tom.

  3. So glad you were able to do this interview. I also adopted a child with Down syndrome after experiencing the blessing of a birth child with it. I’m happy that word is getting out that Down syndrome is not as scary as some believe!

  4. Lynn, thank you for speaking out for our children with Downs Syndrome. I have had the pleasure of working with these children and depending on the severity, many grow up to function as adults a home with parents, in assisted living, and even living independantly. Many even hold down full time jobs. They are full of love, respect, and can definitely teach our “normal” children some very valuable lessons for a productive life. :-)

  5. God bless you for your love and sense of justice. I often say that people with special needs very much represent the “last civil rights battle,” if only because so many are unable to defend themselves – and those who are able would rather simply love others instead! Lynne and Linda, this is more than just a simple Q-and-A: you’re not only providing a service to those who have friends and family members with special needs, you’re providing a much-needed window into a vast social arena where miracles occur every day despite the absence of a media presence, flash photography and video equipment.

  6. I was blessed with a Boy with DS & I am so happy he is a part of my life!! He is my 3rd son- his step-brothers are much older (in their 20’s) & my son is 6 yrs old. Everybody loves him but not as much as his family does!!! He is so sincere & loving…. I get so upset when I hear that people decide to abort any child more if they have a disability.. The child didn’t ask for a disease or special need & should be accepted by everyone.. Most of all the parents & their families!!

  7. I have a down syndrome grandson. He is 10years old. He has brought so much enjoyment into our lives. He has trouble with his speech but he is getting better as time goes by. He loves playing on his drums and I must say is very very good. He tells me in his own way that he is going to be in a band and I have to come and watch him play. He is in the school band for drumming but was able to play before he joined that. We all love him so much and he gives us so much love and laughter also.. We are very proud of him.

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