I’ve decided to expose myself:
I’ve always dreaded having a child with Down syndrome.
I KNOW – what a hypocritical thing to think as an advocate for people with disabilities.
The first time I realized this was after reading about a mom who adopted a child with Down syndrome and thinking, “Dang – she’s amazing. I’ve loved having a sister with Down syndrome, but I’d never choose to adopt a child that way.”
And then I went to China,
turned the corner of a foster home,
and saw the most precious little girl with Down syndrome.
And something in me nudged, “You could do this.”
If God gave me a child who has Downs, fine. I’m certain He's in the know and has a plan to empower me to deal with it. But to choose adding complication into my life??
Yet every time I played with this little girl named Anna, the subtle nudge resurfaced.
So I got to thinking, “If I love Emma (my sister) so much, if I’m dedicating my life to explain why society should embrace people like her, why do I inwardly fear having a child with a disability?”
I came to realize the only reason I’d love to have a sister with Down syndrome, but never a daughter that way, is selfishness. A mom absorbs the difficulties of having a child with a disability that a sister can cop out of.
When Emma’s medical conditions get too tough, a sister doesn’t have to take care of her. When teaching her the same sight word for the one-thousandth time becomes too frustrating, I can pass it off. When people don’t want Emma to come along, I can still go.
A mom can’t.
A mom has to (*dramatic pause*) die to herself.
And so, the root of the issue: I fear a life not centered around me.
How pathetically sad.
I’m debating about whether Emma Mutz, THE EMMA MUTZ, is worth tough nights in a hospital, implementing patience, and missing out on some things.
Selfishness, man – it messes with ya.
Last night I realized again how ridiculous I've been. We went out to an incredibly delicious Asian restaurant—one of those dimly light, formal affairs with live music. As we were waiting for our food, Emma slipped away from the table and started dancing around with her invisible boyfriend, Bob (one of the many, I might add).
Before long, my brother Mark cut in and spun her around. It wasn’t 5 minutes before Emma had ensured each person at our table of 12 got out to her makeshift dance floor.
As the song ended, everyone else had made their way back to the table while Emma finished out on the dance floor with one final twirl and pose.
And everyone in the quiet Asian restaurant – waiters and all – began to clap.
That girl strutted her way back to the table soaking up every bit of applause and proclaiming, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Asian people!”
That’s Emma for ya.
I’m so thankful for Emma’s and Anna’s – for the incredible people with disabilities that patiently put up with self-centered Kirsti’s –
who so gracefully put discrimination to disgrace by simply being who they are.
What fears do you have concerning people with disabilities? Comment below!