My own prejudice

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Gina B, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    In researching abortion, my own personal views of persons with disabilities has taken an interesting turn.
    I have to admit that in the past I've thought that abortion should be ok for children that would be born disabled. After becoming a Christian I kept these views to myself, and they did begin to change, but I still had my doubts.
    My daughter was receiving speech therapy at a school for the disabled. After the first year the staff called and suggested that I enroll her in the school itself for a year. I was thrown, and my first thought was that "those" people were kinda scary, and my daughter might be afraid. I would walk in to see these kids and adults with various problems, and I would sometimes think it was a shame that they were like that, and they'd be better off if they were never born. I never did enroll her.
    Since starting my research on abortion, I've come across a lot of information. The first case that really hit me was Terri-Schindler-Schiavo. She's a person. She's alive. And she's worth whatever care and therapy it takes to keep her safe and happy. Perhaps it hit me harder because she was living a full normal life in a way I could relate until the time of her disability. I don't know, but it started a change in my way of viewing people. Life is valuable and to be cherished.
    Then I started running across wrongful life lawsuits. These are cases where parents sue for a doctor not identifying and unborn child as having a disability. The parents contend that had they known, they would have aborted the baby, but since they didn't the doctor should be responsible for the cost of the child's care, and often there's an additional amount requested for the mental stress involved in having to do this.
    I am ashamed to admit that a few years ago I would have agreed with all of the above situations. I would have agreed that Terri should be euthanized, and that those babies should have been aborted.
    God forgive me.
    On my way home today I was stuck behind the school bus that picks up the children that attend the school I mentioned earlier. I watched the parents bring out a little boy in a wheelchair that looked about 5 years old. He was very stiff in the chair, with his eyes fixed straight ahead. As they wheeled him down a cement slope leading to the sidewalk, he suddenly reached out to the snow-covered edge of that hill and flicked the snow. A smile, then he returned to his blank stare.
    In that split second it took for him to make that small motion, I related. I love the snow, it's beautiful. Apparently it brought him pleasure too.
    It hit me- he knows joy. He knows joy! Such a simple thing brought pleasure to him, and those simple things are a great part, and perhaps the most important part, of what makes up a good life. A life worth living, not that I any longer hold any thoughts that say I'm worthy to say a life is ever not worth it. His parents looked at me after they put him on the bus. The whole ordeal from the house to the bus to when it was ready to leave again took about ten minutes, and their look was almost apologetic. I wanted to go to them, to let them know how much just witnessing that brief second meant to me, and that I'd willingly sit there much longer if it could be done over again.
    When you wonder why I do what I do, when you get tired of reading yet another plea for action, this is why.
    Because life is precious.
    Gina
     
  2. Wisdom Seeker

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    When I was pregnant with my last child because of my age the doctors wanted to do an amniosentisis. I complied...I wanted to do what was right...whatever that may be.

    Later my church friends asked me why I did it? I said because the doctor thought I should know if there was anything wrong with the baby. And again they said "why?" It was then that I realized that the choices Christians make about things such as birth defects are much different. Abortion is out of the question, it's all in God's hands...so why go through the pain of amniosyntises since it's often used to determine if an abortion is necessary. And for a Christian...that's just not how we deal with medical trials in pregnancy.

    It was hard for me to "put my mind around" thinking like a Christian and not a non-christian. Life is truly precious, And God is the one who gets to decide. That's a hard concept for me... I'm coming around to it...but everything is in a master plan...everything has a purpose. Abortion lets man decide what's important...by our standards. And that I think is the difference.

    Thank you for posting your viewpoint so honestly.
     
  3. Helen

    Helen
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    A couple of years ago, one of my sons was in a counselling program and, as his mom, there were times I went as well. One time I was in there with my son and the counsellor and his boss were both there, too. We started talking about Chris, my retarded son, and his effect on the family. The counsellor's boss asked me if I had ever considered just having him put to sleep.

    I was stunned -- I was past stunned. I remember saying things like "He is my son! He is a human being!" I was so furious I was stuttering.

    But people do things like that now. It's 'hidden' behind other 'medical problems' on the death certificate, but it is done.

    The other thing to remember is that we are all handicapped, but it's sort of like chicken pox -- some just show it worse than others!
     
  4. Wisdom Seeker

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    Put him to sleep? Like a dog or cat? ouch!

    I don't know if being a parent of a retarded child makes you compassionate and able to handle it or if God connected the right people to live together..I think God puts people together for a reason.

    I had a friend who had a retarded child...and this is what she said...made me think..it made sense to me.
     
  5. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Gina, What a great post! [​IMG] Thanks.

    Sort of timely in a trivial way too, just spent some time on the toboggan in our new-fallen snow!

    Seriously, a great point about seeing the beauty and joy in little things. Isn't it great when sometihng like that causes you to have a tinge of love for a total stranger?
     
  6. Jim1999

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    We visit a senior's retirement home. A place where old people with problems go to live out their days. Watch them dribble all day whilst sitting in a chair staring at the ceiling. Your mind wonders, Is this life? Isn't there more to living out one's last days?

    Then, to-day I was talking with my father-in-law who is in the latter stages of alzheimers. We talked about our home English football club, the Hammers. He talked about how they lost money out on the games.....and moved his hands as if shuffling the money......I asked him if he had any money on the game? No, he said, I never gamble. He had a big smile on his face as if life was full at the moment. He hasn't seen a football game in England for years, but for the moment he was back in England. In less than five minutes we were entertaining his long dead parents in that same room.

    Is it worth it? You bet it is. We have held off as long as we can from putting him in a home where he would give up everything and die. We value life, and so we must guard that value of life for him, even if only for a moment out of each day.

    I am sure it is the same for Helen and anyone who has to deal, day in and day out, with the infirmities or deficiencies of those we love. It hurts and it heals because God promised us grace sufficient for all our needs. Nothing is more precious than life and living.....and I say this in my 75th year, soon to be 76. A time when I am winding down, but the challenges that face me each day are as vast as they were when I was in full time ministry. We make opportunities. We open doors, and we get about the Master's business. This includes caring for those who can no longer care for themselves.

    Cheers in the Lord,

    Jim
     
  7. Lorelei

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    What a beautifully heart felt post Gina! I always knew abortion would never be an option for me, but I agreed to the triple marker screen. It came back negative, but it was wrong. My daughter did have Down Syndrome. Having the test done is not wrong in and of itself and it could be very helpful if it were more accurate. Had it come back positive we could have then had the amnio done and then we would have known for sure. No, we wouldn't have aborted, but we could have been prepared. (I was in shock for quite some time, having found out my daughter needed open heart surgery when I was recovering from her birth was not easy)

    I knew nothing about Down Syndrome or the medical problems that went with it, but I know my baby is the most precious thing in the world and I wouldn't trade her for anything. I have to admit though, until I educated myself I didn't know what to do or how to act around people with defects; mental or physical. Now, thanks to the birth of my precious daughter, I am more confident to show anyone love and I see much more clearly the worth of all.

    Don't feel bad for not already understanding it all. Many of us have experienced those types of misconceptions and misunderstandings. Our Down Syndrome support group's biggest goal is education and awareness. We are trying to become a big part of our community so that people can get a chance to meet our children and see just how special they are. Even some of us didn't realize that until we were affected by it.

    Thanks Gina for the lovely post, it truly blessed me!

    ~Lorelei
     
  8. Bible Believing Bill

    Bible Believing Bill
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    Gina would you quit making me think. It hurts when I think you know. ;)

    Seriously though, to those of you have given your life to raising developmently disabled kids I applaud you. Luckly my kids were more or less healthy when born. The problems thy had were small in comparison to haveing a child with Downs syndrome. However I have a cousin who as a single mother has adopted three kids who have down's syndrome. That has to be hard job for two parents I can't even imagine how much harder it is for one.

    Bill
     

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