Save The Little Lights

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Though our world is filled with sadness, grief, stress, there are individuals who always seem joyful. Have you ever met a Down Syndrome affected person who doesn’t bring a smile to your face? All they want to do is smile at others, hug, high-five and bring joy to the world. They are little lights in this world.

I have never met a family that doesn’t treasure their Down Syndrome children. Even in the extended family, these children are loved. They are people who contribute to society in such a meaningful way. Why doesn’t our society want to protect a group of people who exude so much love and joy?

As a physician, I hear the devastation in my patients’ voices when they speak of the choice they made to abort a Down Syndrome child. These patients suffer from anxiety, depression, and grief. They chose the path of abortion because when they were given a diagnosis wrapped up in fear and presented with the option of relieving the “problem” with abortion. A physician’s advice carries more influence in difficult moments. These patients were not given information about support groups for Downs families. In addition, they were not encouraged to speak with parents of Downs children to see how their lives had been impacted. Instead, the patients were encouraged and rushed from their 18-week appointment for an ultrasound to a 20-week abortion appointment to terminate their pregnancy before it was illegal.

When I meet people considering abortion for genetic anomalies I remind them that none of us are perfect. We may appear perfect on the outside but inside we have anxiety, depression, cancer, a multitude of autoimmune diseases, learning disabilities, heart and lung disease, diabetes, and the list goes on. Down Syndrome children wear their difference on their sleeves while we hide ours beneath our “perfect appearances”. Yet, the Down Syndrome children are actually more perfect, in so many ways, especially in the areas of love and kindness. I advise patients to preserve the life of these blessing who have a different appearance. We are all different. Their difference is that they are little lights, and we all need little lights.

Dr. Monique Ruberu

The Greatest Job

In America, we celebrate mothers and fathers on their respective days. I like to celebrate being a parent every day because it is the greatest job on earth.

I had no idea what it meant to be a mother until it happened. The moment that I saw my first child I felt like time stood still. Every molecule inside me seemed to leave my body go out to the end of the universe and come back. The only thing that mattered was this new little person. All of my dreams melted and became dreams for her. It was pivotal.

My husband felt the same way. He would speak of what it felt like to hold someone that fit in his hand and knowing that everything he wanted to do began and ended with this little person. Becoming a parent, made me love my husband more. God made us one thru our children, faith and family.  These are the strongest bonds.

Our ability to love was not limited to one child. With each child that God gifted our family, our hearts expanded. We were amazed that we had the ability to love yet another person with intensity. We felt as if our lives had not even started until this person joined our family, and we would joke and wonder how we were content before they joined us. It makes you realize how powerful love can be, and that the more people you care about the more love you will feel.

I was practicing law when my first child was born. I gave up my job to stay at home with my daughter. I did not ever think that I would want to be at home, but after my daughter was born, the only place I wanted to be was close to her. I am so very grateful that my husband understood and supported my desire. He worked very hard to support our family and ensure that I could be at home and give up my income. There were many sacrifices made for me to be at home, but they were worth it.

Homeschooling was a very special experience and privilege. It is amazing to watch your children learn, to take them on field trips, to help them overcome difficulties, and share in their triumphs, to be able to watch them grow and develop. That does not mean there are no hard days, it just means that there are more wonderful days in the mix.

In 2009, my husband and I exchanged places. He took over homeschooling and I returned to work. This was a decision that we had to make when the company my husband worked for experienced a huge downturn. We had a family and four children and we had to do what was needed to support our family. We both knew that homeschooling was best for our children so we decided that one of us would continue homeschooling. My husband and I both looked for suitable work, and God opened doors for me. I felt then, and still feel today, that I do not understand God’s plans, but I know His plan is always the best.

When I went back to work, I missed being around my children. But I knew they were in the best hands. Who could possibly love and care about their future more than me and their father? My husband made a huge transition from corporate America. He was used to running projects, doing research and leading adults. Now he was homeschooling four children, becoming a master chef and managing a household. He made a difficult transition and continues to do a great job. He is a great example for our four children. Showing them that working, homeschooling, and running a home are the responsibilities of both parents. Raising a family is a team effort.

His work with the four children has given them an incredible foundation in areas where I do not excel…namely math and science. But most of all he has given our children experiences that I could not. Every summer they go on adventure field trips, traveling the world, experiencing the places, people, and food that they study. I do not have the courage for such things, so I am very happy that my husband has opened up the world for our children.

I was fortunate to have had an education that allowed me to transition back into a great job. My husband and my children are my constant source of inspiration. A desire to provide for my family drives me to work hard and grow in my career so that I can support and provide opportunities for my family. I feel very fortunate to have had the luxury of being at home and homeschooling my children, and then being able to transition back into my career to support my family.

God has given me the good fortune of experiencing many jobs and I am eternally grateful that he has given me the opportunity to be a parent.

Maria Wiemann

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They made us parents.  🙂