Fast forward to his senior year of high school, when Jonny was voted Homecoming King by his peers.  Shocking?  Only if you haven’t seen it already in your community or on the nightly news. It’s a growing trend across the country – individuals with Down syndrome elected as Homecoming Kings and Queens noted by USA Today.

A giant step forward for humanity – especially when you consider that babies with Down syndrome were routinely institutionalized (on the advice of doctors who used the same arguments used today to push abortion), and just 20 years ago their school experience was limited typically to separate trailers and buses.

While the theory of inclusion was that kids of lesser ability could benefit from side-by-side education with their “normal” peers, what no one realized was that the “normal” kids would benefit from rubbing elbows with those who’d been stigmatized for generations before. Nowadays, it’s smiles and high-fives for people like Jonny.  And voting for special classmates for Homecoming King or Queen isn’t really a stretch at all for kids who’ve grown up as Ms. Bessie described – more loving and caring because they were introduced to people who were just a little different too early to develop the fears their parents had.

And yet fear abounds among the current baby-bearing generation. Most did not grow up with inclusion and are vulnerable to the doom and gloom offered by those medical professionals who preach heartache rather than hope: Your life will be complicated, they have medical problems, they will drain your finances, they will ruin the quality of life for your other children.  Better just to end this pregnancy and try again – as though life were just a roulette wheel.

But life is not a roulette wheel and people expecting a baby with Down syndrome are not losers. 

Ask Lisa about how her brother Stephen has affected her life:

My sister Julie and I are only 17 months apart in age.  We were 10 and 11 ½  years old when our brother Stephen was born (with Down syndrome).   Once my sister and I were grown and married, we both went on to adopt children who have Down syndrome because of Stephen’s amazing impact on our lives.

Stephen is sweet, kind, compassionate, helpful, encouraging, loving, sensitive and fun.  The person most likely to put others’ needs first.  He brings joy to everyone he meets and he is my favorite person.

Stephen has always given me a different window or perspective into seeing what God is like and how He knows more about what is important than the world.  IF the world thinks that people who have Down syndrome are “handicapped,” then surely God sees the rest of us as “handicapped” in a way that people with Down syndrome are free from.  I believe that people who have Down syndrome are freed from much of the worldliness and selfishness that typical people become entangled with.

If my brother had never been born, I am sure my family would lack the sense of warmth and connection that Stephen brings.   We love each other and I know we would still be close, but Stephen is like the extra glue that brings more joy to our relationships and times together.

I believe the gift that God gave my family by giving us a child/ brother with Down syndrome was one of the most amazing gifts we could ever have received.  I only wish more people could experience this overwhelming gift, and see it as just that.

Down syndrome has brought only blessings to my life!

If only people like Lisa could deliver the results of the new blood test!  If only parents could be given hope instead of heartache with the news that their child will be a little different than they might have planned!  If only all parents could trust this mysterious part of God’s plan!

Barbara Curtis and her husband Tripp have 12 children - including three sons with Down syndrome adopted after Jonny's younger sister Maddy was born.  Barbara is author of 9 books, including Lord, Please Meet Me in the Laundry Room: Heavenly Help for Earthly Moms, and she blogs daily at MommyLife.net.