Newsletter: august 2012
From the Director
In This Issue
One of the most beautiful flowers in theworld is the Autumn Crocus (colchicum
autumnale), noted for its delicate petals
and vibrant colors, ranging from a softpink to lavender. The flower grows in
temperate regions and is so namedbecause it blooms in the autumn. The
autumn crocus has medicinal uses, too.
Its root bulbs (corms) yield colchicine, a
medicine used to treat gout and certainfevers. This beautiful little flower, though,
benefits, can be deadly when eaten. The toxic effects resemble
those of arsenic, and there is no antidote for this poison.
I am writing today about something that may appear appealing,
even beautiful, at first glance but which, like the autumn crocus,
comes with a huge danger which many people seem to be unaware
of. I am talking about the United Nations Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities
(CRPD). On the surface of it, this
appears to be a good—even a needed—international agreement,
particularly for parents of children with special needs.
Ministries: that God wouldbless us financially and allow us
I sincerely believe that, like the UN Convention on the Rights of the
(CRC), the CRPD is presented as a humanitarian convention
which will improve conditions for its target beneficiary group butwhich, in reality, will benefit practically no one and which will harmmany. The primary reasons for the danger inherent in thisconvention have to do with the usurpation of the rights andresponsibilities that belong to our sovereign nation, and ultimatelythe stripping of parents' rights to raise their children as they deembest. A detailed discussion of the convention and how it would bebad for the citizens of the United States is beyond both the scopeof this column and my own limitations, and so I refer you to asource I have found both informative and reliable. The HomeSchool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has prepared a brief the ways in which it represents adangerous direction for U.S. law. The focus of HSLDA, it's true, isdirected to home schooling families, but this particular article alsoaddresses the broader implications and ramifications ofimplementing the CRPD. They have also prepared an articleaddressing comments made by a U.S. Senator on key provisions ofthe CRPD, which you can Rather than simply believingwhat you may be hearing on the news or from your electedrepresentatives, I invite you to consult these references and othersyou trust in forming your opinion of the CRPD.
The primary entity for raising children, according to God's designand intention, is the family. That is why we believe children shouldgrow up in families and why we feel called both to adoption and toadoption ministry. God equips parents to raise their children underHis leading, and He holds parents responsible for doing so. TheCRPD, like the CRC, takes away a great many parents' rights inraising their own children, transferring them to governmental bodiessubject to international scrutiny, interpretation, and authority. Whata dark day it will be for America if this convention is ratified.
It is not a bad thing that the international community is concernedto protect the rights of persons with disabilities; indeed, it is a goodthing. But for the government of the United States to surrender hersovereignty to an international convention is not the right way tohandle the perceived problems addressed by the CRPD. TheUnited States already has laws in force (e.g., the Americans withDisabilities Act [ADA]) specifically to address these issues. We don'tneed the United Nations to monitor and police our government'sactivities, nor can we afford to take away parents' legitimate rightsand responsibilities for raising their children, regardless of theirabilities or disabilities, in the way they think best.
Spotlight: Down Syndrome
By Greg Godwin, Administrative Assistant
This month, I’d like to take a closer look at Down syndrome, aspecial need that will probably be familiar to many of you. Rightnow, there are fourteen waiting children with Down syndrome onour site, and a quick Internet search will reveal that there are anumber of other organizations who aim to help find families for suchkids. So, let’s take a look at the reason that many of the world’sorphans are waiting for their forever families.
Down syndrome is named for the English physician John LangdonDown, whose 1866 publication linked the physical characteristicswith the decreased intellectual ability found in people with Downsyndrome. It wasn’t until 1959 that Down syndrome was discoveredto be caused by a chromosomal abnormality. Dr. Jerome Lejeunediscovered that people with the syndrome had forty-sevenchromosomes in each cell instead of the normal forty-six, and thatthe extra chromosome was to be found in the twenty-firstchromosome. Down syndrome is therefore sometimes referred toas Trisomy 21. The full or partial trisomy results in a number ofphysical abnormalities—including reduced muscle tone, flat nasalbridge, small nose, eyes that slant upwards and outwards, a smallmouth, and broad hands with short fingers—and stunted intellectualdevelopment. People with Down syndrome are also at increasedrisk for certain health problems, such as congenital heart problems,hearing and vision difficulties, thyroid disorder, poor immunesystem, respiratory problems, and an obstructed intestinal tract.Probably none of this is surprising to most of you because of howcommon it is to see or know someone with Down syndrome. Suchpopular familiarity was not always the case, however.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was common in mostdeveloped countries to place people with Down syndrome ininstitutions or colonies, where they were excluded from the rest ofsociety. This practice persisted until the early 1960s, when parents,along with educators and other professionals, began to advocatefor people with any mental or physical disability to be included ingeneral society as much as possible. Now, in spite of theirlimitations, many people with Down syndrome are able to graduatehigh school and obtain gainful employment. As encouraging as thisdevelopment is, another, rather disturbing trend has arisen amongsome prominent academics. From their utilitarian worldview, theyassert that parents ought to avoid inflicting “genetic harm” on theiroffspring. Claire Rayner, then a patron of the Down’s SyndromeAssociation, said, "The hard facts are that it is costly in terms ofhuman effort, compassion, energy, and finite resources such asmoney, to care for individuals with handicaps . . . People who arenot yet parents should ask themselves if they have the right toinflict such burdens on others, however willing they are themselvesto take their share of the burden in the beginning." These viewshave apparently had some impact, as children with Down syndromehave been aborted at alarming rates. Between 1989 and 2006, 92%of women chose to have an abortion after a prenatal diagnosis ofDown syndrome. Here in the States, the percentage is even higher,at around 93%. Even without knowing the raw numbers, we doknow that approximately 1 out of every 691 children born in theStates has Down syndrome, which means that the number ofaborted DS children numbers at least in the tens of thousands. Thetens of thousands!
This utilitarian perspective gets a number of crucial things wrong.
The biggest problem, of course, is that it fails to affirm that eachhuman, from the moment of conception, is a person of worth byvirtue of having been created in the image of God. It also fails tostand up under its own standards in the cases of those people withDown syndrome who do have jobs and are thus contributingmembers of society, but that is a secondary consideration. Nomatter how a human being may be disabled or limited, that personstill bears the image of God. He saw fit to give that person life, andit is not our prerogative to take it away. It makes me sad that somany children have their lives taken from them, especially with allof the opportunities open to them here in the States. Our daughterMikaela would have had no way of integrating to the society in herhome country of Ukraine simply because of her Down syndrome. Infact, our facilitator while in Ukraine was surprised to learn that a lotof people just like Mikaela can hold jobs here. And not only can Isay that she has the potential one day to earn a paycheck andachieve some level of independence, but she brings a joy to ourfamily that wouldn’t be there without her. That is a constant refrainaround here, and having her for my daughter has made me wanteven more for every child with Down syndrome to have a homeand a family. Won’t you join us in praying for the children aroundthe world with this condition?
1. History of Down Syndrome
The following children have come home to their adoptive familiessince TSC began in 2000. We include them as representatives ofall of the children who have come home. Their faces provide just aglimpse into how significantly these lives are changed, as thechildren transition from the hopelessness and aloneness they onceknew, to the comfort and security that come from belonging to afamily. Thank you for helping us make these dreams realities, bothfor the adopted children and for their families.
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