Does God Really Only Give “Special Kids To Special Parents?” Spoiler Alert: Yes…and No.

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This morning I posted the following comment on our Facebook page:

“The saying “God only gives special children to special people” is whack. Please stop saying it. #SpecialNeedsProTip :-)”

Boy, oh boy, I had no idea how much Facebook controversy that status update would cause.

Most people agreed with me, but a few didn’t. In fact, one person actually  left a comment saying, “I used to love this page ….[but] I really want to cuss you all out ..” LOL…Wow! You want to “cuss me out” because of a Facebook status update? Yikes!

*hugs*

I realize that a few folks may have misinterpreted / misunderstood the meaning behind my comment so I thought I would write a blog post explaining the meaning behind my Facebook comment this morning.

Does God really only give “special kids” to “special parents?”  The answer is both yes…and no. In other words, I think that statement is both whack…and un-whack.

Let me explain.

Why The Saying “God Only Gives Special Kids To Special Parents” Is Whack.

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Before I begin, please allow me to make a few simple observations so we’re all on the same page: When someone says this statement what they typically mean is that God only gives children with a disability “(special kids”) to great parents (“special parents”) or parents that are somehow able to raise a child with a disability better than the all the other parents in the world. (I also know this is “filler talk” because they don’t know what else to say, which is ok. I”m not saying I’m offended by the comment, or that it’s a hurtful thing to say…I’m simply saying the comment is “whack”….or untrue.)

One other point of reference; good parents love their children and do everything within their ability to help them grow, develop, and become the people God created them to be. They don’t harm, abuse, or murder them.

Ok, here we go.

1. Most Of These “Special Parents” Abort Their “Special Kids.”

It’s no secret that a mother’s womb is the most dangerous place in the world for a child with Down syndrome. More than 90% of children suspected to have Down syndrome in the womb are aborted…for no other reason than that they may have Down syndrome. That’s tragic…and whack! Good parents (special parents) don’t murder their children…regardless of if they have Down syndrome (“special kids”) or not. This point alone shows us that the statement “God only gives special children to special parents” is indeed, whack.

In fact, based on the facts you’d have to say;

“God seems to give more children with Down syndrome to parents who are going to murder them.”

or

“The odds are that if you are pregnant, and based on prenatal testing find out that your child may have Down syndrome, you will be a bad parent…not a good (or “special”) one. (Remember, “good” or “special” parents don’t murder their children.)

If you are raising a child with Down syndrome, you are in the minority, not the majority of good (aka: “special”) parents. Most parents of children with Down syndrome abort them. In other words; most parents of “special kids” (kids with Down syndrome) aren’t “special” (or good) parents, in fact by definition, they are bad parents.

One more time: good parents don’t murder their children.

2. “Special” (Good) Parents Don’t Abandon Their Family

I’ve talked to more single mothers than I want to count whose husband divorced or abandoned them after their “special” child was born. Divorcing your wife or abandoning your family isn’t something a “special” (good) parent does….rather something a whack (bad) parent. By definition not being there for your wife and child makes you a “bad” parent (I think we can all agree that abandoning your child certainly doesn’t make you a “good” parent.)

3. Families That Aren’t Rising A Child With Special Needs Aren’t “Less Special” Than Those That Are

I don’t know what I would feel like if I didn’t have a son with Down syndrome and someone told me “God only gives special kids to special families.” Should I feel hurt? Should I feel offended that that person (or God!) doesn’t think I’m a “special” (aka: good) parent? Also is the reward for being a “good” (aka: special) parent, having a child with Down syndrome? If so, and I didn’t have one, should I keep trying to be a better (aka: more special) parent until God deems me “special” enough that He would give me one of these “special” children?

None of these things make much sense to me…and in fact, they seem a little “whack” to be honest. :)

By the way, I know TONS of “special” (aka: good) parents that don’t have a “special child” (aka: child with a disability.) So if God truly does only give “special kids” to “special parents” he must also give “non-special” (typically developing) kids to “special parents” (aka: good parents) also.

Why The  Saying “God Only Gives Special Children To Special People” Is Un-Whack.

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To be fair I actually think this statement at its core is true. It is very much true that God  gives “special children” to “special people.” But it has nothing to do with a child having a disability, or a parent raising a child that does.

Let me explain;

1. All Children, And Their Parents, Are “Special”

All people have  infinite value and worth not because they are born with a disability, or parenting a child who does. Genesis 1:27 tells us that;

“God created humankind in his own image..” 

In other words, every person on this planet is “special” because each and every person on this planet is created in the image of the most “special” Person that has ever existed, God.

Also in Psalm 139:13-14 we’re told that;

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;     your works are wonderful”

In other words, God created every person on this planet, and everything He creates is “wonderful” or “special”…not because they were born with a disability, or parenting a child who does…but simply because God made them!

That’s pretty awesome! 

So, Does God Only Give Special Children To Special Parents?

The bottom line is God does give special children to special people.

All parents are special and all children are special. Period.

Having a child with special needs doesn’t make you any more special than any other parent raising any other kid, sorry. I know some parents like to use their child having a disability as a way to say they are “more” special than  other parents, but it’s simply not true.

Please stop.

Just be a parent. A parent raising a child with a disability. You don’t have to be “more special” than other parents. You are as special as any parent can be… just because you are made by God, and in the Image of God. You (or your child) can’t be any more special than that.

How To Be A “Special” Parent

While it’s true that are parents are “special” since every parent is created in the image of God, not all parents are “good” parent. As I mentioned above, some parents abandon their children and their family, some parents murder their children, some parents never teach their children about God, and many other parents pursue their careers more than they pursue a relationship with their child. This isn’t being a “special” (aka: good) parent…it’s being a “whack” (aka: bad) one.

If you really want to be a “special parent” (aka: a good one) put in to action some of the things good parents do, and teach them how to grow up be a “special” man or women. Good parents are rare these days. There are no magic time machines, and you only have one shot to be a game changing one. Make it count!

I believe every parent is a “special parent” (created in the image of God) and has the ability to be a “special parent” (aka: a good parent) as well. No matter your background, upbringing, or what kind of parents you had growing up. Every child (special needs or typical) has his or her own set of challenges.

Parenting isn’t easy….but it’s awesome, and there’s nothing else like it.

Above All, Show Grace.

Lastly, if you are a parent of a child with Down syndrome (or any other disability) I want to encourage you to have tons and tons of grace with people. Most people have no idea what to say and I totally get that. (By the way, if that’s you here’s a few suggestions.) I would never want to make anyone feel awkward, or discourage them from having the courage to say something  (even if what they are saying isn’t necessarily true.) So lighten up, give people the benefit of the doubt, and always assume the best about people.

I feel a similar tension about people saying the word “retarded.” I hear people saying that word all the time, and most of time they have no idea why it’s offensive, or why they should stop saying it. I usually know the person and their heart / motive isn’t to be offensive or hurtful, so I don’t say anything simply because I don’t want to make them feel bad, especially if it’s in front of a group of people. It’s a weird tension that I’m still trying to figure out myself. (By the way, I’d be interested to hear how you handle this in the comments.).if you see me out a

Oh,  and if you see me out and about and happen to tell me that “God only gives special kids to special people” don’t worry…you won’t offend me or hurt my feelings. In fact, I’ll probably just smile and say “I don’t know about that.” (And maybe email this post to you.)….Just don’t tell me that “all kids with Down syndrome are angels.”  :-)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comments below. Just please don’t “cuss me out” …because that wouldn’t be very “special”…or nice! :)

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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.

Comments

  1. Agreed. I do not like this saying and for (most of) the reasons you have just explained. Thank you for taking the time to explain them . LOL , because I don’t have the patience to do it myself.

  2. Whoa.
    I missed the controversy, but this is an excellent post. (Perhaps even an extra special one. ;) ) Thanks for sharing, Rick. Really good stuff to chew on here.

    • Thanks Jamie. :)

      • Becky Strom says:

        I also hate that saying, and appreciate your comments….one thing you didn’t mention is the number of children with Down’s Syndrome or other problems that are in dysfunctional families…..I’ve seen those too. Another saying I hate is when people say to me, “Those children are so sweet and loving.” I am a paramedic, called to Camp Sunnyside and see a wide continuum. It is my granddaughter who has Down’s Syndrome, and we had no idea. She is now 2 years old with a wonderful, gentle older brother and a brand new 2 week old baby brother. We love her dearly. Thanks for your website.

  3. I have a daughter born with downs, I’ve heard that statement more times than i can count. She is the light of mine and my husband’s lives, but I still feel it would be that way whether she has downs or not. I don’t feel any “more special” than any other parent of any “normal” child. I love being a parent to her, and in 7 more weeks to her little sister. :)

    I also don’t agree with using the word “retarded” and most people don’t use it around me. I’m not sure if it’s because they know I might get offended because my daughter has downs or if they are just as against that word as I am.

  4. I completely agree with most of what you say and I am not a fan of that line either. In fact, I wrote a post on it last year that your sweet wife was nice enough to comment on. :-) I actually have different reasons for disliking it but in the end it comes down to not believing that I’m any more special than anyone else. And there are plenty of parents of kids with disabilities that aren’t really doing a fantastic job, even if they don’t abort them or even leave them – way too many kids with disabilities (and without!) are neglected or abused by some pretty lousy parents. I certainly don’t think anyone would consider them special because they have a child with a disability. If you are interested on my take on this oft-misused phrase, here is my link: http://ohdudaday.blogspot.com/2012/08/im-not-special-and-neither-is-my-kid.html
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts as always!

    • Thanks for your comment and for jumping in! (And for sharing your link!)

      How many children do you have by the way?

      • We have two boys. An almost 9 year old and a just turned 5 year old who happens to have DS. We love them both but don’t think they – or we – are any more special than anyone else! :-)

        • Love it! I bet you guys have a house full of fun!

          We can’t wait for Noah to meet his little brother that’s due early next year!

          What sort of things does your five year old with Down syndrome like to do for fun?

  5. Well written. I understood your view this morning and like your follow-up explanation. I do however appreciate the sentiment of the person who wrote the message: it was meant in solidarity and when there are people who vilify special needs children (see Ontario last week), it is heartwarming to see such lovely support.

    • I agree, the post (and the Facebook comment) actually didn’t really have anything to do with that note the people wrote on the napkin. I’ve been saying that statement is “whack” for a while now. :)

      Thanks for your comment.

  6. I enjoy your insight on things. I have one question….why do some people that have a disabled child say “I wouldn’t change my child if I could.” I have a deaf family member & if I could make her a hearing child I would. Keep up the good work & hug Noah for me.

  7. I missed the controversy as well
    But I too have always disliked that statement!! Great points!

  8. Anne Grunsted says:

    “Most parents of children with Down syndrome abort them.” That is false. Traditionally, most parents have not done pre-natal testing. Something like 95% have not. Now that may change with the simpler tests, but we don’t have statistics about how people make decisions with those tests.

    “I’ve talked to more single mothers than I want to count whose husband divorced their family after their “special” child was born. ” That may be your experience, but that’s not typical of our community. The divorce rate for parents of children with Down syndrome has been shown to be lower than that for parents of typical kids and parents of special needs kids of other types.

    In general, I agree with your post – I hate that special parent thing. Like most things that get circulated about special needs parents on FB, it’s unbearably trite. But what I dislike more than trite is bad information, which is what you’ve put here.

    • Most parents who learn, through testing, that their child has Ds do abort… More than 90%. I don’t know where you live, but these are the facts in the US.
      Additionally, a married couple with a child with special needs have more than a 40% greater chance to divorce than the next couple; and since more than 50% of marriages end in divorce to begin with, I would say those are pretty significant odds against a couple who has a child with Ds staying together.

    • Anne,

      Sadly that statistic isn’t “false.” (I wish it were.)

      And I wasn’t saying that having a child with Down syndrome causes more couples to be divorced (in fact the studies show it actually decreases divorce rates.) What I was saying is, if God “only” gave special kids to “special” parents, than none of those parents would abandon their children (or their spouse.) The divorce rate would be zero if that statement was really true.

      Hope that makes sense, and thanks for your comment.

      • Sadly I am one of those statistics. I learned that my child had Down syndrome while early in my pregancy. I became a single mom because I refused to abort. I have raised all three of my boys as a single mom. Do I feel like a “special parent”…..no I’m just a mom trying to raise good men. Am I a good parent….you better believe it. Has my youngest child made me a “better” parent….yes.

        • Jan,

          I’m sorry for what you have to go through, and I’m sorry that it feels like you are doing this alone. Parenting is hard. Single parenting is even harder.

          Are you plugged in to a good church there where you live with lots of great friends who come along beside you?

      • Anne Grunsted says:

        There is a huge difference between saying “most people who have a child with Down syndrome abort him/her” and saying “most people who have a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome abort the child”. I agree with the latter. But my point is that the vast majority of pregnant women have not traditionally done amnio to get the prenatal diagnosis. As such, your statement is false. And, if you don’t understand the math, I’d ask you to not publish statistical info.

  9. I saw that post earlier and I’m so glad you wrote this! Way to clarify, good sir! Nicely put!

    All children are gifts given to the world!
    These little Gifts can come in unexpected packages, but I believe that each child is created by God specifically for their family (biological/adopted/the people who LOVE them) I think being a parent is special honor, one that I hope I will soon be given!!!
    ♥♥♥
    ps> I know that might read as super sappy (I’m not incredibly good at wording these kind of things) :-)

  10. I think most parents with special needs children feel the same way about that saying. My 3 year old daughter has DS and I get lots of very nice comments about her whenever we’re out together, and I always wonder “if she didn’t have DS would people still comment about her?” I’d like to think yes, but that’s probably not true. Most people are just trying to be nice by saying that comment, and you are absolutely right when you say you have to show some grace! The fact is they probably don’t have any clue what it means because its just one of those nice things they’ve heard before and it sound very nice to say to you.

    BTW, I love all those pictures of Noah. My daughter and I look at your post almost everyday. He’s got the sweetest smile! :)

  11. Chris Hoffman says:

    Thanks for blog. I work with 4 youngmen with autism. I have worked with adults, children & youth with a variety of disabilities including downs syndrome. I have friends & family with a variety of disabilities. A person with disabilities has more challenges. So do their parents. A HUman Being First! Every Human Being has strengths & weaknesses , gifts & talents!

  12. I think you are on the money when you say that the “special people” comment is often filler and that grace is the key for all interaction. It used to drive me nuts when someone would say he knew a child with Down syndrome and assume or imply that my daughter was exactly the same. I wanted her to be seen for her uniqueness and had to realize what you have – that in most cases the other person was trying to find some way to connect with me and my child. While I may not be a “special” parent, my situation is unique and attempts by others to understand or bridge that gap can be clumsy or awkward. I can choose to be offended or hurt by the verbiage used or be grateful and blessed by the attempt.

  13. I agree with you that is a silly statement and it is just like the statement ‘god only gives you what you can handle’ (this statement was told to me by my mother after i had a miscarriage of twins). In my opinion you are the perfect parent for your children, and it doesn’t depend on whether they have a disability or they don’t have a disability

    • Thanks for the comment!

      And the statement “God only gives you what you can handle” is whack as well! Maybe I’ll write another post on that some day. :)

      Spoiler Alert: God actually gives you more than you can handle..often. This is on purpose to cause us to lean in to Him and trust Him when we reach the end of our gifts, talents, and abilities.

  14. Great post! I love the kind thoughts behind platitudes like this, but eeesh the phrases the self are annoying. Way to dismantle one of them!

  15. Well said! I would just like you to treat me and my son the same way you would treat anyone else! IE: If he is being a little rowdy in a restaurant and you
    feel for me trying to do my best. Just saying “your doing a great job mom and dad, keep up the good work, it will get better!” Because lets face it their are plenty of kids in restaurants that act up not just kids with special needs! I think that’s what we all want in the end for you to treat us and our children the same as you would anyone else. But more importantly PLEASE DON’T feel sorry for me for I am blessed beyond measure because my baby boy IS fearfully and wonderfully made!!

    • I agree with you 100%! I don’t ever want people to feel sorry for me or my son. We feel very blessed.

      By the way, do you have any other children? If so, how old are they?

  16. Thank you! Very well worded, and as a parent with a child with DS, I have the same feeling about both sayings. When the phrases are parroted to me, I understand that people are trying to be kind and reach out, for which I am grateful. But…. I’d much rather hear about their cousin who just graduated high school, or their friend growing up that owns their own business now.

    • Caryn,

      I totally agree with you! I love hearing successes stories of people with Down syndrome. Those always encourage me!

      How old is your child with Down syndrome and does he / she have any siblings?

  17. Robyn and Jon Fossdal says:

    Our Dr. gave us a copy of a wonderful poem after he met our son Jasen. Jasen was diagnosed a week after he was born. According to our pediatrician and 3 “specialists” this is the first time they were “stumped.” It took genetic testing to verify he has Down Syndrome. Since May, Jasen has been developing ahead of expectations. Our pediatrician loves when he sees Jasen. He thinks that Jasen is one special boy and God has a plan for him. He reminds us that we are very special parents and that we are doing a fantastic job taking care of him. He is or gift from God. I have included the poem for you to read:

    Heave’s Very Special Child
    A meeting was held quite far from earth,
    “It’s time again for another birth.”
    Said the Angels to the Lord above,
    “This special child will need much love.”
    His progress may seem very slow,
    Accomplishments he may not show;
    And he’ll require extra care
    From the folks he meets down there.
    He may not run or laugh or play.
    His thoughts may seem quite far away.
    In many ways he won’t adapt,
    And he’ll be known as handicapped.
    So let’s be careful where he’s sent;
    We want his life to be content.
    Please, Lord, find the Parents who
    Will do a special job for You.
    They will not realize it right away
    The leading role they’re asked to play.
    But with this child sent from above
    Comes stronger faith and richer love.
    And soon they’ll know the privilege given
    In caring for this gift from heaven.
    Their precious charge, so meek and mild
    Is Heaven’s Very Special Child

  18. Yes, for other people, you are special parents. What you do for your son, what other parents like you do to their special sons and daughters, makes your special. I do not like the word special for such children as it margins them out from the rest. But yes these children are special when you get to know them, and even their parents are special. These children who need an extra help, are wonderful people, and therefore for me they are special. May God bless you and other special parents in all that you do with your special children. I love these special children.

    • Thanks for your comment, but would you agree with the point I was trying to make in the post that ALL children are special and being born with a disability doesn’t make the child any more special, or their parents?

  19. Thank you for saying this. I do think (as you have no doubt concluded) that this will continue to go over people’s heads.

    Your first point basically sums it up. I love the quote, not sure where it’s from–God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.

    I also wanted to note, based on someone’s comment today on FB, how an older child may feel hearing this comment directed at his or her parent because of him or her.

    I can’t imagine it would make me feel warm and fuzzy to feel as though I stand out as an extra hardship even when meant as a compliment.

    I know I KNOW I know this is meant well, but it is definitely WHACK.

    God bless and keep doing what you’re doing <3

  20. I loved your post. I too do not like the saying!
    I was going thru a ruff patch 18 years ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and Kate had just coded on us a couple of months before. So some family memembers were worried about me. So I went to talk to a physc. and she kept calling me a WONDER WOMAN. I finally said to her that we Special Parents are not WONDERS we are just dealing and loving the hand that we were dealt. And that if she wants to help Special Parents quit using that line.
    We love our kids and do everything we can for them. Isn’t that what God has asked us to do! make their lives beautiful!

    • You are right about that! My hope is that I will day by day be the sort of dad God asked me to be. It’s not always easy, but it’s always right.

      By the way, it sounds like you guys are indeed “special” parents! Keep up the great work!

      How is your husband and Katie doing these days?

  21. Every child is special, Every parent is special……

  22. Maria Rosales says:

    I guess the assumptions and misconceptions come from people who are not educators. Being an educator and a parent of a son with Down Syndrome has deepened my philosophy of teaching-every child has strengths . It is our job as parents to provide every opportunity for our children to develop those strengths .

  23. Magaly Diaz says:

    Thank you so much for breaking it down, i don’t think people understood the logic of the statement. When I read the comments, I could not believe how quickly things escalated. Thank you for your patience and taking the time to explain, I wish I could be this kind when I hear the comments people make. I love your blog:)

    • Thanks for your comment. It isn’t easy to respond in grace and love, but thankfully God is working in me and helping me become the person He wants me to be.

      And I agree, I couldn’t believe how emotional people got over that comment. It turned into a big deal for some folks, some of whom said some sort of mean things to me. It’s disappointing to see someone go form liking you for years, to not all of a sudden simply because they disagree with something you said. That’s how it goes sometimes. :)

      Thanks for your encouragement!

  24. When you talk it just makes so much sense!! I love reading your Blog…Thank you guys for just being who you are!! :)

  25. Beautifully said. By the way, I don’t tolerate usage of the word “retarded” in my presence. When someone uses it, I speak up. I do not tolerate the usage of “retarded” or “faggot” or “Jew-boy” or “they are all like that”, and the list goes on.

    Sometimes, I protest/reject the terms used in my presence stridently, and without grace. Thank you for reminding me to gently but firmly “correct”, when possible.

    Also, when I see an adorable baby or child out in public, I frequently smile at the child, and compliment the parents/caregivers. I love children, and love to see them looking loved and well taken care of, regardless of whether they have DS, autism, ADHD, are sleepy or whatever. Sometimes I’ll ask a young child if their mom/dad/caregiver is the best in the world, to make the parent/caregiver smile.

    Parenting is challenging, and good parenting should be recognized and complimented.

    Please continue to enlighten us!

  26. Laura in SW Houston says:

    Good job, Rick! I totally agree. I get a similar comment about having 8 kids. People often tell me that it takes a very special person to raise 8 kids (or a very patient one). But God loves to give us more than WE can handle. When we depend on him and it works out He gets the glory He deserves. Like someone above said, “He equips those He calls.”

    Also, I’ve been wanting to make a t-shirt (with a bleach pen) for my 1yo with ds that says, “Fearfully and wonderfully made” or “knit together with an extra chromosome.” Now I think I’ll make the first one for my 3yo too!

    • Wow, 8 kids…! Now that is “special!” :)

      Are they all “yours’, or did you adopt (not sure if that’s the best way to say that, so forgive me if not.)

      How old is everyone?

  27. Thank you Rick. I’ve heard that line too, especially when others do not know what else to say – I’m sure it’s said with good intent.

    But I have also heard worse :-

    ” you have a child with DS because it’s a punishment!” and that breaks my heart. For a while, I questioned myself if that is true … and in the end I concluded that God sent me a special child so that I myself can improve and be a better person, a better mother. It’s His Plan – Thank you God :)

    God Bless All.

    Jenn

    • Wow, that’s a horrible thing for someone to tell you. I’m sorry that happened.

      How old are your children by the way?

      • Coming from an Asian background and culture, the beliefs by some are very different. That’s what some relatives said actually.

        I have 2 kids – My eldest is DS and she’s now 15 :) and her brother is 12.

  28. nancy howson says:

    I work as an Early Childhood educator in Toronto Ontario I have worked with families who have children with special needs and children without special needs.
    ALL PARENTS ARE SPECIAL , why ????? Because these days having to parent any child is a challenge, the pressures that kids face today are unlike what children have faced in other generations, so parents who have to guide their children through these choppy water of life are all special

  29. If God does indeed have a master plan, Why is there so much pain and suffering in the world? You only have to look at how awful the caste system is. The caste system, with its societal stratification and social restrictions, continues to have a major impact in some countries. The system, generally identified with Hinduism, is also prevalent among Christians, Sikhs and Muslims. Many studies have documented that the caste system is a social construct in the absence of any real genetic differences among castes. Caste, in many ways, is similar to race, which is also a social concept without genetic basis. Nevertheless, these social constructs seem to have a stranglehold on human thought, perpetuating prejudice and propagating unjust societal structures.
    If one group of people are considered ‘special’ this is an example of what happens.
    Sorry to be so serious to a comment given with good intentions, but to say that God has any influence over who gets graced with children he considers to be special, has far wider reaching connotations. I for one wouldn’t want to believe in a God that allows such inequality to happen.

  30. I simply tell people not to use the “R” word because it is a hateful and hurtful word that is only ever meant as a slur to malign people like my son. If they continue to use it i do not go back to that business or friendship. I have blocked more family members on Facebook who “like” silly meaningless pages with that word in it. Who needs the aggravation?
    reading the word even in quotes is painful. If the person continues to use the r word I also remind them that is neither a catch all word nor a synonym for everything.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Do you find that most people are respective when you talk to them, or do they get upset and you have to unfriend them?

      • When confronted face to face and people look at me when I tell them as a mother of a little boy with Down Syndrome I’m not trying to be PC , that that word spreads a message of exclusion and hate, people tend to listen and respond positively or strangers at least are stunned and are quiet and simply apologize. People understand it is not a good word. Generally i find people do not want to hurt each other and when confronted with the fact they have, want to remedy the situation and stop the offensive behavior.
        Calling someone fat isn’t a nice thing to do but the word itself doesn’t always carry bad connotations; I.e. fat check is a good thing; big fatvjuicy burger is delicious. The r word is never ever meant in a positive light.
        If all else fails I’m considering investing in dictionaries to hand to people who use the word so they can expand their vocabularies.
        May I also just say I am impressed that you respond to each and every post. You are doing a great job educating people about Down Syndrome and the wonderful and not so wonderful experiences that go along with it.
        Also, as fillers go, and while I would much rather answer questions than hear filler, I prefer the special parents to the apology I sometimes get when people learn my son has Down Syndrome.

  31. I think that the saying is “whack” because you don’t need to be a special person to raise a special child. It’s an intimidating thought for someone who is expecting a child with a disability. I think it contributes to the feeling that a parent wouldn’t be able to handle someone with special needs. You just need to have the ability to adapt and know that you will love your child as you would any other child.

  32. All parents, just like all children, have the potential to be ‘special’. As parents we have the responsibility to make as wise choices as we know how. Sometimes that involves incredible accomplishments, sometimes it’s just putting one foot in front of the other and refusing to stop.

  33. Grace Wathen says:

    It is what I call a play on words. A Special Needs Child is norn to ordinary Parents but these Parent’s are given the strength to cope and therefore become Special Parent’s, I hop this does not upset some people but I believe it is God’s Power that enables them to become Special Parent’s, now don’t go all racist as I firmly believe that whatever Faith you are we all worship the same God just in different ways and through different Prophets or inmy Case Jesus the Son of God, but since all Prophets are sons of God that should not make any difference, after all we are all Children of God whether we believe it or not.

    Another play on words which is evidently upsetting people is if a child with DS is called a Down Syndrom Child instead of a Child with Down Syndrome. To me it is stupid to make such a fuss about hese play on words as we should remember that not all people are intellectually equal (I am not talking about people with learning difficulties) and therefore say things in a different way and do not see any difference, so as far as I am concerned this is all a fuss abouth nothing. Carry on with your good work.

    • Personally, I don’t like hearing Down syndrome child, because it sounds like Ds defines my child. You don’t say Diabetes child, or “this is Ryan, my ADHD child. My son is not defined by his chromosomes… He is Ryan… Not Ds Ryan. Anyway, I think that’s why most parents if kids with Ds don’t like the phrasing, and I can see why people think it’s fussy… But there your explanation… I hope u take this as intended, just a comment, written with a smile. :)

    • @grace Thanks for your comment.

      I do agree with Bethany that people first language is important though.

      As I said in my post, I think we need to give people tons and tons of grace because most of the time they don’t mean anything by it, they just don’t know better. I know that was the case before Noah was born.

  34. Speaking as a parent and grandmother of no special needs children, I hadn’t thought that this could be offensive. Perhaps the statement could be worded differently to “God gives special kids to parents who can now aspire to a greater level of faith and dependency on Him.” I know that no offense was intended… Merely love and respect.
    You and your wife inspire us everyday, Rick.

  35. It’s sadly true that most parents abort their DS babies before they have a chance to be born. Here is a site that shows photo documents of some of those little ones.http://1intenblog.wordpress.com/
    The worst comment was from one “mother” who said “As soon as I saw his slanted eyes (on the ultrasound) I knew I had to have the termination”.
    God help us all be better parents.

    • Wow, that is horrible.

      I couldn’t get the link to work by the way.

      • It just worked for me.
        What is the best thing to tell a mom who is thinking about abortion because of a prenatal diagnoses of DS?
        I am so often at a loss for words. There are so many women who think it’s “the best thing they could do” so the baby doesn’t suffer.
        Noah is an inspiration to pro-lifers, Thanks for sharing his story.

  36. very well said, Rick. I replied to your FB post and I agreed to it. i saw some comments so i stopped responding too because of too many emotions there but I’m glad you posted this.

  37. Cindy Battles says:

    To explain my Twitter comment in a forum where I can use more than 140 characters…and, by the way, I log off social media in order to sleep, work and spend time with my children. No need to continue tweeting me (especially with “?”) If I don’t respond.

    First, your use of the term “whack” is ridiculous at best, racist at worst. Secondly, trying to say your post wasn’t inspired by the “receipt story” is preposterous, especially since you knew what I was talking about without my specifying. Third, you took a story about a weary family and benevolent strangers and put a negative spin on it. I’m not saying that some of the things you said shouldn’t be said…but not by latching on to the publicity that story has received. Everyone knows that unhealthy babies are more likely to be aborted than healthy ones. Everyone knows having a special needs child would strain a marriage more than healthy children. Which is why parents who are dealing with the challenges, joys and all the things they face as best as they can are considered special. Is that saying trite, maybe. But the benevolent person who paid that family’s bill didn’t mean it so.

    • Cindy,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to voice your concern.

      First, I didn’t “keep tweeting at you.” You made a very vague, and assumptive, statement to me late at night, and I simply replied back to you. We have people that read our blog from all over the world, for all I know you were from the UK and it was day time when I replied to your tweet (especially since you sent a tweet late at night / early in the morning saying you were baking cookies or something…

      Second, I’m not sure how the word “whack” is racist? How can a word by racist? LOL… I think you may be racist by thinking that word is racist. :)

      Third, regardless of what you think is “preposterous” you are wrong. I actually wrote this blog post as a follow up to a Facebook comment I left yesterday morning before that story you mentioned started getting a lot of press. This blog post had nothing to do with that story. If you knew me in “real life” you’d know I often say how I think that statement is “whack.” And as I said in this post, is…and isn’t.

      I’d encourage you to relax a little and not be so presumptive, as I mentioned in this blog post, why not assume the best about a person?

      And you really think the using the word “whack” is racist….?? lol….

      By the way, your twitter bio says you are a “Christ follower.” How is it Christ like to assume the worst about a person, call them a lier, and a racist? Yikes….

  38. For the love of God.
    1) you should not have to justify anything you say on your own page… If you don’t like what you read, stop reading it.
    2) the whole “God gives special kids to special parents” is a canned statement people say when they’re uncomfortable or don’t know what to say to a parent. I’m not offended by it, but I recognize it for what is… A canned, ignorant (but not in a nasty way) for people to say something to me when they are at a loss. I get it. But let’s all recognize it for what it is.
    3) I am not special (well, I have 2 children with special needs… Am I twice as special as the parent who only has 1?). I am a parent. My kids are special because they’re mine, and because they are awesome… Not because one has Down syndrome and one has cerebral palsy. These “labels” are not who they are, the labels do not make them special… They were always going to be special.
    4) if you need to say something to me, and you’re at a loss, ask me a question! You obviously are not familiar with my life and that if my children… ASK!! I don’t mind! I’d rather you be informed than just be able to pass out a handy cliche.
    5) lastly, if you feel like you need to compliment me, and many people feel that urge around “special needs parents”, tell me you admire my strength… That’s what my children need, me to be strong enough to get up every day and fight for them, and their place in this crazy world. Strength is what I pray for every day… So I can do it all again tomorrow.
    I’m not insulted by this, but you will definitely get a smile, an inner eye roll, and a comment to the contrary.

  39. I’m not alone in this one as I missed this controversy as well. Well put and yes – it sickens me to know of the abortion rate and the percentage. I’ll never forget my husband Mike and I giving a “Look to kill” telling our peads doc “God has blessed us with a child and we are never aborting!” Never has another check up with him either.

  40. Thanks Rick for putting that out there. I’d like to get to the point where we’re not Special Parents and Special Kids, we’re just parents and kids. Most of the time when people make comments like that they are just looking for something nice to say. Or they may really be thinking “Better you than me” :-D I usually say something along the lines of “I’m not special, I’m a mom just like you, doing my best for my children. If your son or daughter was in an accident and became disabled, you’d do whatever necessary right? My son just happened to be born with his disability but it doesn’t make us any more special than you and your kids.” Also, it’s ok to call people out on using the “R” word, you can do it in a nice way. I’ve told people “I’m sorry, could you not use that word please, it’s a slur against people with intellectual disabilities.” Most of the time people say “oh I didn’t think of it that way” or “I didn’t mean it like that” and they stop and think next time. Part of our “job” as parents is to educate and advocate, so just keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Thanks for the kind words and the encouragement.

      It’s like when someone says “I couldn’t handle that.” To which I reply, “you a really don’t know what you could handle until it happens.”

      If we trust God, and abide in Him, He promises to give us peace and joy even in situations where the world doesn’t understand how or why we could.

      Keep doing what you guys are doing. I consider you “special” in my book. :-)

  41. The Alicia B says:

    I started out life being called “special” because I was adopted. Didn’t like it then, don’t like that now. Then at 18 I gave birth to a child who had a traumatic delivery which resulted in a brain bleed, which resulted in a severe developmental delay. She is 22 and is at the developmental level of a 15 month old. Is she special? Yes. But not how most people mean when they tell me the God only gives special kids to special parents. She’s special because she’s mine, she’s wonderful, and she is herself. I have felt less than special while she was growing up because it was hard. I had hard questions for God. I still do. I have questioned my faith, because if God did this because I’m special… Ummm then I don’t want God to think I’m special, because this is hard. I have 2 other children, and they are no less special to me. Because I love them all.

    • Wow, what a great and honest comment.

      I especially like when you said, “If God this to me because I’m special, than I don’t want to be special because this is hard.”

      Your comment reminds me of why I wrote this post to begin with, partly because it helps create bad theology (or causes people to think incorrectly about God.)

      The Bible promises us that there ill be challenges in this life, and that God will actually give us “more” than we can handle, in order that we would lean in and trust him more.

      You sound like a great mother. How old are your other children?

      • The Alicia B says:

        My other children are 15 and 21 months. I do know, for a fact, that God has an excellent sense of humor! :)
        I am blessed by all of the trials that have been allowed into my life. My life is a rich tapestry of experiences. It has been a hard road, but it is mine and He has seen me through!

  42. Here is a theory I employ to understand our great and generous God.
    When we conceive a child with special needs, He offers each parent the opportunity of receiving abundant grace (supernatural power to help her or him overcome natural weaknesses and act more like God) in order to parent this child who will require extra amounts of patience, perseverance, hope, and faith. Never mind that that child will return those gifts in abundance, but the expectant parent doesn’t hear that very often they are given the “prenatal testing horror show” a list of things which may go wrong with the child physically or mentally.
    The parent, as you have indicated, too often says “no” to God and aborts the baby. This is the tragic consequence of free will, but the loss is not only the life of the child, but the beauty God was going to create in that soul by means of raising that wonderfully challenging child. And you don’t have to be a Christian, Dr Brian Skotko’s survey said that 97% of siblings of children with Down syndrome say they are better people because of being special sibs. Being Christian helps, but its not a prerequisite, just saying “yes” to God is by giving your child with extra chromosomes life.
    SO, to conclude, when I saw those saintly old ladies in church gently guiding their 40-somethings with Down syndrome and concluded, “God can’t give me a child like that, I am not holy enough”. I was right. And wrong. Right I wasn’t holy enough. Wrong, that God couldn’t give me a child like my wonderful 11 year old Christina with Ds.
    What I forgot was, those old ladies were my age when God gave them their special needs children, and day by day, in His grace, they were shaped and fashioned into the saintly images of God I admired in church. They probably thought the same thing about not being up to the challenge of raising a son or daughter with Down syndrome. God doesn’t call the prepared, He prepares the called.
    So that is why my book of 34 stories from such parents is called “A Special Mother is Born”. Because the child and the mom/dad both go through a birth when a child with special needs is born. The parents, is a rebirth, akin to being ‘born again’ when one enters life in Christ.

  43. I’m with you On not knowing how to respond when people say “retard” or “retarded” in jest (I assume that’s what you are partially referring to, rather than people labeling people with disabilities. I mostly hear that word casually, which I dislike but do not harshly judge.) I DO correct the kids and teens I work with because I am in a shaping, semi-authority role for them (a mental health therapists.) some of my friends and acquaintances still say it since my son was born, which kind of baffles me, but I know they love my son and I don’t correct it. My reaction might change, though, when my son starts talking (he’s only 1.) I do not know if I am doing the right thing by not speaking and honestly resent having to think through all that just because people can’t be more careful with their words. I guess I deal with it by mentioning my advocacy on my social media and discussing it in person when it isn’t being directly mentioned (e.g., I don’t correct them on the spot.)

    • @Natalie, Thanks for your comment, it’s something I think we learn as we go along. As I said, I think mountains of grace should always accompany any conversation we may have with someone.

      Keep at it!

  44. I’m pretty sure I’m special. I’m especially impatient and self-centered and one of the many gifts God provided with our son Seth is plenty of opportunities to learn patience and practice considering others better than myself.

  45. Hi Rick (a.k.a. Noah’s Dad). I’ve “liked” your facebook page since I found you. I have a 16 year old with DS. Here is my chime in. I’m a Canadian First Nations person (in the U.S. – we’re called “Native American”). I’m of the Ojibway/Potawatomi descent. In our traditions and beliefs, we are told that our children come from the spirit world and THEY choose who their parents will be. It’s not up to the Creator (God) who they go to. Then there are 7 stages of life and upon taking our last breath (when we die), we all return to the spirit world. We are told that children with special needs have a close connection to the spirit world and our children are very highly regarded as spiritual beings.
    Sincerely, growing up, I was afraid of people with disabilities and when I met my husband 20+ years ago, before we decided to have children, he told me that he had always wanted to volunteer with the Special Olympics. Go figure!
    Now we have Eric and he has changed our lives – for the better and made us better people.
    I’m not offended by the comment “God only gives special children to special parents”. It’s only one person’s comment/opinion.

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I couldn’t get your link to work. If you have a blog I’d enjoy learning more about your family.

      Do you and your family go to a “church”… if you don’t mind me asking?

      • Hi again Rick. I didn’t send you a link. I don’t know if you’re replying to another persons comment.

        Currently, no – our family does not attend church. When I was younger, I used to go to church with my Dad. I do pray to the Creator (God) and find the natural environment (outdoors) to be my place of prayer. I am still learning about our traditional spiritual teachings of my people (i.e. cermonies, smudging, etc.). Eric is baptized into the Anglican Church but my younger two are not. It is something my husband and I discuss occasionally.

        I have been told by friends and family members that they pray for us – which I really appreciate.

  46. Thank you for this post Noah’s Dad! I agree with you about that comment, though not malicious, not very well thought out. I wish it were a true statement. Then we wouldn’t see the 9 out of ten DS babies being aborted:(

  47. Great post! I believe God does not cause, allow, or permit DS or any special needs in ANYONE!
    God is good; the devil is bad

    Please read my blog: God’s Perspective on DS

    http://wp.me/p3E431-3v

    • Thanks for your comment.

      I would disagree with you that “God wouldn’t allow or permit” anyone with Down Syndrome. Your comment makes it sound like 1. Down Syndrome is bad, and 2. God is not sovereign over bad things. The book of Job shows us that this isn’t true. Everything that happens on this Earth is allowed to happen by God.

      • This was post on FB today that I totally agree with.
        God is Good!

        BEWARE OF THE ISAIAH 5:20 INFECTION

        “It is quite clear that the whole teaching of Jesus Christ about God, expressed alike in His words and in the whole fashion and mold of His character, implies that God is always nearer, mightier, more loving, and more free to help every one of us than any one of us realizes. This alone is what makes His incessant summons to faith, and to more faith, coherent an…d reasonable. This again seems to me to imply that mankind is generally under a hypnotic spell about God, which is always contracting and chilling our thoughts of Him and leading to all kinds of depressingly terrifying illusions about Him.” D. S. Cairnes

        I have bad news and good news for you. The bad news is that there is a world-wide Infection which has left its ravaging mark on every man, woman and child who has ever lived, including you and me. The good news is that there is an ongoing cure that we are to continue to take on a daily basis – -the spirit and truth of Jesus Christ. What is the Infection? How does it harm us? What are the symptoms?

        “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Is. 5:20.

        The Isaiah 5:20 Infection causes us to exchange the truth of God for a lie. We confuse and substitute Satan’s cruelty for God’s love, Satan’s oppressions for God’s judgments, and Satan’s will for God’s will. Without being consciously aware of it, we call the evil of Satan the “mysterious” but good will of God. Instead of viewing God as the hero and lover of our soul, we see Him as a wrathful and unknowable puppeteer who pulls all the strings of evil and misfortune for our supposed “good.”

        The way to diagnose this Infection is to consider the words it causes a man to speak. The Isaiah 5:20 Infection will cause men to speak this way: God creates evil; God uses evil; God allows evil; God’s wrath kills\destroys man; God puts\allows sickness on people; God judged\allowed America to suffer 9/11 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and God causes\allows children to die, throats to be slit, rapes, child molestations, kidnapings, disasters and tortures.

        The purest form of this Infection will declare that God directly causes these things, while at the same time trying to give glory to God for His “sovereign” will. The lesser, but still deadly, form of this Infection seeks to lessen God’s responsibility by saying that God merely allows evil rather than causes it. Even though he had a thoroughly infected view of God overall, John Calvin rightly believed that there is absolutely no difference between God causing evil and God allowing evil.

        To permit, to allow, to ordain, to will all mean the same thing if you believe in a God who is able to manipulate any and all events at any and all times. In other words, if God can alter any evil event, but He chooses not to, then He has willed it. His refusal to stop an act is in itself an affirmative act of causation, a necessary stamp of approval required for any event to happen. Thus, if God causes or allows evil, then He is just as guilty for its occurrence.

        The Hebrew mind-set on this point is in agreement with Calvin. It is well known that Hebrew language has no proper distinction between an active “causing” and passive “letting.” Morally speaking, there is certainly no distinction. As Martin Luther King said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really co-operating with it.”

        The Oklahoma authorities prosecuted both those who actually bombed the federal building as well as those who allowed it to be bombed by not reporting what they knew to the authorities. Many of the victims’ families couldn’t understand why all those involved didn’t receive the exact same sentence. They couldn’t grasp any distinction between doing evil and allowing evil. To allow it is to do it.

        The point is that we must not and cannot view God this way. This infected way of thinking calls the evil of the world the will of God. No wonder passion for God is so low. G. K. Chesterton said that he was “astonished at how little astonishment” there was for God. The Isaiah 5:20 Infection explains the lack of astonishment.

        God is un-loveable if He has anything to do with causing\allowing evil. We can dress up the problem of evil with noble terms like, “God’s ways are higher than ours,” or “God allows evil for the greater good,” or “God had a reason for allowing (fill in your own evil event).”

        It won’t wash, not now, not ever. Tortured children, dying parents, crippling sicknesses, mud slides killing whole villages, Tsunamis drowning hundreds of thousands, earthquakes swallowing up whole populations, genocides in Africa, ethnic cleansings in Bosnia, terror bombings, civil wars – – enough! God has nothing to do with any of these. If God were responsible for evil, then Dostoevsky’s character Ivan in The Brothers Karamzov would be right in saying, “I renounce the higher harmony altogether. It’s not worth the tears of . . . one tortured child.”

        Although Job sounded piously noble when, in the midst of great affliction, he declared, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” this statement betrays an ignorance of God’s true character. Job 13:15. God doesn’t kill His children.

        Elihu, the only person in the whole book of Job who wasn’t rebuked as speaking “words without knowledge,” rightly informed Job that “the Almighty . . . will not afflict.” Job 37:23; 38:1-2; 42:7-10. Job himself later repented for speaking accusations against God which were not right. “Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further. . . . Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered things that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. . . .I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” Job 40:3-5; Job 42:3; 42:5.

        Job was feverish with the Is. 5:20 Infection. So were his friends. None of them spoke rightly of God, except Elihu. Job was a righteous man, but he lacked direct and exact knowledge of God’s nature. God appeared at the end of the book of Job to declare Himself. When Job saw God’s true nature and repented of his own shameful view of God, then the Lord was able to manifest His goodness toward Job. “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10.

        We need to follow Job’s lead and renew our minds to the GOOD, PERFECT, and ACCEPTABLE will of the Lord. Then, our captivity to wrong thinking about the Lord will be turned as was Job’s.

  48. Sylvia Henry says:

    I’ve heard that statement many times and actually felt blessed and lucky to have my little girl. Yes, she was born with Down Syndrome. I will forever be grateful to have her. Other members of my family treats her differently (special) which sometimes disappoints me.

    My point is that I don’t want my other kids to think that I treat my little one differently. No one is more special than the other. I love them all equally.

  49. First of all God doesnt deal with us the same way he dealt with Job. Job was under a different covenant. We today are under the new covenant. Every sickness and disease (DS) was placed on Jesus on the cross. There are testimonies of babies being healed , that extra Chromosome REMOVED. My question to you would be this: If Jesus was standing in your living room today, would you have Him remove that extra chromosome from Noah? Would you have Jesus heal Noah totally with no disabilities or developmental delays? Second of all, yes God is sovereign, but He is not in control of everything. We are in control of alot of things in this earth. Matthew 18:18 Whatever you forbid on earth, heaven will forbid and whatever you allow on earth will be allowed in heaven. We as believers have the authority that Jesus had. I just think we need to be careful in saying that DS is a good thing. No God is working a good thing in DS which is bad…thats my view :) Healed by the stripes of Jesus Christ…There is no DS in heaven and God’s will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Therefore God doesnt want DS on earth. Thank you

    • Clint,

      I don’t have time to reply to all of this right now, but I will say you are saying something that is dishonest right now. There are no “cases of that extra chromosome being removed.” That is an outright lie that I can quickly respond to because I know it isn’t true.

      In order for that to happen God would have to “uncreate” your child and recreate him. Every cell in his body has 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. If he was to get a hair cut, his new hair would have 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, his teeth, fingernails, etc.

      You can’t “pray” Down syndrome away, and for you to suggest otherwise is dangerous.

      Also how in the world can you there is “no Down syndrome in Heaven?”

      Where in your Bible does it say how many chromosomes a person is supposed to have?

      You also say “we are in control of lots of things on this Earth.”

      This dangerous as well. God is control. We aren’t. He is.

      Further, you really think “God’s will is to do away with Down syndrome on Earth?”

      Clint,

      Your comments and theology is dangerous. I will reply further with more detail. But in the mean time I hope you are taking your son to the doctor appointments he needs to to, getting him the developmental therapy that will help him develop, and learning about Down Syndrome so you can be the best dad you can be.

      It sounds to me like you are in denial to be honest. But you never want to try to explain the sovereignty of God. That’s the one thing you want to count on.

      • I respectfully dissagree. All things are possible with God in this life on earth. I have seen my son Ben completely healed of autism and severe anger disorder because of the way I believe! God is healer today in this life. God can and wants to heal your son too! ONLY BELIEVE. May God Bless you!

        • I respectfully disagree with the statement “All things are possible” (in this life or earth, or in Heaven.) All things are indeed possible for God…but not for you and I.

          You are grossly misinterpreting that passage. I’m not going to go into the entire passage here, but long story short, the passage is talking about salvation. It is imposable for us to save ourself, but with God all things are possible. In other words, God made a way for us to have our sins forgiven and be made right with a holy God when it was imposable for us.

          You can’t just rip a Scripture out of the Bible like that, without the proper content.

          When you say God wants to “heal” my son, what does He want to heal my son from? From having three copies of his 21st chromosome? Is that a sickness?

          If he gets cancer, sure. Maybe? (Or maybe not. Sometimes kids get cancer, their parents pray, and the child still dies. What happened there? Did God not want to heal that child? Where the parents prayers not good enough? Was there some sort of sin going on in the family’s life that caused God not to answer their prayer? ) All of that is very bad ( and very dangerous) theology. ) What about if he gets the flu? Or bumps his head? Sure, I’ll pray for healing for those things, and ask that God heals him (and at the same time take advantage of every resource that God has given us to heal people on earth, hospitals, medicine, doctors, etc…)

          But you are telling me that you think having 3 copies of your 21st chromosome makes a person sick? Where do you get that logic from? IN doing that you are comparing someone with Down syndrome to yourself. You are saying a person with 2 copies of their 21st chromosome is healthy, and a person with 3 copies of their 21st chromosome is sick. How do you know it’s not the other way around? How do you know God doesn’t choose, in His sovereignty” for some people to have 3 copies of their 21st chromosome?

          You are using yourself (and the number of chromosomes you have) as a measuring rod of what is “un-sick” and not in need of healing. No where in the Bible are you and I ever the measuring rod for anything.

          Are you involved in a good church, and walking with people who know you (and their Bible) well? What are their thoughts on your beliefs?

          Also you didn’t link to any of those “documented cases” of the “3rd copy of the 21st chromosome” being removed. I really hope you don’t believe that, it makes me sad for you the future of your son, and for you as his father.

          Your little boy is going to need a dad who will love and support him and now be trying to “pray the Down syndrome” away his whole life.

          That is going to cause him to have a really confused view of himself and of God…especially when it doesn’t happen.

        • I know this may be old but I agree with you…this blog is kind of stupid. Because this is like all these people are taking one comment the wrong way when im pretty sure it was not meant that way God does give special children to special parents it could be even adoptive parents and he is able to heal those children the bible says if you have faith the soze of a mustard seed and you say to a mountian be cast down into the sea then it will like whatever that disability is thay is that mountian… and alot of people may have abortion yea but God also gives us a free will and they face the consequences of that and also those babies are in heaven..restored with a new body this blog irritates me its a bunch of non believers and if they are I dont know what God they believe because my God says that anything is possible through him. Soooo yeah but also you cant argue with people about what they disagree on because the bible aslo states that a fool does not listen they only want to hear thier own voice.

  50. Hi Rick,
    I understand where you are coming from with your view point. However, for myself and for my family, my son has been a blessing, because you do look at life differently having a child with Ds or another disability. I am affiliate with NDSC and on the board of IMDSA. My son is the youngest of four. My daughter has done many fundraisers regarding her brother. My first born who is in his first year @ college wants be involved in genetics, because of his brother. Especially because he has Ds and autism. He said mom, I want to help people like my brother. All of my children are a blessing! However, my son has made us see things in a better light!

  51. Hi Rick and everyone.

    I think those of us who are “special parents” are indeed special, if we use that term in the right way. We’ve been graced by God with the opportunity, the call, if you will, to serve someone. This is not always easy, but when is the call of God ever easy?

    The first part of that is seeing it as a grace. There is wrestling involved. Most of us who are believers know that Moses was a stutterer. Of course, fewer remember that he was not always so. Stephen in his defense in Acts reminded his executioners that Moses was mighty in word and in deed. So it would seem that 40 years of God working on his strength made him weak, and prepared him to wield God’s strength.

    I suppose what I am saying is that I don’t want to be called a special parent, but we do have a special mission for which we need God’s grace!

    We have a 21-year-old daughter with DS who is fairly low-functioning. She loves worship music and any movie with lots of vibrant colors, such as Nemo or Lion King. She loves the Lord and prays for people as best she can. She lays hands on sick people and says, “Healed!” She understands a lot of words but doesn’t often say much; however, the word “healed” is probably in the Top 50 of her vocabulary.

    Our daughter is a real delight, a champion hugger and a pizza fanatic. She is a tremendous blessing and we have always loved her. We love her as she is even if God doesn’t heal her in this life or even increase her capabilities and prospects!

    While I affirm her as she is, this does not stop me from praying and desiring that she might be able to do more, for her own sake as well as for our own. Nor does it stop me from sighing for the day when God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

    Today at work, a pretty little sparrow flew into a large window in our church’s prayer room while some of us were sitting there. I think he broke his wing. This as one of the smallest tragedies to hit our world today, and yet I’m sure our Creator felt for the pain of the beautiful creature he had made. How much more does he feel the pain of men and women made in His own image and of those who love them?

    All these things, from tiny sparrows who unintentionally do themselves in, to people with limiting conditions or illnesses, remind us that we live in a broken world. The Fall has subjected all of creation to bondage and it now groans, waiting to be released when we also shall be clothed with Christ in fullness. The “whys” and “wherefores” of Down Syndrome are lost in the mysteries of a world that was subjected to futility through the Fall and placed into a situation where it could only turn to hope. (Romans 8:20)

    I understand Clint’s position, and I’ve heard stories myself about people being healed of DS. I don’t know what to make of such things, except I know that with God all things are possible. I won’t criticize anyone for believing for God’s will to be done here as completely as it is above. We still pray for our daughter to become more capable and for her to be healed.

    I also don’t believe we can mechanistically say that Job was in error or fear and that this gave Satan opportunity to afflict him. Let’s remember also that Job 2:10 says, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Let’s be careful not to accuse others of a lack of faith.

    I believe that in the Resurrection we will know God fully, even as we are known. This is what our faith teaches. We will have all the answers then, not before.

    I also know that we will share the glory of His Resurrection and have a body like His. Not until then will we receive the fullness of healing, as only then will we have the full redemption of the body. Until then, we demonstrate the love of God and the grace of Christ by caring for all whom society has rejected in its wicked utilitarian ethos.

    Will my daughter have a particular physical appearance in the Resurrection? This I do not know. I suspect that DS people will look as they would have looked if they did not have DS because I see its limitations as part of the fallenness of the creation. (I don’t think anyone in the Resurrection bears the marks of this world and its fallenness except Jesus.) And I do know that she will be, with all the saints and all creation, delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Rom. 8:21)

  52. Couldnt agree more Noah’s dad…I too wanted to find out ” if the birth of our children with special needs is an accident or are we chosen carefully” ?

    Here is what I feel

    http://aarshiandmama.blogspot.in/2013/06/is-birth-of-your-special-need-child.html

  53. Thank you!! That saying as always struck a nerve with me, as a STEP parent to a amazing boy with DS. Who’s mother is, nicely saying, one of those “special” parents. Sadly she must not have gotten that memo, or not noticed it because of the heroin needle in her arm. So that left me to step up to the plate fast and hard in my relationship. Special parents are made, not given a right to be special because their child is special needs.

  54. You are so right!!! I have a son with DS, he’s two, I get told that “god only gives special people, special babies!!! I know people mean well, but there is nothing any more special about me than anybody else!! The only thing that may make me special, is my sweet little boy, he does make me want to be a better person!! But the thing that bothers me the most is when people find out I have a child with DS, I get “oh, I’m sorry”…. That makes me crazy!!! What are you sorry for???? I am a hair dresser, and actually lost a client because I asked her why she was sorry!!! She got offended???? Realllly ???? I pray for grace all the time!! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful son with us, he makes me smile almost daily !!!!

  55. Hi Rick,
    First of all I want to say: Thank you for the kind and loving response to a negative comment you received. I’m sorry that your post was initially misinterpreted by someone, but it is not very often that I find parents of a child with a disability who are not outraged, angry and resentful for a negative or inappropriate comment.
    It is hard for many people to know what to say and there are even more people who do not have a relative or a friend or have gone to school with a child with a disability and therefore, are really at a loss for words and have no idea of what they should expect from the children or from their families.
    That is OUR mission as parents (part of our mission). Every time my daughter (with DS) participates in a sport, hangs out at the local beach or the park, we go food shopping, or her presence in an inclusive classroom, she is teaching others that people with disabilities are as valuable and “special” as everyone else.
    There are so many myths and misconceptions about people or children with disabilities. With patience, love and just doing what we do, we can teach others and disabuse them of some of them.
    What I do when someone uses the R word is to tell them in a friendly and casual way that “you know, it is no longer appropriate to use the word Retarded. The term is developmental delay or cognitive delay. The word has even been removed from legislation”, and tell them where to find this information.
    Another thing that gets to me is when people mention the disability first and then the person as in “down’s child”. But I agree with you that the majority of people have no idea what they are saying and they don’t really understand how hurtful it may be to others. So you can just explain why it is so important to always have the person first and then the disability and that who we are is not defined by a disability, the same that we are not defined by the color of our skin or our ethnicity.
    So thanks again!

  56. The Word of God also says that He is no respecter of persons and that children are a blessing from the Lord. All children. So I agree are children are all special and so are the people raising them that are doing their best for them.
    blessings and good thought provoking post.

  57. love this quote from a previous post: “God doesn’t call the prepared, He prepares the called.” We all have callings in this life. I wish the world could see not just how beautiful these babies are but also how they can change us for the better.

  58. Agreed! I am living in India fostering 7 kids with special needs whose birth parents all abandoned them, so I have always struggled with this quote!

  59. Anna the Flutist says:

    I’m not the fastest runner and it’s hard for me to find groups. However, I’m always happy to work by myself and I can play the flute pretty well, considering that I have only played for a year. I’m autistic and God blessed me with it for a reason. Some parts are curses, but I believe that God’s plan involve those too.

  60. Florence Montierth says:

    Still love reading your blog, just wished I had more time o do it! I’ll be honest and tell you this phrase has always annoyed me a little I I hear it a lot now that we have Eli but I thought on it and realized a truth or two. I think what makes us special is that through having a child with DS we learn more about God and his nature. Everyone has challenges and when we are humble and seek His grace He makes us able to the task. This can be as obvious as having a child with DS, to a person suffering from the affects of abuse, to dealing with addictions or any challenge. It is in the process we see God and through it we are changed to become more and greater than what we were. That is what makes us special – all of us. I know having Eli has taught me love, patience, joy in simple things…. So much I cannot list. In the end my challenges are really gifts if I let Him teach me.

  61. i love how simply you put this. i have just received a prenatal diagnosis of ds for our little girl, our second child and we are slowly but surely coming to understand what ours and her future will look like. i am deeply appreciative of everything you’ve shared about your lives and your son! it has truly helped me to find the excitement and hope again in this pregnancy! i have already been told this statement by a few of the people we have told, and i always had an adverse reaction to it, but couldn’t place my finger on why! now it’s clear! Thanks for a beautiful explaination!

  62. Thank you for this post. I think this phrase is okay, though it is whack, unless the person saying it wants to imply that raising a child with special needs is not in itself as rewarding as raising any other child. Which is double whack.

  63. Kacie Rodriguez says:

    I really agree with this!!! My first child is “normal” to most people and my 2nd has Down syndrome. I look back an remember being told that our daughter might have d.s I was so scared for my son not for me or my husband I went round an round in my head about abortion I’m sooo glad I didn’t get one. I don’t think I’m a special parent or special in any way but I do believe God only gives us what we can handle. I was weak when my daughter was born an was told she looked d.s but now I’m strong than ever. At first I didn’t tAlk to no one while she was in the NICU but now I want to give the world my views an how she is no different. She may be delay in some areas which is fine cause we will meet them sooner or later :)
    But I god only gives us what we can handle at first I wasn’t strong enough but he got thru it an now watch out cause nothing will stop us!

  64. Lisa Granados says:

    This has always bothered me, too, especially with the abortion thing. Of course, the saying children are a gift from God bothers me in the same way. Why would God give this “gift” to people who are going to abort it, abuse it, or neglect it? Some even give this “gift” away and are praised for making the unselfish choice. Then we have the people who want this “gift” more than anything but have to turn to other means to get it. I truly have to wonder how God decides who gets this “gift” and who doesn’t. Maybe He is testing us to see how we will treat His “gift”? I’m sorry I’m going off the topic here.

    I don’t know that we were special parents before but I think having Stacia in our lives has made us special now. They say that children who have a sibling or a classmate with special needs tend to be more compassionate and sympathetic toward others as they grow up. Perhaps our children are put in our lives not only for us but also for those they are going to be around as they grow. God has a purpose for our lives and our kids are here to help fulfill that purpose. That’s what I think.

    Love your website and Facebook page!

  65. Gracie, our child with Down Syndrome, is our only child.
    For me to hear “God gives these children to special parents” was most encouraging in the first year of adjusting to her having her challenges.
    The remark always came to me from friends here who, were compassionate and knew me. I still welcome the comment: my daughter being close to 21.
    They knew that despite my being extremely depressed, that I would be the person, along with my husband, who would move heaven and earth to live up to the act of being loving and learning parents to the angel that no doubt God sent to us.
    My husband and I always say: It is not we who will teach her, but it will be she who teaches us how to get to heaven….
    Veronica

  66. Thank you for this post. I often have to bite my tongue with comments I hear. Like the one you speak of in your post, as well as, She looks like she may have a mild case of Down Syndrome. I try to handle these situations with grace. But what really seems to get me is when you are in a hospital and the nurses use the “R” word in conversation with each other. Or when people ask me “Is she Downs?” I try my best to keep my cool. I have pulled a nurse aside and asked her politely not use the “R” word because it is offensive while she is in my daughters room. And when asked Is she Downs I respond Yes Rachel has Down Syndrome. When she was born My room was the one with the Downs Baby. And to me she has always been just Rachel. Thank you for this. I will share it on Rachels Page.

  67. Rick, my response to that statement is always this: “well, I don’t know about that. If God really looks down and chooses who gets which baby, I have the feeling that he looked down at me and said ‘Now THERE is a woman that needs to learn some patience! Have I got the baby for her…..’ If I’m special in any way, it’s because my son taught ME how to be special!” Jimmy (22) is dual diagnosed with Ds and autism, and has two sisters (24 and 21). All three of them are amazing young people that I’m incredibly proud of!

  68. I would like to , first of all commend you on such an excellent article.
    I believe being a parent , or grandparent a is special, indeed. I commend you, as well as your wife, on your web page. Noah is such a precious, beautiful child. Thank you for sharing him with us. His smile lights up my life, he is so happy, you can see it in his tiny face. I personally think ” special children “, is every child, they are all blessings . Noah is America’s sweetheart. I can see Noah succeeding in his life, he will be a leader , After reading Noah’s page, I have also saw so many stories about other wonderful stories of special needs people, who are now going to collegue, running for Miss America, and so on ~ awesome!!!! I commend them, as well as parents, such as yourself and your wife, and others as well, who teach their children to reach for and achieve their dreams. I have also realized children with Downs syndrome are so affectionite, they are “huggers” and have smiles that can light up the world. Thank you, for enlightening everyone about DS, and know also, you, dad, are opening doors, not only for understanding, but showing the world, how truely special and amazing all children are. You are teaching the world , that all children , deserve acceptance. You are not only a hero in Noah’s eyes~ but he, as well as you, are in America’s eyes as well . <3

  69. Cheryl Lund says:

    Rick, I believe that all children are special and unique in their own way. I also believe that God will never give us anything we can’t handle. I believe God gives certain “gifts” or certain “children” to the ones he thinks would do what they have to do. I have a son who was born with a rare syndrome and I was told he wouldn’t amount to much past the age of 6. We also were told that we should put him in an institution. That just blew me away,that a doctor would say that. My son was diagnosed with Rubinstein/Taybi and peter’s syndrome. The 1st is a chromosome mismatch and causes skeletal problems and certain deformities,very noticable at birth. The 2nd is he’s blind in his left eye. It was tough raising this little boy but we kept him at home and now he is living in a group home,in a wheelchair and non-verbal. He is the light of my life, through everything,every obstacle he came through. My husband at the time could not handle taking care of his 1st born with all these problems. We were divorced in 2008,my son was 19. He is 25 now and is very content and always learning. He communicates by sign language and gestures. Some times I feel weary and wonder “why”me. Then i remember that God is in the mix of things. I am a born again Christian and I know i must be “special” to God for him to give us this creation of his. I also believe my daughter is special because she is brilliant and is helping me take care of my son. In a way, we all are special,we just have to believe it and whatever God puts in your path, make it work out for the best. It will always be a hard road ahead but I believe God is with us on this journey. God bless you all! Remember,God entrusts us with these little lives.

  70. Thank you for your article and comments….. I think you’re right that all parents have the opportunity of being “special” parents to their children by doing the right things and teaching and helping their child learn to be a responsible and contributing adult. Also, I do believe that any child, who has any type of special need does require more time and energy from a parent than a child, who is more ‘normal’ in development. I believe that raising a special needs child gives added opportunities for the parent(s) to ask for God’s help, patience, stamina, understanding and wisdom in parenting. It is also an opportunity to try and educate others in your sphere of influence to be more knowledgeable and understanding of any special need. It is a character building opportunity for all and there are good and bad days like any and all parents would experience. There is nothing I would change about my son except for his benefit. He is truly the one that teaches me grace, humility and understanding. Blessings to all people privileged to be called mom or dad.

  71. hmmm. Lot’s of food for thought in the article & the comments. I am 63 years old and I have a Down’s brother who is 50. in 1963, the practice was to leave the baby in a nursing home and they would die – of lack of love. I remember once asking my mother what she thought when Dan was born, and her reply was “Well, first I prayed that he would live”. After Dan’s birth, the rest of us (4 children) were pretty much neglected, as Dan needed open heart surgery (twice) and he was kind of clumsy, and broke his kneecap a couple times, and got pneumonia at the slightest change in the weather…. (sigh!). BUT, Mom was instrumental, along with a bunch of other Moms she met who also had Down’s kids, in making these kids part of normal life. She mainstreamed Dan into highschool, along with other Down’s kids in the area, where the football team “adopted” them – kinda like “little brothers”. ;-))) He went to work- a Sheltered Workshop- daily until Dad and then Mom passed away, when he went to live with my baby sister, and he is still going to work every day.

    I don’t think of our family as “special”. We did what we had to do. Yes, there are scars where we each were damaged when Mom really neglected us 4 older kids, but Dan just needed the attention, and none of us would have it any other way.

    I think there’s a difference if your family regards Life as Important, or if you don’t. I would hate to think that Life respecting families are “special”. That implies that they are not among the norm. However, the trials experienced & damages done to families (not on purpose, just by living) with Down’s kids DO make them different from everyone who just goes along with normal kids with normal problems. Maybe that IS “special”.
    Susan Lee

  72. Another great article. Thanks for writing it. I have run into so many people that didn’t know what to say, but what was said most always was kind. My favorite was from an older lady. I remember this so clearly because I was shopping with my infant son and feeling so alone, just walking the store really. She walked up to me and smiled and coo’d at Brisk for a sec. Then she said you have an angel from heaven, you are blessed. She smiled, patted my arm and walked away. I felt the loneliness leave me. I will never forget her. :)

    So maybe it wasn’t politically correct – typical parents are blessed too. All I know it was what I needed to hear at that moment. Special needs parents have a lot on their minds and hearts. Loneliness, fear, isolation, uncertainty. Typical parents do not go through the same kind of “moments” as those of special needs children. It’s a fact. (Not trying to step on toes because I believe every parent has been blessed for all children are a gift from God.) That’s why when I see a Mom with a special needs child, I go out of my way to speak to her. Just speak. A warm hello and a smile, a sweet word about the baby – it can go a long way and mean so much.

    I heard from the beginning that if I talk about my son as if he were any other boy, not a “special” boy, people would open up more. And it’s true. I’ve seen the difference. And I think our attitude toward our own child is what can put people at ease. (That being said though, I know every child is different and as far as disabilities go, I think I have it easy in dealing with just Down syndrome and autism.)

    But when I talk about my son, him having Down syndrome is the last thing I mention, if I even mention it at all. :)

  73. Jane Lellman says:

    Very well said. Thank you Rick for putting so much thought into this!

  74. Your family is the most Special in my opinion, you and your wife are an awesome team and Noah is the greatest! People who take another’s status update personally are WHACK! Keep up the great work you all have been doing and will continue to do, I thank you both for sharing with us I look forward to your posts everyday. God bless you.

  75. Love this post! We really got tired of hearing that phrase when our Bre was born 18 years ago. I think over the years we have come to feel that God gives special kids to parents to make the parents feel special!

  76. Christine Hutchinson says:

    Yup….Agreed. TOTALLY WACK. “special parents” wouldn’t give up their babies at birth because they were born with down syndrome or other “issues”. Don’t know what I mean? see here>>> http://reecesrainbow.org/ <<<<< Many countries don't support families who want to keep their babies but this site always pulls my heart strings.

  77. Indeed you are special because you are made by God.. you are also special because of the faith and white heart I touched in you. I am indeed touched by the kindness, gratefulness, love you carry and the sense you make.
    I agree with you, the statement of “God Only Give Special Kids To Special Parents?” is not true.. you scientifically proved that and through evidence…
    last word.. please allow me to tell you I believe and regardless of the saying you discussed in the blog.. you are really special “good’ person because of the way you think and the way you see thing

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