When I was pregnant with Angela, although I had 16 ultrasounds due to many complications, we didn't know she had Down syndrome until she was born. Over the years, whenever a family who was expecting a baby with DS contacted me, I would refer them to friends who had themselves experienced a prenatal diagnosis and all the emotions that go with it. Although our kids are born with the same syndrome, getting a prenatal diagnosis is a very different emotional experience from finding out at birth.
Of course, with Axel he was chosen for two reasons. First because he had DS, and second because we knew he would fit well in our family. We CHOSE Down syndrome.
And now here we are. We have gone from deciding weather or not to get pregnant...or in this case adopt again...and we have gone through the stages of pregnancy in the form of paper documents. When we committed to L, it was like touring the birthing center for the first time. When I toured the hospital while pregnant with my second and third babies it suddenly hit me. "OMG I'm having another baby!" The memory of the pain of childbirth and those first sleepless nights came flooding back to me. Committing to L, and knowing it was really happening brought back the memories of those first few days with Axel; struggling through the language barrier, the shock for him at having a whole new set of expectations put upon him by a woman he couldn't understand, me learning his signals for hungry, thirsty...or sad.
But this adoption has a new component. The "prenatal diagnosis". We know that L has Down syndrome, but we really don't know anything else. We don't know where his functioning level is, and we still don't know what he looks like. Everything will be a surprise the day I finally meet him.
But we do know this: With L, we chose LIFE. No matter what he looks like or what his needs may be, we have chosen HIM. We have chosen to bring him into our family and love him as one of our own. He deserves nothing less than that. God Himself knows best the child who best suits our family, and we trust HIM to orchestrate it all. Just like He knew Angela and Axel before they were a glimmer in our eyes, so too does he know L.
In a few days I will go into labor (the long plane rides to get there! LOL) The hard labor stage of pushing will begin when I sit down to a table-full of officials to go over L's history and medical reports. Then I will make one last mighty push (travel to where L is located) he will be placed on my belly for me to see and touch for the very first time. I won't be shocked by his diagnosis. I've known for months that he has DS. Still, we chose to give him life.