I am the oldest of 5. I was born in May 1980. My parents were married November 1979. You can figure that one out...
When I was 2, my mom had my sister Lauren. She and my dad did not bring Lauren home after she was born in the hospital.
They did not bring her home because Lauren has Down Syndrome.
Maybe I should restate that. They did not bring her home because Lauren has Down Syndrome and my mom did not want her. My dad did. Thus, the beginning of the end of their marriage.
I know most people do not remember back far into their childhood. But I can remember when Lauren was born. I remember going to the hospital to see her and my mom. They brought Lauren in and she just cried and cried. I remember going home and asking "Where's that baby?" I remember getting at least 5 Strawberry Shortcake dolls from relatives who felt so bad that I was not getting my baby sister that I had so wanted. I remember going to the Social Services office and playing with a wood child-size kitchen - I can even remember how it smelled - all while my mom discussed Lauren's adoption.
As I got older, we did not talk about Lauren very much. A year after she was born, my parents had my 2nd sister, Amanda who was followed by Zach and then 3 years after Zach, Eric was here and I was 8.
I knew that Lauren was adopted and that my grandmother (my dad's mom) would go to see her every year for her birthday. I never saw a picture or anything.
My parents never got along, for as long as I can remember. My dad finally left when I was 11. He left my mom - who did not work - and four small kids. It was at that time that my mom was saved. One of the things she had to reconcile with was Lauren. So when I was 12, we went to the local farmer's market where Lauren's adoptive parents had a store, and we got to meet our sister.
Lauren was adopted, through an open adoption - the only way my dad would agree to it - by an older Mennonite couple. Amanda and Amos. They had 5 children of their own who were my parents age - grown and out of the house. Amanda and Amos were foster parents and they had been praying for a Down Syndrome baby to adopt. And they got Lauren!
|This is myself, Lauren (on my lap), my youngest brother Eric, Amanda - Lauren's mom, and my sister Amanda.|
When Lauren was one, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. She went through three rounds of chemo (each time she lost her hair, and each time it came back a different color!) During her last bout of it, her outlook was very grim. The doctors told her mom to stay with her as they did not believe she would make it to the morning. I do not know the specifics but from what I understand her counts were very, very low, and most people do not come back from it. So Amanda, stayed with Lauren in her room and prayed over that little baby all night long.
The next morning, CHOP had some very baffled doctors. Lauren's counts were up to normal levels.
She is now 29 years old.
She still lives with Amanda and Amos. She works. She is funny. There is not much that gets by her. We see her regularly. She is a blessed lady and we are all blessed for knowing her.
A lot of people say she and I could be twins....