The 10%

When 9 out of 10 dentists agree on a toothpaste, we buy it.

When a funky new chair goes on 90% off, we find a spot for it.

When our gas tank is down to 9/10ths of a tank, we fill up.

Let’s face it, Target has been trying to pawn off 30% as clearance for years now, and I have stopped even browsing those racks.  But 90%?  90% gets us to move.  We act quickly to snatch up the item valued for ten times what we could now purchase it for, we know that 9/10ths gone is a tank in need of refueling, and 9 out of 10 experts is as close to a consensus that we are going to come to in most of our lives.

But this particular 90% is a statistic that has changed my life.  Our lives.  Forever.  For better.  For best.

This 90% has rocked Andy and me to the fundamentals of our faith, our family, and our sacred honor.  This 9 out of 10 has pursued me in my internet searches, and consumed my thoughts in the infrequent quiet of our long car rides, in the every day conversations with our cashier, with the moms at the preschool pick-up line.

I don’t want to break your heart, but I will, if it gets you to move.  Because it has broken me.  Us.

An estimated 90% of all children diagnosed prenatally with Down Syndrome are aborted.

Never given a chance at life.

Never given a chance at all.

When 90% of a tree frog population is killed off, fundraisers happen, environmentalists go wild, and patient local capitalists protect them through ecotourism.

When 90% of a group of people are killed for their genetic makeup, however, it is genocide.  Many people consider the only “cure” for Trisomy 21 is detecting it early enough to terminate a viable life.  It also terminates a complex, challenging, and rewarding new family.

But, the darkness of these statistics isn’t what makes us act.  It’s what breaks us.  Our faith makes us move.

So, last month, it was time we faced two choices.  We could accept how beautifully our family works as is, four healthy kids, a great home we’re affording, giving generously, sponsoring impoverished children.  We could live happily in this life as a given, living in the gift.  Or we could rock the boat and trust that the One who made all this possible can give us enough to love one more.

One of the 10%.

One of the children whose mother saw something, somewhere that made her say “not me, but someone.”

We want to be the someone.

We are opening our homes and our finances up to be considered by just such a remarkable woman.  For one such remarkable child.  For one such stubborn child.  For one such loving child who may hold the potential to see the world through God’s eyes.  For one child who might introduce us to the NICU, who might require surgery, who might need physical therapy, but who will, obviously, have the benefit of his mother’s breastmilk.

We are laying the groundwork (ok, paperwork) to become the parents of five children, one of whom will not start life from our DNA or grow in my body.  One who will start life in our hearts.

One who will rock an extra chromosome.

One who may not even be born yet.

One who will knock us into the deep end.

It’s ok, we’re strong swimmers.

And without us, without families waiting in line for these children, the next one just might go into the deep end alone.

Wouldn’t you go after him, too?

A year ago, there were three things I thought were for someone more inspired, less mediocre, more brilliant, far stronger than me to aspire to.  And today, I am not sure how I could have been so wrong, because today, that person is me.

I am homeschooling.

I am running my first half-marathon on Saturday.

We are adopting a baby who has the potential to change everything.  For the best.

Hmm, that last one makes the others sound so lame.


8 thoughts on “The 10%

  1. I stumbled on this through Facebook and want to wish you the best of luck on your adoption journey. Last year we adopted the most amazing little boy who fell into another category that many people deem too difficult to consider parenting…he was exposed to large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy. In fact there was only one other family at our agency who even wanted to be considered by his first parents. So far he is healthy and happy and an absolute joy. And if, as he grows, he starts to have issues from the alcohol, we will do everything in our power to help him. Because he is a human being who deserves to loved for who he is. Because God put him on this Earth for a reason.

    • Crystal, you got that right. We are praying our baby will not suffer from problems because of him/her…not because of us. We would love to be able to parent this baby, but if we end up needing to be caretakers primarily, we’ll do that, too. We accept our biological children “as is” and we are going to give our adopted child the same. Thanks for reading!

    • Crystal, I also stumbled on this page. I just wanted to encourage on this new adventure. Twenty years ago February 17th at 10:30 A.M. I received a phone call asking me if my family would like to adopt three week old twin girls. The first response was “In the flesh,”Yes” Then I said,”But maybe I should pray and even ask my husband’.
      Well two hours and a few sandwiches for lunch later my shocked husband went to prayer(He thought he was just coming home for PBJ). A few hours after that we called and said “Yes”. The girls were deliver to our home by 6:30PM that night.
      This was the beginning of a lifetime of joy and heartache. The first month the girls were with us my husband learned to sleep sitting upright in the bed. You see Hannah was going through drug withdrawal and could not sleep laying down flat.(What a wonderful way to bond. Needless to say 20yrs Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and many other alphabet diagnoses, Years of homeschooling the same grade level.All the trials and joy I wouldn’t give it up for anything.Respond if you would like a new friend to support you through the adventure. Yours, Diane

  2. Hoping your adotion goes quickly and smoothly. I am in mother of a child with Down syndrome and you made my day.

    • Joede, When the world seems to make parenting a biological child with DS a choice, it can seem like everyone thinks you’re nuts. You’re not nuts, and we want what your family has. It’s families like YOURS that make our day. Thanks for reading!

  3. Your post brought tears to my eyes as we’ve considered adopting a special needs child for a while now. We are already the parents of 4 young “healthy” children and have our hands full, but I know my heart, hands and home all have room for at least one more…maybe one that wouldn’t have a chance at life otherwise.
    Thank you for sharing your heart!

    • Thanks for commenting today, Heather. It’s a major shift to even think that there’s no difference between the families that do something so crazy and the families who don’t. I am just wrapping my head around it now. Prayers for when the timing is right for you all. Thanks for reading. Happy to have you on board!

  4. Pingback: First Things First « To Call You Mine: Our Adoption Story

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