As we learn more details regarding the Australian parents who left a twin with Down syndrome with a surrogate mother in Thailand, the story goes from bad to worse. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Washington Post:
David Farnell, who has three children from a previous relationship, said the problems began when they found out before the twins’ birth in December that the boy would have Down syndrome. The couple was angry that the surrogacy agency had not conducted tests earlier that could have detected the condition, because by the time they found out, it was too late in the pregnancy to abort the fetus. Had they known earlier, they probably would have terminated the pregnancy, David Farnell said.
“I don’t think any parent wants a son with a disability,” he said. “Parents want their children to be healthy and happy.”
They expected the surrogacy agency to give them a refund and find a solution. That’s when the still-pregnant Pattaramon offered to keep Gammy, Farnell said.
Let’s get something straight: there is a significant difference between wanting your child to be disabled and wanting a child with a disability. My wife and I never wanted our son, Sean, to be disabled. Nevertheless, disabled or not, we love him. The fact that he has Down syndrome has no bearing on this. We’re glad he’s our son, and we’re grateful for his life. Yes, we want our son who has a disability.
Indeed, parents do want their children to be healthy and happy. Farnell at least got something right. But regardless of their level of health and happiness, they are still our children. They are also children of God, beloved creations in the divine image. People with disabilities matter as much as anyone else, and it’s a tragedy that people like Farnell fail to see this.
One thought on ““I don’t think any parent wants a son with a disability,” and other ridiculous things people say.”
His implication that children with disabilities cannot be healthy and happy is sickening. Does that mean that the “normal” (whatever he may define that as) child who is in a tragic accident and left disabled in any way would now no longer be healthy and happy? Is it the child’s responsibility to provide a pain-free parenting experience for the parent? Or the parent’s responsibility to love the child unconditionally?
Seeing a child’s disability doesn’t make you love them any less. But it can cause us to advocate for them and for change in the system. “Disabilities” come in a lot of different shapes, sizes, ages and colors. There is no “box” and there is no excuse to “dis” the disabled. The only difference between “normal” and them is someone has labeled them adding three little letters to the perception of “able”. You’re not born being able to perform tasks, think wisely or speak clearly. You become able. Our labels cause us to wear blinders and not see the ability that those born different have achieved. It’s all relative to our beginnings, I think. Maybe I’m wrong since I’ve not personally raised a child as special as Sean.
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