When my wife, Ellen, and I received prenatal confirmation that our second son would have Down syndrome, we were concerned but also relieved. Why? Because a previous diagnosis was more severe: that our son's condition might have been, as the doctor put it, "incompatible with life." He told us that we could terminate the pregnancy, but we chose to "do no harm" and prepare for our child's birth, come what may. Several months later, we joyously and nervously welcomed Elijah Timothy Hsu into the world.

Life with Elijah has been challenging but not unmanageable. He has had his share of doctors and therapists. But for the most part, he is a happy and healthy three-year-old who loves Blue's Clues and Signing Time DVDS, roughhousing with his older brother, saying "No!" and giving hugs.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and the public needs to know that Down syndrome is not nearly as scary as many imagine. Recent articles in both the American Journal of Medical Genetics and Prenatal Diagnosis report that more than 90 percent of pregnancies prenatally diagnosed as Down syndrome are terminated. As prenatal testing becomes normative, expectant couples may be more likely to abort babies who are not exactly what they had hoped for.

Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche communities, which bring abled and disabled people together under one roof, warns in Living Gently in a Violent World that in a few years there may be no more children with Down syndrome in France because they will have all been aborted. In China, babies with disabilities are often abandoned. Extremist groups in the Middle East have even used people with mental disabilities as unwitting suicide bombers. The church must advocate on behalf of those most vulnerable to exploitation ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Kingdom Sightings
Al Hsu is an editor at InterVarsity Press and author of The Suburban Christian, Grieving a Suicide, and Singles at the Crossroads. His column ran in 2008.
Previous Kingdom Sightings Columns:
May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Loving Where it Hurts the Most Subscriber Access Only
Bill Mallonee has been called one of the top 100 songwriters in the world, but an audience is hard to find.
Recommended
Is Suicide Unforgivable?Subscriber Access Only
Question: What is the biblical hope and comfort we can offer a suicide victim's family and friends? —name withheld
Read in English
TrendingWho’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
The age of the Internet has birthed a crisis of authority, especially for women.
Editor's PickTogether for the Gospels
Together for the Gospels: Unprecedented Unity Among Bible Translators Transforms Giving
Lessons learned from illumiNations initiative could help other causes.
Christianity Today
Surprised by Disability
hide thisOctober October

In the Magazine

October 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.