October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, easily making it one of my favorite months of the year. I love talking about my sweet boy. Through many miracles we adopted our son with Down Syndrome six years ago, and while we didn’t set out initially to adopt a child with Down Syndrome, we feel so truly lucky to love Elliot.
If you are considering adopting a child with Down Syndrome, know there are many great resources out there. These just happen to be my 8 favorite:
When educating yourself and deciding whether you want to adopt a child with Down Syndrome, let me suggest two websites and organizations. An awesome Down Syndrome advocacy and education group is the National Down Syndrome Society. This is a great place to learn all about life, challenges, and joys for individuals with Down Syndrome. They also have incredible guides and educational materials. If I am looking for details about something regarding Down Syndrome, this is always my first stop.
My favorite stop in regards to advocacy is the International Down Syndrome Coalition. There is an incredible amount of information on this site. From how to participate successfully in your child’s individualized education plan (IEP) to family events, IDSC provides lots of resources and educational opportunities.
Once you have decided you want to adopt a child with Down Syndrome, there are two great organizations for you to look to for resources. Both, National Down Syndrome Adoption Network and Reece’s Rainbow work specifically with families hoping to adopt children with Down Syndrome. Both organizations are dedicated to helping families and children find each other.
Once you are adoption-ready and waiting, consider volunteering and learning more! March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day in honor of three copies of the 21st chromosome. The World Down Syndrome Day website is full of stories of self-advocacy, adorable videos, and so much more. You’ll love it.
When we adopted our son, the local Down Syndrome organization brought us a gift basket. All of the items were helpful and fun, but my favorite item was a book called Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives. I loved this book because it spoke frankly about many topics and yet was warm and embraced the loving spirit those with Down Syndrome exude. Some of the stories are hard to read, but as adoptive parents I think it is important to understand how difficult a diagnosis can be for parents.
My most recent favorite find is the podcast Down Right Awesome which is available on iTunes. This podcast is a great glimpse into the life of a family with an individual with Down Syndrome. Two dads talk about many different topics including Buddy Walks, inclusion, and potty training. It is educational and inspiring.
Lastly I would suggest looking up your local Down Syndrome organization. If you do adopt a child with Down Syndrome, these organizations will become your community. Consider volunteering at their upcoming events and spending some time with individuals with Down Syndrome. Not only will you be building relationships, but you might just meet a new best friend.