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Jemelene Wilson

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August 8, 2014
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Mother warns others that disabilities are a 'burden for you and society' | Moms

As the parent of a child with special needs, I'm offended by the notion that any person with disabilities is considered 'a burden on society.'

According to an article on MSN news, a surrogate mother from Thailand carried twins for an Australian couple. Tests showed that one of the babies was affected with Down Syndrome. The couple insisted she abort the “disabled fetus” (their words, not mine) and she refused based on religious grounds.

Further down in the piece, the 21-year-old surrogate complained as she warned other surrogates, "If the child is born with an unusual condition or if anything goes wrong, it will become a burden for you and society."

I'm a writer who has no adequate words to describe how angry and sad this makes me.

How twisted is it to believe that any human is a burden?

Here's the truth: it's the attitude that is a burden on society, not the child.

It's the idea that life is now a commodity to be traded and if the customer sees imperfection as ‘damaged’ then they try to send them back like a bad wool sweater from LLBean.

The myth that there are ‘unwanted’ children has created a culture where we value what we think we can get from each other.

We ignore the truth that life's real beauty isn't in superiority but in living a in a way that leaves a legacy of hope and love.

My daughter was born with Emanuel Syndrome (ES). Like Down Syndrome, it involves a the mutation of an extra chromosome except in Allison's case, her extra is a mix of Chromosome 11 and 22.

ES brings with it multiple medical and developmental issues. Many medical professionals believe her condition is “incompatible with life” and they have told countless families that this is the case.

This has been a giant lie.

Allison brings life and joy into every room she enters. Even during her last hospital stay, her vibrant spirit touched everyone she came in contact with.

The fact that she refused to lie down as soon as they roused her from surgery made us all know she would fight through this battle just as she has so many times in the past.

My daughter has taught countless professionals lessons for their own careers.

From education to medicine to clergy, there is a world of knowledge to be learned from a person with disabilities (not to mention from other cultures, backgrounds and beliefs).

We have got to stop treating disabilities as defects.

Human life is sacred and precious and more valuable than anyone will ever know.

Quality of life is not measured by IQ or any other ability we put value on.

Quality of life comes when we choose to treat others as more important than ourselves.

It's not about what we draw from the well of life – it's what we pour into the lives of others.

The real burden on society is the belief that we are here to take care of ourselves but not each other.

We have got to stop treating disabilities as defects.

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The News-Review Updated Sep 25, 2014 10:16PM Published Dec 23, 2014 03:48PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.