Supply And Demand: More Families Want To Adopt Children With Down
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 25, 2005
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI--Here's something few would have dreamed of twenty years ago: Waiting lists for families who want to adopt babies with Down syndrome.
According to a story in Wednesday's Kansas City Star, parents across the country are practically competing for such children. The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, for example, has a waiting list with 150 couples who wait up to two years to adopt a child with Down syndrome.
Experts say there are several reasons for this demand.
One is that medical advancements have eliminated or made manageable many of the health problems that used to be associated with Down syndrome babies, such as heart problems.
"Today, the outlook for a baby with Down syndrome is much better than it was even 10 years ago," said Merlin Butler, director of the Pediatric Down Syndrome Clinic at Kansas City's Children's Mercy Hospital.
Another reason is that people with Down syndrome are now seen everywhere in the community, from public schools, work places, and even colleges, rather than being housed in institutions set apart from communities and families.
"Today, pretty much everyone knows someone with Down syndrome," said Amy Allison, executive director of the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City. "The stigma isn't there any more."
Many parents who have children with Down syndrome simply are deciding to keep them rather than give them up for adoption.
Still another reason is the fact that pre-natal screening is allowing expecting mothers to detect Down syndrome at an earlier stage of their pregnancies.
"We hear there is a 90 percent termination rate," said Allison. "There are just fewer children being born with Down syndrome."
"Down syndrome no longer an adoption deterrent" (Kansas City Star)