Demand Grows For Adopting Children With Down Syndrome
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 14, 2006
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI--A story published Sunday by the Associated Press suggested that the number of adoptions of children with disabilities is increasing because of society's growing acceptance and the international trend toward community inclusion rather than institutions.
Robin Steele said that when she and her husband started the Adoption Awareness Program 23 years ago, they helped unite three children with Down syndrome to new parents. Now she helps more than that in a week and has a waiting list of 150 families with an average wait of 6 to 12 months.
"Society as a whole is much more accepting," said David Tolleson, executive director of the National Down Syndrome Congress in Atlanta. "You are much more likely today to see people with disabilities in the media, places of worship, schools."
"Whereas in a prior generation, mothers were told when they had a baby with Down syndrome or another disability, put the child in an institution and forget about them."
Other factors contributing to the openness are improved medical treatments and early intervention that have radically increased the life expectancy of people with Down syndrome and other disabilities, the article noted.
A study published in March 2002 by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that in 1982 a person with Down syndrome in the United States could expect to live to an average age of 25. By 1997, the average life span had nearly doubled to age 49.
The researchers concluded that the emphasis on community living has lead to improved quality of life and longer life, primarily because people living with families tend to eat better and receive more attention than those in institutions.
"Adoption Of Children With Down Syndrome On Rise" (Associated Press)