Friday, September 23, 2011

The Down Syndrome Advantage

A few months back, I took a psychology class (in my slow attempt to finish college before my kids).  One of our assignments was to read a scholarly article on anything related to psychology, summarize it, and present it to the class.  I chose an article about "The Down Syndrome Advantage" and how families cope with life differently if they have a relative (child or sibling) with Down syndrome.  I didn't only choose this topic because of Darya, but because I found it intriguing that many families who have a child with DS will often adopt another child (or more!) with DS, as well, realizing that the joy they bring far outweighs any burden.  Of course, I know of many families who have children with other disabilities and I know this can pertain to them, too, but I just found this study interesting.  Instead of grouping all disabilities together, they separated DS to see if there was a difference in the way families cope than those with a different disability.  It is a very general summary of the population they encountered in the studies and there is far more research to do. Anyway, here's my short summary of the what was in the article:

The article argues that among families where a disability is present, there is an advantage when that disability is Down syndrome (DS).  In support of this thesis, research suggests that there is a distinct advantage both for mothers and for siblings while the advantage for fathers is less conclusive.  For example, mothers of children DS tend to cope better than mothers of children with other disabilities (autism, fragile X syndrome, FAS, etc.), and siblings of children with DS tend to have increased levels of empathy for individuals who are different. While there are no reported negative impacts on the siblings of children with DS, the present evidence suggests that as adults these siblings often have a more positive relationship with their brother and/or sister.  It is not understood why this advantage exists, but one suggestion is that on average, people with Down syndrome tend to display upbeat and sociable personalities.  Another view is that babies with DS are often born to women of advanced maternal age, who are more mature and experienced as mothers.  Considering the wide array of demographics and cultural differences among families, there remains much to be learned, but the present research results are encouraging.  The conclusion of this study states, “families who have offspring with this syndrome cope better than do families of individuals with other disabilities. This Down syndrome advantage seems to cut across different disability control groups, measures, ages, and respondents.”

Monday, September 19, 2011

Remember Dasha?

A while back, I posted asking for any help to see if we can help a young woman in Ukraine by the name of Dasha find her siblings here in the States.  I know it's a long shot, but I'm asking for your help again.  Here is some updated information from Alla of Bible Orphan Ministries that might help my blogger detectives:

"I found little more information.Probably it will be helpful.

Her siblings live in state Carolina. The city has name on  letter "M". She can not say, it is heavy for her on foreign language.
Also they were adopted in 2000, not in dates she said before.Dasha was small and do not remember much.

Also her sister Yana, came to Ukraine in 2008, not 2006.

Please, can you help Dasha again?I know it is not easy."

We have found an orphanage №4 in Zhitomir, where Dasha`s siblings were adopted from.This orphanage is selling now.
So, we can not find information there.

I have also emailed all the Ukraine embassies in the States and heard back from one of them who was unable to obtain the information (but some of the information was wrong so I'll try again).  I have also posted to a Ukraine adoption board online.  I have sent other emails, but all to no avail.  Any other suggestions are welcome! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Darya's First Haircut

Darya's hair was short when we came home from Ukraine last year and has slowly been growing out since.  It's been snipped a smidgen a few times before, but today I decided to take off a few inches.  It was getting so stringy looking that I couldn't stand it anymore. (In the post below, you can see her hair when we first met her, and what it looked like last week.) So, this morning as the boys were playing outside, I decided to cut her hair myself.  I put in an Elmo dvd, plopped her up in a high chair and snipped away.  I couldn't believe how still she sat, even when cutting around her face.  It looks so much healthier now!   Isn't she beautiful?

Friday, September 9, 2011

One Year Ago Today

At times it seems like time has flown by so quickly and that it can't really have been a year ago today that we first met Darya.  Other times it feels like she has always been with us.  But I am forever grateful that Darya is my daughter.  She is a lovely, sweet, beautiful girl and I am so thankful that God has blessed our family with her.  It is a privilege to be her mother!

9/9/10 introduction at the orphanage
9/9/11 in front of our home

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buddy Walk

I will be hosting the Reece's Rainbow table at the Jacksonville, FL Buddy Walk on Saturday, November 5. I will be passing out information and sharing with people about adopting children with Down syndrome.  Last year, there were over 4,000 people in attendance!  I have never been to a Buddy Walk before, so if anyone would be willing to assist me, please let me know!  There is no cost to you and I'd greatly appreciate the company and help :-)  Please email me:  Thanks!!
DSAJ Buddy Walk

p.s. It was one year ago today that we had our SDA referral appointment for Darya!!