Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We Plan and They Plan

I remember, that when Ricki was born, I investigated what the chances were of her ever getting married. I talked it over with friends, many of whom had a rather negative attitude. However, I always used to say "Well, I'm not ruling the possibility out…."
Today I am amazed at how presumptuous I was (and sometimes still am). I laugh at the idea that my sassy "little" 13 year old will actually listen to me at age 21 or 22 about this matter. I feel that my job is NOT to decide this for her, but to see that she gains the skills needed for whatever she chooses later in life.
However, this does not mean that I can't broach the subject. In fact I did just that a few days back. Ricki had made several comments about having kids, and I felt that some reality "enrichment" was called for. I would hate for her to suffer the trauma of having a child taken from her by social services, as the culmination to her dreams of having a child.
So I sat her down and explained that she will probably marry someone with a disability (if she can even find anyone suitable, and if she is able to live fairly independently). I also informed her that most men with Down syndrome do not become fathers.
At that point I stopped. How much can she take at one sitting?
-You will have to work hard to gain the skills needed for marriage.
-You may have a hard time finding someone suitable.
-You may not have kids.

How can I tell her that even if she does have a child, social services will take the child? Well, I guess I can wait a few years for that one.


Ettina said...

It's not a guarantee that they'll take the child. It depends on many factors - whether they get called in the first place, whether she has support from others, whether she can put on a good appearance (clean home, plenty of food, nice clothes, etc) and so on.
I think one way to bring it up is to discuss discrimination with her, and mention various discrimination issues. You could talk about cases you read about that made you angry and explain what kind of discrimination is going on there. Make it clear that this is how the world is and you *don't* think it's right. No doubt she's already noticed some kind of discrimination, that way she'll know she has an ally.

rickismom said...

Ettina, you have made some very good points. However, it is quite hard for me to believe that social services wouldn't take a child. We live in Israel, and here we are still workking on getting people to believe that couples with Down syndrome are capable of getting married.