Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
July 19, 1974     Arkansas Catholic
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July 19, 1974

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THE GUARDIAN, JULY 19, 1974 PAGE 5 KNOW YOUR FAITH Sponsored By Arkansas State Council Knights of Columbus Eo y[ ity,J.. ..... L r'VONNE, a Downs syndrome {mongoloid) child is Lrdfaccording to her teachers.., one of the best ermotionally adjusted...and they find retardation ;rifficult to detect.'" Yvonne, 5, is the daughterof the Uthor, Mrs. Angela Schreiber, and is shown F-8leaning up at a Montessori school. F siSt .Sk ,f :af Forest Heights Shopping Center Fat " JEWELERS I DIAMONDS h'B".TOy C-enter ] , I WATC.n -- jm'e.k, TEXCLUSIVE TOYS" I I w.,,h ,..,.., .. n.e 663-8383 - 5918 "R'" I I Cantrell & Grant - 666-6651  I Heights Shopping Center ,, KAVANAUGH PHARMACY * FREE DELIVERY * 01 Phone Kavanaugh 664- 3844 "00RDERS L MODEL MARKET --0oO-- "S 8911 AVANAUGH 5608 "R" St. - 666-2628 Little Rock, Arkansas LARGE SELECTION OF SILK AND PARCHMENT SHADES Large Variety of Quality NAME BRAND LAMPS "Bring Your Lamp In for a Fitting" - the Infants and Children's ri00ll00i00hur ellnn , READY-TO-WEAR S McCain Mall and .5701 Kavanaugh A Mongoloid Child A Mother Describes Her Reaction to the News. By Angela M. Schreiber WHEN I WENT into the delivery room for the birth of my sixth child, I was full of joy and anticipation. For the first time, my husband was with me to share in birth. When we heard our baby cry and saw her tiny, perfect little body, we knew we were blessed once more. She was so beautiful! The children were waiting anxiously and we could hardly wait to phone them. BUT 12 HOURS later, my happiness vanished when the pediatrician dropped by and said casually, "You know, your baby has Downs syndrome." A cold chill went through me and I asked, "What is Downs syndrome?" He replied, "It's a nice name for mongolism. Her mental development won't go beyond age seven - and I don't mean a bright seven. I'll bring com- mitment papers so you and your husband can sign tomorrow morning. We can get her into Rosewood (an institution for the mentally retarded). He waited a moment. I could not speak. He went on, "For everyone concerned; this is the best decision. A child like this is just too hard on the whole family. You'll only develop a useless attachement." He walked to the door, then turned and said, "I'd suggest immediate Baptism. She may have a secondary con- dition -- a lot of these children do. If you're lucky, she won't make it through the first year." "FOR GOD'S SAKE, baptize her!" I tried to stay calm as I said, "I wouldn't think of an institution. I'll take her home and .see how she is for myself!" Then I kept hearing "mongoloid, mongoloid, mongoloid" echo over and over in my brain and I started screaming. Sedatives helped but I could not stop crying.I experienced deep depression -- I, who had no acquaintance with depression other than reading about it. But we came to know one another well. AT FEEDING.. time, the nurse asked timidly, "You don't want your baby do you?" I shouted angrily, "Of course I want her!" I unwrapped her and examined every inch. She was beautiful-- then I held her up and she lifted her head! The doctor said she wouldn't. "He's wrong," I told myself. But the oriental slant to her eyes and sluggishness in nursing strengthened my fear. AFTER THEY took her to the nursery, I looked out the win- dow - my child could never love the sunshine, the trees, the birds, nor any of God's wonderful creations. I cried bitterly. I don't know whether my tears were for my baby or for myself or for us both. I admonished God for sending such a cross -- I begged God not to let it be so -- I told Him I could not accept this child. I was hurt and angry and lost. My husband told the children about Yvonne, and when he and our teenage son and daughter came, they tried to console me. They could accept this cross. I could not. After they left, I called two close friends -- Sister Mary Heffernan and a long-time friend who had had a blue baby 18 years before. I asked Sister to pray for my baby and me and I told her exactly how I felt. I just talked to Doris -- she and her husband had faced their difficult situation sensibly. Afterwards, I felt some kind of solace. WHEN I BROUGHT my baby home the only way I could live with myself and everybody else was to ignore the diagnosis. Except for making a stronger effort to stimulate Yvonne,: I treated her as though she were normal. Everybody else automatically did the same. Things went smoothly until her one- month checkup with the pediatrician. I proudly told him she rolled from her stomach to her back. He shook his head and said sadly, "Don't expect too much. She'll probably go back rather than forward. I still think you should put her in Rosewood." My depression was back. Each after-the-doctor visit had the same effect. My husband and the children were infinitely patient and all of us prayed. When Yvonne was 14 months old, I heard about a doctor who was doing research with Downs syndrome children. We took our little girl to her immediately. The doctor examined her, shelled and said, "Even though she has Downs, she is unusual. You have a lot to hope for." WHILE I was disappointed that she confirmed the diagnosis, she gave hope. No cure was promised - no miracle -- but it was a positive step. I have always believed that if I want God to help Yvonne, I have to do my part too. One child in 600 is born with Downs. Some day there will be treatment. By being part of the research, Yvonne is helping to find answers. And maybe she will be helped in the process. After this, my feelings and attitudes didn't change dramatically, but depressions were fewer. One particularly bad day, ll-year-old Christopher looked at her, took her littlehand in his and said, "You know, Mom, I wouldn't exchange her for any When Disabled Child Born, Insight Needed . By Sister Mary Therese Harrington, S.H. A PROFOUND drama begins in a family when a disabled child is born. Great expectation, great longing, and a great hope are shattered by the news, by the awareness, that something is not right. The sudden plunge into darkness may be short- lived or take a great deal of time but coming to terms with the pain is done in the depths of struggling with the same mystery. They know that they will have to pass through hurtful, dark experiences time and again, but they also know they can do it and reach the light because they have already had some courage. Strangely enough, it is the disabled child who leads them along. What is hurtful can be for everyone's transformation. ON THE surface, this seems one's heart. The depth of the folly. To the Christian it is a way drama affects the interiority of of life. each member of the family. How does a family become Each one needs time and space to struggle with the hurt that wounds them as well as the disabled child. When all the members of a family agree to pass through this zone of pain and to come up on the other side into the dawning of a new if limited hope, they become transformed people. They enter into a new solidarity with one another. They enter into a new world where they begin to see with respect other families aware that it is experiencing a purification of its value? How does a family become aware of its expectations? How can it cope with all the hurts; those involved in relating directly with the child, and those in- volving friends, neighbors, teachers, doctors, priests and other family members? CERTAINLY the temptation to hide, to put the child apart, to pretend, to reject, will only SEE INSIGHT ON PAGE 6 baby in the wholeworld!" I knew he meant it. My son gave me the courage I lacked. Maybe that's when I started to live again. AS YVONNE GREW (there was no secondary condition), she was more and more responsive. She is very proud of each new accomplishment and so are her father and brothers and sisters. Needless to say, so am I! We treat her like a normal child. We expect her to behave and learn but we do not compare her to the other children or to those in the neighborhood either consciously or subconsciously. We focus on what she can do, and patiently work with her on things that are difficult. We love her because she is Yvonne. She's just completed three years at a Montessori school with normal children. Yvonne's speech has been the only discernable slowness. But she talks in sentences and reads simple words. According to her teachers, she is one of the best emotionally adjusted children they have ever taught and they find retar- dation difficult to detect. IN FIVE SHORT years, Yvonne has given us more than we can ever give her. Little things are more important; working together with the child we love so much has brought us closer and deepened our love for one another. How far her mental development goes seems less and less important, perhaps because her love for us is so pure, unquestioning, and gentle. Each morning, she awakes with childish delight to greet the day. Yes, she loves God's creations -- the sunshine, the rain, the flowers. Our beautiful little Yvonne is very much a part of it all. I just needed time to understand that God gave us His special blessing. 1974 NC News Service m RETREATS. 1974 The Abbey Retreat, Coury House, Subiaco, Arkansas 72865 MEN August 16 - 18 Promoted for the men of the Diocese WOMEN October 4 - 6 Womens Retreat COUPLES July 26 - 28 Couples Retreat MIXED August 2 - 4 Family Retreat October 18 - 20 Parents Week-end, Subiaco Academy November I - 3 Cursillistas of Memphis, TN SPECIAL GROUPS September 6 - 8 First Presbyterian, Fort Smith November 8 - 10 Christian Church Marriage Comm. Lab. Talequah, Okla. RELIGIOUS g PRIESTS August 6 - 12 Sisters (Open to all Sisters) PARISH September 13 - 15 September 20 - 22 September 27 - 29 October 8 - 10 October II - 13 October 25 - 27 Christ the King Parish, Little Rock Parishes of Fort Smith Good Counsel Parish, Little Rock St. Peter's Parish, Mountain Home Parishes of Hot Springs St. Joseph's Parish, Fayetteville YOUTH July 23 - 25 August 30 - Sept. I CYO, Texarkana CYO, St. Peter's Parish, Mountain Home MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER November 15 - 17 Marriage Encounter, Subiaco No. 4 OPEN DATES November 22 - 24 December 6 - 8 December 13 - 15 PRIVATE RETREATS ENCOURAGED Retreats begin Friday evening and continue until about 3:00 p.m. Sunday. Cost of Retreat is not fixed although a minimum of $22.00 ($40.00 for couples) is suggested as an offering for meals, lodging and Retreat. Retreats for Religious and Priests are arranged for the particular group.  , ite for reserv ubiaco, Arkansas 72865. Phone: 501-934-2081. I Retreat Director: The Rev. Herbert Vogelpohi, O.S.B.