Friday, July 14, 2006

What to Say When a Friend's Baby (or Yours) is Born with Special Needs

I was surfing the net today and came accross this speech about the birth of a child with Down's Sydrome. It could really apply to a child experiencing any disability. The author Sandra Assimotos-McElwee gives permission but it is pretty long to quote here. It contains scriptures and lots of insights about how to be support of friends and how to think about a child as a person.

Here is an excerpt:

"After telling four friends of his diagnosis over the phone and in person I really didn’t like their reactions. They were getting upset and apologizing. Their "I’m sorry’s were compelling me to comfort them and tell them "It’s O.K." and I didn’t have the emotional energy at the time to continue to deal with their sadness, when I had a new baby that I loved anyway, no matter what he had and I was worried about because he was in intensive care at the time.

"Then I thought, "well if this had happened to one of my friends what would I have said?" I couldn’t retrieve from my memory files anyplace I had heard the proper response, or even the improper response. So I decided to add a note to my son’s birth announcement telling people how we wanted them to respond. It read:

"Dear Family and Friends,Sean is a very special baby, and the birth announcement can’t possibly say it all. God has made Sean special and chosen us to be his parents...we feel blessed. Sean was born with Down Syndrome. We want to give you time to adjust to the news, so you wouldn’t feel the need to have an immediate response. We hope you will feel the same as we do, we’re happy and proud. We would like you to see him as we do, a beautiful baby boy. We also want you to treat him just like any other baby---Congratulate US. We have a baby, we’re a family now. This is not a sad moment, PLEASE do not apologize, we aren’t sorry. We are still gathering information on Down Syndrome and probably won’t be able to answer any questions for a while. We would like to encourage you to call us, come to see Sean. He sleeps, eats, cries and dirties diapers, just like every other baby, he’s just got an extra chromosome."

It is really worth the time to read it.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Blogs: Amazon Blog and Parenting A Complex Child
Websites: and
Yahoo Group

No comments: