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Mother who adopted baby with Down’s syndrome shares her inspiring story

A mother who adopted a child with Down’s syndrome has shared her inspiring story.

The anonymous mother, who adopted Harry, shared her adoption story with the Metro, as part of their ‘Adoption Month’ news coverage. 

After struggles with infertility and a miscarriage, the mum decided she wanted to adopt, and was approved to adopt a child aged three or older. 

After several months in the process, she was given Harry’s profile.

I asked specifically for a child with Down’s syndrome and the very next day, I received Harry’s details.

Harry was a dream from day one

When the mother received Harry’s details, he was just four months old. 

Despite being only approved to adopt a child aged three or over, her unique experience meant that the adoption agency made an exception and allowed her to adopt Harry.

The mum had grown up in a family where disability was not uncommon. 

To me, disability isn’t something unusual – it’s just a part of life. My little sister has Down’s syndrome and is just a few years younger than me, and I also have other disabled family members.

In July 2016, after six months of paperwork, she finally got to take him home. “Harry was a dream from day one,” she said.

My family were overjoyed when I adopted Harry.

There were challenges of course: “When he was young, he used to often be sick at night, all over the bed, due to reflux issues. Cleaning up the vomit for the millionth time is the only time I thought to myself ‘I can’t do this’ – but you just have to grin and bear it.

“That’s what being a parent is at times!

“He is so bright and super sociable. We both love being outdoors and often walk around the lake near our house or visit animals at the nearby farm.

To me, Harry is just a boy. Some days, I completely forget that he has Down’s syndrome.

I’m now looking at adopting a second child

Children born with Down’s syndrome are often hard to place.“There are so many kids out there who need a home. I would absolutely encourage people to adopt a disabled child, as they can be the hardest to place but have so much love to give.

I’m now looking at adopting a second child, perhaps one with Down’s syndrome – but I am keeping an open mind. Fingers crossed, Harry will have another sibling next year.

Scale of Down’s syndrome abortions

Sadly, this inspiring story takes place against the backdrop of 3,183 disability selective abortions across England & Wales in just 2019, with 656 of those occurring following a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome.

At the same time, a recent report revealed that pregnant mothers who refuse to abort their children with Down’s syndrome are being pressured by some medical professionals to change their decision.

One mother, whose child is now four-years-old, said medical professionals told her they could leave her baby with Down’s syndrome to die if it was struggling after birth.

Another mum recounted that even at 38 weeks pregnant she was being offered an abortion.

Right to Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said, “Unfortunately there is so much stigma surrounding Down’s syndrome and more inspiring stories like this one need to be heard. But there is hope. The High Court in London will soon hear a landmark case against the UK Government over the country’s discriminatory abortion legislation, which singles out babies with disabilities by allowing terminations right through to birth for conditions including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

“This young mum’s story is just one example of the positive impact that the Down’s syndrome and disability communities have across the United Kingdom. In 2019, 656 babies were aborted due to a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome. Every one of those lives lost represents a failure of our society to embrace those with disabilities inside and outside the womb.”

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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