(NB – written a few weeks ago now)

Today, I went to a stay and play for Down Syndrome kids to meet the organiser, to see if I could be a volunteer. I know that might seem as though it’s come totally out of nowhere, and to most of the people who know me, it will have done! But I have been thinking about it for a few years now, and feel like I have a real heart for kids with Down Syndrome. I always have felt like that actually, now I think about it. Over the years, it’s just a feeling that’s got stronger and stronger, as I’ve seen documentaries on TV that told me that 100% of the detected Downs pregnancies in Iceland were aborted in 2015, as I’ve had more experience with people with Down Syndrome, seen how they live, how they interact, and since learning that in the adoption process there is an option to tick a box labelled ‘would you consider adopting a child with Down syndrome?’ I want to be the person who answers ‘yes’ to that question. I want to get up and join in with the lady who got up in the middle of a choir concert to dance, right in front of the whole audience. She was so free and happy, so unencumbered by self-consciousness, and I felt so sad that in some parts of the world, by some people in my own country, people like her are thought of as lesser members of society, a non-viable foetus, and much worse I’m sure.

The faces of the children I saw today filled my whole being with joy. They were all so beautiful, permanently smiley or else inquisitive, playing just like normal. I don’t know what I expected, some underlying sadness perhaps, but there was none. Just individual personalities shining through. One little girl obviously had a cheeky side and was enjoying running out of the room whenever the door was opened, then hopped into someone else’s buggy and resolutely sat there refusing to get out to play, all the time grinning, and I’m sure, driving her mum up the wall (just like any other nearly 3 year old!). I had a tea party with a little boy, who drank his tea straight out of the teapot, and another boy popped an apple in his cup and made ‘apple tea’.

I had to leave after only 30 minutes to get back to Teddy Bear and Archie Bear, but I just wanted to stay and play and get to know all those bright faces. I’m going to go along on a Saturday when I can, when they’re running activities for slightly older kids, 4-9yrs and 10-12yrs, as they have a greater need for volunteers on Saturdays and I have more time to give at the weekends. I hope I’ll get along on a Friday every so often though, to see those beautiful babies and toddlers again and hear their parents’ stories. I am even more convinced than ever that God wants me to help kids with Down Syndrome, to be involved in some way. I’d love to adopt in the future when I’m completely recovered and when we have another bedroom (or two!), and would make sure we put a big tick in that YES box.