Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about fate, and its gifts. When Ellie was born, and even still, many people have told us that children with special needs are given to certain parents, parents who can handle their needs. Phrased to speculate that God gives certain children to certain parents, knowing that these parents will be strong enough to deal with whatever challenges come from these special needs. While I truly appreciate the notion that God considers Travis and I amazing parents, recently I don’t know if I agree with this mindset. Mostly because I see it a little differently. There is no doubt in my mind that Ellie was given specifically to us, but I believe, she was our gift. For it is what she is doing for us. I think about parents of children with Down Syndrome and I see them doing wonderful things, because of their child. They are speaking out, they are writing books, they are changing the world, all through the inspiration their child gives them every second of every day. The intangible offerings we receive from Ellie make me believe that we must have done something right to deserve her in our lives. Because, without the ability to know before she was born, it was us that needed her. Not her that needed us. Throughout her life so far she has taught me strength and perseverance, not to judge based on limitations written in textbooks, that a simple smile can turn a person’s day around, and that the physical build of a heart does not dictate its power to love. I know that throughout her life, we will continue to grow in ways we never would have expected because of her. An article has been circulating around the internet written by a woman who chose to abort her child upon being told the likelihood the child would have Down Syndrome. Although I don’t believe in abortion for myself, I cannot judge a family for a very difficult decision. However, in this circumstance, it was the rationalization the mother used in her article that is getting attention. She wrote the article almost commending herself for making a sacrifice for her unborn child. That by aborting this child, she was saving it from a life of hardship. Here is where I have to speak up. Who can measure a life in such a way. To say that Ellie’s life has less value than a typical child because it may be harder, because there may be certain things she will not be able to do, because she may have more doctor’s appointments, because she may be a little more dependent on other people for a little longer than a typical kid, is more than unfair, it is wrong. It is wrong in so many ways. The value of a life is not so limiting, not so confined. I cannot stand in this woman’s shoes, but maybe it was her own life she was thinking of. And to think, God was giving her a gift that she will never be able to experience. The gift of learning that the value of a life should be measured with smiles and laughter, and kindness and compassion, not the ability to have a high paying job and a fancy car. Learning the true value of this life through our child, is the greatest thing of all, and I’m pretty blessed that God felt we deserved such a gift.