It is a cliche that all families are not the same, even if their basic structures look similar. Some are different because of the very deliberate choices they have made.
Each year a small number of babies with Down syndrome is relinquished for adoption here in NSW, for a variety of reasons, while the great majority are raised in their birth families, with their siblings, as they would in most Western countries. At Down Syndrome NSW we work with both fostering and adopting families, providing support and information as we do for birth families.
Here are some perspectives on adoption and other family arrangements from families in the US and UK:
A new feature of the recently redesigned website of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati is a short online video, in which real families talking about what it was like for them to adopt or release a child with Down syndrome. It is a resource of their Adoption Awareness Program. Click here to view online (6.45 mins run time)
(The adoption process is different in the US from here in Australia, where there is greater involvement of government agencies. In NSW, the Department of Community Services manages adoptions, often in conjunction with non-government agencies, and a specialist team works on adoption of children with special needs.)
From UK newspaper, The Sun, a story about a remarkable woman who has adopted a large family of children with special needs, most of whom have Down syndrome. Click here to read the article about Alex Bell and her family. A Mother Like Alex, by Bernard Clark, was published by HarperTrue in the UK on 3rd November.
The Up Close column of the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette featured Donald Rothstein and his somewhat unusual family living arrangements, in yesterday's edition. Click here for the column and accompanying photographs. The Up Close column " ...... takes Journal Gazette readers ..... up close and personal with some of the unique and special individuals who make Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana a better place to live."