Julie McConnel was prepared to embark on a brand-new chapter of her life once she remarried. She had three children from her first marriage, and when she and her second husband, Dan, produced a boy, they decided to try for a daughter. She already had three children from her previous marriage.
Despite their best attempts, Julie was once again shown that life is fraught with the possibility of each and every outcome. She undoubtedly became pregnant… with identical twins.
Now, the likelihood of a woman having a child with Down syndrome increases to one in one hundred after she reaches the age of 40, so Julie and Dan knew they would obtain all the necessary exams before having children. They eventually discovered that both of her twin sons, who were born prematurely, would be affected by the illness.
Julie was 45 years old and concerned that she may not be able to adequately care for her two children, who had special needs. Instead, she and Dan used the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network to locate a family interested in adopting the twins with Down syndrome.
Julie and Dan finally felt comfortable placing their boys with another family. Still, they procrastinated completing the paperwork that would have made the adoption permanent.
She said that since “we wanted to do our homework”, they had contacted the local Down syndrome organisation.
“Since they were enjoying a picnic, we decided to join them. We were able to talk to several wonderful families who shared stories with us about their life.
There, the parents had the epiphany that they were preventing the expansion of their family out of fear. That fear was the driving force behind it.
“Regardless of the circumstances, you adore your children.”
“When we eventually determined that we weren’t going to allow our fear stop us, it was an obvious decision as to what we should do,” Julie stated.
They decided to retain both of their kids while they were in their third trimester of pregnancy. Both Milo and Charlie were perfectly healthy and happy when they were born, and today Julie and Dan cannot fathom what their life would be like if they did not have their children in them.
“When I first saw them, my heart did a backflip out of my chest. I was really smitten,” Julie stated. It isn’t easy to picture life without them, but if we decided to get rid of them, I suppose I’d miss them every day.
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