Friday, November 12, 2010

Changing the World

Dearest Lily,

I think I might ask Daddy to write you letters more often...your blog received over 1,300 visits yesterday! Daddy came home and read all the kind comments people left for him. He was laughing when I teased him that he hijacked our blog, but I think he was secretly touched:)

Have I told you lately how much I love you? Seriously, Lils, you're the light of my life.
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And more than anything, when people come here to read about you, I hope they see how truly wonderful you are...how happy we are that you came into our lives, and how thankful and blessed we feel to be your parents.


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Sure, there are days when we struggle. But more and more I'm realizing those struggles are a matter of perspective. Your Auntie Kris and I were talking about this the other day. She and I are always get into these really deep conversations about life. So we were talking about what a great future you have. How loved you are by all of us, and how you will never be without friends in life.

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Auntie Kris's grandparents had a daughter over 50 years ago, who was mentally disabled. As a result, she was put in a mental institution here in Oregon. It was just the thing parents did 50 years ago.

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I had another friend tell me that she visited that institution in college. The rooms were filled with people of varying degrees of mental illness and mental deficiency....adults, children...and babies.


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I looked up Fairview on Wikipedia, and this is what I found:

The Fairview Training Center was a state-run facility for people with developmental disabilities in Salem, Oregon, United States. Fairview was established in 1907 as the State Institution for the Feeble-Minded. The hospital opened on December 1, 1908 with 39 patients transferred from the Oregon State Insane Asylum.[2] Before its closure in 2000, Fairview was administered by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).

My friend told me that on this "tour", she noticed a toddler strapped into a highchair, amoungst all the other children and adults. The chairs lined the walls. And as she looked at this little almond-eyed baby- eyes like yours, darling Lily- the tour guide pointed to the baby and said "That is a Mongoloid Idiot."

My heart still hurts to think of that little baby.

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I also read this in an article about Fairview:

Conditions could be horrific..... Residents were sometimes restrained in leather cuffs or straitjackets, overly sedated, isolated for long periods of time, and in many cases, sterilized. Many had little or no contact with their families.

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But do you want to know something wonderful, Lily? Just as I was writing those words about that institution, I noticed that someone from California was coming here to read the letter Daddy wrote to you last night. This visitor was from Fairfield, California. So as I was typing "Fairview" into google, I saw that visitor, and accidentally typed in Fairfield instead. And I realized- isn't it a miracle how far we've come? Because Fairview was closed in March, 2000. And now the practice of hiding our children away, or sending them off to an institution, is almost unheard of in the United States.



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And today, over 1,300 people from all over the world came here to see you...



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...people from Oregon, California, New Mexico, New York, Kansas, Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arizona, Hawaii, Washington, Vermont, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee, Georgia, Montana, Michigan, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Indiana, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Missouri.

And since your birth they've come here to see you from all over the world as well....


...visitors from Canada, Australia, India, Thailand, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Hungary, New Zealand, Italy, France, South Africa, the Netherlands, Russia, Honduras, Ukraine, Israel, the Philippines, Norway, Sweden, Romania, Ireland, Pakistan, Belgium, Japan, Poland, Turkey, Greece, Belize, Barbados, Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Nigeria, Egypt, French Guiana, Vietnam, Cambodia, Tanzania, Serbia, Malaysia, Greenland, Slovenia, Kenya, Guam and Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Spain, Bosnia, Austria, Cyprus, the Cayman Islands, Argentina and Costa Rica.


They've come from all corners of the globe to see a little girl with almond eyes...



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...and they came with love in their hearts, not pity or fear or malice. And they left words of kindness and compassion and praise and love..




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...and now words like "Mongoloid Idiot" and places like Fairview are just things of the past.



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When I look at how far we've come, it gives me hope for the future. Hope for your future.

And if our little place here can help change people's minds...one little visit at a time...


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Then I'm a happy Mama.


Thank You, GOD, for my Lilybird....



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...and thank you, Lily, for opening my eyes to a miracle.








Love always,

Mama oxox

11 comments:

Ashley said...

Beautiful pictures! And I am so glad that so many people from all over the world love Lily(even though I'm lovin' her the most here from California ;) jk! But I do love that little girl! And I love Abbi's words <3

fckopp said...

I thought WOW Lils has lots of hair than I realized it was the plant in the background in some of the pictures. Silly Grammi

My goodness all those people all around the world have come to know Lilybell and perhaps a lot of other babies with ds. It might possibly change their way of taking care of their babies with ds. Let's pray this is the case.

I like going to other blogs that are referred to in your blog. Those babies and toddlers are so beautiful I just want to reach inot my laptop and hug each one of them. Such wonderful personalities because they are reflecting the love of their parents, grammi's, papa's, siblings, aunts and uncles. Praise God we have come a long way away from being afraid and creating loneliness.

nicole said...

If only we would listen to children with such wisdom like Abbi more often, the world would change. Their innocent souls just seem to "get it".

Jenny said...

Its really painful to read about how our children and others like them were treated in the past. It just turns my stomach and makes me incredibly sad. I am so greatful Russell was born at this time, our path is easier than those who walked it before us. And our children are celebrated now and seen for the wonderful amazing people they are!
Beautiful pictures Patti...as always :)

Danielle said...

made me cry. yet again. of course I can't help but think of Jen. They told my mom to put her in an institution. breaks my heart. simply breaks it. what would we do w/o Jen?!?! We are who we are as afamily today because of her! I love you guys! Thanks for baring your hearts on here.

Rochelle said...

Awesome post!

Ashley said...

Patti-Do you mind if I share that video of Abbi on my blog?

Elissa said...

Love your Abbi, Patti. Down Syndrome is a really cool thing to have!

teal915 said...

Hey Patti, I have a question I want to ask you, but don't want to leave it on here. It's just a comparing notes kind of question and Lily is still little so it's probably fresh on your mind. Can you email me at teal915@yahoo.com Thanks.

Chris said...

teal915, can we all email you? I have lots of things to say, and share..funny videos...Just kidding.

DianeSS said...

Thanks for sharing your letters to Lily the photos of her. She truly is a precious daughter of God and so beautiful!