2/18/2006

Definite Market for Kindness

Upon reading this economist's site, I found an entry that really stood out to me regarding the increased demand to adopt children with Down Syndrome. While I would have never thought of such a "market" if you will, I was amazed to read stories of various families' willingness to raise, and nurture children with Down Syndrome. In fact one family, the Steele's, who had adopted a daughter with the disability, found the experience so enriching, that they now work to match up willing families with children who need a family, and happen to have Down Syndrome. The article highlighted the fact that such longings from families has evolved from a time when many many disabled children posessed a strong negative social stigma. In fact, things have evolved such that the Steele's said they have families on waiting lists for the opportunity to adopt children with Down Syndrome. Aside from the fact that this trend represents a more tolerant, informed, and caring society, it clearly shows that families wanting to adopt children with disabilities are making up more than a grain of sand in society, but rather comprise of a growing demographic with the need for quality information, and services regarding their choice to adopt a disabled child.

8 comments:

Ole said...

I think it would be very challenging to have a child with Down syndrome. As Diane Petersohn said in the article that Blake quoted, "It is difficult sometimes. But the good far outweighs the difficult parts." Those parents that I know of who have one or more Down syndrome children have the greatest amount of love, and I don't question why they were sent those children. I think we as parents need to strive to have this kind of love in our own families and toward all our children.

Ella said...

This article definitely shows a caring and more tolerant society. No doubt there is a huge amount of love and service required to nurture a special needs child. Despite high costs and a lifetime commitment I'm glad to see such a number of charitable individuals.

Boris said...

To tie in a more “economic” comment with this blog, it might be interesting to talk about the economic benefit of adopting a disabled child. I’m sure that the accounting benefits of taking care of a disabled child would be quite negative, but the fact that families are on waiting lists to adopt presents the argument that adopting provides positive economic benefit. It would be interesting to see the circumstances of each adopting family, and to find out what makes them so passionate about helping a child in need. These children must bring something incredible into the lives of those that they live with.

rico said...

I have been fortunate to have an aunt that is down syndrome. The life she brings to everyone around her is amazing. On the other hand, why are more and more people adopting down syndrome children? Are we living a lifestyle that is increasing the odds of having down syndrome children, or is it just gaining more media attention?

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Rico's comment for spelling errors.

Very cool.

A point that I think has been missed in all of this is that choosing (as opposed to naturally having) a child with Down's syndrome shows that compassion is a normal good. My guess is that you would find that people inclined to do this are rich along one or more dimensions: income, wealth, time, health, home size, and so on.

I really liked Boris' comment.

As to Rico's comment, Down's syndrome is associated with increased numbers of older women giving birth. But there is also the normal good aspect - people with disabilities are more likely to survive in a richer society, and we may just be observing the effects of that.

will said...

I found this article interesting but I would like to take a different spin on it. It is great that their are more people willing to adopt a child with a disability and that there is even a waiting list. On the other hand it is sad that there are so many children without a disability that need to be adopted and even sadder is the fact that it is easier and CHEAPER to adopt a biracial child than a caucasian child. I have heard the reasoning behind this is "supply and demand". I believe this is because there are more white people that are able to adopt and most couples want children that look like themselves.

Jordan said...

Dr. Tufte said:

"A point that I think has been missed in all of this is that choosing (as opposed to naturally having) a child with Down's syndrome shows that compassion is a normal good."

That's an interesting point and I think I would have to agree. As people grow in their income, it makes sense that they would be more willing to be compassionate. When income decreases, these compassionate adoptions would probably go down.

Dr. Tufte said...

I'm glad you agree - this is a very hopeful sign for us a species.