This is how Lily came to be: One night, when I was tucking in my daughter who has Down Syndrome, I had a flash forward. I saw my Teresa, all grown up, tucking in an elderly woman, whose loneliness was dispelled by the sweetness of Teresa's exuberant kiss on the cheek and her meticulous placement of covers around a set of frail, aching shoulders in a careful effort to fend off the chill. I felt a great joy as I realized that the old woman is the future me. I began to contemplate what might have been if my husband and I had come up with a different answer the day our adoption counselor called and asked if we would consider adopting a newborn baby girl with Down Syndrome. I imagined an alternate universe in which there lives a woman who said no and remains unaware of what she missed. And in still another alternate existence of my imagining, there is a woman who said no, but was over-ruled. This woman grudgingly accepted and endured, and in the end, understands the magnitude of the gift that has been forced upon her. That third universe is the one where Lily lives, carrying out her life in illuminating moments that testify to the inherent, limitless and unmatched value of every human soul.
Photo by Maria Boas
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