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Mary Ellen BarrettEveryday Miracles
by Mary Ellen Barrett


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Parents of Special Needs Children



What Trig Can Teach

"Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge." ~ Sarah Palin

When John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate her speech motivated the Republican party and brought new life to his campaign. It also gave hope to mothers everywhere that their disabled children would someday have a loving voice in our government.

In this country nine out of ten children prenatally diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are aborted. The womb, a place of life and comfort to a pre born child, becomes a sort of death chamber to those children who have the misfortune of having that extra chromosome. There are many people out there who think these children, should they have the misfortune to actually be born, should be “humanely terminated” so that the parents can try again for a perfect child.

It is horrifying to think that we live in a country that sees no value in caring for the children who are born needing more. More attention, more prayer, more time and more love. Abortion is horrible enough but this practice of singling out specific people to exterminate is no less than genocide and makes the proponents of such practices no better than any mass murderer who has existed in history. Where will it end?

Hopefully with Governor Palin.

Whether or not she wins the election and becomes our next Vice President she has given a name, face and voice to the countless lives that are at risk of never being born because they are perceived as flawed. Holding her beautiful son Trig on that stage tells American mothers that it can be done and done well. You can have a child with a disability and not lose anything. In fact you will gain. You will gain enormous grace and loving attention from God, who time out of mind, chose this child for you. You will gain friends and supporters who truly have the best interest of your family at heart. You will see maturity and selfless love in your other children that will exceed any expectations you could have had for them. You will become closer to your spouse as you see him take on an even more difficult role in fathering his children.

You will, ultimately, gain heaven.

Trig’s wonderful presence in the national spotlight, while concerning to some, has made it clear that life does not begin at a certain IQ level. Trig shows us that each life is valuable and beautiful and his right to be here is the same as any other person’s. It’s a message sorely needed in this country and I am grateful to be able to cast a vote for a candidate that is open to life even when it’s not easy. I hope mother’s who are facing this situation can look at Governor Palin and know that there is joy in this journey of having a special needs child and that joy can be theirs as well.

Mary Ellen Barrett is a home educating mother of seven children.  She writes a column for The Long Island Catholic called Life in Our Domestic Church and speaks at conferences about homeschooling and raising a special needs child. Mary Ellen writes about the daily life and happenings in her Catholic home on her weblog, Tales from the Bonny Blue House ( and about a Catholic celebration of Christmas at O Night Divine ( She is currently at work on a book about life as a mom of a large family and an Advent Book of Days.

© Mary Ellen Barrett 2008


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