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My son Zane

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (BP)–I love all three of my kids equally. I wouldn’t want any of them not to be in my life. But for this column, I will talk only about my 6-year-old son, Zane.

I can’t imagine life without Zane. I find myself always wanting to love on him, whether it’s a little hug, a love tap on the back, a quick kiss on the head, or just checking in on him while he is sleeping. I just can’t get enough of my boy!

Zane is utterly amazing to me. Some days he has the energy of five kids. He runs all through the house shouting at the top of his lungs “Dad! Dad! Mom! Mom!” — trying to get our attention to say something to us or show us something, which usually only has meaning to him.

Or Zane dances, as only he can dance, endlessly to The Wiggles or some other show on TV. Or we have “wrestling” matches which usually are just extended tickle bouts — Zane doesn’t want to tickle so much as he wants me to tickle him. And that laugh, it is so wonderful, infectious and funny.

Every once in a while, Zane will look over at my wife or me and will keep his gaze on us until we look at him. And when our eyes meet, the biggest toothy grin comes over his face.

And when he tells me he loves me, I just melt and think, “Anything you want son — anything!”

Zane is the world’s best when it comes to cuddling. He always tries to let you know exactly what he wants. Zane will forcefully whap his hand on the chair or bed when he wants you to sit or lie down with him.

When he scoots over next to me and I put my arm around him and we cuddle, I think I could sit there forever! And Zane loves to give kisses, and sometimes they are the very wet variety. For some reason he likes to give them to me on the back of the neck. Go figure.

To say Zane lives life with reckless abandon is an understatement. If he is not going all out then he is asleep. (We have added deadbolt locks high up on our outer doors just to make sure he doesn’t invade the neighborhood).

Zane’s enthusiasm knows no bounds. He is also very loving, forgiving and compassionate. He has this knack for winning over people’s hearts in no time. All his teachers at school and church just adore him. I have to admit: He is hard not to love.

Alas, Zane is not perfect. He can be whiny and difficult to deal with when he doesn’t get his way — typical for a 6-year-old. For some reason, he struggles with daily transitions: TV time to dinner time, dinner time to homework time and then bedtime. We trust that he will grow out of it.

I never imagined that a child could bring me such joy, laughter and love. But Zane manages to pull it off every day. He inspires me. And obviously, I love to brag on my boy.

While I love all three of my children equally, I have to admit that Zane is special. You see, Zane was born with Down syndrome.

Nine out of every 10 Down syndrome babies are aborted. Zane was a number 10. Zane was born with Down syndrome and we love him just the way he is. Do we wish he hadn’t been born with DS? Of course. Do we ask God to heal him every day? You bet. Can I imagine life without him? No way.

My wife and I don’t think we are better than anyone else, but the thought of aborting our baby never crossed our minds. We didn’t have an amniocentesis done because of the possibility of it causing a miscarriage. But we thought, “What difference does it make? We plan to keep this baby even if there is some birth defect.”

We did not learn of Zane’s condition until the moment of his birth. It was one of the happiest moments of my life while at the same time it was also one of profound sadness. I knew immediately, short of a supernatural healing from God, my newborn would never do many of the things “normal” kids grow up doing.

Over time, we got over the “normal” versus “handicapped” thing. Zane is our son — period. And we love him like crazy.

There are lots of evil things in this world. A kid with Down syndrome, or other physical or mental challenges, isn’t one of them. But abortion is.

Deep down in our hearts, we know, as people, as humans, as creatures fashioned in God’s image, we know that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life. It isn’t right and we know it.

While some in our country may not want to admit that abortion is the taking of innocent life, I believe they inherently know that it is wrong. And if they have ever experienced a Down syndrome child — really spent time with one — then they know in a very real and profound way that abortion is evil.

Zane is my son. He has Down syndrome. I cannot imagine life without him.
Darin Wales is a freelance film and television director in Virginia Beach, Va.

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