No regrets –

Ward and I get thanked – sometimes by total strangers – for adopting Thorin. I don’t like that. It assumes a couple things: “normal” children are better and somehow we have made some kind of sacrifice having “a less-than-child”. Plus, and, more importantly, it’s insulting to Thorin.

We weren’t looking for a kid with Down syndrome per se we wanted Thorin and that’s the way Thorin came – with Down syndrome.

We started out as foster-to-adopt parents. Thorin was removed from his home and became a ward of the state. We were foster-to-adopt because he was not legally terminated from his biological parents – yet.

For five months I was mandated by the court to take him to visit his biological mother every week. During that time we didn’t know if we were going to be able to keep this kid we loved or he would be taken away from us. For that hour and half visit each week I couldn’t breathe – or more accurately I couldn’t breathe easily.  I alternated calling my friend Gina and my mom for support while he was there and not here. Both had children who had died. And – while losing Thorin would not have been a death. I would have grieved as though it were.

(Two people I greatly admire had their daughter who was foster-to-adopt removed to live with a member of her biological family and then brought back to them months later. Thankfully, now, they have legally adopted her forever. When I think of truly amazing parents (and all around great humans) it’s Dan and Rosie.)

For my part, I was brushing up on my high school Spanish, growing Thorin’s hair out so he could go by the alias Tori and squirreling away money during those long months.

With the fear of losing him as a distraction we didn’t really get to “Down syndrome” for awhile.

This entry was posted in Adopting, Advocacy, By Notatypicalmom, Down syndrome, education, Inclusion, Parenting, Special Needs by Kari Wagner-Peck. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kari Wagner-Peck

Kari Wagner-Peck lives with her husband and son in Maine. She is a writer & storyteller who home schools with her son. She is the author of the memoir Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, May, 2017, Central Recovery Press. She has been published at CNN, Psychology Today online, The New York Times Well Family blog, The Huffington Post, The The Good Men Project, The Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life blog, BLOOM and Love That Max among others. Author page: Twitter @KariWagnerPeck and Facebook: Email:

2 thoughts on “No regrets –

  1. People thank us, too, though the tone may be different. I think maybe you don’t give yourselves enough credit!

    It seems normal to you and to me, that we wanted to take care of a kid that needed us as parents, rather than create a new one or compete for a “perfect” newborn. To me it seems like the most logical choice, the compassionate choice, the ecological, ethical, EASY choice. Easy because it was right for us. (Not to say that parenting or adopting is in any way easy.) Other people tell me we’re heroes. I think it’s because they know it’s the right thing to do, too. And that scares the shit out of ’em.

    • I think you are right. It was easy for us because it was right. And, yes, people are scared to do it this way. Too bad because they are missing out on the Unexpected Kid. The kid that is so much better than what you could have produced yourself. The survivor kid who becomes your role model when you find yourself focused on the puny rather than the huge.

      What impresses me about what you and Dan did is you kept your heart open when conventional wisdom would have said close it tight and move on. Protect yourself. What you did was huge rather puny.

      Do I give us enough credit? We got more than we asked for:)

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