My son with down syndrome came into my life to save me

By: Luis Chiva (Spain)

My name is Luis Chiva de Agustín, I am a gynecologist, with a family of 7 children, and this is our story.

In February 2010, my wife, María, received an email mentioning that a foreign child had been left in the hospital at birth for having Down Syndrome, and they also wondered if anyone was interested in taking care of him. We talked about it, but we already had a fairly large family and it was put on standby. The next day, we decided to call to ask what had become of him. Apparently there were people interested. Despite not being interested at the time, we decided to go and do the interview in which we were told that the child already had practically determined parents. After 15 days, they contacted us because there was a lack of data and we thought that it did not make much sense, given our situation. Anyway, we went and had a third grade in which they asked us a lot of questions. At that time, we explained again that we had 7 children and that this child, as we understood, already had someone to take care of him. To the latter, they responded that the interested parties had given up due to various factors. We were stunned and found ourselves in the front line thinking about the possibility of adoption.

Next, we commented to our children that we were in a dilemma due to the proposal. A division arose between them, some were deeply happy and others thought whether we were crazy since there were many of us. Coincidentally, the same day that they made us the proposal, I had a consultation attended by a woman whose third child had Down Syndrome. She told me about her experience, she had grieved, but she felt that being with her son, she touched God. This appointment inspired Maria and me a lot and we felt a great impulse.

In May, the boy we call José María stayed with us. It brought great joy.

In October, I started to feel worse, very tired with lots of night sweats, fevers and even fainting. In February 2011 I received my diagnosis, acute myeloblastic leukemia. It required treatments such as ablative chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant and hospitalizations. So, my daughter told me “Dad, he has come to save you”. Indeed, when he came to the room he boosted my morale and helped me as a permanent stimulus.

So, what has José María given us? It has brought us closer to the world of disability. Down Syndrome people have a mission in this life: to show that far beyond your abilities you have a value related to your ability to love. They have great sensitivity to discover the deepest feelings of the people around them. We have lived it as a family and although things have not been entirely easy, it has made us grow. Today José María is 12 years old and he is going to accompany us making us value many of the things that perhaps we would not have valued if he were not there. His concern for others, his persistence and how he avoids frustration in the face of difficulties is incredible.

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