Adopting a mentally retarded child is a very special experience. Adopting any child is a very special experience. A child is a gift beyond measure. I adopted this daugher when she was fifteen years old. Because she was petite, and very much like a sweet, quiet two year old, it certainly did not feel like adopting a teenager, though!
I've been having fun with Cathy's name on this site. Cathy's adoption was private. She was given to me by her birth father, who was a widower, remained involved with her, and loved her very much. I wanted to name her myself, as I have almost always named my own children. I knew Cathy would not know the difference between "Cathy", and "Cassie". But I did not want to disappoint him. So I gave her part of my own name, as a middle name, and kept the Catherine. Her father has been dead for many years now, and I am enjoying, on this site, using the name I would have liked to give her.
For thirty-four years I have been a mother of very special children. Cassie was my tenth child. I adopted her when she was fifteen. I had known her since the age of eleven while she lived in my friends' foster home. She is now thirty-eight.
Cassie is extremely unusual for a person with Down's Syndrome. Though she is a pretty lady, and has a winning smile, she is also autistic, and profoundly retarded. In my thirty-four years of being around children and people with Down's Sydrome, and adopting them, I have never seen another person like her.
Cassie has a documented IQ of 20. She can walk, partially dress herself, and partially bathe herself. She has a passive personality except for a few things, very quiet for the most part, and has only a minimal interest in what goes on around her. She can feed herself, though she is very sloppy. But she does a cute thing. After her meal is gone, she will keep scraping her empty bowl, and putting the spoon in her mouth, for about a minute! Perhaps she is pretending there is more food, for she loves eating! But, knowing her, she is more likely to be simply repeating an enjoyable part of her day.
Cassie has her own appeal, in the sweetness of her silent gentleness. It is deeply rewarding for me to get eye contact and smiles from her.