Down Syndrome and the True Meaning of Perfection

By Dave Andrusko
http://twitter.com/daveha

Editor’s note. As is often the case,  a reader ran across this brief story I wrote a few months ago on the Internet. She encouraged me to re-run it.

Amy Julia Becker is author of “A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny.” I have learned a great deal from her posts on Christianity Today and her own blog. I also looked forward to reading her book.

But “My Perfect Child: What God taught me through my daughter’s disability” simultaneously taught me, inspired me, and snapped my head back by reminding me how easy for even pro-lifers and/or Christians to be caught short when our newborn child is born with a disability (www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/december/perfect-child-disability.html).

Not that Mrs. Becker is chastising her readers. She is using her own spiritual maturation—at the hospital when her husband Peter relayed the doctor’s conclusion that Penny might have Down syndrome “[T]he world began to break into pieces”—to help us understand her “unspoken assumptions about her child” and perhaps ones we all share. That in some sense we deserve a “perfect “child.

I will not spoil the essay by elaborating how Penny perfectly illustrates what God means by perfection—better defined as wholeness. Suffice it to say for now that

“Penny was not the ‘perfect baby’ that I expected, but she was exactly the baby I needed.”

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