Penny, who has Down syndrome, and Katherine Wolf, who is sitting in a wheelchair, giving each other a hug at Hope Heals Camp

What’s Wrong With Having Down Syndrome?

gradient blue graphic with a picture of Penny and Katherine Wolf, who is sitting in a wheelchair, giving each other a hug
Image courtesy of Hope Heals Camp and Ashley Monogue

What’s wrong with having Down syndrome?

It was a question I asked many years ago, when our daughter Penny was first diagnosed with an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. I still had a paradigm that disability was a sign of something being “wrong,” and yet I also had this beautiful baby in my arms, and I didn’t know how to reconcile the two.

I wrote about this moment in A Good and Perfect Gift and how Penny’s birth gave me a whole new perspective, not just on disability, but on humanity. I was invited to share that moment over on the Hope Heals blog today. 

I also had a chance to talk with Penny now, at age 15, about these questions. We were taking a walk together, and I told her I’d been asked to share that excerpt. I was able to tell her that I now understand that she was created with a purpose. That her humanity and my humanity are the same. Created in the image of God. Experiencing the brokenness of a fallen world. Invited to live into purpose and love. 

What’s wrong with having Down syndrome? Nothing more or less than being human.



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