In 1975, Robin and David Steele visited a group home for children with disabilities and met 3 year old Martha Ann. At the time, they knew little about the adoption process, and even less about Down syndrome, but they knew Martha would one day be part of their family. Over time, the couple eventually adopted 10 children, four of whom have Down syndrome.
The Steeles went on to be a founding family of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati in 1981. They remained committed to adoption outreach, and DSAGC supported the Steeles’ decision to develop a local program. Over time, the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network formed from that local program, and it has been in existence for over 30 years. In that time, they have helped nearly 1000 children find homes.
The service they provide is essential as we move into an era of increased prenatal diagnoses. They are contacted by birth families or adoption agencies about a potential match. NDSAN works with the birth family to find a family on NDSAN’s registry (200 families and growing!) that best fits what the birth family hopes for the their child. NDSAN is not an adoption service – they facilitate the match, and the legal process is handled by the birth family’s adoption service. NDSAN provides this service free of charge.
It is the only national group providing this service to families in the United States. It is run by just two dedicated women and is funded entirely by one local group – DSAGC.
As we enjoy a month of spreading awareness of Down syndrome, sharing stories about how Down syndrome has touched our lives, and enjoying Buddy Walks and other community events across the country, let’s take time to support an organization that provides an essential service to our national Down syndrome community.
Think of all the time and effort that goes into your local community’s big fundraisers. Lots of work – and a lot of fun, too! – to raise money for educational, social, and advocacy opportunities for your local community. Imagine if your one group was responsible for keeping itself afloat while at the same time raising money for a national organization that receives no national financial support for providing a crucial national service.
DSAGC has steadfastly supported and funded NDSAN since the beginning. Let’s step up as a national community and give our thanks to NDSAN (and DSAGC!) for their commitment to children with Down syndrome.
How can you help?
- “Like” NDSAN’s Facebook page and share posts about children with Down syndrome who need a home.
- Contact NDSAN and request informational materials to bring to your OBs, Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialists, Geneticists and Genetics Counselors, and any other health professionals who work with families with a prenatal diagnosis. NDSAN will send them to you free of charge.
- If you are considering domestic adoption, add yourself to NDSAN’s registry. There is particular need for families in the following states:
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Make a financial contribution to NDSAN. Donations can be made here.
With our support, NDSAN can reach even more families considering adoption for their babies. With our support, NDSAN can distribute their literature to more OB offices, Maternal Fetal Medicine practices, and to other health professionals who work with families receiving a prenatal diagnosis. They strive to be part of the post-diagnosis conversation so families can understand all the options available to them.
Please support NDSAN today! Visit their website here.