Issue #17 – A Marriage Made in Heaven

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A Marriage Made in Heaven

It All Started as an Email in Response to an Article I Wrote in Issue #16. Read On…

Dear Sarah,
I read ‘Passed Over’ in Issue #16, where you write about your younger daughter ‘skipping Moishey’ and getting married. I do not understand why you need Moshiach in order to marry off your son who has Down syndrome. Did the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat miss something when he married off my children?
I have attached a clip of our children’s wedding.
Chaya ben Baruch

Hi Chaya shetichya:
You are so sweet. I am so glad for you. Mazel Tov upon your children’s marriage.
My computer filter will not allow me to watch any Youtube clips. However, before the days of the stringent filter, I did receive several clips of couples with Down syndrome getting married in Eretz Yisroel. I wonder which one featured your children. It seems like it is way more popular in Israel than it is here, and I think I know why that is so. From what I’ve been told, you get government help and guidance for the couple after they are married. The US government wants to have nothing to do with that kind of support. The question for us parents now is: Are we ready to continue raising not one, but two adults with Down syndrome? Years ago, when I was younger and gung-ho on driving myself to go above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of Moishey, I would have said, “Yes! I will do it and support him and his wife forever, as long as that assures his happiness.” Well, the clock and calendar have moved forward and I am no longer that young, idealistic person who feels she can conquer the world. Moishey is bright and sweet and he has tremendous strengths in many areas, but he also has weaknesses in many areas and I wonder if they are compatible with marriage. At this stage in life, (perhaps because he is single!) he is very into his newspapers, magazines and music and he is somewhat OCD’ish (obsessive compulsive disorder) about them. It’s like the rest of the world doesn’t exist when he is into his stuff. He can also be very moody and I wouldn’t say that he is very responsible. How does that come into the marriage equation? He would definitely need to have mentor/s overseeing his marriage and helping out wherever needed. Like I wrote, I don’t see myself being ready to undertake it. I still have young children at home and am a very busy Mom, plus I have been through the meat grinder raising my kids ka’h. Between Moishey’s Down syndrome and my younger daughter’s medical history, emotionally I am not ready for such a major undertaking that would require my full involvement and resources.
All the best,

Dear Sarah Yikara:
I don’t think your son is any worse than ours in some of his behaviors, and our daughter knew what she was getting into. However, they have surprised us and I know they, like all young couples, developed strengths we did not know they had.
When you do something difficult, either Hashem catches you or He teaches you how to fly!
Also, what makes you think it will all be on you? Maybe the kallah’s family or some organization will help fill the need to be there for them? I do know we all need to love our ‘Chatanim and Kalote’ like we love the rest of our children, regardless if they have special needs.

Boruch Hashem, my kids are doing very well. They need a lot less help than I anticipated and although like any couple they have their ups and downs, they mostly have ups and we can learn a lot from them.

I do not know what more I can say to give you the chizuk to be open to the possibility of letting your special needs child marry. The hardest thing about raising special needs children is how others limit them. Why, when it comes to the mitzvah of marriage, is it us parents who are in the forefront of limiting them? It just takes a paradigm shift, a small shift in the kaleidoscope to say, ‘Why not?’.

Hashem sets up zivuggim 40 days before a child incarnates into the world; to my knowledge there is no exemption for neshamos with 47 chromosomes. All through our child’s life Hashem has sent us the ‘Schlichim Hanachonim Bezman Hanachone’, the right helpers at the right time. Marriage is no exception.

We, as parents, have put so much into our special needs child; we have difficulty letting go and admitting they need someone else, and that person can give our child something we cannot.

Think about it.