Wave FM announcer Jade Papesch has penned an open letter to the Australian parents accused of abandoning a surrogate baby because he has Down syndrome.
Baby Gammy, who remains at the centre of an international surrogacy scandal, was left with his Thai surrogate mother when his West Australian parents brought his healthy twin sister home.
Ms Papesch said while new claims were constantly emerging about the case, she hoped her letter would strike a chord with any parent who discovered their unborn, or newborn, baby had Down syndrome.
‘‘I wanted to let them know what it was like to be on the other side – to be a parent of a child with Down syndrome.''
Her daughter Lulu was eight weeks when she was diagnosed with the genetic disorder.
‘‘Everyone was so full of anger and hate for the parents of baby Gammy, but when I first heard the story of baby Gammy my first emotion was real sadness for him and for his parents,’’ Ms Papesch said.
‘‘I wanted to let them know what it was like to be on the other side – to be a parent of a child with Down syndrome.
‘‘To let them know that it’s amazing – that having a child with special needs can add so much to your life and change your whole perspective.’’
Ms Papesch and her partner Lyntton Tonta went through a gamut of emotions – shock, sadness, regret, fear – when Lulu was diagnosed.
‘‘I have been asked what I would have done if I’d found out during my pregnancy and I honestly don’t know,’’ she said. ‘‘I don’t think anyone can really say what they’d do in that situation until they’re actually in it.
‘‘I can say now that I’m lucky I didn’t have to make that choice. And knowing what I do now, I can say that I would 100 per cent keep my baby, Down syndrome or not.’’
Ms Papesch said she and her family – including Lulu’s big sister Alani, 11 – felt blessed by the support they had received from family, friends and community members.
But, as she wrote to Gammy’s parents in a letter on her blog, the biggest help of all is 10-month-old Lulu.
‘‘You see, Lulu is love. That’s all I see within her and it’s like she wants to share this love with the rest of the world.
‘‘I feel so lucky and blessed to see this unfold on a daily basis. It makes the diagnosis of Down syndrome seem like nothing more than a different journey. One filled with new experiences, challenges (like any parenting) and love.’’