It wasn’t long after Parker was born that the question of baptism came up. Does a child with Down syndrome need to be baptized? What if the child could understand and answer the baptismal questions, didn’t he deserve to be baptized? Would it be hard for Parker not to be baptized when his friends were being baptized.
At the time my hope was that Parker would be one to be able to understand the covenant of baptism and be baptized.
That was before we understood how fragile Parker’s health was. How many surgeries he had (and has) ahead of him.
It was before we knew our Hero would be non-verbal.
It was before we knew so much that goes into a decision of whether to baptize or not.
Parker turns EIGHT next week. The age in our Church were a child gets baptized. It’s an ordinance Parker won’t be participating in.
Taking Parker into a baptism font and immersing him underwater would only confuse and scare him. He wouldn’t be able to understand the significance of what was going on.
Is that hard for me? Yes.
Am I okay with this? That answer requires a little more soul searching.
Would I love for Parker to be at a level where he could understand what it means to be baptized? Would I love to be working with him on his answers to the baptismal questions and having him verbally explain to me what it means to be baptized?
More than I can express.
Instead I’m choosing to focus on the innocence that is my son. The unconditional love he gives. The every day miracle he is. He represents prayers answered. A spirit that never gives up.
To me Parker exemplifies much of the goodness found within my religion. He doesn’t need to be baptized. His mission on this earth doesn’t require it in order to return with both honor and glory to his Father in Heaven.
And I’m okay (and very thankful) with that.