Go to Homepage   Mitchell Zuckoff: Choosing Naia (A Family's Journey)


Crescent Blues Book ViewsBeacon Press (Hardcover), ISBN 0807028169
No parent ever wants to find what Greg and Tierney Fairchild did during a routine ultrasound: a hole in their baby's heart. Subsequent testing brings more bad news; the defect is related to Down syndrome. In an instant they go from joking about eating for two to deciding whether or not to abort their child.

Book: Mitchell Kuchoff, choosing naia
Journalist Mitchell Zuckoff objectively tells the Fairchilds' story. He weaves the intimate and agonizing decision-making process the Fairchilds went through with the historical, medical, and ethical considerations of prenatal testing, and the choices parents and doctors make. He also explores the medical and social understanding of raising kids with special needs and the biases and prejudices that still exist.

Greg and Tierney, an interracial couple, understand personally about prejudice, including some from within their own families. As the title, Choosing Naia, shows, the Fairchilds made a conscious decision to love their child and to do what ever she needed. Greg, a black man, knew that choosing his daughter and her Down syndrome meant becoming her advocate. It meant, among many things, bringing in therapists and learning about the laws, including those ensuring her right to an education. The Fairchilds' decision meant they would most likely be saving for an assisted living fund instead of for college.

Zuckoff, a professional investigative reporter, backs up Greg's and Tierney's journey with the most current medical and statistical research available. He confidently discuses controversial topics, including the fact that 90 percent of women who learn that they carry a fetus with Down syndrome do abort.

Greg brings up another point, "There's safety in numbers. When there are other children in the school system who are different, when Naia isn't the only one, it makes it easier in terms of advocacy...The more kids there are like her, the easier it makes it for people to understand why the things we're suggesting are important, and why they need to be done."

The Fairchilds live with their decision every day. Naia survived her emergency birth and open-heart surgery. She started walking on her first birthday and welcomed a little brother. Tierney says, "…she deserves everything she can have to succeed, to be as independent as she can be, and to be as much a productive part of society as she can be." Like all parents, Tierney and Greg want the best for Naia.

After all, she's their daughter.

Anna Stewart


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