Down Syndrome Awareness Day

The Sagi family on Kibbutz Meirav: Omer, Noam, Roni, Adi, Sharon, Amit, Michal and Elia (center). Photo by Eliel Saad

“Goodness is contagious.”

That’s what Adi Sagi, a foster parent of two daughters with Down Syndrome told me. I interviewed him before Down Syndrome Awareness Day which was March 21.

For the past 15 years, Sagi and his wife, Sharon, and their four biological children have raised awareness about Down syndrome, inspiring people to open their homes — and their hearts.

Adi recounted how, on the first night he and his family moved into their new house on Kibbutz Meirav in 2006, Sharon declared that their house was “too big” and they should take in foster children.

Sharon had worked with Down syndrome children as a National Service volunteer after high school. Even before they got married, she had mentioned to Adi that she would like to foster a Down syndrome child someday.

It didn’t take long for Adi to be persuaded, and soon they became a foster family to Michal, who was six at the time. With extensive therapies, education and support, Michal, now 23, is a soldier serving in the Equals in Uniform Project of AKIM Israel and has a boyfriend on the autism spectrum.

This Army unit is part of Israel’s military inclusion program, Special in Uniform, which allows young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities to serve their country. The unit inspired the U.S. Corps of Honor to start a similar program.

To read more at Israel21C, visit here.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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1 Response to Down Syndrome Awareness Day

  1. Tom Scott says:

    Thank you for this article. Our daughter has spent years working with special needs kids be adults. Down syndrome kids are made of love. This coup

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