Scoot Over and Make Some Room

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A book review of Scoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis

A book review of Scoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis - motherhood, adoption, special needs

Stars: ****

Zondervan (2019)
Adoption/Special Needs/Motherhood
224 pages

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: Author and Instagram star Heather Avis has made it her mission to introduce the world to the unique gifts and real-life challenges of those who have been pushed to the edges of society. Mama to three adopted kids–two with Down Syndrome–Heather encourages us all to take a breath, whisper a prayer, laugh a little, and make room for the wildflowers. In a world of divisions and margins, those who act, look, and grow a little differently are all too often shoved aside. Scoot Over and Make Some Room is part inspiring narrative and part encouraging challenge for us all to listen and learn from those we’re prone to ignore.

Heather tells hilarious stories of her growing kids, spontaneous dance parties, forgotten pants, and navigating the challenges and joys of parenthood. She shares heartbreaking moments when her kids were denied a place at the table and when she had to fight for their voices to be heard. With beautiful wisdom and profound convictions, this manifesto will empower you to notice who’s missing in the spaces you live in, to make room for your own kids and for those others who need you and your open heart. This is your invitation to a table where space is unlimited and every voice can be heard. Because when you open your life to the wild beauty of every unique individual, you’ll discover your own colorful soul and the extraordinary, abundant heart of God.

Scoot Over and Make Some Room

I bought this book because I haven’t read any books about kids with Down Syndrome in a long time and it sounded interesting. It’s a Christian non-fiction book and so God is mentioned quite a bit.

The author adopted her three children. Two of them have Down Syndrome and one is a different skin colour than she and her husband are. None of this affects how she sees her family but it does mean people sometimes make comments about it.

Regarding Down Syndrome

The book is mostly a memoir of life with her kids. The author also tackles issues of her children with regards to their special needs and/or race. I really enjoyed reading about how she sees Down Syndrome (and how we all should.) She talks about how a child being diagnosed with Down Syndrome (whether in utero or after birth) is always made to be a negative affair. It’s always preceded by “I’m Sorry.” She wants people to know Down Syndrome is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean a low quality of life. Nothing is wrong with your baby/child. Having an extra chromosome is not a death sentence.

“Here are some actual statements made to people I know whose child received a Down Syndrome diagnosis:
‘ You knew ahead of time the baby had Down Syndrome and you kept him?’
‘ You need to realize your child won’t amount to anything, and her life will have no meaning or purpose. So don’t expect too much.’
‘ You can place your daughter in an institution, you know’

pg 108-109

She continues after some more…

“Friends, a new baby is a gift. Period. A new life with endless possibilities. There is no way to know how any of our children are going to end up, Down syndrome or not. There’s a list of reasons not to start a conversation about a child’s Down Syndrome diagnosis with “I’m sorry,” but in my opinion, at the top of that list is this: Saying I’m sorry assumes this child will amount to nothing. It lays a hopeless and tragic foundation for a brand-new baby.”

pg 109

Regarding Rest vs Self-Care

Heather also talks about how self-care and rest are the not the same thing. Self-care can feel like more to-dos when you are already dealing with a new child.

“So, what’s the difference between self-care and rest? Self-care is getting the manicure because you feel you’ve earned it and desperately need a break from the kids. Rest is getting the manicure because you recognize the distance that has developed between you, God, the kids, or others, and you need to step away long enough to catch your breath, reflect and pray. Do you see the different postures of the heart in these two scenarios?”

pg 35

If you like to read about adoption, Down Syndrome or just Christian motherhood this is a good book.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.