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This Couple With Down Syndrome Had A Unique Marriage – But They Had To Fight To Be Recognized

Paul DeForges

Kris and Paul When Paul was born in 1963, the doctors didn’t give his mother, Lorraine, much hope. She says that the doctors told her that her son would be better off in an institution than with her own parents. She didn’t listen to the doctor’s advice, and she took him home. Paul’s family showered him with love and affection. He was one of eight children, and the whole family treated Paul just like everyone else. Paul and his brother, Jerry, were especially close because they were just 14 months apart in age. The two boys shared a room growing up, and Jerry says that Paul was his buddy before he was his brother. They did everything together.

Kris Scharouns

When Kris was born, her parents were told the same thing by the doctors that Paul’s family was told. The doctors told her parents that she would be better off in a group home. Kris had seven siblings, and her parents ignored the doctor’s recommendations. They were going to raise their daughter with love and affection, the same way Paul’s family planned to raise him.

Down Syndrome

The condition, Down syndrome, is named after, John Langdon Down. In 1866, the British doctor wrote the first accepted paper on the condition, which defined the syndrome’s traits. He was the first person to see it as a stand-alone medical condition. The condition isn’t rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 6,000 children born with Down syndrome. The condition is heredity in one-percent of the cases. This means that a baby with Down syndrome can be born to parents who don’t exhibit the physical traits. Research has shown that the mother’s age at the time of conception is a factor. Women 35 and older are at higher risk of having a child with Down syndrome.

Physical and Mental Characteristics

People with Down syndrome show specific characteristics. The person tends to be shorter than average, and possess lower muscle density. They tend to have slanted eyes and often are learning disabled or experience cognitive delays. None of this prevents them from living productive, full lives. Many people with Down syndrome go to school, hold down jobs, and contribute to society. The condition can have an impact on a person’s physical health, such as heart defects, vision problems, digestive issues, and early-onset dementia. Thanks to the advancements made in medicine, a person with Down syndrome can live to be 60-years-old.

Paul and Kris

Paul and Kris met and fell in love. The couple wanted to get married. Paul popped the question, and Kris said yes. The couple was engaged for five years, and they wanted to start planning their wedding. Unfortunately, when it came to people with Down syndrome getting married, there were obstacles. They had to take marriage classes and undergo professional counseling. The State of New York saw people with Down syndrome getting married as two children getting married. The state made couples jump through hoops just to be able to spend their lives together. Finally, after going through everything necessary, the couple got married on August 13, 1993, in front of 150 guests.

25 Years Together

Kris and Paul proved that their marriage was built to stand the test of time. They celebrated their 25th anniversary together and had a party with family and friends. Sadly, things took a turn for the worst.

Paul’s Diagnosis

Shortly after Paul and Kris celebrated their 25th anniversary, Paul began to experience the symptoms of dementia. He was in his ’50s at the time. Because of his condition, he had to be relocated to a special care facility. This was especially hard on Kris. It was the first time the couple lived apart in 25 years. She spent as much time as possible with her husband, and they celebrated Valentine’s Day together by going to see a barbershop quartet. Kris says that they had some wonderful times together that year.

Declining Health

Sadly, Paul’s health continued to decline right before her husband’s eyes. She stayed by his side and worried when he developed a UTI and pneumonia. Kris was trying to be there for her husband, but she had medical problems of her own. She had type 1 diabetes and developed pneumonia, as well.

Renewing Their Vows

Kris and Paul always said that they would renew their vows when after being married for 25-years. Because they were both in poor health, they renewed their vows in the chapel in the hospital. Kris’s health began to improve after renewing their vows, but Paul’s continued to decline.

Paul’s Death

Sadly, Paul died on March 28, 2019. Because Paul loved to fish in the Adirondack Mountains, Kris chose there to spread Paul’s ashes. They had a beautiful service in the mountains so that Kris could say goodbye to her husband and the love of her life. This Couple With Down Syndrome Had A Unique Marriage – But They Had To Fight To Be Recognized. Despite it all, they were able to share 25 beautiful years together.

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