Saturday, November 17, 2007

So this is Christmas..and what have you done?

Have you been touched and heartbroken by the stories coming out of Serbia about the kids with Down syndrome who have been left to die in orphanages and institutions? I have.

Here is the original report

And here, again, is the little boy who has captured my heart. (Who is not, by the way, listed for adoption at Reece's Rainbow, that I am aware of.)

That little face, so familiar, haunts me. I cant sleep, I cant do anything but think. HOW can we do something for these children? I have been racking my brain. I am not rich, I'm guessing most who visit here aren't, either. So what can we do? Well, I have a few ideas.

One is, we need to spread the word. The blogging community is SO big. We are a powerful force. Surely, someone speaks the languages that we need to translate our stories of our own children into hope for the parents there making these awful decisions? Most of these countries are not aware of the potential for kids with DS. We can change that. But we need an army of us to translate that hope into their languages. And we need to get the word out to the people, to try to stem the tide of these children into the homes and orphanages. That's a long range plan. And I welcome your thoughts on it.

Second: we need to find a way to stop some of these children from being moved to the asylums, where they will NOT ever again have the chance to be loved. In many places, kids 4 and over are moved and are no longer retrievable. Once they are moved, we may as well consider them dead. Can we live with ourselves if we turn our backs, watch them be tied to their beds for YEARS at a time, never loved? Or do we do something...anything...even if it is just lending our voice to the call for help? I have a few ideas here, too. And I think this season of love, hope, and renewal is just the time to do it.

Many of us have, in the past, done an annual Christmas exchange within our own DS online communities. It is fun, and it certainly reminds each of us that our online friends are out there, somewhere, real people with real families. I would like to suggest that this year, in lieu of sending one another a tangible gift, that we draw names, and then each of us that has drawn a name make a donation, on behalf of our partner, to Reece's Rainbow. However small, 3 dollars, 5 dollars, whatever...the real life results of us doing this could literally save a life. The money goes to a fund that will help families bring home some of these kids in other countries who will be sent to asylums for LIFE if we don't act.

Aleksa is just one of those children. NOT unreachable. NOT unsaveable. Just...waiting.

In Russia, as I understand it, once a child is sent out of the baby houses, they are NO LONGER ADOPTABLE. In other words, once they leave, they will spend the remainder of their lives in an institution, perhaps tied to their beds, no toys, no human touch, no love. I urge you to look carefully as you make your choice. The kids in red are those whose need is most urgent. They aren't the littlest, cutest ones, but we can change their lives FOREVER. There are families out there who want them, but cant afford the fees.

The kids with the biggest needs:

Daria (next to last row, second from rt)
Sergey K
Andrei (4th row from bottom, second from right)
Andruis (Row 2, child #3)
ANY of the children
Jovan and Aleksa (Row 1, 1st and 4th children)
Nadia (5th row from bottom, first child on left)
Denis (5th row from bottom, second from left)
Norah (3rd row from bottom, second from rt)

With your sponsorship gift of $35 (or more), Reece's Rainbow will send you a beautiful photo ornament of your sponsored child(ren) to hang on your Christmas tree (available until December 15). For some of these children, this may be the closest thing to Christmas that they ever know.

If you want to join this unorthodox "gift exchange", please copy this post and spread the word far and wide. If you can make a button, if you know HTML coding, please tell me that, too. We need to make this easy for people to do. Also, we need to spread the word far and wide..many of you visit other, non_ds sites. Share it there, too.

PLEASE click here to make your donation. Lets unite this community on behalf of these children.

PLEASE REMEMBER: we MUST be cautious when we blog or post about these children. Their countries do not need to be embarrassed. There is good to be said, they ARE letting these children go home to families. Try to remember to not be disparaging, but to make a point of saying that they ARE working with the families, and want the best for these children. It is absolutely imperative that we do not jeopardize any of these adoptions.


Teachers gifts!!


Dear __________,
I wanted the gift we got for you this year to truly reflect your love for children. Another mug? Cookies? No. This year, with the plight of the orphans in Serbia and elsewhere around the world so fresh in our minds, I decided to give a monetary donation in your name to an organization that is trying to save as many lives as possible.

Reece's Rainbow seeks out children abandoned in orphanages and institutions, children with Down syndrome just like ______________. Seeing their faces, lives wasting away tied to cribs and starving, with no love and attention, touched me beyond words. And so, we have made a donation in your name to Reece's Rainbow. All over the world, there are families who would go whisk those children out of there and away to warm, safe homes, if only they had enough money to meet adoption costs.

Children who reach the age of 4 and have not yet been adopted are sent away to institutions, with no hope, where they will languish for life, untouched. Just as they would have become eligible to be given the gift of the influence of a great teacher like you, their lives are ended. We are joining hands with other families around the world in trying to reach these children. We know that you became a teacher because of your love for children and your desire to change lives. We hope you will agree that this may be one of the best legacies any teacher could ever leave. Thank you, on behalf of the children.


Rich, Andrea, Reece & Owen said...

Dear Michelle, thank you so much for helping us to raise awareness for our angel children around the world. The success has been phenomenal, but the number of waiting children continues to grow, and we need grant sponsorships to make it possible for families to afford to adopt these kids. If we had even a half grant for each of these kids, not a one would be left waiting. God bless, and thank you!

Andrea Roberts
Executive Director
Reece's Rainbow Down Syndrome Adoption Ministry

Shannon **Gabi's Mom** said...

I posted mine. Please tell me if there is anything I should reword. I didn't mention any country's name, I just pretty much directed them to your posts.

Meredith said...

Thanks Chelle.

Christina said...


Thank you for helping the children of Reece's Rainbow. Thank you also for the kind words you posted to my blog yesterday. You are correct, Andres in Estonia is that little boy in the knit cap you saw years ago...!

Charissa said...

I found your blog from Meredith's post today. What a wonderful thing you are doing! We are adopting a soon-to-be 4 year old with DS from Ukraine. She came with a $1000 grant from generous donations! Thanks for what you are doing!

bisbee said...

i was touched by this story i saw on the today's show. i then recieved an e-mail from the down syndrome family network which i am a member. I have been on the website rececee's rainbow and have donated money to a little girl who tears my heart when i look at her picture. she reminds me of my little johhny(DS), i wish i could adpot them all. what can we do?

bisbee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.