It was not so long ago in our country that children born with disabilities were routinely institutionalized. Parents experienced incredible pressure to give up their children to mental institutions. They were told things like "you child will be a vegetable" and "he will only be a burden on your other children and family." It is so obvious to us all today that this is not true! Children with Down Syndrome and a host of disabilities enrich our lives in ways that make life seem so much more precious. These children do not grow up to be "vegetables" but to be valuable members of society. Every child, no matter how many chromosomes, no matter how many talents or challenges, are worth the investment, time, and care found only in a family with people who love them.
Unfortunately, there are places in the world where children with disabilities such as Down Syndrome are not yet seen for the treasure they are. There are places where parents are encouraged to give up their children with Down Syndrome for adoption. Unfortunately, in societies where Down Syndrome is not valued, there are not many people willing to adopt these precious children. Children with disabilities stay in orphanages for 4 or 5 years, at which point they are often transfered to mental institutions. The institutions are often horribly understaffed, and under funded. Children are neglected. Left alone in cribs, or tied to beds. They do not receive attention, interaction, or love.
Reece's Rainbow is a Christian organization that seeks to help families adopt children with Down Syndrome internationally. In many cases, adopting a child with Down Syndrome from another country is not just a wonderful way to add to a family, but is a mission to save a life. I just want to encourage those reading this to consider donating money to the grant funds set up for adoptable children in Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree Gallery. These grant funds are intended to help families who adopt these children with the financial commitment it takes to adopt a child from overseas (from 10k to 30k). If you cannot give money, then PRAY for these children. Pray for the families who are seeking to adopt, and for families who are considering it. Pray that the social situations that make having Down Syndrome so detrimental in so many of these countries changes, and that soon children with Down Syndrome will be sought after for adoption in the same way they are in the United States (Yes! There are waiting lists of people hoping to adopt babies with Down Syndrome in the US!). Thanks for thinking about this. It breaks my heart to think of children just like our Charlie living a life without a family to love them.
To view these links, copy and past them into your browser. I couldn't figure out how to make them into direct links.