Through my online searching I soon came across an organization called Reece's Rainbow and was captivated by all I saw and read at their site. Reece's Rainbow promotes the international adoption of children with Down syndrome in a way that seemed very unique to me. They create accounts for each of the children on their 'Waiting Children' pages and people can donate to a specific child. When a family comes forth to adopt a child, the money in that child's account is used for the adoption fees. If the adoption falls through for some reason, the money stays in the child's account so that another family can make use of the money!
Let me give you some info that will SHOCK you! In Eastern European countries, right now, babies that are born with Ds are immediately put into orphanages. Their parents are told that their babies aren't capable of learning, loving or living a life and that they should be cordoned off from the rest of society. There are not options for Early Intervention therapy, doctor intervention or even schooling. Oftentimes the families of people with Down syndrome are shunned and find it difficult to find work and other necessities of life. Therefore these sweet sweet babies are abandoned to orphanages FILLED with all the other children that don't look 'perfect', that have some extra special chromosomes, or had a difficult start to life because their mama drank and drank throughout the pregnancy.
When these babies become grown and old, no wait, when they turn 3-5 YEARS old (!!!) they are transferred to adult mental institutions. Insane asylums. Locked up. Left in their cribs. Thrown a bottle of food and possibly given a diaper change. Most of these medically fragile darlings die within the first year due to neglect and horrible living conditions.
....At the time, I looked down and stared at my own sweet Noah, who had just received open heart surgery at one of the best Children's hospitals in the country, and wept. He was alive and with me. He had had a team of strangers work hard to save his life by fixing his heart. He had a large family that prayed for him and loved him while he was in my womb. He had a church family providing us with meals upon meals so that we didn't have to cook. People babysat, people cleaned our home, people gave and gave and gave. Noah had a community just waiting until his birth so they could jump in and start physical therapy, oral therapy, occupational therapy so that he could become as strong and able as his twin and other typical children. All for one boy. All for my baby. Amazing love! While other 5 year-olds with Ds in international orphanages are still unable to walk, or hold their own bottle of slurry or grow to more than 18 lbs, Noah at two years old and 28 lbs, is climbing up into his high chair to gobble down my homemade chicken soup or pizza.
Over the 2 years since finding Reece's Rainbow I have stared at theses orphans, prayed for them and watched them grow. Some have been adopted (!), like Nadia at http://www.seeingtheupsideofdown.blogspot.com/
some have been transferred to an institution like Ruslan who is 8:
and others have died, like Anne Marie.
I have stared and stared and stared. I have stared and cried. I have stared and smiled. I have stared and prayed. Amazingly, with all this unabashed staring at the orphans and at my own son, God helped me to stare inwardly at my own prejudices, my own fears and at my own heart bursting open with a passionate love for people with disabilities. I no longer stare at them in fear of how I will be affected. I stare and wrack my brain of ways that I can help them. Ways that I can love them. Ways that I can help other families that are going over there to take them from the orphanages and institutions to bring them to a home of life and love.
Hence the purpose for this long long post. While we hope to adopt one of these angels in the future, this year, I am a Reece's Rainbow Christmas Warrior for a little boy called
Sergei is turning 5 this month! An actual date is not listed for his birth because it probably wasn't important enough for someone to remember. I imagine that his mama tries hard to forget him left in that orphanage and soon-to-be institution. This picture of Sergei isn't just his baby picture. This is how he looks, like a 2 year old. He is 5!
The goal of a Christmas Warrior is to commit to raising $1000 for a child on RR's Christmas Angel Tree. However, it costs $25,000 to adopt a child with Ds from an orphanage/institution so I set a higher goal for myself and for you all to see if we can raise $10,000 so that a family will be more willing to adopt Sergei without having to raise the full $25,000. I have seen God provide full funding (ie $20,000+) for several children in a matter of days. Maybe you can be a part of such a miracle!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Click here to read the official details about Reece's Rainbow's Christmas Angel Tree . In addition to my fundraiser, any person donating $35 (before 12/15/2010) will get an ornament from Reece's Rainbow with a picture of Sergei on it.
As for information on my fundraising for Sergei, all the money donated through Chip-In (Online Paypal) goes directly to Sergei's adoption fund. I can see who donates, but I never come in contact with the money. If you'd prefer to donate by writing a check, please make it out to Reece's Rainbow, put a notation that it's for Sergei G. on the Angel Tree, and mail it to:
PO Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885
Now for all those people out there who like the idea of 'winning' a sweet Christmas present to either keep or give away, there's an added incentive in giving to sweet Sergei.
You could win a brand new Keurig Special Edition Brewer ($139.95 value) PLUS 4 boxes of K-cups (coffee, tea, cocoa etc., a $55 value)!!!!!!!!!!!!
all generously donated by Keurig themselves!!! Woo Hoo!!!
Also, a $100 gift card to Amazon.com!!!!!!! Wouldn't that make for some sweet Christmas shopping?!!!
$100Other prizes in this drawing are hand-knit (by my super-talented sister-in-law!!) accessories for women and children!!
A woman's light blue matching knit hat and scarf.
Five of these stripey knit hats. 2 with purple, yellow & brown. 3 more with blue, yellow & brown (infant, child and adult sizes)
And a matching Christmas scarf and hat!
With so many gift items available, there are many opportunities to score one!!!
Every donation of $5 gets you one entry into the drawing.
A $40 donation gets you 10 entries!
Donate through the ChipIn button or directly through Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree here. If you donate through RR leave a note to them saying you've donated through my blog and want to be entered into the drawing.
Wait!!! There's More!!! Hahahah
You get 1 entry for posting on Facebook about my fundraiser and including a link to my site.
1 entry for posting on your own blog and including a link to my site.
And 1 entry for Tweeting about my fundraiser.
That's 3 'free' entries into this awesome drawing. That's 3 additional sources of promotion for sweet Sergei's adoption fund!!!
While you can continue to give to Sergei until 12/31/2010, my drawing will end and winners will be picked on 12/15/2010. That will get the prizes/presents to you in plenty of time for Christmas!!
Leave me a comment in the comment section or send me an email (email address listed over on the side) telling me you've posted on Facebook, Twitter or your blog along with a link to such postings.
Even if you don't want to spend anything, or don't want to write me a note, please please please pass this on and tell your friends about it so that Sergei has a great chance of increasing his adoption $$.
Thank you so much for reading and mostly for helping Sweet Sergei!!!!!!!