Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Connecting the Rainbow

Many readers of this blog, especially parents of children with Down syndrome, are familiar with Reece's Rainbow. In case you're not familiar, RR is a ministry that promotes and supports international adoptions of children who have Down syndrome.

In other parts of the world, especially Eastern Europe, views held about Down syndrome are archaic, at best. Parents are generally encouraged to part with their babies born with Ds at birth, and these babies are placed in orphanages. If not adopted by age 4 or 5, these children are permanently institutionalized. Once institutionalized, they are no longer available for adoption, and for many, this is akin to a death sentence; the care is extremely poor and many do not survive the first year of being institutionalized.

The good news, however, is that many of these babies have been, and continue to be, adopted by families here in the good ol' USofA, thanks in tremendous part to the work of Reece's Rainbow. Some other wonderful news: thanks to Reece's Rainbow, many families in those parts of the world are now choosing to keep their babies born with Down syndrome rather than placing them in orphanages.

However, these families receive no government help in raising their children with Down syndrome. Therapy is hard to come by and must be paid for out-of-pocket by the families. Additionally, these families are sorely lacking in resources, developmental toys and equipment, and other materials to improve the quality of life of their children and maximize their potential.

Enter Connecting the Rainbow, Reece's Rainbow's latest project. Through this outreach program, RR will be making "mission" trips to Eastern European countries to hold workshops and offer resources and materials to families raising children with Down syndrome. They are also putting in place a sponsorship program in which US families will be able to sponsor a European family raising a child with Ds, and provide actual support and encouragement to that family.

If you would like to help out, please click on the link above and follow the links on their site. This is a wonderful cause!


The Sanchez Family said...

WONDERFUL POST!!! I may need to steal it word for word soon :)!!!

Kelly said...

Thanks for the info Lisa! This is great! I will definitely help spread the word!

Esther and Brian said...

Interesting-=-I just saw that blog last night! I'm from Eastern Europe, actually, and I can attest that it is true. You simply do not EVER see any children with Down Syndrome on the streets- not only in Eastern Europe but I would say in most countries in Europe. I know exactly where one such facility is as it was always on the way to the center of the city where I lived. That is the place where these children live and probably do not go out much. I have to say, though, that Eastern Europeans have also one of the best physicial therapists in the world and there is a world-famous rehab center for children born with other disasbilities/diseases. Cerebral Palsy is one of them. There are many many foreign families that live near these rehab centers as they cannot get the same care in their own (Western) countries.

But it is very sad that most children with DS are not regarded as human beings like you and I are regarded/looked at and that parents give up their children this way. I do not feel that it's right, either. Not a bit.

Leah said...

Thank you SO MUCH for helping us spread the word about Connecting the Rainbow! The previous posted mentioned the therapists in Eastern Europe. What the families have told us is, unlike in the US, they are not allowed to watch any therapy sessions. They have NO idea what, if anything, the therapists are doing with their children. They're given NO information about things to work on, or what to expect. Mostly because the therapists are still telling them their kids aren't every going to be doing anything anyway, so they're wasting their time. The GOOD thing is, here in the US we could pay as much as $180 per one hour therapy session, but there? $15.00!!!!! So, very affordable if a family here wanted to sponsor a family there for a year of therapy sessions or something!

Anyway, thanks again for helping us spread the word! ~Leah~ Connecting the Rainbow

Sonia said...

Oh..I didn't know this! I too will have to steal this and share also!