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!