I am so lucky. I have two very healthy, wonderful boys whom I love very much. I would have loved them just as much though if they had been born with medical, physical or intellectual issues. I'm very lucky that I live in a Country where there is support if I had needed had things gone differently.
Not every mother or child is as lucky. I was reminded of this by a fellow blogger last week. When I was fighting down the fertility path, I took a serious look at adoption (actually, I continue to look in that direction as a way of expanding the family in the future, but that's a different story). During that time, while I coveted an infant adoption, I didn't rule out an older child or a special needs child. I subscribed to the Canadian Waiting kids list for those who can be adopted out of province because of hard to place issues. I read and reread the waiting children's list in my province. I looked at international adoptions, but there were such restrictions on single parents adopting that I was put off. I was waiting for the next adoption class to come around again when I started the IVF/DE process.
In my searches, I read many heart breaking stories of kids in needs. Of kids needing specific family types (aboriginal or other racial requirement, religious affiliation, a particular family makeup etc). The list of waiting kids I could have adopted locally was actually quite small. I also looked at the hard to place kids in the US. What I didn't know about was the special needs waiting kids overseas. I found Reece's Rainbow, started reading about each child and my heart broke over and over again.
Most of the children here have Down Syndrome, with some or none of the health complications associated with the disorder. What they have though is the misfortune of being born in a Country where there is no service, teaching or even information for them. Many, if not most are abandoned at birth. The birth family has no support in bringing one of these special kids home and do the only thing they feel they can. Reece's Rainbow is also working towards birth family support programs. Reece's Rainbow
From birth until about 5, these kids are in what are called baby houses, with other orphans their age. The degree of care in these facilities varies by region from amazing to deplorable. But even the worse baby facilities is better than where these kids will end up when they reach 6. At 6 they moved into an adult mental institution. You heard right, adult. In here, they will not get personalized care. Many will be left strapped to their bed all day. None will receive therapy or love. Lots will die. Once moved to these facilities, they are no longer available for adoption.
There is also a group of children with HIV looking for homes. Living in the USA or Canada, these kids will have access to medication that will improve their health and life expectancy. Last week they announced that they were able to reverse HIV using stem cells. This means that a cure is possible within the lifetime of these kids if they were able to find homes in North America. One set of kids there really caught my eye. They are boy/girl twins almost the age of my two. In a few years, they will be moved to the institutional setting. Whats worse for them is that the men and women's institutes are separate and they will never see each other again. As a twin parent it rips at me to think of twins split up. Even if I had the funds to adopt this pair, they are not eligible for single parent adoption. Max and Lena Hopefully they find a home before they are split up.
Reece's Rainbow is not a placement agency. They don't receive fees for matching parents to children. But they do work with the baby houses to get lists and medical information about children available for international placement. They also collect donations for each child to help the adopting family cover the fees. It costs the same to adopt a special needs child internationally as it does one with no extra issues. This is in the range of 24-35,000 depending on various factors. You can adopt multiple children at one time with very little extra cost.
Right now, there is a holiday program called Reece's Angels, where you can contribute to the fund for one or many children. You will get an ornament with the child's picture. They are trying to get $1000 per child this year. Angel Tree Page Some of the children have over 5,000 available in their funds to help find them homes, which hopefully means they will be home before next Christmas. Others have under $200.
All kids deserve not just a home, but the right home for them. My home isn't the right one right now, but even my small donation may make it possible for one of these kids to find the right home for them. If I could swing it, financially and family dynamic wise, right now, I'd find a way to bring Daria home. She looks like she'd be such a little joy and a great sister to the boys. Daria
And maybe even your home is the right one for one of these kids. If not, consider helping another family bring one of these kids home.