Friday, December 03, 2010

Every Day...

I think about the orphans. How couldn't I? I've got one (less) orphan in my home. And I feel like I should do more.

My heart is aching...because I know.  

I know because I have two children now with Down syndrome.  I know because I was there.  And I know because of what others have shared:

The Sad Reality, about life in an Eastern European mental institution, and The Sad Reality, Part II, the follow-up post.

- And this post about a little girl--a beautiful, creative and intelligent little girl with Down syndrome who has already been transferred to an institution where she will likely die if someone doesn't come forward for her soon.

Before December of last year, I knew that most people in the United States who find out they are carrying a baby with Down syndrome will choose to terminate the pregnancy. I also knew that, here in the States, children born with Down syndrome are often stowaways, their secret undetected until arrival. 

But unsuspecting parents, after going through a period of grieving the diagnosis, most often come to adore their children with Down syndrome and find peace and joy in their life together. (There are a small percentage of parents who are aware of their child's diagnosis before birth, and who knowingly choose to give that child a chance. They, too, most often have incredibly positive feelings about their child).

Parents and family members of people with Down syndrome are their biggest fans and advocates. We tend to wish that everyone knew the joy of knowing and loving a person with Down syndrome, and that others could see life with kind and open eyes.

What I didn't know until last December is that there are children all over Eastern Europe (and in many other parts of the world) who have been abandoned simply because they have Down syndrome or another specific diagnosis.

These children are the survivors, who have been born, despite a general notion that they are worth less. Through no fault of their own, they are often seen as the unwanted

A year ago, I clicked a link to the Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree from another Down syndrome blog, and was instantly forever changed. 

I sat silently, with tears streaming down my face. 

All of these children with Down syndrome and other specific needs...they have been devalued, underestimated and left alone. I had no idea. I had no idea that there were so many. All of these children...who is going to go get them? 

We were able to save one child.  Just one.  But she is a treasure.  And one less orphan is still one less orphan.  It is a step in the right direction.  

We are not Saints. We are just a regular family who fell in love with our fifth child (just as we did with the rest of our children), a little girl who happened to have an extra chromosome.  Bridget opened our eyes to the worth and beauty in all people. 

Reece's Rainbow opened our eyes to the many, many children who share Bridget's diagnosis and who have been abandoned because of it. They are fortunate to have a voice through this organization. 

But they need help, and lots of it, to escape from their chains. 

I know it is to hard to think about all of the kids in need, but we can't look away. 

No child should have to live life in an orphanage or a mental institution. No child should be without the love of a family.

Realistically, not everyone will be able to adopt. But I hope more people will begin to think “Why not us?” instead of “Not us”. Or at the very least, “My eyes have been opened. Now what can I do to help"?

**If you are interested in learning more, I was recently interviewed by Patti, at A Perfect Lily, about Reece's Rainbow and Alina's adoption.  Find that here


  1. Lisa, this is so beautifully written. I pray that others will read it and feel the same conviction you and other families have already felt and TAKE ACTION as we continue to save these orphans one at a time. It DOES make a difference and it's a problem that CAN be solved as long as we keep advocating and spreading awareness.

  2. lisa...this is so beautifully written. and your words and seeing the pictures of your sweet bridget and sweet alina together have honestly made me think why not us? i have said to jeffrey that it would be wonderful to save one of these sweet souls and to give maggie a baby sister, maybe one day....i continue to pray about this and for all of these sweet children. your words and your family have truly blessed us more than you will ever know...

  3. Lisa, I just read your interview at A Perfect Lily...I am full of chills and tears. You have a beautiful story. It is full of hope, love and inspiration! I remember where I was in life right after I had Kamryn and the year following. I never knew what I was missing (or lacking) before her. Now my eyes are open and the light is so beautiful! I love to read your posts and always look forward to your words and thoughts! xoxo Andrea

  4. Kristin, Patsy and Andrea~ Hi! We are all so lucky to have all of our beautiful girls with Down syndrome. And to have made connections with other "special" moms :). Thank you all for reading and responding. It means a lot to me!

    Patsy, if you do have any other questions about RR or International Adoption, please let me know. I'd be happy to give you any additional information if there ever comes a time when you need it :).

  5. Lisa...this is odd, but I thought I became a "follower" on your blog right after I had Lily..I always wondered why I didn't get updates on my blogger dashboard!(I always come here through my favorites) I don't see me on your followers, so I am fixing that now:)