Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reece's Rainbow . . .

Reece's Rainbow is an adoption ministry for children with Down syndrome mainly, but also other special needs. They help to bring awareness and find families for the many orphans throughout the world, especially in Eastern Europe. 250 children have found families since Reece's Rainbow started in 2006. Many children have found their families this year and are in the process of being brought home.

The Bedford family is adopting their 3rd child with Down syndrome from Bulgaria. Their two other boys, Xander & Grifyn, came home from the Ukraine & Serbia in 2007 & 2008. You can see their blog here.

Shelley Bedford has a unique opportunity since she is adopting from Bulgaria. She has been able to get in contact with some parents in Bulgaria who have chose to keep & raise their child with Down syndrome. These families are going against the grain big time in their country by raising their children. Now, this may seem strange to some. But, in Eastern Europe (EE) parents are encouraged to give up their "imperfect" children (children with Down syndrome) and let the government raise them in orphanages & institutions. The orphanages & institutions do not give the child their fullest potential. Lack of resources, staff & love creates an environment where these children, who simply have an extra chromosome, do not thrive.

Some orphanages are very poor and the children have malnutrition and are very small. They also typically don't receive the kind of attention & care they need, which hinders them even more. Simply because these children don't have the love of a family, they do not thrive at all. You may have a 4 year old who is only 16lbs. That's not right. But, when these children are brought home to families they THRIVE. The turn around these children make is amazing.

Then you have the mental insitutions, which often times are much worse than the orphanages. The children will spend their day in cribs. Often times tied to their cribs for hours at a time. Even left in their own waste for a long time. Not all institutions are this way, but a lot are. In some EE countries, children are transferred from orphanges at 5 years old and sent to the institutions. Where they may spend just a few short months to a couple years before their death because of neglect & lack of love. Or, they may be there for many years and not be able to be adopted because that specific instition does not allow adoption once the children are transferred there. Thankfully there are some institutions which allow the children there to be adopted.

The boy Shelley is in the process of adopting from in Bulgaria is in an institution. But, he is not in one of the horrible institutions. He is in a place where there is more love & care given to the children.

Because of this opportunity Shelley has been given, a new branch of Reece's Rainbow has been started: Connecting The Rainbow. Connecting the Rainbow was put together to gather resources, therapy items & literature to give to the families in Eastern Europe who have chosen to keep their children. Becaue most people do not choose to keep their children with Down syndrome, the families who do keep their children do not have very many resources. So, Connecting The Rainbow was put together for people to donate items to and then they will be taken to Bulgaria.

So, check out the site and see if you are able to help Connecting the Rainbow in anyway! Shelley will hopefully be returning to Bulgaria in March or April and she hopes to be able to take a lot of supplies with her for the families there.



Adelaide Dupont said...

Thanks for telling more of the story of Connecting the Rainbow and how it fits into the rest of the ministry/mission.

Here is an Aussie offshoot:


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