Since Evie joined our family we’ve joined this amazing world of special needs families that we never really knew existed. We’ve learned about all sorts of syndromes and diseases and met many wonderful people in this journey. We’ve also been introduced to the advocacy required with a child with special needs. When we were on the outside, I thought that things were pretty good for individuals with special needs. And while this is true and a lot of progress has been made, there is still a long way to go. When Evie had been home for a few months, I ran across a blog about a family who was adopting a little girl, Katie, from Eastern Europe who has Down Syndrome. She was smaller than our teeny tiny Evie, but was 9 ½ YEARS old. YEARS, not months.
I had no idea that in many countries, women are expected to abandon their children with special needs and place them in orphanages. Unfortunately, most of these precious children are left in cribs all day. They typically only have their diapers changed once a day and many are force fed with bottles while lying flat. Many choke on their food and die because, like our Evie, they may struggle with swallowing or are allowing the food to go into their lungs. These beautiful gifts have so little value that they are routinely starved and when this happens long enough, their bodies stop producing any growth hormone. They remain the size of infants for years. It’s a wonder they survive at all. And when they do survive? What reward do they receive? As young as age four, the survivors are sent off to ADULT mental institutions for the rest of their lives.
Most don’t survive the first year.
But every now and then, a child is rescued. A family sees their value. Katie’s family saw her value. They saw a child of God that deserved respect and love and care and a family. They brought her home and six months later, she is growing, smiling, laughing, snuggling, and developing by leaps and bounds.
We didn’t know. We really and truly didn’t know that this was happening. How can people treat babies and children so carelessly? It’s sickening really. And it breaks my heart that little babies like my Evie aren’t loved and snuggled by parents, but left in cribs to rot.
But now, I do know and if I’m honest with myself, I’m not surprised by any of it. I see how people look at Evie, how sad they think it is. I know the statistic that over 90% of women that receive a Down Syndrome diagnosis during pregnancy choose to abort. We even now hear of Down Syndrome and other genetic syndromes being described as “preventable” as in, abort them before they’re born to prevent their existence. We hear people talk of “quality of life” because as a culture we think the only life worth living is one with a college degree, job, marriage, and 2.5 children. Should any of us be surprised that these children are not seen as children, but as defects, burdens to society? How do we teach the world that children with special needs have value, incredible value? That these children (and adults) are not burdens to society, but contribute in beautiful, but possibly atypical ways? That these individuals bring unimaginable joy to their families? How do we teach the world?
We do something. As Christians, we should do something.
There is a wonderful ministry known as Reece’s Rainbow that advocates and raises funds for these children around the world. We all know that adoption is expensive and this ministry helps lessen that burden. They work hard to let people know that these children with a variety of special needs deserve families and love just like every child! They are human beings made in the image of God, not garbage to be discarded.
We, as a family, decided to become Prayer Warriors for one special little girl, Margaret. She is just 3 months younger than our Evie, but with no mommy and daddy to hold her, love her, and advocate for her. Her picture is on our fridge and we pray for her family to find her quickly. I’ll be honest, if Evie’s situation were not so medically intense, I guarantee you I’d be begging Ty to let us go get her ourselves, for her to be a part of our family. Even with our current life phase, I tried for a few weeks to figure out how we could make it work.
Now it’s time to ask you to do something. In honor of our sweet Evie who got to come home from the hospital to a family that loves her, please consider giving to little Margaret’s fund. We can help ease the financial burden to bring her home to her family.
Please also pray for her. Or look through the other children and become a Prayer Warrior for one of them. Prayer is powerful. One look at Evie will tell you that!
We live in a day and age when there are so many medical advancements, special therapies, and opportunities galore for people with all ranges of capabilities. But you know what? Even if we didn’t. Even if there wasn’t “hope”, these children still have value. They still deserve dignity. They still deserve love. They still deserve families. And we as the church are the ones that should provide those things for them.
Because the world never will.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40
PS. You can follow little Katie’s progress at http://www.theblessingofverity.com