A few years ago, some dear friends of ours had a child born with Down syndrome. It changed their lives....for the better. You see, life with a child with Down syndrome isn't like a life sentence, as society might have you believe. But our friends are blessed unlike they could have imagined since having their precious baby boy. He is adorable beyond words, happy, content, and his milestones are all the more to be celebrated! He is a delight to their family and friends.
Before that, I was naive and unaware of the plight of children with Down syndrome, both here in the States and abroad. I just didn't give much thought to it, to be honest. When I realized that not only is the termination rate for pregnancies that show a risk of Down syndrome high (around 90%), but that many babies born with an "extra 21st chromosome" in other countries are sent to orphanages shortly after birth - abandoned and rejected, or just in the hopes that they will be adopted and receive a better life than their parents could provide. Then around the age of 4, these precious children are sent to live the rest of their lives in mental institutions where the mortality rate is very high. What a sad and cold life. No family to love them. No one to snuggle with them and read to them. No one to comfort them when they are sick. No one to pray with them and tuck them in bed at night.
One night about a year ago, while reading about this on the internet, I stumbled across a website called Reece's Rainbow. It is a wonderful Christian non-profit organization that works diligently to promote and raise funds for the adoption of special needs children (primarily those with Down syndrome) in foreign countries. (There are waiting lists here in the States for the adoption of children with DS.) Shortly after finding that website, I signed up to pray for a specific child and got assigned a beautiful baby girl in Eastern Europe. Our family prayed for her every morning at breakfast. Nate, in his cute lispy 4-year old voice would faithfully pray, "that baby Kyrah would get a loving Christian family". Well, just recently we found out that she is getting adopted! A wonderful Christian family has committed to bringing her home. God answered our prayers! I hope to write a bit about that family in another blog. To say the least, we are all very excited for her.
Well, this one need in our needful world still weighs heavy on my heart. I know that adoption, especially foreign-special-needs adoption, is not for everyone. But no one can deny that every child should have a loving family to call their own. And there are many ways you can be a part of making this one need met - by prayer, encouragement, advocacy, and support. So we would ask our friends and family for your prayers, encouragement, and support as we seek to offer a "cup of cold water" to one of these little ones.
"And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." Matthew 10:42