Treasures: Reece's Rainbow
I discovered Reece’s Rainbow in the early fall last year and was immediately hooked.
Reece’s Rainbow was founded by Andrea Roberts, a mom to a little boy named Reece who has Down Syndrome. She learned that in many countries around the world, children with Down Syndrome and other disabilities are often abandoned by their parents because the society does not accept them or provide them with the resources they need to give them the best potential in life. This inspired her to begin a not-for-profit orphan advocacy organization.
Reece’s Rainbow lists children that need families who qualify as special-needs in their country. They do not put identifying information such as their real name, birth date, or exact location on the child’s profile, but are often allowed to use a photo of the child.
Reece’s Rainbow also raises money for these children, to offset adoption costs which can range from $20,000 to over $60,000, depending on location. Families in the adoption process can also fundraise through Reece’s Rainbow.
These listings help potential adoptive parents as they can see what the child looks like and a short listing of medical needs, as well as some details about the child such as character traits and personality. Special needs can range in severity and include HIV, Hep C, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, cleft lip, cleft palate, albinism, arthrogryposis, hydrocephalus, epilepsy, deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, ichthyosis, Apert Syndrome, Treacher-Collins Syndrome, strabismus, spina bifida, attention deficit disorder, autism, and more. Some of these are easily managed and cared for, and others require lifelong medical attention and support. And honestly – some of the diagnoses sound a lot scarier than they are – for example, strabismus is the fancy name for having crossed or ‘lazy’ eyes., and ichthyosis is a skin condition that can be managed relatively easily. These are not just lists of issues – they are children, and they need a family and love and care just as much as anyone else.
Over the past six years, Reece’s Rainbow has helped find families for over 900 orphans with special needs and has dispersed over $4.5 million in grants to help fund these adoptions.
These little cuties have got me by the heartstrings, and I hope that never changes! Stay tuned for some featurettes of the little ones I can’t get out of my head.
Check out the website here: http://reecesrainbow.org
8/2/2013 02:00:16 am
Do you know of any efforts this organization has to have the children adopted in their own country? You mention that these disabled children are abandoned by their parents, but is there effort to provide homes in a country they are familiar with? As international adoption is a personal interest of mine, I conducted an informational interview with a local adoption lawyer recently. He shared with me the importance of the 'principle of subsidiarity', which basically means that a child should be looked after by parents first. If not parents, then grandparents. If not grandparents, then close relative. If not close relatives, then by someone in their own country. If at that point there is still not a good situation for them to live in, then international adoption is considered. Thoughts on this?
Hi Bailey! Ultimately, I think that children should, if at all possible, be parented by their relatives, but in the countries that Reece's Rainbow works, there simply isn't the cultural acceptance or infrastructure to provide for these kids. Actually, a similar process existed in the States 40-50 years ago - parents were told by doctors that children with disabilities had absolutely no future, and should be institutionalized. However, the difference is that there are services available in North America that can give these children a future. In Eastern European countries, the parents either recognize this inability to provide adequately for the child, or do not accept children with disabilities, and they end up in institutions. I will be sharing a bit more about other views in the next few posts - including returning children to their biological families, in-country adoption, etc. so I will go into more detail then.
14/2/2013 12:45:17 am
And I guess there's the good, the bad and the ugly to all solutions we try and come up with. Are you personally interested in working in the international adoption field?
20/2/2013 09:43:14 am
Oh neat! Maybe we should team up some day! I am going to law school and am interested in doing either immigration or international adoptions - we could throw our skills and knowledge together and save the world's vulnerable kids :)
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Welcome! My name is Katiana and I am a development professional pursuing my dream to live out Isaiah 1:17 to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about teaching and working with vulnerable families and children to improve their lives sustainably.
This blog is composed of my personal opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of institutions or organizations that I may be or have been affiliated with.