Monday, June 4, 2012

Reece's Rainbow

A few years ago I purchased a cd for a friend going through a difficult time. There was one song in particular that seemed meant for her situation.  Since I had purchased it on itunes, I listened to the whole thing before I gave it to her. A few weeks later I ended up buying a second copy for me. (Yup, I really did buy it again, it's my little soap box, the artists should receive their due.)

The cd was Aaron Shust's Take Over.  Through that purchase, somehow, I found out about Aaron's blog. Being a natural people watcher and just general life observer, I love blogs. I love the seeing things through different perspectives and learning people's stories. So, I tucked Aaron's blog away on my blog roll and read it periodically.

Over the past four months I have read the updates more frequently. Aaron and his wife Sarah's youngest son, Michael, was born with Down Syndrome. Aaron shares so honestly. Authentically.

A few weeks ago, baby Michael had major heart surgery. The Shust family came to my mind several times while Michael was in the hospital, so I prayed. While praying for baby Michael, my mind wandered to little ones suffering the same types of Down Syndrome heart defects all over the world.

The little ones my heart focused on are the ones who are spending their lives in institutions or orphanages. Little ones without a family, proper food or medical care. Little ones without access to life saving surgeries.

Living with a disability is a challenge when you have a support system. It is hard to even fathom how these little ones around the world cope without anyone looking out for them.

Through my friend Joy, I learned about Reece's Rainbow. It is an incredible organization that beautifully brings attention to these precious children and works tirelessly to help them be placed in forever families.

In 2002, Andrea Roberts gave birth to her son Reece. Reece was born with Down Syndrome. At first, the Roberts family went through a normal "grieving" period. They grieved for themselves and for the loss of the life they had envisioned for their first born child. The Roberts family was able to find support through their city's Down Syndrome Association and Parent-to-Parent of Georgia. Andrea and her husband also found support through their faith. They knew that "God had given Reece to them, and them to Reece," for a reason.

In 2004, Reece's Rainbow was started at Northside Hospital in Georgia as an outreach for families with babies born with Down Syndrome. In 2006, the program broadened to include promoting the international adoption of children with Down syndrome.

Through God's grace, in only five short years, more than 500 orphaned children with Down syndrome and other special needs around the world have been found by their forever families.  Over $1.5 million in grant funds have been disbursed to make those adoptions possible.  

Reece's Rainbow's mission is "to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption, to raise awareness for all of the children who are waiting in 25 countries around the world, and to raise funds as adoption grants that help adoptive families afford the high cost of adopting these beautiful children."

Here's how you can be involved..
Photo from Reece's Rainbow

Be a prayer warrior. 
The prayer warrior ministry has three goals-
1. Daily lift in prayer the needs of each waiting child.
2. Pray for Reece's Rainbow.
3. Pray for the families God is preparing for the waiting children.
Reece's Rainbow asks that you commit to pray for your child until they are placed in their adoptive family. Contact  Laurie Rhoades at to participate.

Be an orphan warrior.
Being a warrior for a child costs nothing but your time.
Use Facebook, twitter, email, your blog or any other way you can to help your chosen child find their forever family. 

Take part in the guardian angel project for Reece's "other angels", those children with special needs other than Down Syndrome who are also waiting for their forever families to find them. 

Sponsor a family who is adopting one of Reece's angels.

Check out this page for a list of creative ways you can help Reece's Rainbow.

In case you missed it... In December of 2011, ABC news featured this story about Mia, one of the over 500 lives changed by the work of Reece's Rainbow.

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