In Russia, 85% of children born with Down syndrome are institutionalized from birth. There is no place in their society yet for those with special needs. Of course the hope and prayer is that someday they'll catch up. Someday they'll realize these people have worth, like every other soul born to this earth. Someday the biological parents won't have to make a gut-wrenching decision to give up parental rights, simply because of an extra chromosome. The United States had a very similar mindset about 50 years ago. I don't doubt that Russia will catch on someday. Someday...
There are many children stuck in the meantime, though. Children that would thrive in families, school, therapy, etc. Children that could have beautiful, meaningful lives. This is why we made the decision to adopt from Russia. We knew gross systematic change in Russian society was WAY out of our hands, but we could save the life of one. We turned our playroom into a bedroom and our lives upside down to get her home. 5 months of constant paperwork, fundraising, and prayer and we FINALLY arrived in Russia for our first trip. We went to Russia on what is called a "blind referral". That means we didn't know who exactly we were going to adopt. We told them a diagnosis, age range, and gender. From there, they told us who we could come visit. Her database picture was of a newborn, though she was 19 months old. We didn't even know what she looked like when we arrived at the orphanage. When they walked her into the room, though, my heart soared. This was my child!! I had the exact feelings when I saw my three biological children for the first time. This child is why we endured five grueling months of a "paperwork pregnancy" and why we agreed to take on the parental responsibilities of a child with several special needs. She was perfect in every way. We had several blissful visits. I cried hysterically when our plane took off from her region. I could not wait the months until we came back for court. She belonged with us. We all felt it.
Six days after we arrived home, Putin banned Americans from adopting Russians. We all know how that's gone. Here's the kicker, though. These kids are still growing up and being sent to mental institutions. There is nothing now that can be done for them outside their own country. Nearly every healthy infant that had met a prospective American parent has been adopted. Who remains? The kids with special needs. One child with Down syndrome has gone home with his biological parents. All the rest who'd met prospective parents remain in institutions. Because these are just words, let me show you some pictures:
Lest you think this is an isolated incident, let me share Ksenia with you. Here she is before transfer:
Chubby cheeked, full of life. Here she is after transfer:
I hate that I live in a world where things like this happen to innocent children. To make it worse, one of the children in danger of transfer is a child I feel in my heart is my child. She is only two, but it's a ticking time bomb.
Here is "Nathan". He is in the same region as my Dasha. He doesn't have visible wounds, but he is skinny, sickly, and desperate looking. What am I going to do if/when Dasha gets transferred? I am terrified for her.
|Nathan before transfer|
|Nathan after transfer|
We can't do nothing. We can't pretend these children don't exist. I don't care what country they're from. They are children of God, and they don't deserve to be treated this way. Please pray, friends. Please pray for all these children. Please pray the adults that are responsible for them will care. Please pray that angels will watch over them and that their hearts will be protected from the ugliness of this world. And selfishly, please pray for my Dasha girl. Please pray another family will adopt her, or that the Russian laws will change and allow us to bring her home before she is transferred. Please, just pray.