It’s no secret that children with Down Syndrome have a special place in my heart, especially children who are waiting for their forever families to come and sweep them off their feet with love.
But what is it about Reece’s Rainbow?
I don’t think I can even remember how I first heard of Reece’s Rainbow – somebody posting a child on facebook, no doubt but there is more….
In my fourth year of college our choir went on tour in Ukraine. I had been on cross cultural missions trips before but in Ukraine we had more opportunity to interact with the people. You could see the ripples of communism and while they grasped at independence they were in process. Still, the culture was rich, the spirit was genuine and potential was great. It was a great experience! (I would post pics but I had not entered the digital age yet…)
But one image is darkly embedded in my memory….
At one point in the trip we stayed at a type of retreat center just outside of Kiev in a town called Luhans’k. This was our longest stop, as we did workshops with other students from Ukraine. Down the road, there was a little market (like a corner store). I don’t even think we had been in the country for very long and our team was so desperate for a cold beverage (something other than tea or boiled juice) that we bought them out of Coke. The store wasn’t 50 yards from our accommodation but on the way there we would pass a large iron gate tangled among the overgrowth of bushes and trees. Ukraine has a beautiful landscape with rich soil and lots of green. The gates often stood open and welcomed curious visitors. But as we walked up the path the strangest sight appeared. Through the trees stood an old mansion surrounded by forest. There was not one inhabitant to be seen. On one occasion there was even music playing from loud speakers attached to the roof creating an eerie, thriller type atmosphere.
We found out later that it was a Sanitarium.
I don’t know who was in that beautifully depressing place. I do know that there were in fact people there, as I think perhaps I saw maybe one person but I will confess, I didn’t really know what a sanitarium was. It was a strange novelty at the time.
But I have been thinking about that place a lot lately. I left part of my heart in Ukraine and now I know why. Poppies Blooming reposted this video not too long ago. It was taken the same time that I was in Ukraine 7 years ago. Its nothing like the orphanages and institutions in Serbia but it is still devastating. Children tied to cribs and benches, swaddled in straight jackets.
But 7 years is a long time…and things are changing….slowly. There are stories of redemption, stories of hope and there is this amazing organization that not only keeps children from having to live in these places but also works with the parents in participating countries, teaching them how they can better care for their special children. Exciting things are stirring. God is doing some amazing things. I fight for Bennett, but there are others like Patti who fight for Peter, Artem, Olga and Kareen and has raised over TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for these children. There are others like Adeye who have adopted from Ukraine and just had the chance to be a part of and amazing story of Redeeming Love.
Share in the grace of God. This post is nothing without the stories that go with it. Be inspired. Be a part of this unfolding story of Gods unfailing, never ending, ever enduring LOVE.