Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Four years ago ... on two different continents

Something I've been pondering lately as I advocate for Anya.  I imagine what it might have been like four years ago.  Two women about to give birth.  Each was blessed with a daughter.  I imagine that both were surprised - along with a host of other emotions - to learn that their precious little girl also had Down syndrome. 

So many things similar and yet so many things different too.  One was born in a country in which there is support for bringing up a child with special needs.  Early intervention and therapies offered a lot of encouragement.   

I can only imagine what life must have been like for this mom - facing an uncertain future with a child in a culture that just didn't accept children with Down syndrome.  Quite often these moms are just encouraged to give up their babies at birth.  (Not sure that for many there even is another option.)  The babies are taken to an orphange to live.

In different circumstances, that could have been me.  I was frightened and overwhelmed.  I was also blessed with incredible friends and family.  A wonderful OB.  A new pediatrician.  And most of all a faithful Father.  All who encouraged me that I could do this.  I had no idea then of the amazing blessing having this little girl would bring.  I feel certain that the other mom didn't know this either.  How could she when almost all the people with Ds in her country live behind the walls of an orphange or a mental institution.

In different circumstances, this could have been Eliana.  I thank God for giving me Eliana.  I'm thankful she has Down syndrome.  He has taught me so much through her.  I wouldn't be the same person without her in my life.  Because of her, I found Reece's Rainbow.  I learned about the fate of children like her in other countries.  It broke my heart and I began to pray.  My heart became burdened for these children.  At times, this burden has been quite heavy.  I sometimes wonder if there is more I should be doing that I'm not.  I look at my beautiful little girl who brings joy to our world and think that there are so many more like her, locked away and waiting. 

Will you please join me in praying for a precious little girl who is turning 4 today?  Her name is "Anya" and she lives in Eastern Europe in an orphanage.  She has never known the love of a mother and father.  It is her birthday.  I imagine though that this day is no different than any other for her.  No cake.  No candles.  No presents.  No family.

Just this week, we were able to see new pictures of Anya and an updated description of her too.  I was excited to hear that she smiles and laughs and wants to be loved.  She sounds like a precious little girl.  I was also saddened to read about how she was treated. 

Here is the newest description of her.

From an adoptive family who visited with her in August 2010:  "Anya can smile, sit up, crawl, pull herself up to a stand using the edge of the playpen. She can hear and see well enough to have heard me call her name and to immediately sit up and crawl over to the playpen gate and stand up. She cried when I could not pick her up. Another time, she sat up and climbed into my lap and clapped my hands together over and over.   I do not think she is autistic and she does have facial expressions. She is definitely more involved than your average kid with Ds but she is a doll who is craving attention. Also, she is not aggressive… she did not bite me or pull my hair, or do anything like that.  Andrea, Anya does have a look to her that seems slightly different that just straight-up ds and she does seem to be too laid back to the point of maybe some sensory issues. But she surprised me with her will to crawl to me and her desire to come to me, to the gate, to find me.  I have to be honest and tell you that Anya is not in a good room.  Anya is ignored by the caretakers and by the other children. I really believe she will change with love and EI, but she will always be a bit higher needs I think.  She will be four this coming week, and I worry that they will transfer her to babyhouse 1, or worse to the institution. Anya will not make it in an institution.
Now that she is 4, Anya is eligible to be transferred to an institution.  As you read, this is really not a good option for her.  That last line just hurts my heart.  Please join me in praying for her family to step up now before she is transferred.  This precious little girl needs love and attention.  She needs a family so she can grow and thrive.

Please pray.  If you would like to donate, there is a chip-in on my blog or you can mail a check.  Lets not let money be the obstacle that keeps her from finding a family.  Time is crucial.

Thank you!