Sunday, July 15, 2012

In the neighborhood

I want to tell you a story, about eight little boys and girls. Maksim, Devon, Alexei, Dixon, Emilija, Veronika, Dawn and Matvey.  They all live on the same street, and attend the same school.

Devon is the baby of the group - though at age 7, he might object to the baby designation !!  He's as cute as a button, and likes nothing better than hanging out in the back yard and running through the sprinklers to keep cool !! He loves to hang out with the older kids, but mostly prefers to stay home and build with his legos. He also loves to snuggle with his momma (even though he IS a big boy, not a baby any more).

Matvey and Maksim are the eight year olds - not twins, just really good buddies !  Matvey's blond curls drive him crazy, especially when mom is trying to get the tangles out of them !!  Everywhere Maksim goes, people comment on his beautiful eyes - he claims not to like the attention, but secretly he thinks it's kind of cool !!  The two boys love to spend time together, whether they're indoors playing with their matchbox toys, watching TV, or outside on the playground - just being together is what they like best !

Alexei. Oh Alexei. the nine year old with an attitude !!  Those big brown eyes will steal your heart - and when you get calls from the neighbors complaining about his latest antics, those big brown eyes will save his bacon !!  Always active, always seemingly getting into mischief - but you just can't help but love him whatever he gets up to !!

Then we have the quads - four 11 year olds, all the same age, all great friends, but oh so different in so many ways !!  No longer little children, not yet teens - all struggling to figure out their own identity in this big old world. Emilija, graceful and musical - spends lots of time at the gym, honing her gymnastic skills - a future Olympian, maybe ?  Her other favorite activity ?  Music - the latest top of the charts tunes and her ipod - the perfect combination !

Next is Veronika - a little more studious than her friend.  Quiet and serious, little V is top of her class in school - quick to learn, willing to please - and so easy going, her teachers just love her !!  She's also a great friend - not one for a lot of drama, but great to talk to and spend quiet times with. She's always ready to help a friend in need, but also ready for some fun when the work is done !

The third of the quads is Dawn, the girl with the biggest smile ever !!  She can often be found with her friend Emilija, sharing their music. Dawn loves to listen, but also loves to sing and play instruments !  Always musical, she started playing violin at a young age - she tried a few different instruments over the years, but still loves the violin best !!  Despite spending hours practicing, she can still sometimes be found kicking a soccer ball around with the other quads - quite the all rounder !

Last, but definitely not least, is Dixon. The oldest of the quads by a month, and the only boy in the group, he thinks he's quite the ladies man !  He's not very sporty, is average in class, and as for music - he can take it or leave it.  Dixon enjoys hanging out with his friends, reading, playing video games and basketball.  He is very protective of his 3 girls - as well as the younger kids -   and is the first to step in at any sign of trouble - though he's more likely to talk them out of trouble rather than get physical ! :)  

Sounds like a wonderful neighborhood, doesn't it ??  A group of kids, all great friends, spending their days going to school, and hanging out with "the gang" - the group of friends they've known forever and will remember into their old age.

This is how it should be.

The reality ?  The children are real - but their reality is SO very different.
They live in orphanages and institutions in Eastern Europe.

THIS is their reality.

In Eastern Europe, children born with Down Syndrome - or any other perceived mental of physical disability - are institutionalized - often from birth.
They have no hope of a normal life.
At age 4 or 5 - earlier if there's a shortage of space in their "baby orphanage" - they will be transferred to an adult institution.
In some places, they spend their whole life in a crib.
Starved of affection.
If they're lucky, they may have toys to play with.
If they're lucky, they'll have just enough food to survive.
If they're lucky - they WILL survive.
Their only chance is being adopted - usually internationally.
Adoption is expensive.
We can all afford to feed an extra mouth. Or two. or three.
Can YOU afford the $30000 + it takes to adopt internationally ?
Most people don't have that kind of money in their back pocket.
Most people need a little help to bring their children home.
It takes a village.

Maksim, Devon, Alexei, Dixon, Emilija, Veronika, Dawn and Matvey need help.
They live in orphanages and institutions in Eastern Europe, not in the fantasy world I described at the beginning of this blog.
They are listed on Reece's Rainbow as being available for adoption.  
They are among a group of children who have been listed the longest - for YEARS their faces have been looking out from the web site, looking for their new family. No one has stepped forward. They are getting older. When they are around age 16, they will no longer available for adoption. They WILL spend their lives without a family. 
With no chance of reaching their full potential.

THIS should be their life - not an institution.

They should be playing

They should be playing basketball 

They should be playing soccer

They should be enjoying music

They should be riding bikes

They should be swimming

They should be winning medals

They should be LEARNING

They should be LOVING

They should be working

They should be living a normal life, just like you and I.

But - they're not.

They have no chance - unless you can help them.

They need a family.

Maksim needs a family

Devon needs a family

Alexei needs a family

Dixon needs a family

Emilija needs a family

Veronika needs a family

Dawn needs a family

Matvey needs a family

Are YOU their family ?

Do you know their family ?

Do you WANT to help ?

Or do you want to crawl back in your shell and pretend they don't exist ?
Pretend that you never saw their face.
Pretend that they - and hundreds of thousands of others, just like them, don't matter ?
Most people who read this will put it out of their mind.
Go back to their life.
Live in their fancy house.
Go out for a meal at least once this week, with no thought of children who have barely enough food to survive.
Most people who read this will spend the day with family. 
With friends.
Most people won't give THESE kids another thought while they play with their own.

Are YOU "Most people"

Or do YOU want to help ?

There are many ways to help.

You can adopt.

You can donate to adoption grants. All of the children above have adoption grants - money available to help prospective parents out with the ridiculous expense involved in international adoption.  Most families need all the help they can get raising the $30000+ needed.  The bigger a child's adoption grant, the greater their chance of being adopted.

Other than adopting or donating, the best and easiest way of helping is to SHARE !!!!  We all have e-mail, many are on Facebook or other social media, you ALL work, or go to church, or have family. 

You can ALL share - either this blog - or others listed below - or

Will you ?

Will you help ?

Will you share ?

Do you care ?

Listed below are links to many other blogs, all sharing today about the children who have been listed for the longest at Reece's Rainbow.  Please note that some of the bloggers are very busy moms, so they might not have their Blog Blitz post up yet today - so be sure to check back later !!

Please - read the blogs - SHARE - DONATE - PRAY - CARE

Please note - many of the images above (other than those from Reece's Rainbow) were found doing a Google search - if the photos belong to you, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due :)