One of my first friends at our homeschool co-op, was Julia. We met when my son poked her son in the eye (can't recall if it was an accident or on purpose!). We were on a field trip with them and kept bumping into each other on future field trips. We joked that we obviously needed to get out of the house as we took advantage of any and every field trip...
Years have passed and Julia and I have known each other a long time now. She and I share being homeschool moms of sons and - a shared passion for orphans. She traveled to India with a friend who was adopting not long before we announced we were adopting our girls from Ethiopia. Her family adopted a precious little boy from Ukraine following our return home with our girls. She has been incredibly supportive of us now, as we embark on the journey again.
|Aaron - he has the cutest dimples ever!|
Julia's story of her adoption, on her blog, was so beautifully told. Julia has a real gift of writing from her heart. A true calling slowly grew throughout her adoption process. Aaron, her son, had a physical special need (arthrogryposis) and in his country, if you are not adopted by age 4 and have a need that is obvious like his, you are then sent on to an institution. There you will live out your days with severely mentally handicapped men (in his case), with no toys, no stimulation, no love, and no hope of ever being adopted.
Julia's family was the first to adopt a child out of Aaron's institute and it was an unbelievable story of their perseverance and of God's faithfulness to Aaron and to her family for rescuing him from a future that was not a future. Her little boy is home now and is a delight and an amazing young boy. Praise God.
But Julia was forever changed by what she saw and what she knows goes on behind the gates of institutions like Aaron's. She has a passion like you have never seen, to advocate for the special needs children around the world who face futures of institutions, boring days without stimulation/touch/educaiton, no visitors, no family coming for them to care and love on them, and no one to share with them about the love of Christ.
Julia has become an amazing advocate and encourager to families seeking to answer God's call to care for the orphan. She has kept up her blog which has a huge following now and regularly fundraises for families or for the adoption accounts of children on Reeces Rainbow (an amazing ministry that promotes Downs Syndrome adoption and other special needs by keeping adoption accounts for waiting children to defray some of the huge costs for the families that step forward to adopt). Hundreds of Reeces Rainbow children will be celebrating Christmas this year in their own home with their own family because of the work of the Reeces Rainbow group - of which Julia has become one of the loudest voices!
Today on Julia's blog, she has announced a wonderful giveaway she is running to assist in increasing the adoption funds of 5 special children in particular - but also, of all the little ones listed with the Reeces Rainbow ministry. There are so many precious children who long for a mommy and daddy, siblings, family, tradition, their own bed, their own teddy bear to hug at night, for Christmas mornings, cousins, grandparents, storytimes, and learning to read (the list could go on and on - all the many things we, who have always had family, take for granted). By adding to their accounts, families who are being called to these children get a little bit of a break in fees. It is a blessing. Our little girl in China had a similar account through another organization and for that we were incredibly grateful.
So please, hop over to Julia's blog and read about her huge giveaway, the gifts you can win by participating, and the children she is trying to save. She will have you link over to Reeces Rainbow's angel tree where you can choose children to give to. You don't have to give a lot...it can be very little. One year (and this was also Julia's suggestion), we gave each of our kids a 5 dollar bill. We told them to choose a child on the angel tree and we would mail off their donation to the child of their choice. My kids had not even seen kids with some of the needs pictured. It was a great thing for them to take a minute to ponder what life must be like to have a special need and no mommy. Pretty powerful...
Here is Julia's blog: http://covenantbuilders.blogspot.com/2012/12/angel-tree-gone-wild.html
Here is Reeces Rainbow: http://static.reecesrainbow.org/angeltree2012/
All donations to Reeces Rainbow are tax deductible. If you have time, go back to read about Julia's adoption story and her descriptions of what she saw. It is painful at times to see and read - but might serve to give you an idea of something you could do to help. God bless!