Can I be honest with you? Ever since Kevin and I traveled to Kiev in December 2008 for our SDA appointment to get the official referral for Steven, I have been kind of miffed at God. We ended up staying clear until Dec 31 and never even got to have court. I have really felt that the sacrifice of giving up Christmas with our family was just too much--when it served no purpose anyway.
Just a few days ago I realized a very intersting 'coincidence' that absolutely brings tears to me eyes. I have copied here part of my blog entry for December 25, 2008. After the entry I'll explain the significance.
Back at Independence Square we went with Nastya to a gallery on the street that heads up toward St. Michaels. She has been telling us since the day we arrived about an up-coming exhibition showcasing children with Down syndrome. This was the coolest thing. If I got the story straight there is a group of families here in Ukraine who have chosen to keep their children with DS and are working on a way to set up education for them since they cannot be admitted to the regular schools. So SEVERAL people who are very famous here in Ukraine--singers, a heavy-weight boxer, radio announcer, rock band, soccer player Schevchenko, etc. had pictures taken with these adorable children in an effort to raise funds for this charitable cause. It is called "Ukrainian Stars for Children with Down Syndrome" and a slogan is "They are just children, only with Down Syndrome." We purchased a calendar that has 12 of the pictures on it. Here is a quote from the calendar: "Every year in Ukraine up to 400 babies are born with Down Syndrome. Only one third of them stay with their families. Parents abandon most of those babies due to a lack of complete and truthful information about their children's potentials. Making a decision to give up one's child with Down Syndrome is often based on erroneous and out-of-date information which continues to be wide spread in our society. The birth of baby with Down Syndrome is a genetic accident. Probability of a birth of such a baby does not depend on the parents' way of life, their health, bad habits, nourishment, prosperity, education, skin color or nationality. In many countries around the world people with Down Syndrome are rightful members of a society: they can attend regular kindergartens, study at school or in college, find a job and get married. Let us together build a happy future for children with Down Syndrome in Ukraine." The calendar also gives two addresses which I haven't checked out but which might be interesting: firstname.lastname@example.org and http://www.downsyndrome.com.ua/ Personally I am very excited to hear about this organization. I am delighted that people right here in Ukraine are seeing the value of children with DS and realizing their potential.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I received this message in my comments:
Merry Christmas! I'm a member of that Ukrainian Charity Down Syndrome Organization. We're just a group of parents trying to give our special kids a chance for a future life which looks rather gloomy at the moment. We're doing our best here and are looking for any cooperation. I'm particularly glad to read your comments as I was the one to insist on having our Calendar of Love printed in two languages and translated the text into English. You may see it at http://www.downsyndrome.com.ua/files/calendar2009.pdf/ A December boy with the World Boxing Champion is my son.
Good luck with the adoption, it's much needed here
This comment led to phone contact and Kevin and I had the amazing opportunity to meet this mama AND her son AND a couple other parents AND their kiddos with DS there in Kiev before returning to the states. I told them about the ministry of Reece's Rainbow.
Fast forward to September 2010 when two very special representatives from Reece's Rainbow are in Ukraine right now visiting orphanages, a maternity hospital, therapy centers and attending a DownsEdconference all in hopes of encouraging mamas and papas who are already parenting their children with special needs, educating workers and professionals about the potential of children with DS and building relationships and partnerships with Reece's Rainbow. And guess who picked them up at the airport: YEPPERS- that very mama that contacted us on Christmas Day 2008. I'm not miffed at God anymore. I am totally humbled.