Monday, November 21, 2011

A Season of Hope

There is something about the holidays that brings a mix of both joy and at other times extreme despair and sadness.  Such great joy thinking of family and friends gathering, sharing and creating memories.  I feel despair when I think about those who struggle not only during the holidays, but all year.  At times, the sadness gets almost too overwhelming and too overbearing because it seems like there  is so much going on in the world that needs addressed and needs helped that how could I, as one individual, ever make a difference?  How can I help change how people view Down syndrome?  How can I help those who don't have a voice be heard?

Photo by Nat Hansummrittisak.

This is the black hole that once entered I have a tough time climbing out of.  Sometimes the hustle and bustle seems like too much and such an unnecessary source of stress and worry when there are real problems and real worries in the world.  

And, yet--- there is hope.  

In fact, there is Katerina Hope.  This season of hope is inspired by this incredible little girl who was born in a faraway country and who was abandoned by her mom because she was born with Down syndrome.

In October, I wrote about the amazing children with Down syndrome who are available for adoption and are highlighted on the Reece's Rainbow site.  One of my friends who read that post told me she was so devastated by the thought of all of these children needing homes that she didn't know if she could read the blog anymore because she was so overwhelmed.  I get it. I totally get it.  To read that children are abandoned, denied much needed health care, denied stimulation and love--it is a lot to take in and then try to go about your day.  I feel the same way every time I read about these children.  It makes my heart swell up almost into my throat and I cry when I read about these babies who are abandoned and forsaken all because of their extra chromosome.  BUT!  There are happy endings.  There are stories of joy.  That is what today is about. Today is to celebrate and be thankful for the stories that give us hope and inspiration.

I often try to read The Blessing of Verity, which is a wonderful blog by a large family who has ten children, including their youngest, Verity, who has Down syndrome.  Throughout the past year i have been reading about their process of adopting Katerina who is a nine year old little girl who also has Down syndrome and who lives overseas.  This was one of first posts I read that completely broke my heart and brought to my attention the incredible need to help take care of these amazing children.  Here is a photo of Katerina who is nine years old and barely weighs 10 pounds. 

But!  As I promised-- this story has a happy ending and there is HOPE!

As of November 19th, Katie is an American citizen and is being cared for at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  

Here she is on the long flight over.  Yes.  That is an infant carseat.  She is now in amazing hands and has found her forever home.

Look at those incredible eyelashes.  She is beautiful and her amazing family has believed in her from the start.

Katie's journey of hope, faith and inspiration continues.

One of my favorite posts from The Blessing of Verity is this one called What Difference Does It Make? in which they share stories and before and after photos of children who were in Katerina's shoes and who were also adopted.  I hope that these photos provide you with hope and joy like they did for me.

What difference does it make?

October 2, 2011 at 10:36 PM
“I am wondering if you have pictures to share and the before and after story of a child who was adopted from an orphanage similar to Katerina’s. A child who, after receiving love, nurturing and a healthy diet, has blossomed and grown and is doing well now.”

What difference does it make?  
See for yourselves.

Hailee before, 5 years old~

Hailee after 1 year home, now 11 pounds bigger~

Toby before, 4 years old~

Toby after 1 year home, now 13 pounds and 4 inches bigger, walking, running, and using over 50 signs~

Anya before, 3 years old~

Anya after 3 months home, now can swallow, drink, chew, feed herself, play, walk, and communicate~

Liza before, 4 years and 8 months old~

Liza after 11 months home, now 10+ pounds bigger~

Lena before, 2 years old~

Lena after 6 months home~

Xander before, 4 years old~

Xander after 3 years home, now doubled in weight, walking, feeding himself solid foods, drinking out of a cup, using sign language to communicate, and saying a few basic words~

Irina before, 4 years old~

Irina after 14 months home~

Gabe before, 6 years old~

Gabe after 3 months home, now crawling and pulling to stand~

Johannah before, 3 years old, and Ellee before, 5 years old, then
Johannah and Ellee after 6 months home~

Joel before, 7 years old~

Joel after 4 months home, now 15 pounds and 6+ inches bigger~

Victoria (left) 23 months, and Francesca (right) before~

Victoria after 3 months home, now 5 pounds bigger and eating on her own~

Francesca after 3 months home, now 9 pounds bigger~

Theo before, 4 years old~

Theo after 1 year home, now 5 inches and 15 pounds bigger~

What Can You Do?
You can participate to the 2011 Angel Tree and get a beautiful Angel Tree ornament with a minimum of a $35 donation.  Just visit: Angel Tree 2011 and choose a child to donate to. 

1 comment:

  1. I don't understand who would abandon their child. It's beyond's just horrible.


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