If you are part of the Down syndrome adoption blogging community, as soon as you opened this page, you knew what I’m about to tell you.
For the rest of you, I’m going to tell you a little story first. Remember the day that Sasha Bliss visited Katerina’s orphanage? And was allowed to take pictures and videos inside the building, on her floor?
From the moment I looked through the pictures and videos she captured, I knew that I would never be the same again. I looked through them briefly, just one time, then had to rush out the door to our home study agency and post office on adoption errands. As I pulled out of our street, I got through to Stephanie Carpenter, who was waiting for Sasha’s report. But my heart was in pain and I could not speak. I had just looked into the faces of precious little humans who had never been loved, whose only crime was that they were born “imperfect.”
When I could choke the words out, they were these…
“The other children. How will we be able to walk out and leave them there??”
Stephanie understood. She hadn’t been to Bulgaria, but she had adopted three daughters with cerebral palsy from orphanages overseas. She understood better than I myself understood. There is a new calling on our lives now that will not end when we bring our tiny daughter home.
I have another friend who understands. She cannot adopt yet, but she was instrumental in obtaining open heart surgery for an Eastern European toddler with Down syndrome…and she wrote the following to me after returning home…
“I’ve had the opportunity to travel many places and times in my life but nothing prepared me for seeing how people live. I don’t think that I know the right words to use to describe how I felt finally SEEING how these children were living. I mean actually seeing…its one thing to read about it or watch videos but it is so much worse than we could ever imagine. I got to see the children in the ‘no hope’ back room and looked into their empty eyes and it was just so incredible to think that these are real living breathing children who just haven’t gotten to live. I will pray for your heart and the burden you are soon to take on. I pray for your strength and that of all mothers/fathers who take this journey.”
I’m not good at being a rah-rah-rah cheerleader. I’m not cut out to be a pushy salesperson. I’m not great at keeping up with others’ blogs, so news like this gets to me a little on the late side. But there’s a story that needs to be spread far and wide, and maybe some of you haven’t heard it yet. How can I hear this story and do nothing?
Please look at this sweet face again. I want to put her on my lap and kiss those round, rosy cheeks! Our family knows from experience that this child was tailor-made for squishy cuddles! This little girl’s name is Teri Lynn. She was born with Down syndrome in Eastern Europe.
Why am I showing you her picture?
Do you remember what happens to children born with special needs in Eastern Europe? Their parents sign away their parental rights, and they are left at the hospital after birth, then discharged into state-run orphanages.
After an average of four to eight years, depending on the child and the country, they are transferred from the relative safety of the orphanage to an adult mental institution.
“Yes, yes, Susanna, we have heard it all before…do you have something new to say about it?”
In Teri Lynn’s country, the children are scheduled to be transferred after they turn five years old. Teri Lynn turned five years old last December.
Statistics show that 80% of the children who are transferred to these asylums die within the first year of transfer. I recently heard that for children with Down syndrome, the percentage rises to 95%.
Please go back up and look at her face again. Sometime in the past six months, this little child was taken from her familiar surroundings and given a death sentence. She has been transferred to an Eastern European adult mental institution.
Let me tell you something you may not have heard before…
It is unusual for information about a transferred child to make it back out of one of those places.
Well, God has intervened for Teri Lynn.
A picture of her has gotten through to the outside world.
Here is this sweet dolly after just a few weeks at the mental asylum:
This picture leaves me outraged and heartsick.
Why did I say that this picture is Divine intervention in Teri Lynn’s life?
Because of one marvelous fact. She is still available for adoption.
I am only one of hundreds who are pleading with the Lord to use these pictures to break into the hearts of Teri Lynn’s future parents.
For anyone wanting information about adopting Teri Lynn, please contact email@example.com.
If you have a blog or Facebook account, would you consider helping to spread the word?
And if nothing else, please print out her pictures and put them where they will remind you to pray for her every day until she has a family.
And I can never forget the myriads of other children who waited out the allotted time for their parents to come and get them before they received their own death sentence and were forgotten. Nobody is giving them bedtime baths and stories and hugs. Nobody is smiling into their eyes, cheering them on, giving them therapy to help them to achieve their potential. Nobody is receiving all the affection their little hearts have stored up to give after they learn the love of a family. Nobody is seeing their pictures, praying for them by name, or laboring hard to give them a family. Oh dear Lord, have mercy on them.