I know many of those in the Down syndrome community are already aware of the two stories I'm about to share. But I also know that many of Lily's readers outside of our smaller Ds blogging world may not have had a chance to read about these children, so please bear with me if you have.
The first story is about a beautiful little girl named Terri Lynn. She is an orphan with Down syndrome, living in Eastern Europe. She waited for years for a family to claim her, but nobody ever did.
Terri Lynn turned five a few months ago, which meant she was given a ticket out of her orphanage...unfortunately "out" meant a transfer to a mental institution. This beautiful, rosy cheeked little angel with the sweet collared dress and darling little pony tail was transferred to an asylum where children are left in cribs day after day in their own urine and feces and wither away for lack of human contact and food. I've scoured resources to find an accurate statistic for children with Down syndrome who survive the first year in an asylum. Some sites are generous- they give a 20% chance of survival. Others state that 95% of children with Down syndrome will die during that first year...either way the numbers are horrifying.
What we do know is that those institutions are no place for children.
They are no place for a beautiful little girl who did nothing wrong in life; yet her fate was sealed when she arrived in life with a little something extra.
What we do know is that Terri Lynn is not the same little girl she was when the above photo was taken.
Here is sweet Terri Lynn just a few weeks after her transfer.
My heart is aching. What went through Terri Lynn's mind as she was left at a place she never knew, left behind the only "family" she had known, and as her sweet little head was shaved, and they left her in a crib to languish? What has happened to her rosy cheeked little face, now mottled and bruised? What does a five year old little girl with Down syndrome do to comfort herself when no one is there to rock her or hold her or tell her it will be okay?
My friend Adeye blogged about Terri Lynn and asked readers to help raise money on her grant fund on Reece's Rainbow. Miraculously, that grant is now at $7,495. One of Adeye's readers agreed to match new donations up to $2,500. So if that much comes in, Terri Lynn wil have a grant of over $12,000. That grant fund will be an amazing blessing to any family who would step in to rescue Terri Lynn.
If you would like to contribute, please go HERE.
The other story involves a family already in the country of the little boy they are adopting.
The Warners are already legally Joshua's parents, but there are some major events that are stalling bringing him home. Little Joshua has some serious medical issues that need to be resolved before they can return home- they have already been there for over four weeks, and now death in their immediate family is adding to the mountain of stress and heartache they are already experiencing. Please go HERE to see how you can help and pray for the Warners.
And finally, I hope you didn't miss the blog post from yesterday about an article that appeared in GQ magazine. If you missed it, please read that post- the words in the article that caused so much shock and hurt have since been removed:
"due to so much local in-breeding, Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome, where a little extra ends up ruining everything"
We don't shut our children away in institutions here, but as long as this kind of prejudice and discrimination is allowed to be printed without an uproar from our community, our children will still remain victims of societal ignorance. We don't have to sink to the level of the writer of this article, by answering his hurtful and insensitive words tit-for-tat. I'm putting together a montage of photos of family members and their loved ones with Ds, like the one Dr.Skotko posted in this article. To borrow the words of a friend (thank you, T****) "If we can take and own the term Down syndrome style, we can call attention to this in a fun and engaging way that focuses on positivity."
Please send all photos to my email, and thank you ahead of time for all who will take the time to do so, as well as reading and sharing the stories above.