Tuesday, July 19, 2011

heartache

Dear Friends,

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.

16 comments:

Melissa said...

Patti, thank you so much for posting about Terri Lynn. I saw her picture couple of weeks ago while I was looking through the girls that were available to single moms. She reminded me of Jesenia. I am so sad and heartbroken for her. She is the same age as my oldest and should be going to kindergarten like Julian is next month, not sitting in an institution. I know that I am not able to adopt right now and I don't really any anything to give and I feel so left out of the blogging/facebook world. I have 13 followers on my blog and I posted about Terri Lynn on my Facebook and have had no comments about it. I just wish I could do more and I hope that she finds a family quickly.

Jenn said...

Looking at Terri Lynn brings tears to my eyes every time. No child desrves that! Will be reposting on facebook & will link to your post on my blog tomorrow, I just posted about the warner family.

Hugs & Prayers
Jenn

Jane@flightplatformliving said...

gosh thats so sad about lisa's sister, i knew they were delayed but i didnt know about this! and terri lynn, so so sad! xxx

Colleen said...

We want so bad for Teri Lynn to be ours, right now finances are what stand in the way:( I do know Marianne has received MANY inquiries about her in the last 24hrs though!!!

Becca said...

Oh, Patti, the instant stab of pain I just felt seeing that beautiful girl and knowing her new situation...Samantha is 5, and I just. can't. imagine. That image will haunt me. I don't pray, but if I did, I'd be praying pretty darn hard for that child to get a family, praying that the government that has her will consent to release her to a loving forever-family. I am shaking after reading this.

TheFoleyFive said...

oh man..this one hurt me so much. We give every time we can, and it never feels like enough..I wish so badly I could go hold her, talk to her, pray for her, just love sweet terri lynn for as long as time would let me....I wish even more we were able to afford an adoption...only in heaven will we be free from the sad heavy cruelty that exists in this world.
I cannot wait for that day.

Melissa said...

While I knew of both of these stories already, both of them just make my heart ache with each re-reading.

Team Lando said...

This makes my heart hurt. Prayers for this sweet girl to find a forever family, and prayers for the Warners to all be together as a family soon!

Mrs. K said...

Becca, why don't you pray? Terri Lynn needs all the prayers she can get to set her free and move to a forever FAMILY!!! not a forever institution.

Patti, I am praying for Terri and all those precious babies.

Please give my Lilybug an extra sweet kiss from Grammi

nicole said...

Will definitely be praying for both of these heartbreaking cases. Donated to little Terri Lynn ~ wish I could do sooo much more.

Julie said...

Sadly, I learned of Joshua's struggles tonight, and of Terri Lynn's just this week. I am praying for God to move mountains and to use these precious children to glorify Himself! Show us what you have God, because we KNOW you are mighty to save!!!

Lori said...

My heart is so heavy - there is no description for the ache - always praying!!!

My Plate Is Full said...

As a mother of a child with physical and learning disabilities… I am always interested in hearing the stories of others and how they have coped with raising a ‘special’ child. I recently saw a film called ‘Dakota’s Pride’ which showed the MANY wonderful blessings children with Down syndrome bring to this world. I can’t even express to you how moved I was by this film! I was amazed by all of their accomplishments… one young man with Down syndrome even graduated from college, drives his own car and is an advocate for other adults with Down syndrome! I know you get to experience these many wonders on a daily basis, but I thought I would share the following link for the video. http://www.dakotaspride.com/ I wish everything protrayed Ds children in this beautiful and inspiring way... then maybe we wouldn't hear these terrible stories that you posted... oh it just makes my heart ache! I will definitely have a full prayer list tonight! Thanks for posting this in your blog!

eestarn said...

I am just incredibly heartbroken over this story of this little girl. I am not position to adopt, as we would most certainly not have the funds available. With that being said I dont know much about this topic and what not. But why isnt anyone giving proper training to the people that are in charge of these sweet babies. Why are they not addressing the real issue, that being that these poor children have no business being treated that way. I am not fully understanding how things work over there. But I do understand that they need to be shown another method of treating these babies. That they are not garbage.

I work for a University where they do lots of research. And those researchers went to Africa to educate these small communities of people on sex/Aids/pregnancy. And things that you and I thought were common knowledge, were the farthest things from their minds. Its all about educating people. And I for one am very interested in seeing a movement towards educating these people on how cruel it is what they are doing to these sweet babies.

Just heartbroken. We need to stand up for them, because nobody else is.

Rebecca said...

Oh, my heart is aching for that poor little girl and all of the others who are shut away, abused, and neglected and never given a chance. I can hardly see through my tears to type. I will be praying everyday for Terri Lynn and others who are simply cast aside b/c they are different. This kills me. I will donate as well. <3

Marci said...

Thanks for being an advocate for these children. I donated to Terri Lynn -- not much, but what I could do. Prayers going up for both of these kiddos!