Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MomDot Blog Party Day 5


Today, make a blog post about what you do to give back during the holidays. Do you volunteer your time? If so, please tell us where. What do you do to teach your children the true meaning of the holidays?

This is Oleg! Isn't he darling?

I'm so pleased to answer the day 5 question! The Christmas season is a great time to think and act on behalf of others. The spirits of thankfulness and giving are inseparable. Although the need is great all year long, we make a special effort to give during this season. Normally we give through our church's angel tree ministry.

Our church has an angel tree decorated with colored paper stars. Each different color represents a different local organization. Some orgs, like the children's home, need people to volunteer in person to wrap gifts and accept and sort donations. Some ask you to sponsor a family by buying presents and food for the whole family. Some ask for specific gifts for a specific child or adult, usually a toy or clothing.

In years past, we have teamed up with another family to sponsor a family and provide gifts and food for their Christmas. I happen to know that this WAS their entire Christmas, giftwise anyway. We have also participated in the Operation Christmas Child where we load a shoebox full of assorted items for a young boy or girl. It's always fun AND instructive to take the children shopping for some mysterious child across the ocean, perhaps. It starts them off wondering about the way that other children around the world live. It is the beginning of compassion.

This year will be a bit different for us. I have fallen in love with children with Down Syndrome. Yes, all of them!! It saddens and crushes me that the world does not see their beauty and worth. In the United States somewhere near 90% of prenatally diagnosed babies are aborted. In other countries, babies with DS, and other imperfections, are routinely institutionalized. Many don't survive past childhood. As the mother of a medically fragile 18 month old child with DS, I'm well aware that he probably wouldn't have survived his first year had he been born in Eastern Europe.

There IS an organization that is changing things for the better! Through Reece's Rainbow, the international adoption of children with DS is showing the world that they are worthy of love, learning, and a family - simply because they are human. Do you know that many of the institutionalized children have no baby pictures? The caregivers are so certain that no one wants to adopt them that they don't even bother taking them!!

Supporting Reece's Rainbow is the way we are giving this year. They have an Angel Tree Project where you receive a beautiful Christmas tree ornament with a gift of $35 or more. There are about 100 waiting children pictured in the gallery of angels. Please take a few moments to look at these beautiful faces. Most are living in baby homes right now, but the children whose names are in red letters are facing transfer to a mental institution very soon.

Oleg, who is pictured at the top of this post, is my special little boy! I just love him. He is nearly 4 years old and will be sent to an institution next year. UNLESS...a family were to commit to adopting him! I've been raising funds for his adoption fund for the past few months. When a family commits to adopt him, the money in his fund will help offset the huge financial burden.

Will you join me in praying for Oleg and the family that God is preparing to adopt him? Will you consider a small gift to an angel on the Reece's Rainbow angel tree? Due to the sluggish economy, I guess, this annual fundraiser is off to a slow start.

When my children and I look at the faces of orphans from around the world, we better understand the meaning of a Christmas gift. When I look at the faces of the thin, sick, unwanted children, I am convinced that I am looking upon the face of Jesus. When we give to them, we are giving back to God - this is Christmas.

Matthew 25:35-40 (New International Version)
35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or
needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
I'm trying to relate this to my children. They are already better persons from having a baby brother with Down Syndrome. They are more compassionate, more giving and more accepting than any other children I know. I told my 16 year old son that I feel God leading me to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. I asked him what he thought about this. He said that if God is telling me to do it, then I had better do it!

When Ralph's health is more stable, I'll do it. But Oleg can't wait. Oleg and many others need a mommy and daddy right away. Whatever you do this Holiday season, help someone else. True thankfulness is more than a feeling, it is doing something, taking action.

Here is a challenge: When you are feeling blue, broke, and afraid of the future, find a way to help someone else. Write a note, make a phone call, make some cookies for someone...doesn't have to be an expensive gift. You'll feel better and so will they. If you can't help me help Oleg or one of the other Reece's Rainbow angels, find someone to help! And have a Merry Christmas!


Tena said...

Adorable pictures!!
You my friend are an amazing person!
God Bless

Natalie said...

Geez you made me cry!! My mom worked at the ARC for a while and still routinely visits and spends time with the people there. I wish I could afford to adopt a child. Maybe in the years to come God will bless me with the means to do something like that.

Michelle@lifeinawhirlwind said...

What a giving heart you have! I love that you give across the spectrum and that you have found a new love.

Christina said...

You give to an amazing cause.

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of Reece's Rainbow before, what a fantastic cause!!!

Melissa said...

thanks for stopping by my blog!
You have the BIGGEST heart! Bless you and your family!

Tracye said...

that's awesome!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Do you know if people with disabilities can adopt these kids (I have MS but still parent three). My hubby and I were looking at the Reece's Rainbow site and my heart was so touched. I have worked with MR/DD as a case manager- I love that population. Something we would pray about if my health wouldn't preclude us? I think you have my email- so let me know when you get a chance- thanks :-)))

Allison said...

Wow what an inspiration! Oleg is a beautiful boy!

Christine said...

How awesome of you to spread the word!

Sarah said...

I can't even tell you how incredible you are! I love your sons take on God's direction. But he sure is right!

Momstart said...

I like to do operation Christmas Child too.