This isn't news nor is it surprising. I wish it were, but children with Down Syndrome and other disabilities who are sent to institutions don't generally live more than a year after that. They are tied to their cribs, fed very little because there just isn't enough to go around, and left to lie in what little waste their emaciated bodies produce. If anyone cares, they hide it well.
I have looked at this picture of Margarita for quite some time now, as she was on Reece's Rainbow in the hope that someone would look into that sweet face and want to take her home. In fact, a single woman did set out to adopt Margarita but while she was gathering her paperwork this country changed the laws to exclude single women from adopting. So instead of coming home Margarita went Home, where there is no more dying, nor crying, nor hunger, nor fear.
Every time I looked at Margarita's picture I was struck by her resemblance to my very own Vera. The picture below was the first one I ever saw of Vera.
These pictures, above and below, were sent to The Shepherd's Crook to use in a Before and After slide show, to show what a difference a family makes. Of course, I think she is beautiful in both pictures.
This was the first picture I saw of Ella.
Here is an after picture of her:
And another, because Ella is also gorgeous!
Can you see the life in the faces of Vera and Ella? Can you see the joy? Can you read between the lines of my sorrow in the deaths of those two little girls and know the joy that I have as the parent of three precious girls with Down Syndrome?
I have a dear friend who looked into the face of a very frail little girl who was facing life in an institution, and my friend chose to bring her home. Her daughter was days away from celebrating her 4th birthday when she was brought home a year ago. Since then, she has changed more than anyone could have imagined.
Because my friend Charissa knows the difference a family can make, and because she is as brokenhearted as I over the deaths of those two girls, she is advocating for the life of another little girl, one who still has a chance. I know there are a million wonderful ways to spend money, but because this is so dear to my heart I am telling you of another one. Go to Charissa's blog, read her story, donate $10 or more, and you can be entered into a contest to win Charissa's camera.
If that isn't an option for you, please pray for those children who are still waiting for families. Pray that God would incline more hearts toward those little ones who are in truly precarious situations, but who could light up a family! Just like Vera and Ella bring light and laughter to mine.