*****Update: Lera now has a $5000 grant! It isn't for upfront costs, but for those incurred toward the end, but is still a huge benefit!*****
Lera, the beautiful little girl with Down Syndrome in St. Petersburg, Russia, whose picture has been in my sidebar for months, is within days/weeks of being transferred to an institution. Once there she can no longer be adopted. All that it would take to keep her out of there, initially, is an application with her agency and a commitment to her. The baby house would be able to keep her there until the family (or a single mom!) came to adopt her (yes, that is part of the commitment).
Andrea Roberts, the founder of Reece's Rainbow, has graciously offered a $1000 grant for her adoption. If you are the family that can keep this beautiful little girl from a life behind the bars of a Russian mental institution where she does NOT belong, please contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org. ***Andrea would like me to mention that you can determine your eligibility and financial preparedness by visiting: www.reecesrainbow.org/newfamily.html ***
I know I have written about mental institutions before, but if you missed it you could watch the video I have shared on my sidebar. The basic idea is this: Lera is currently living in a baby house where she is treated like all the other children in the orphanage. They have three meals a day of barely passable quality, they play outside in a crummy little play area, they have a few toys, they nap daily, they probably go to the bathroom in a little plastic pot after each meal, scrubbed down with cold water 'baths' and they don't get lots of hugs.
Doesn't sound nice, does it? I may be slightly wrong about her exact experience, but that is what I saw at Alex's and Vera's orphanages.
It's a garden spot compared to what's coming for her. One day soon she will be plucked out of her little place in the world with no warning and no transition. She will go to sleep surrounded by the kidlets who have been her friends for years and awaken to a world filled with emaciated adults prone to strange outbursts, no playground, just a bed, meals occasionally, baths less occasionally, and caretakers who were overwhelmed with the endless needs of the variously handicapped residents years ago.
Alternatively, she could come to YOUR home. Do you see how much you have to offer her? Think of your home, with a soft bed for her, a warm, nutritious meal (yes, even a kid's meal with chicken nuggets and fries is better than what she had and what she's going to get), a warm bubble bath, medical care from your friendly pediatrician, a toilet that flushes (!), toys of her own, maybe even a baby doll or an stuffed animal. Best of all? YOU! A parent to hug her, bandage her scraped knee, fight for her educational rights in school, tuck her in each night when she's scared, play music so she can dance, give her a new name to call her own, give her a future with a family to catch her when she falls.
Believe it or not, the life you save will be your own.