Dr. Gerald Nebeker talks about a few adoption agencies that help facilitate international adoptions for children with disabilities. In this podcast you will also hear from Michelle, the CEO of Reece’s Rainbow as well as Kecia and Chris who have adopted two children with Down syndrome from the Ukraine.
Facts and figures
The US State Department considers international adoption to be one of it’s highest priorities. They said, “..it should be an option for children in need of permanent home when it is in the best interest of the child and domestic solutions have been given due consideration.”
Gerald said, “..since 1999, over 250,000 children have been adopted from abroad.” However, some are limited to the option of adoption because of cost.
Reece’s Rainbow is an organization that helps facilitate the adoption of children with disabilities. They find grants to help cover the costs of the adoptions. Reece’s Rainbow has helped more than 2000 children with disabilities get adopted.
Michelle, who is the CEO of Reece’s Rainbow said, “When you are adopting a child with special needs, who is sitting in an orphanage you need to get them home. They are sitting there in an orphanage you need to get them home. All of these things that we can provide here that they are not getting over there.”
How it works
On their website, reecesrainbow.org, they have children who are available for adoption listed. From there, you can find information specific about each child. Such as, their age, diagnosis and if any additional information is available.
Michelle explained their grant options. She said, “We have different grant options for different children, particularly for older children that are 10 and up or six-nine with Down syndrome in particular. We do have a grant fund for other children with other special needs as well which is also 10 and up.”
There is a massive community, 4,000 Facebook members, dedicated to helping parents find grants they qualify for or put together fundraisers to help raise the money needed.
Kecia and Chris
A while back Gerald interviewed Kecia and Chris who had a child with Down syndrome named Brie. When she was a few years old, they struggled to add more children to their family biologically. Their minds went to adoption and have adopted two children with Down syndrome from the Ukraine.
The first child they adopted was Mia. When they found her, she was four and a half years old. Kecia recalled, “She also had Down syndrome, and she was given up at birth for that reason.We brought her home in the summer of 2011.”
Their second child they adopted from the Ukraine was a little boy named Noah. Kecia had this to say about it, “He was also given up at birth because of Down syndrome, and when we found him, he was 10 months old”
The Lucky Few
Chris shared a touching story that illustrates their feelings towards having three children with Down syndrome. He said, “In our old neighborhood, there was a little boy who had Down syndrome who we knew before Brie was born…After Brie came home, they came over to visit us one day, and the mom and dad had brought one their oldest daughter, who was probably in her early 20’s.”
He continued, “When they walked in, she immediately turned to her mom and said, ‘So are you going to tell them or do you want me to tell them how lucky they are?’ At the time we didn’t understand it, but now I think we do. We understand how lucky we are that Brie came into our lives.”
Bulgaria and Armenia
Gerald was able to visit several orphanages in Bulgaria and Armenia a couple of years ago. He said, “My role there was specifically focused on the children living there with disabilities. No one including the Bulgarians and Armenians believe that it is the best place for them. All children need to be raised in a home. Unfortunately, children with disabilities aren’t considered adoptable there.”
If adoption is calling you, reach out to an accredited adoption agency. Carolina Adoption Service is Hague accredited, and although it is located in North Carolina, they help facilitate adoptions across the country. Their website is carolinaadoption.org.