Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This is one of my favorite times of the year. Everyone just seems to be in better spirits: it's the end of the semester, Christmas is coming, you get to see family, eat good food, listen to good music, etc. etc. It's the time of year where we are thankful to be alive and realize that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. At Chick-fil-A, we often see an increase in drivers paying for each other's food. Sometimes we even have a chain reaction that can go on for several cars. Everyone just seems to be happier and in a giving mood.
As you may know, in the past I've been an avid Christmas Angel Tree Warrior for Reece's Rainbow. I've personally sponsored three girls with Down Syndrome over the years (Polina, Jessa, and Rania--now Hannah Rose), although I've given to more. Last year, I had to put that aside to focus on my own trip to Ukraine. This year, I knew I had a lot going on for my first semester in college, so I knew I couldn't commit to personally sponsoring a child. I can't organize and pull off a fundraiser right now. But that doesn't mean I can't advocate for it!
Clare caught my eye a few weeks ago. In our speech class, we had to do a persuasive speech in an attempt to persuade our fellow classmates to a new belief or action. Any guesses on what mine was about? Yep, you guessed it. Donating to Reece's Rainbow Christmas campaign. They've since changed the name to Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign, but the goal is the same: raise $1,000 for a child in two months, November to the end of December. In my research for my speech, I saw her picture a few times and was drawn to her adorable face and sweet personality that clearly shines through the pictures. Somehow or another that always happens. I can spend hours on Reece's Rainbow looking through their pictures.
Not much information is known about Clare. She is 3-years-old and has Down Syndrome. No other health complications were mentioned, although with Down Syndrome that can often be a possibility. While her profile can't specifically state the name of the country, she actually is most likely from Ukraine! She will become available to be adopted hopefully at the end of the year, but in the meantime, Reece's Rainbow is getting her picture out there in hopes of her finding a family.
Quite a few children featured in Reece's Rainbow's Christmas campaigns are found by their adoptive families. If you don't know how RR (Reece's Rainbow) works, each child has an account where people can donate to them. This money is held by RR until the child has a family committed to adopting them, and needs that money. This is a HUGE resource for families. International adoption is expensive, between $36,000-$45,000. Hannah Rose, previously known as "Rania" when I fundraised for her, had nearly $20,000 in her account that helped her family adopt her. Not every child is so lucky to have that much money, which is why RR pushes the Christmas campaigns so much. Because Clare is so newly listed, I have no doubt that someone will inquire about her quickly, but she doesn't have very much in her account, only $108 as of November 13th. Only $54 has been raised in the Christmas Campaign, which means she still has a long way to meet her goal.
I know what the orphanages are like in Ukraine. I know that even if Clare is not in Ukraine, all the orphanages are fairly similar in that part of the world. No child should ever have to end up in an institution like the one I visited. I don't want that to be Clare's fate. She needs to go home, to a loving family who will value her as a human being and love her for who God created her to be. She needs to be in a healthy environment where she can grow and play like a normal kid. Some orphanages are better than others, true. Not all of them treat children with special needs as poorly. But it is an orphanage, not a family. The sooner she can get out, the better.
So please, spread the word, share her picture, and pray about donating to her this Christmas.