October is Down syndrome awareness month, and here we are at October 13th and I've yet to mention it even once. It's not because I don't want to raise awareness about Down syndrome... goodness, we're practically a walking billboard for Ds awareness...
In the past I've participated in 31 for 21 (31 days of blogging for awareness about Trisomy 21: Down syndrome). This year, I didn't do it.
I've also always advocated heavily for orphans with Down syndrome during this time and the need for adoptive families as well as humane care and treatment, funding, therapies, etc... for children with Ds. This year, notsomuch as a word.
Honestly, it's because I don't feel like it.
For the last several years since I got involved in blogging and adoption and involved with the Ds community (I wasn't very involved prior to our interest in adoption, even though Brianna is our bio daughter and is 5 1/2), I've had this driving force, this purpose. A place to direct people to put their passions, their ideas, their finances to help others if they themselves couldn't do it, and a real drive to see it all work.
I don't have any of that anymore.
I decided this week that I needed to find that drive again. Find a new outlet that I can share and support. I can't let something that has "let me down" also be something that steals my passion.
I still have a passion for children with Down syndrome!
I still have a passion for adoption!
I still have a passion for helping families to complete their own dreams of adopting children with special needs!
And I still, absolutely, have a passion for missions.
So what's wrong with me??? Why don't I feel like being a part of the 31 for 21 and blogging for Ds awareness month, and sharing orphans? I needed a new source for my passion.
HERE IT IS. You've probably seen links to this organization before, but it has a BRAND NEW website! Please go and check out the ELI PROJECT!! This organization is founded by Chris Malone, a father that was one of the very first families that I helped through the adoption process. He adopted Misha (now Micah), that was the child I met along with Aleksa when we went to adopt her the first time. He adopted his Matthew at the same time, and later went back for another son and daughter, one of whom was from a baby house near Wesley and I had the pleasure of meeting. I've met two of Chris' children (tho they were orphans when we met!) and I feel as though I know Chris VERY well, though we've yet to meet face to face.
Chris and his sweet wife Mary have 9 children including their bio son Eli that has Down syndrome and four typically developing (slightly older) children and four children with Ds adopted from Ukraine. Their passion is so TRUE and so DEEP for the orphans of Ukraine that they have already SOLD THEIR HOME and will be relocating to Ukraine in the coming months, probably just after the new year.
What a blessing it is to 'know' this family, and to walk beside them and lift them up in prayer as they go! What a joy it is to know that the Eli Project is run by a man of great courage, faith, and strength! They also have a solid board of directors and a mission statement that clearly marks their Christian intents and purposes.
I am very glad to 'rekindle' my spark this month and set my feet firmly in advocating for the children listed on the Eli Project! I hope you'll go and see the children there. MANY of the children there are not in Ukraine, and have different country requirements. Take a look at their SPECIAL NEEDS page :). Eli Project is an organization that you can donate to to help these children find families! Our Wesley was able to come home BECAUSE he had a grant. We likely wouldn't have considered adopting again if we had to come up with the entire $24k to bring him home. But GOD KNEW!
Grants really do make a big difference in the life of a child...
Ok, enough of my "I don't feel like it," and go check out www.eliproject.org and see the sweet waiting children :)
And while I'm at it, here's a little fact worth sharing about the situation right here in the good ole' USA about Down syndrome:
Down Syndrome Awareness Month... #14: There is typically a waiting list of people ready to adopt domestic children with Down syndrome. Ironically, however, the abortion rate that comes with a prenatal diagnosis hovers around 90% (and higher). A new prenatal test that only requires a blood draw does not bode well for those statistics either.