Have you been bumping into Reece’s Rainbow every time you turn around in the Catholic blogosphere lately? Adoption blogs, even special needs adoption blogs, are all over the place, but Catholics seem to be rather conspicuously under-represented in this particular corner of the ‘net. And I suspect this may be because we are under-represented among special needs adopters. It appears, however, that this is changing! We are an unquestionably, unapologetically and joyfully prolife people, so it makes perfect sense to me that the Holy Spirit is rousing us out of our complacency and pointing us in the direction of the very vulnerable little ones who are waiting children.
And so I am back here at CatholicMom.com, writing not about NFP (though I do still teach NFP and you are still most welcome to contact me with NFP-related questions), but about the wonderful and terrifying new path on which God has set my family: international, special needs adoption (yikes!).
Who are waiting children? And why is this a prolife issue?
Waiting children are just what it sounds like: children whose parents have either died or lost or voluntarily relinquished the right to parent and who are waiting for a permanent family. They reside in foster homes, orphanages and other institutions and almost none are healthy infants. They are toddlers, preschoolers, older children and teenagers. They have siblings from whom they should not be separated. They have special medical, cognitive, psychological and emotional needs. They are God’s unique, unrepeatable, infinitely precious creations who have lost those to whom God originally entrusted their care. These are the children who survived to be born, but who are far from safe and how pro-life are we really if we see them and then look away?
Now I have to pause here and say something very important (that you already know): not every family is called to adopt. Adoption is not an extraordinary call, but it is a specific, rather than universal, one (more on this in a later column). What is universal is the call to do something for these ‘least’ of God’s children – to pray and fast specifically for abandoned children, to donate something towards their care, to support and encourage those who are called to adopt.
When I realize, as I did a few months ago, that God is calling me to something specific, I sometimes look back and try to find the point at which He began preparing me for whatever-it-is. In one sense this is impossible because God is outside of time, so He has been preparing me from all eternity, but there are almost always things that have happened along the way, which, in retrospect, have God’s fingerprints all over them.
Years ago, when I was newly pregnant with my third child in four years, I learned about a very special baby girl called ‘Milagros’. Reading again what I wrote about her, it is very clear to me that God was already at work, preparing my heart for the child I hope to meet later this year.
Baby Milagros was born on April 1st. Born with no arms, only one leg and missing a significant portion of her lower jaw, she was left by her mother at the hospital in which she was born under the state of Florida’s Safe Haven Law.
This law allows mothers of newborns to anonymously leave their babies with one of several designated organizations (hospitals, police and fire departments, etc.) and disappear without fear of prosecution. On April 8th I received an email — as did thousands of others on various pro-life email lists — describing Baby Milagros’s situation and asking for adoptive parents to come forward before she became a ward of the state of Florida (and, it was feared, a target for euthanasia). I forwarded this email to as many other pro-life people as I could think of.
And then I prayed. Hard. I searched my heart: If God was calling my husband and me to adopt this little one, would we accept her? Would we trust God to give us the faith, the strength, the resources to care for her even though it would mean a total reordering of our life? Would we willingly face the disgust and scorn that she would elicit from friends and family who do not share our views on the value of every human life?
With each of the columns I will be writing over the next several months, I hope to include information about a particular waiting child. These beautiful children need you! Would you please, please take a moment to read about them, pray the prayer below for them, donate a few dollars to their grants if you possibly can, post their pictures and profiles on your blog or Facebook page and maybe even consider whether God might just have shown you your son or daughter?
Elden is five years old and lives in an Eastern European orphanage. He is described by a missionary who met him recently as being lively, joyful and playful. He loves games and jokes and is a favorite both with the orphanage staff and with the other kids there. He has Down Syndrome and is in a region which requires that prospective parents make four trips before bringing their child home. The trips are all a week or less and spread over several months, however, and the region is quite near a major city so the travel itself is relatively easy. He also has more than $10,000 available as a grant to help with the cost of his adoption. He can be adopted by single moms or married couples under 60 years of age, but the region does prefer that there are no more than five children already at home. To learn more about Elden in particular or international, special needs adoption in general, visit Reece’s Rainbow
A Prayer for Orphans
Bless these children,
so hungry and hurting.
Bless their parents,
whether living or deceased.
Keep the hearts of the staff
full of love for these little ones.
Let these children be adopted
into loving homes.
Heal them from physical,
mental, and spiritual ailments.
Help keep their hearts
open to others
that they may learn to trust and love,
and open to You,
that when their life is done,
they may live with You in heaven
for all eternity.
Angels of God,
Their Guardians Dear,
To whom God’s love commits them here
Ever this day, be at their side
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
©Sisters in Jesus the Lord, 2005 – Used with permission.
Copyright 2012 Sara Fox Peterson