I want to start by telling you how BRIGHT Children International came into existence.
This time last year, one of the families that my Music Therapy company serves decided to make a contribution to Reece's Rainbow's Angel Tree project for orphans with special needs around the world for a little girl name Sofia. Little did they know what was in store. Shortly after 2010 began, they started the process of adopting and bringing dear Sofia home to join their family. I began following their journey and others that were on similar journeys to adopt children from Eastern Europe with special needs.
I became aware of the lack of acceptance for children with special needs in other parts of the world- How children are not given the chance at life because they are born with a disability- How the parents of these poor, darling children are told to send them to the orphanage- How many of these children spend their days in a crib with no contact, no exposure to the outside world, no chance for love and affection. Many are drugged because it is easier for the care providers. Many are malnourished and look a fraction of their age. Children who are five years old look two, and are not able to sit up independently or eat on their own. These children and their conditions weighed on my heart. These are the children in the "baby houses." Unfortunately, they have a much worse fate if they survive the baby house. Depending on the region, children transfer to mental institutions between the ages of 3 and 5. The conditions there are much worse than the baby houses. They are in a place with all ages of individuals with disabilities, the conditions are deplorable, and many children who transfer don't survive their first year. Visit www.convenantbuilders.blogspot.com and their posts "The Sad Reality, Part 1 and Part 2", for an eye-opening, personal account of the institutions. Visit www.nogreaterjoymom.com and read the posts on adoption.
As I followed the various adoption stories and the conditions in even the baby houses, my heart was heavy for these children a world away. I know through my work that children with special needs can develop and be successful in their community. If given the right interventions and supports, they can learn and succeed. These children teach the world more than we can ever teach them. Ask families with a child with special needs here in the U.S. and so many will tell you that they have learned more from watching their children develop and grow. Things like determination, the will to fight, the need for love and affection, unconditional love, and so much more. The children in the orphanages are not given any opportunities to show their potential, to be loved, to learn or to succeed.
I was driving and thinking one day, something I do a lot, as I am in my car a lot. I was asking God why these children are not given a chance. While thinking and listening to the radio, a Christian radio station, they were talking about how each person can make a difference, whether big or small. I prayed to God, "How can I make a difference for these children sitting in the orphanages without a chance?" God said, "You go and give them a chance. Tell the care providers what potential these children have, show them how the children here are developing and succeeding, give them some interaction through music, get other therapists involved and give these children a light in their world of darkness."
When I shared this with the family that had just adopted Sofia, the mom said that I needed to contact Reece's Rainbow and share my idea. This has resulted in our first trip with Reece's Rainbow and Connecting the Rainbow to Sofia, Bulgaria. How fitting it is that we are going to Sofia, the same name as the child who opened the doors to the beginning of a new venture. More to share about this trip in another post coming soon.
Shortly after that, I contacted another friend who had adopted a child from China, and got in contact with All God's Children International who is planning a trip to Beijing and are seeking professionals to provide interventions and education.
God is opening doors and providing for BRIGHT as we move forward with His calling. We are excited to see what God has in store for BRIGHT Children and the lives that will be touched. As we end 2010 and look toward 2011, we pray that the world will be more accepting of children with special needs. We pray they receive the much needed love required to succeed. We pray those children in orphanages find loving families this year.
So let the fundraising and planning begin!