This is a letter that I wrote and had translated to Stas' caretakers. I would like to make a generic one to give to Reece's Rainbow for parents to give to the caretakers of their children when they say goodbye and thank you. I will talk to Andrea about that. Fr. Andrew has also recommended a book to the caretakers that they are very interested in reading. It must be in Ukrainian if he has read it and recommended it. I thought it would be a good gift to give along with a letter when you say goodbye. Imagine the impact that such a book could have to help change the culture here...one baby step at a time.
To all of Stas' caretakers-
I want to thank each person who has cared for our little Stas since he has come to Solnitchko. He is a precious little boy and we feel blessed to have him as our son.
MANY people in Ukraine have asked us why we would want this boy when he has Down syndrome. I would be happy to explain to you the many reasons.
We already have a child with Down syndrome and we love him so much! We adopted him one hour after he was born. His challenges make him no less important to us. In fact, he is everyone’s favorite. Now—we will have two favorites! They are very special people. Adopting him was one of the best decisions we have ever made! He has been such a blessing. Although he has had medical challenges he is now doing very well. Even with many medical problems he would still be a huge blessing!
These special people teach us so much! Many people look at them and think they are not very smart. They are actually the very best teachers we have. They are teachers of our SOUL! They teach us to have good hearts. What good are we if we have all of the intelligence in the world but we don’t know how to love? We are a Christian family and we believe that when we look in the face of these children, we are looking into the face of Christ. The Bible says “what you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done unto me.” When I look into the face of these children (or adults) with special needs, I see the face of Christ. I hope that you also see His face in these children. It is so much easier and more meaningful to care for them when you do. We are called to treat them as we would treat Christ Himself.
Stas will have a family that will love him very much. He has had people praying for him for a long time. Friends and family and neighbors are very excited to meet him and to love him.
In the United States, children get therapy starting at birth. This helps them very much which is why at 3 years old you could see our very active boy. His muscles were very weak at birth just like most other kids born with Down syndrome. He received/receives physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech/oral therapy. Physical therapy works with the large muscles of the body, especially the trunk and stomach muscles of the body to hold them strong. Occupational therapy helps them do the smaller movements that are necessary to play with a toy, hold smaller objects, feed themselves and write or use their fingers well. And finally, Speech/oral therapy at a very early age helps them chew and eat properly, move their tongue properly and form sounds to talk. These therapists are very good, but much of the therapy they get is just from their life in a family: playing, walking, talking, and just by everyday stimulation and interaction. Because most children with Down syndrome are slow to speak, it has been believed that they don’t understand what is said to them. This is not true. They just take a while to learn to form their words. Children are now taught sign language at an early age so they can “talk” to people and communicate their needs. Our son knows probably over almost 300 words in sign language!
I want you to know that I have been praying, many times a day, for a long time, for all of Stas’ caretakers and for their families. Know that you have received many, many prayers!!! We will continue to pray for you. We will continue to pray for the care of these special children.
I wish I could hold, hug, rock, and kiss every one of these very special children! They are so precious, even when they sometimes require so much work. When you think of it, give them a kiss from me. Tell them you met someone who loves them very much and someone who is praying for them!!!
Thank you again for all that you have done for Stas!
With gratitude and many blessings!
The Mama, Papa, and family of Stas
4 years ago