As orphan advocates, we spend much time mired in the heartache of the conditions our waiting children are living in. We spend equally as much time envisioning what their lives could be like *if only* we could find an adoptive family for them. In 7 years, more than 1200+ orphans with Down syndrome and other special needs HAVE found loving forever families with Reece's Rainbow. That in and of itself is enough to make our hearts soar! But the opportunity to see "our kids" in person, to see them thriving and healthy and loved....there is no greater encouragement to continue our work than that!
We began organizing family reunion events in 2011. First, we gathered in Cooperstown, NY. In 2012, we came together at the NDSC Convention in Washington, DC. In June 2013, Reece's Rainbow celebrated "7 Years of CHOSEN" at the Jellystone Park Campground in Luray, VA. We're already planning 2014 in Mammoth Cave, KY. (18) families from Vermont to Ohio to Texas to Georgia joined us for a week full of fun, sun, and fellowship.
Some of us were in cabins, others in RV's and tents. Not only did we get to share with each other, but the other visitors at the campground go to see love in action. Such an incredible opportunity to share our ministry and the gift of children with special needs. Very few people knew these kids were all adopted...but it didn't matter...what they were seeing was lots of disabled kids INCLUDED, loved, happy, thriving, enjoying themselves...ABLE. What they saw was moms and dads confident in their children, giving those kids the same opportunity to enjoy water slides, splash parks, and golf cart rides.
In 7 years, we have seen such a tremendous growth of SPIRIT within Reece's Rainbow... togetherness, family. We can track with great pride the number of children who have found families (more than 1200) and the amount of grant funding we have raised and disbursed (more than $5 million), but the sheer joy of seeing what were only bad pictures on the internet thriving in a forever family is immeasurable.