For those who are wondering …
In 2011, we traveled to China to adopt our precious daughter Journey.
We were given the opportunity to visit the orphanage where our daughter had lived for the first year of her life. We met a baby who would not be getting a mom and dad because she had Downs Syndrome. The orphanage director told us she was not even in the adoption system because, ‘no one would want them.’ We lived in agony, not knowing how to help her.
Fast-forward two years: We are watching the Ironman from Hawaii when Brady Murray appears on our screen and explains the work of Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome (RODS). This USA father of a Down Syndrome boy started RODS in order to raise money to find families for Down Syndrome orphans. I quickly Googled RODS and sent a short note saying something like, ‘We know of an orphan in China, can you help?’
Brady Murray emailed back immediately, stating that he could definitely help. But what he needed to know was the agency that the orphan was listed with and the child’s date of birth. There was no such information. In fact, we didn’t even know her name or her sex – we thought she was a boy because her head was shaved and she was dressed in blue.
All we had was this picture of the orphan that we had taken in 2011. In this photo of Mei Chen, we thought she was a baby boy – she is thin, pale and bug-bitten.
I emailed this picture to Brady and told him that it was all the tangible information I had. On Sept. 4, 2013, Brady emailed back with this unbelievable message: “He is an angel! Let’s go get this little guy a family! I’m ready to do whatever we need to in order to get him adoption eligible. I’m 100% confident that once we get him eligible that we can raise around 15k to help offset the costs. From there it will be no time before he’ll have a family! Let me know what you need me to do.”
Brady, his wife Andrea, our Chinese travel guide and I scrambled for several months trying to navigate the Chinese adoption system – something we had never done before. Just eight months later, we were able to identify Mei, get HER into the Chinese adoption system and find her a family. RODS raised $15,000, thanks to runners from around the world, which has enabled the Schultz family from Wisconsin to proceed with the adoption of this precious child. This coming Spring, 2015, Mei will have a mom, a dad and a little sister and a little brother.
In November, I am hosting an online ‘ART FOR ORPHANS’ auction to help raise the remaining $15,000 that Mei’s new family will need to go get her.
YOU CAN HELP by bidding on a painting at www.21days2joy.wordpress.com OR by donating to the Schultz family at this link http://reecesrainbow.org/78790/sponsorschultz OR by running a race for RODS www.rodsracing.org.
Mei Chen is now five years old. Recently, RODS sent a package of toys, books, clothes and food to her orphanage. Here are photos of Mei Chen in October, 2014 – Age 5.
RODS has now raised $15,000 for ‘Marcus’ (photo below) who also resides at the same orphanage as Mei Chen. He should have a family soon as well. My personal goal is to find families for all of these children with the help of USA organization Reece’s Rainbow.