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Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Emily's" and "Julie's" Views on Reece's Rainbow (Warning: Controversial!)

Today I came into the kitchen of our (tiny) apartment to update "Emily" and "Julie" on what I knew about the Reece's Rainbow situation. (I doubt they cared at all, but I needed to tell someone.) "Julie" and "Emily" then proceeded to tell me some things that make them critical of the organization. I don't agree with everything they said, but they made some decent points, and the view I present below is mine as well as theirs.

"Julie," who has a little brother with autism, stated that she feels that Reece's Rainbow romanticizes (actually, her word was fetishizes) children with special needs and the adoption thereof. In her opinion, Reece's Rainbow encourages families to adopt just because they feel like doing a good thing, and because they can. She said (and she's right) that there is nothing wrong with adopting for those reasons, but that they should not be the main or only reasons. She also said that the fundraising process reminds her of a little girl running a lemonade stand to earn money for a doll.

"Emily's"(she has a sister with Down syndrome and autism) main objection was the fact that Reece's Rainbow, and the blogs of the people who connected to their adopted kids via the organization, was that the challenges and sturggles of raising such a child are never depicted. Reece's Rainbow's slogan is "because every family deserves the blessing of a child with Down syndrome." "Emily" and I both feel that these words sugarcoat the truth, if not hide a large part of it completely. Yes, a child with Down syndrome can be a blessing just like any other child, but the challenges and struggles that come with raising such a child are enormous. For the most part, even the blogs by the adoptive families minimize the struggles to a vast degree.

In summary, "Julie" has issues with how the website and organization are set up and run all together, and "Emily" has issues with the stories that are told and how. I am not yet sure what to think. As I listened to "Emily" and "Julie" in our kitchen today, I found myself agreeing with them; as I type this, however, I find myself feeling like defending Reece's Rainbow.

One thing I value about my friends is the fact that we can have conversations like these.

8 comments:

  1. (just to be clear, i have no connection to RR, nor do we have any kids with Ds in my family.)

    honestly, i think each of the arguments presented have a reasonable flip-side. how should the fundraising look? and let's be honest, fundraising for most is necessary - you can have the means to raise a child without having up to $30,000 or more in a lump sum lying around. when a child is born to a family, if they have medical insurance it's possible for the only costs to be those associated with the items (furniture, clothes, diapers, formula if not breastfed, etc.) needed - and almost all of those can be gifted in a shower.


    also, it's VERY important to keep in mind the type of people who GENERALLY frequent RR (of course there are exceptions!) and their worldview. many if not most are Christians, who believe that God allows trials to strengthen us & for our good & His glory. when that's how you see the world, your blog will tend to be more positive & see the good in trials that those without that faith may not see as easily.

    also, EVERYONE ALREADY KNOWS that having Ds leads to problems. what many do NOT know is that it can also lead to great blessings. you don't need a website to promote the issues, they are known... but you may need to point out the positives for them to be seen. do i think that the website ought to have a section (clearly visible) which lays out the possible complications that are associated with genetic disorders? YES, and that is where i think RR could improve. but if you're looking to special needs adoption, chances are you have done your research. if you haven't, you're a fool, and i like to hope people wouldn't be that careless!

    that's my take... not that you asked for it :-P but when i read those arguments, the logical side of my mind had defenses and i think if you're going to have an opinion, you should consider ALL the facts, so since you seem to be somewhere in the middle i thought i'd balance those arguments with "on the other hand..."

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  2. " when that's how you see the world, your blog will tend to be more positive & see the good in trials that those without that faith may not see as easily."

    If you find that my blog has such a negative tone as your comment makes it seem, why do you follow it?

    Sarah

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  3. where in that quote did i say ANYTHING about your blog??? even re-reading it, i just don't see it.

    i was simply pointing out that most of the people who adopt from RR & have blogs are Christians, which brings with it a certain worldview, which is reflected in the blog entries they write. it has nothing to do with you.

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  4. Hi! Thanks for commenting on my blog :) It's nice to know I still have some readers outside of my family.

    As a RR family, I'm sure people feel I sugarcoat ... but raising Lilya has been astoundingly similar to parenting our other children. Down syndrome is such a small piece of our lives, but I anticipate that will change as the girls get older. There are FB groups and a forum for families who have adopted (or are thinking about it). And just knowing that support network is there is priceless!

    And I agree with "Julie" -- families shouldn't adopt just because they can. There are so many factors to consider, it's a huge decision.

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  5. I found this blog post in a google search of RR controversy, which I searched in effort to understand why there are people who are so anti-RR. I can't understand it personally. RR is not an adoption agency, they don't approve or disapprove potential adoptive families. The blogs of those who have adopted, in my opinion, tell a truthful overview of what they have experienced. I have read many positive entries only to be followed by heart-ache. I have read many negative entries then followed by pure joy. It's the same with any child, bio or adopted. My 3 year old son has Ds and I have befriended dozens of families with children (and adults) of all ages with Ds. I would never say that the challenges my son faces are "enourmous". He is delayed, for sure, but he is the best thing that ever happened to our family, you can ask anyone, my husband, children, ages 19-7 now, grandparents, aunts uncles, cousins, and dozens of close friends and coworkers. ALL of them have had their opinions of Ds (as well as other Special needs) turned around since Kellan's birth. Kellan has taught us more than we could ever have imagined, and when I blog, it's most always in a positive light, because the blessings FAR outweigh the challenges! Anyway, RR advocates for children who have no voice. Those who have special needs and are hidden away in sometimes horrifying institutions. Many countries believe these children are not wanted by anyone, and they are wrong. They are wanted, they are deserving of love and a chance at life. RR simply aides with the effort. People fundraise for all sorts of things, from $500 for a basketball tournament, to millions for disaster relief. Why is fundraising to save the life of a child with special needs seen as a crime? I just don't get it.

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  6. I have been MIA from the bloggy world for awhile. I instantly fell in love with Reeces Rainbow. I do not have adopted children but disabled children in my family. I think the pictures made it more real for me. Looking as an outsider at the Reeces Rainbow website, I love the positive tone. I think it is ok to ask people to help if they can. Adoptions from Reeces Rainbow or any other adoption source can have issues and problems. I just don't understand the controversy. So many children have been saved from mental institutions. I simply love following up on these children on their parents blog. Fundraising is important. I don't find fault in that as well. Maybe that just makes me different. :)

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  7. I do think that prospective parents do need to be aware of the challenges of raising a child with special needs, as well as being from an orphanage. I think that some adoptions fail because of the lack of knowledge ahead of time.
    I am glad that RR does have a positive tone. I am sure that most of the families who adopt children with special needs are happy they did so.

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  8. I think there should be no complaining about helping others. We are all called for a higher purpose, and we do not need to point out "flaws" in others striving to fulfill that purpose. Any negative views are an interpretation, an opinion. There's no way to see the person heading this organization's heart or intentions, but it is evident that they seek to help those in need.

    -In HIM

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I am a bipolar, Jewish teen who also suffers from RND. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. When I grow up, I think I might like to be a Rabbi. Scratch that; I AM going to be a Rabbi! Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!