On the Child Development International, Inc. Web site, director Beth Shanklin describes how children with special needs are typically viewed in Russia: “These children rarely receive any individual attention and many in their society believe they possess little or no value.”
These children definitely deserve better, and Ms. Shanklin sees to it that many of them get the love and support they are owed by their society.
Besides working with orphanages in Russia, Mexico, and in other parts of the world, CDI has a “My Family Center” in Russia that is “run by and for families who have children with disabilities.” Of the families that operate the center, Shanklin says, “These families are unique as they have gone against societal norms and chosen to keep their children who have disabilities at home instead of sending them to an orphanage.”
It chilled me to the bone, as I realized that Masha’s situation is not unique. Many special needs children in countries like Russia are abandoned by their families, their own flesh-and-blood, because the parents see no hope for the child’s future.
That Beth Shanklin sees the children’s future as full of possibility is admirable. But, where there’s life, there’s hope, so no one should be quick to give up on any child. In addition to providing for the basic needs of the families, the center offers neurodevelopmental services for the children.
I better get off my soapbox before I start passionately shaking my fist at people who see children as refundable items. I truly hope Ms. Shanklin replies to me, so that I can personally thank her for the miraculous work she is doing with this organization.
Well, I’m off to take my Benadryl and hop into bed! (Pollen is a real hot-button-issue with me right now.)
Before I sign off, allow me to remind you all to please visit other Web sites that promote noble causes. Check out http://www.cnn.com/impact to learn how you can help the people of Haiti.
Also, please check out Sean Penn’s “Beat the Rain” campaign at http://www.beattherain.org, which is helping relocate Haitians affected by the earthquake disaster, now that the torrential rain season has begun. This is an urgent matter, so please let others know about it.
May God Bless you all for keeping hope alive for this humble little effort,