Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Sunday, July 22, 2012


When Angela was born and we received her diagnosis of Down syndrome, I quickly immersed myself in the DS community. (and that was pre-internet days!) I became a board member of the the DS association of MN (DSAM) 

When Angela was 7 I was lead to the forums, which happens to be THE best place on the net to discuss all things related to DS!!! (and yes, even better than Facebook.) Downsyn is my internet home.

 As Angela got older I started public speaking, traveling all of the US. I've spent 17 years attending conferences and workshops - including the NDSC convention - and have met some of my dearest friends among the other parents with whom I share this walk. Friends I cannot wait to wrap my arms around again each year. 

 Imagine the feeling of shock I felt when, one week before the conference, I was informed that the director of Reece's Rainbow had contacted the board of the NDSC and expressed her concern because I was attending the conference. 

Did you just pick your chin up off the floor like I did? 

What in the world was the purpose of this? Was it to get me banned from the conference? Apparently the $20,000 which Reece's Rainbow contributed to the NDSC in the last year talks, because there is no way if I, as a general member, requested such a meeting that it would actually happen. Money talks people, and some will take advantage of that. That said, I never knew I was such an influential person that someone felt the need to express their discomfort at my attending a conference with several thousand other people. I will be careful to not let that go to my head.

Let me explain something: I did not drag my kids 1/2 way across the country because I wanted to engage in a dialog about Reece's Rainbow.  No. Like everyone else I brought my kids to a conference to meet others like them, for Angela to find her own voice in the Youth and Adult conference, to gather information about DS and the issues WE face in our family every day, and to see my old friends again. THOSE are the reasons I attend the NDSC conference. 


Tink said...


Hope Anne said...

WOW. The Director of the Non-profit, Reece's Rainbow, contacted the NDSC Board to try to let them know she was worried about YOU being there? WOW. Just WOW. There are times words about fail me . . . Why does she feel so threatened? If you had been making threats against her of bodily harm, then it seems to me that law enforcement would have been the appropriate place to lodge her concerns. . . . so it must have been something else?! This brightly colored adoption world gets more and more crazy and like a soap opera.

Kate said...

Wait... aside from Andrea trying to keep you from the conference (which is insane from any angle I view it), I want to know about that $20,000 donation.

She donated $20,000 ~ from Reece's Rainbow ~ to the NDSC? REECE'S RAINBOW, the organization, headed by Andrea Roberts (who had to have authorized such a donation), gave TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS to NDSC? Where did that money come from? Donations people made, thinking they were helping ORPHANS?????


I think it's awful that she tried to prevent you from being able to go to the convention, but I am even MORE appalled that she gave $20,000 on behalf of Reece's Rainbow when the money given to RR is supposed to be helping orphans, not used to make RR "look good" with a national convention.

Leah S. said...

Kate, last year when I asked about $10,000 being donated to the NDSC I was told it comes out of the voice of hope fund. One of the purposes of that fund is marketing and advertising. RR considers that $10k donation - which gets them gold level sponsorship - as marketing. ( as do many non profits) that $10k was contributed for both the 2011 and 2012 conferences. When I asked last year most who responded had the opinion that money was worth it and didn't have a problem with it. ( sorry for typos! I'm posting from my phone!)

Stephanie @ Ralphcrew said...

Say what?!?!? Some nerve!

I understand the need for marketing. RR seems to need a constant stream of fresh, innocent, unwitting supporters.

Tami said...

Yup, had to pick my chin from off the floor ;) Wow...just wow!! Andrea Roberts threatened by little 'ole you?? She is pathetic, totally and completely pathetic.

Eleven and Heaven said...

I truly don't know what to say. It seems that if anyone feels threatened by anyone else than they can just try to "eliminate" that perceived threat?! I am sad to say I too have been at this same end. Good for you for standing high to make sure your daughter went for her benefit!

Jackie said...

OMG! You my dear are the good and as that old saying goes, MEAN PEOPLE SUCK! I can't believe that, makes me have a whole new perception of Reece's Rainbow... I so wanted to go to the conference again this year. The 9 month old attached to my hip would of been brutal though. I hope you all had a great time and some day I want that hug!

Becca said...

On a side note, I was so happy to finally meet you, Leah! I never got a chance to meet Angela, but I did see her going up on the stage at the end. :-) Your boys are gorgeous, and little Asher completely melted my heart yesterday, sitting in front of me during the films.

Christina said...

Wow, Leah! You are making friends huh?! That speaks volumes to the transparency of that organization. If they were doing everything on the up and up, then it wouldn't be a big deal what you say cause it would be found baseless, no?

Melissa said...

Wow. just wow. Maybe God did stop our adoption for a purpose? Consider me illuminated.

Rick and Michelle said...

Melissa /\ /\ (last responder), that's exactly how we felt... that God stopped our adoption through RR for a very good purpose. And I'm very thankful for the voices who spoke up to warn us as well. I did not consider it gossip AT ALL! I considered it reassurance that our denial to adopt through them was not "just us". I am so thankful we obeyed God's leading when He took us a completely different route. There are more agencies who can help. And many countries who allow Americans to adopt directly through their government approved facilitators, rather than wasting precious donor funds on middleman agencies here in the states. You just have to ask around and read blogs til you find the info you need.

I'm sorry Leah that you were treated with such disdain and hatred for standing up for truth and morality in adoptions. You keep it up, ya hear?

Rick & Michelle