BOISE -- There are thousands of orphans with Down Syndrome in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Russia who are waiting to be adopted. The situation is even more serious than it sounds. But two Boiseans are among a group helping a family to rescue one of those children.
Jake Preece is one of Brian and Becky Preece's three young children. He has Down Syndrome.
"It was really devastating at first," said Becky Preece, Jake's mom. "But it doesn't take long to see the blessings of having a child like Jake."
Brian (Jake's dad) and Becky so understand the best things about having a child with Down Syndrome that they're adopting another. They want to bring 4-year-old Arnold from Russia, where care for orphans like him is limited.
"He was scheduled to, on his birthday, be transferred to an adult mental institution," said Becky. "Sadly, most kids that are transferred that young die within the first year. Many are just left in what they term 'laying rooms.' They just leave them laying, basically to die. To imagine him, in a room like that, with no one to love him, was just too much."
But, it costs around $35,000 to adopt a child with Down Syndrome from that region. The couple was saving on their own, and getting help from neighbors, when Christy Beal and Aubrey Tueller stepped in. Tueller also has a child with Down Syndrome.
"I don't know how you can know about it, and not do something about it," said Beal. "At this point, it's like life and death, and their time is just running out."
Beal and Tueller said they were touched by the need, and when they heard that a family in Idaho was trying to help by adopting, they knew they had to help them. So, they rebuilt a beautiful playhouse, furnished it, and are raffling it off. All proceeds will help the Preeces.
"We were like, 'Well, if there's people who want these kids, we can help with the financial aspect of it, that's something that we can do'," said Tueller.
It's something they can do to help rescue a child, and apparently, save a life.
"People think that there's no hope for them," said Becky. "That they'll never walk, or talk, or live any kind of meaningful life and we know that's obviously not true."
The Preeces are just the third family to adopt a Down Syndrome orphan from Moscow. They have to make three visits before bringing Arnold home. They hope to make the first next month.
Meanwhile, the playhouse will be displayed by the Edwards Theaters off Cole until the raffle drawing on August 16.
You can buy tickets there on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, or online. You can also check out Reece's Rainbow, a site that helps orphans with Down Syndrome.