The Bamboo Project, in short, is the movement of American families adopting children with Down syndrome, from China. In an article from People called, American Families Adopt 'Unadoptable' Children with Down syndrome from China, a woman named Desiree White wanted to adopt a child with Down syndrome from China, but was told that they weren’t available for adoption because they are considered “not worthy”. Desiree, one adoptive mother, was determined to change this mindset.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. This extra genetic material causes the developmental changes and physical features of Down syndrome. Other than some distinct facial features, and some slight cognitive impairment, people and kids with Down syndrome are the same as everyone else. These unique characteristics are what called Desiree to want to adopt kids with DS. Because of her pediatric nursing background, Desiree was well equipped – and compelled – to raise a child with special needs.
Desiree went to Bethany Christian Services, an international nonprofit organization founded in 1944 that provides adoption, foster care and immigrant resettlement services. Within two years, the organization found homes for children with Down syndrome as part of a program it called the “Bamboo Project”. The “bamboo” tie was most likely because the project started with trying to get children from China adopted, and bamboo has been linked to China for more than 7,000 years.
Since the program’s inception in 2013, the families who adopted through the Bamboo project have formed a strong network, coming together for “family reunions” and advocating for the 40 children in China that are currently seeking families through the project. The Bamboo Project has also had success with other families across the US.
No matter how you adopt, or from where, it takes immense heart and preparation to adopt a child, and there is some research you need to do. Opening your heart to a child who wasn’t born to you, especially one with Down syndrome, can prove to be very rewarding.
The World Forgotten Children Foundation is committed to supporting children with special needs all over the world and hopes to continue to spread awareness on the power of adoption.