Picture a car filled with bleary-eyed passengers travelling to Luton airport for an early morning flight in 2013. Such was the occasion of our first hearing of the phenomenon of abandoned children in Romania – today.
Our driver to the airport had been David Muntean, a friend from the Bristol Romanian church. His son had been hospitalised some months earlier due to a very high temperature. While visiting him regularly on the infants ward, David had noticed that certain other babies, curiously, seemed to be visited by no one.
Asking a nurse as to the reason for this, she simply replied in one word – abandoned. And also that her hospital saw two such children rejected by their parents each week.
The plight of such children can hardly be imagined.
It is worth remembering that there are actually more children in state care today than in 1990, and that in 2010 some 19,000 of these were in state orphanages (1990 – 25,870).
Romanian Ministries is involved in the support of two homes for abandoned children, one for boys and one for girls.
This is a private home managed by Sorin , a Christian. It is located on a quiet street in the village of Beliu and consists of two large houses which accommodate 13 boys. All of the boys are from a Roma background. It is harrowing to listen to their tale of sorrows, whether it be the child whose mother was a prostitute, or another boy whose father was far more interested in the emptying the contents of a beer bottle than in visiting his son.
The overwhelming sense so often when visiting this home has been that these boys are alone in the world. There is a haunting Romanian song, fara mama, fara tata, fara fratilor (translated without mother, without father, without brothers), and for some of these boys, that’s exactly how it is.
Our involvement over the years has been threefold. We visit every six months and spend an afternoon with the boys, bringing gifts of food and soft drinks. Also, we sometimes make bigger purchases, such as three bicycles in 2016. Then, especially enjoyed by the boys, we arrange for excursions to a swimming pool complex in Oradea. These, two of the boys claimed, had represented the best moments of their lives!
We also take every opportunity to speak to the boys about the gospel.
Casa Ana is a home for abandoned girls that started in 1997 when a group of Christians sought to provide accommodation for a 12 year old street girl named Cami.
The flat rented for Cami developed into a house that has been purchased and is now home to 6 girls.
Pictures from the home can easily hide the deep hurts and tragic stories from the past. The bubbly smiles and scenes of fun can obscure the story of one child who was living in a stable with an alcoholic father before being taken in. Or of another who was thrown out her family after her mother had joined company with a new man, the mother hurling stones at her children on the street in order to ensure they stayed away.
Hope, however, remains. In a Christian home such as Casa Ana, the girls very much form a family of sorts, together among themselves against the outside world.
With just a little prompting on our October 2017 visit, they were very ready to use the home garden for a very competitive, vociferous game of impromptu football. And of course outscored their overweight English visitors very easily!
But most preciously, the Lord has been touching souls in Casa Ana. All three of the older girls have come to the Lord, each one responding to His call at the same summer camp in 2013.
Our involvement at the home focuses on helping with staffing costs. Especial thanks goes to Mount Pleasant church in Maesycwmmer for their generous Christmas collection of over £900 in 2016. Regular ongoing support is needed for this home, and sponsors for individual girls would be most helpful. If you would like to help, please get in touch!
CASA ORHIDEEA, BOYS' HOME
CASA ANA, GIRLS' HOME