These children that changed my life

My mom asked me this week if I think much about the 3 1/2 months when I lived in Romania, exactly two years ago this summer. I thought about it for a second and realized that I think about Romania and the orphan children I worked with not only very often, but every single day, they are continuously in my thoughts. Those children and what they taught me affects how I live my everyday life. I dream about those kids and constantly wonder about how they are doing and still cry over them when I think about what a rotten lot they were handed. Going to Romania opened my eyes, making me realize that there are some terribly sad things going on in this world.

Romania has many more orphans than many other countries do. Most of the orphans have parents who are still alive but they either don’t want to or can’t take care their children.

We worked with handicapped orphans, so they were in even a worse lot than the average orphan. Our job was to go and play with them. It may sound silly to have a task to go and play, but in order for those children to start developing somewhat like normal children they needed to have someone that would play with them. Playing teaches children vital skills so that they can function in the real world and the workers at the orphanage very rarely play with them. All of the kids I worked with couldn’t talk. We taught one of the little girls some sign language. She caught on quickly and I think she had fewer temper tantrums by the end of our being there because she could communicate with us and wasn’t so frustrated with trying to tell us what she wanted with her inability to talk. The BYU girl I worked with helped teach one of our other girls to climb the stairs, which was useful since these particular orphans lived on the third floor of an elevator-less apartment complex.

And then, do you know what I did? I left. I left to go back home and left those children in a country that can’t deal with them right now because they have so many other troubles to deal with as they still try and overcome what communism did to them. I cannot express the guilt I feel to this very day when I think about how I abandoned those children. I know that I had a responsibility that I needed to return to in the U.S. but those children don't know that, they just know that no one person seems to care about them enough to stay with them long, not event their own parents.

I can't imagine how much of a struggle it will be for those children to ever trust anyone after all their years of neglect and people leaving them. Do you see how awful this whole situation is? How terrible it is that these children are stuck in a situation where their future is so bleak? I haven't even told the half of the problem those children are in.

Here are pictures of some of those precious children. We worked in a children's hospital as well as the orphanage, so some of these children in the hospital are in a better situation than the orphans, raised much more normally. But their parents could not be with them while they were in the hospital (many of the their parents are in western Europe, working since they cannot earn enough money for their families in Romania. These children don't see their parents very often) so that is why we would spend time with them, since their parents were not there.

A horse

Mihaiti, his skin is blue because of his sickness.
Sergio, left on his potty for hours on end because he knows he will be punished if he gets off the potty before he has permission and the workers figure they won't have to deal with him if they just leave him on the potty all day. He is blind and deaf.

Marion. An orphan gypsy boy who was in the hospital for the full 3 1/2 months we were there
Drawn by one of the boys at the hospital who called us his "angels."
Bubbles are one of the greatest inventions on this earth. I cannot tell you how many kids are instantly made happy by them

Half of these kids don't have parents with them at the hospital. We had parties (okay, not really parties, we just played cards and blew bubbles, but it seemed like a party to these bored children) in some of the rooms with the kids until "the blond nurse" would discover us and send all the kids back to their rooms. But as soon as she left, the kids would creep back to where we were. We were the only entertainment they had in that hospital-- poor kids.

Her sister told her to give me a kiss as she took the picture.

1 comment:

  1. what an amazing experience you were able to have! I recently read "3 Cups of Tea" (if you haven't read it, you should! the author gave a devotional at BYU this last year) and it made me realize how many children need help- and you were able to help them, how cool! thanks for the post!