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A Heart for Romania: the forgotten children

I recently shared my story on how I came to be a nurse and in that post I mentioned a documentary on Romania that I had watched in highschool. The particular documentary focused on how many Romanian orphans have developmental difficulties because they were neglected in orphanages. This problem is largely due to the fact that there are too many orphans and not enough workers to care for these children. 

orphan children in a single crib

A little history about this problem (from what I remember from the documentary) starts with a communist dictator who governed Romania for more than 25 years. This dictator forced families to have a lot of children but when the economy fell, many children were left to fend for themselves. Orphanages were overrun and there were not enough workers to care for all of the children. Diapers were changed once a day and bottles were propped as there were just not enough hands to hold each child as they ate. As these children grew, they developed many neurological problems largely due to the fact that they were not touched enough; there are many studies that research how important human touch is to brain development (but that story is for another day). Most children did not know how to do simple age-appropriate activities that we would take for granted in a growing child. There were older children still in diapers as they had never been potty trained as toddlers. Many kids had deformities as their bodies had not developed properly; heads were larger, contractures in arms and legs. Overall, it was a very sad story that unfolded as I watched. After seeing that tv show, I knew that I had to do something about it someday. I figured I would become a nurse to breach borders and that would also help me to care for the children who were in such need of medical care.  Forgotten children are not only found in Romania; they are scattered all throughout our world. However it saddens me to think that there are places where there are not support systems to care for these children at even the base levels. Here in America we at least have foster care or other government programs to watch over the orphans. Sometimes I think about how much change is needed within our foster care system and then I remember the Romanian children. 

child behind a chain link fence

All I want is for those children to know that someone cares for them. 

All I want is for those children to know that there is hope for them.

All I want is for those children to know that their current situation is not their fault.

Desperation is a sad thing to watch, however neglect is sometimes even harder to witness. Having become a mother myself, I know think about what it would be like for my own child to be left alone. I can’t not even begin to imagine that scenario and yet there are so many children who find themselves in that situation daily! Recently one of my good friends told me about some children right here in America who were sorely neglected by their mother who walked a sorry path in life. An eleven year old boy had practically raised his three younger sisters who were three and two (twins) years old. The young girls had been left to fend for themselves with an unopened pringle can while the mother (who was high on drugs at the time) went out on another drug run. The story wrenched at my heart; especially since that sort of thing is hidden so well in America (and by “hidden” I mean that it is not widely talked about).  Like I said earlier, orphans are everywhere. Some countries have more than others due to disease and violence, but these children are everywhere. They are the forgotten ones of our world. No matter what continent they live on, these children need the love and attention of other human beings. Be a force for change and raise awareness for the orphaned child. Whether you support organizations financially or volunteer or begin your journey as a foster or adoptive parent, there are so many ways that you can become a force for change in the lives of these little children. Adoption may be a long journey but it is well worth the ride. Definitely feel free to leave a comment if you are going through an adoption and need any sort of help and we would be happy to try to connect you with groups we know who actively support adoptive families.  For more information about Romanian orphans, check out this video; I don’t think that it is the same one that I saw nearly seven years ago but it might be.  

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