Link to the 2017 Hospital Gallery here
December 2017 Two of our babies who were very sick have become well. Craciun at 6 weeks old is now happy (please see his picture) and 7 week old Zoltan is almost perfect after being deathly ill from being given well water to drink. Stelian who is 4 months old was in intensive care with meningitis and sadly there remain some bad results. Two and a half month old Nicolae who was also in intensive care is doing much better but his parents can't be found nor a true address.
Many of the children in the state group homes know Santa is coming, the foundation who has brought them Christmas shoeboxes, will again this year. The children that we used to bring home from the orphanage weekends are being taken care of by friends. We are especially glad that a friend is taking the 3 girls to a Saturday morning children's choir. They are so happy singing.
David and the boys have made the seasonal change from soccer games to skating, indoor games, more house repairs, and regular youth group evenings with meals at church. He just finished giving all the boys haircuts, and fixing them and their clothes up. They really like that.
There have been so many changes in the children who come to the Day Centre for teaching, help with homework and a hot meal. The changes are best described by their parents. The father of 9 year old Sabina who is in grade 2 met with Oana and Marius (the social workers who also teach) to thank them and said "I am very thankful and I love you that I see that my girl didn't know how to write, she didn't know the alphabet, and now she knows how to write and to read, I see that you are interested in the children". One parent in speaking about his son affirmed, "if me and mother don't know how to write and read, at least he knows".
Another mother came to say how much the behaviour of her agitated daughter has changed and said, "if I didn't have work to do at home I would come to learn to read and write, how happy I would be, but thank you that you are taking care of my children and are teaching them".
Many of the children in grades 5 - 8 want very badly to get past the condition they are in and realize to succeed in society much hard work and ambition is required. The success that the slower children are having is helping them believe that they can change their circumstances too. The children are getting what they need to be accepted and listened to, to be understood, stimulated and encouraged. At school they had no confidence in themselves and couldn't do the difficult homework, not being helped by their illiterate parents. All the children now are getting the confidence to be able to work alone, they have confidence in the staff and have trusting relationships with them.
September 2017 Codi, Andrea and I arrived in Calgary our new home, this summer. It is time for me to be with my elderly parents. I am still working on our mission, keeping in close contact with our devoted people. They still want to keep on loving the babies and children, and the babies and children still sure need them.
August was busier than usual this year in the hospital. We had up to 5 babies. Now we have 4 month old Milan who has been abandoned before, 7 month old Janos, 6 month old Marius and 2 month old Narcisa. The doctors discovered a heart condition in Narcisa. Three of these babies are eating cereal. It really contributes to their health and happiness!
Cornelia is going daily to the state group home where she says "11 little souls are waiting for me". This is the place where abandoned children with health conditions live and she is often left alone with them. She has had a great summer working with them, and because of her efforts 4 year old Iza is now walking. Iza has hydrocephalus, and now has the freedom to walk alone. Roberta who is the same age with the same condition, is now much more stable on her feet.
Adam who is 3 is not having emotional breakdowns anymore, is learning a lot of words and is now playing nicely with the other children. And 4 year old Costica too - he has Down Syndrome and wouldn't let anybody near him or touch him, he must have been really hurt, but now he only wants to be playing with the children. The younger and quite handicapped children Adriano, Isac, Marimar and Boby are all so happy simply being taken out of bed. They are learning how to play, and love the attention they are getting, to not be left alone.
There is a new boy 12 year old Cornel, in the state group home where Dorina and Zorita work. He has deformed limbs and other problems but understands everything and is happy when our women spend time with him, teaching him to count and playing with him.
David had an excellent summer with the teenage boys, gardening, swimming, taking them into town, ping pong (the table is outside in the summer) and getting them out almost every day to play soccer with the neighbourhood boys. One time a friend of David's organized a game with his friends on a special field. It was a great experience for the boys to play there, and with David's friends.
The 30 children and staff at the Day Centre had an excellent summer too. The children all recovered their failing subjects, had a hot meal every day and got the encouragement, support and preparation necessary for them to start the school year off well, and help them stay in school. Now, they are coming after school for their meal, and will have help with homework all afternoon. The focus is to help them keep from failing which makes it so easy for them to drop out. Being at the Centre will also allow their mothers who want to find work that extra time.
July 2017 Radu who is 9 months old and who has been in the hospital for more than half of his life, just left with a foster family. The best part is that they intend to adopt him! Three month old Marius is being treated for syphillis, and 6 month old Gabriela and 1 year old Armando though very small are happy and doing well. A very sick 6 month old boy was just brought in, he is full of sores. Unfortunately he comes from a community who often leaves their babies in the hospital while they need diapers and then when they get bigger, put them out to beg.
Cornelia sees that when she brings all of those children with health issues out to the common area they are extremely happy to be with her and each other. She tells stories and they sing. When 4 year old Iza who is getting better at walking, hears the music that Cornelia puts on, she likes to try to dance. They just love to be up out of bed which happens only when she is there. A dear little 1 year old Isaac, has just arrived. He has a heart condition and deformed arms and legs. Like the other children he really responds to Cornelia's love and attention.
David is getting the teenagers outside every day he can, and now the boys of the neighbourhood regularly come and play soccer with them. This is very fulfilling for our boys.
Thirty severely poor chldren are now going daily to the Day Centre for a meal and learning. Even though this is summer vacation, the children enjoy coming so much that they arrive early! Without this help they are likely to drop out and join the 12% of Romanian children who drop out of school before grade 8.
Carmen, a very poor but intelligent young woman is teaching the children in grades 1 - 4. Because she now has a job, she is enrolled at university. Raluca is also from the community and has done supply teaching at the village school, but not having the possibility of permanent employment, she has been working in a factory. She was very happy to leave her factory job and come and work at the Day Centre with the grades 5 - 8 children.
The women have created a non-shaming environment and it's working wonderfully. Children with behaviour problems behave very well because of this. A grade 6 girl who couldn't read aloud now does. The teachers from the village school come by with books and excercise papers, and are very supportive. One day one of them stood unnoticed and listened. She was very suprised at the children's behaviour, attention and progress.
May 2017 Our 4 babies are all enjoying cereal Gabriela who is 4 months old, Radu and Maria who are 7 months old, and Armando who is 10 months old. There has been a chickenpox epidemic in the hospital so pictures will come later.
Two months ago the children in the state group home where Cornelia works started to go to school more, and we found out about abandoned children with serious health problems who go often to the hospital. Where they live, it's the same situation of too few staff. In these past 2 months that Cornelia has been going to these children, a lot of progress has been made. Iza and Roberta, both 4 years old and with hydrocephalus are walking better. Iza used to walk on her toes but now walks on the soles of her feet so she's more stable now. Cornelia is teaching 3 year old Adam who has a heart and lung condition, songs, to write numbers and to look at books. Three year old Costel who has Down syndrome calls her Mami and calls out with joy when she arrives. He is always on his back in bed, and he loves it when she takes him out, gets him to sit and plays with him. Marimar and Sebi are children with bodies the size of babies and they also love to be taken out of bed and listen to stories. Two year old Maria has an intestinal deformity and is the happiest when she's singing after Cornelia. The boss of this institution told Cornelia that every child with whom she has worked has shown progress.
We have become involved with a Romanian foundation that has started a Day Centre for extremely poor Romanian and Roma (gypsy) children in the village where they live, about 1/2 hour from us. Because of not having shoes,many of these 50 children didn't go to school. They now have shoes, clothes and school supplies but are in desperate need of help to stay in school. School abandonment is a serious social problem in this country. The plan is to bring the children to the Centre right after school, feed them and then help them with homework. This will also guarantee that they receive a meal a day.
The Centre is open on Saturdays now and the children are so happy, they want to learn. And very uniquely to this community, the parents want to learn to read and write. They are saying "please get the children's program going so that then we can learn too"! When there is enough money for food, the children will start coming daily. They are all failing a few subjects so the summer will be used to recover.
We are involved because something needs to be done to break the cycle of poverty which creates baby abandonment and despair. These people who want to change need only a hand up.
March 2017 We still have armfulls of babies in the hospital. Ten month old Bobi has been with us for a few months. He is quite underdeveloped but greatly benefitting from the cereal we give him. Four month old Giulia got cleaned up from her lice and is a happy baby. Maria who is 5 months old has been with us before. She has such a beautiful smile when she receives attention. Antoniu now 4 months old has also been with us before. He has a voracious appetite and loves his cereal. Three month old Nicolas and Antonio, and 3 week old Daniel complete this group of little souls who we are caring for and loving.
In the state group homes another milestone was passed for Evelin who can now grab toys hanging from the mobile above her and play with them. The emotional and physical state of these children who previously had no muscle control, improves so much when they can actually play.
In the house where Rodica works, these handicapped children are now going daily to school, so she goes to them on the weekends and in the afternoons. She takes some of them to church and they love it, just to get out and be in a beautiful environment.
David was recently praised to me by the woman in charge of the state group homes where we work. His work with the teenage boys is so good for them on many levels. It has been a good spring and he and the boys have been doing yard work and repairs to things outside as well as inside the house. He has initiative and this is one of the most important things for the boys to experience. Their fun with hours of Monopoly continues!
January 2017 In the Photo Gallery, you will see Dora holding 2 month old tiny Antonio beside an incubator. The doctor ordered the incubator so that Dora and Vera could take care of very sick premies. The care abandoned babies receive in the intensive care unit is not acceptable. Our other very young babies are Miruna and Alexiu just over a month old. Timea is 2 months old as is Maria, healthy and with an adorable smile. Five month old Zsanett abandoned in another hospital came recently, and she has disabilities. She requires a lot of care and patience with feeding.
It is so good to see Romanians get involved with the children in the state group homes and the orphanage, especially during the Christmas season. Acquaintances have gone with packages and this always makes the children happy. Friends have gone caroling and this is also so great for the children.
In the house where Cornelia works, 2 new children have arrived. Monika who is 9 and Bianca who is 7 have lost their mother and their father is an alcoholic. Cornelia has been very involved with these girls in their painful adjustment. With rotating staff, the children's emotional need for stability is not met. Cornelia gives them the constant love that is so important.
David gave some of the teenage boys their first experience of skating and they loved it! There were special Christmas services at church and the boys received packages.
We had our 7 children from the orphanage for 4 days over Christmas and over New Year's.They were very happy with their presents, with cooking and baking, and playing with the dog. It wasn't too cold so they could also spend short periods of time outside taking turns on inline skates, the bike and the scooter. Lighting the candles we had in the center of the table became a favourite ritual. It was a lot of work but to hear "this was the best Christmas ever", and see the children's relaxed and happy faces made it all worthwhile.