After spending 5 months in Uganda, the emotions I felt after walking into a room full of Romanian orphans were not what I expected.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen the sad poster children labeled orphan, and probably most of us have an ethnicity we imagine in our minds when thinking about personal adoption.
I’ll be honest... I was orphan biased.
I thought, for sure, if my husband and I adopt it would definitely be a child of African heritage. Some of the reasons were thought out; some of them were subconscious; not all of the reasons were necessarily bad. But my mind was pretty much set on this particular race. I think part of it was that I assumed that “African” kids were in the most need.
And then I walked into a small room in the middle of nowhere Romania.
And they looked at me. And I heard some of their stories. And my heart broke. I was coming face to face with an entirely different orphan and for some reason, having these children look into my eyes was 100% different than any other orphans with whom I’ve come face to face.
They experience a type of need and orphanhood that is completely different from the children I’ve encountered in Africa or China. This is not to say that one is worse than the other, or that one race/culture of orphans is in more need that the other. But this is a new type of orphan to me, and my heart is broken in a new way.
For a ‘mother’ with an incredibly deep desire to have children, being surrounded by Romanian children who desperately desire a mother, this has been different. Perhaps that is because Romania is not open to international adoption. So my brain didn’t even go to “I want to adopt you and provide a better life for you, (okay maybe it did a little bit but I try to fight those thoughts because they aren’t what is always best for a child). My brain and heart and spirit and entire being is crying out:
“What can we do? How can we help?”
Because these kids…They seem to have been forgotten by the rest of the world. So how can we help? What is the reality of their future? What does life as an orphan in Eastern Europe look like? I hope you stick around and work with us as we process our time here and dig deep to find answers to these incredibly important questions. But in the mean time, meet some of my new friends, who have hands down, already stolen my heart. And stay tuned for a week of posts about Romanian orphans, NOROC (the organization with whom we worked), and how you can get involved!