It has been more than twelve years since the overthrow of Ceausescu in Romania. We were all shocked and dismayed to see horrific images on "Sixty Minutes" of Romania's institutionalized children. This social catastrophe resulted from Ceausescu's delusional vision of a "New Rome."

With all that has occurred on the world scene since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent revolutions in East Europe, these images have faded from memory. Now, in the aftermath of September 11, we as Americans have understandably turned inward, donating to causes much closer to home.

But, in Romania, the abandoned baby problem still exists, and the children's need is just as great.

The closing of many of Romania's worst state run orphanages does not indicate that this social problem is in abeyance. Babies are still abandoned every day in maternity wards, or brought to remaining state orphanages. Although schools of social work have been opened with international assistance since the revolution twelve years ago, and there are now trained social workers and child development specialists in Romania, the great need overwhelms the limited resources.

A system of foster care has been in place for only a little over three years in Romania. These families are paid modestly to care for abandoned children. Although the family may fervently wish to adopt their foster children, many times it is financially impossible.

This past summer, Maya and Lina, my daughters, aged 15 and 13, and I spent one month in a small children's center in Târgoviste, Romania. This not-for-profit, private center rescues babies from their otherwise inevitable fate of landing in state run institutions. The center's means are modest, but the care is loving and proficient. We put on our white caretaker robes and integrated ourselves into the little center, working side by side with the young women who care for these babies, many times bringing them back to health after a very shaky beginning in the maternity ward. Most of the mothers abandon their babies in the maternity ward because of extreme financial hardship. Most are very young and uneducated.

This children's center, which serves babies from new born to about one year old, is about a block away from the community hospital. Doctors and staff members have an excellent relationship with the center's director, Ms. Ioana Dinita, who was called out of an early retirement because of her expertise and well-known dedication to children. Ms. Dinita served for 36 years as head of pediatric nursing at the hospital.

Alin, Alesandru, Bianca, Roxana, Mioara, Iulian... these are just some of the babies that we will never forget. We plan to go to the center again this summer; we will bring as many donations as we can carry (much-needed diapers, baby wipes, baby shampoo and soap, baby vitamins, etc.). Unfortunately, mailing these donations is problematic.

Our lives have been changed forever because of our daily contact with these wonderful little Romanian babies. We watched as they became stronger over the month that we were there. We noted in detail each baby's progress from day to day. We now receive updates on each individual child through correspondence with Ms. Dinta: Alexandru was just baptized; Iulian, Alin are in foster care; Victor can now walk...

Please read elsewhere in this issue about American-International Children's Alliance, (A.I.C.A.), that fully cooperates with the foundation in Romania under whose auspices the children's center in Târgoviste operates. This American not-for-profit organization's Executive Director, Ms. Kim Menard who adopted a Romanian child herself twelve years ago, explains the dire situation for Romania's abandoned babies since the Romanian moratorium on international adoption was put in place by the Romanian government. With her Romanian American colleague, Dragos Vrânceanu, son of the Romanian foundation's director, Mrs. Maria Vrânceanu, they are providing a vital alternative to the state run institutions for these babies through the children's center in Târgoviste.

American-International Children's Alliance is a 501(c)(3) charity licensed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is audited every six months, and donations are 100% deductible. Donations can be given as "restricted gifts" if the monies are assigned with donor instructions, for example "$100 to be spent on diapers."

The Alliance for Romanian Children (Alianta Copiilor Români), the non-profit foundation in Romania, is audited every year. Its director takes no salary. Because the Unites States IRS does not allow donations to be deducted if they are sent directly to the foundation in Romania, A.I.C.A. in Massachusetts directly sends the funds to Romania and oversees their use. The children's center needs about $2,000 per month (about 3-1/2 weeks) to care for these children. This includes all salaries utilities; both fixed and variable costs.

If you wish to donate to the children's center in Târgoviste, please make checks out to the American-International Children's Alliance and send them to:

Brave Records
216 Woodland Ct.
Lake Mills, WI 53551

I will personally deliver the donations to A.I.C.A.'s office. If you wish to send a donation for a specific purpose, please write this in the memo line of your check. Please be assured that 100% of your donation will be used to help the children.

If you have any questions, please email me at colindatorii@braverecords.com. Thanks for helping the children.
 


Comments




Leave a Reply