I studied journalism because everyone is living a story worth telling. Because there are amazing, beautiful things happening every day in the midst of the shards of brokenness.
I studied journalism because our words wield power. Our letters nestled in words nestled in paragraphs can spur people to care, to take action, to hold people accountable, to love deeper. Our words can foster compassion, our stories can bring us together to fight for a better tomorrow.
I believe Jesus weeps at injustice, and has empowered and equipped those of us who have had loving and safe families to stand up for and stand alongside those who haven’t experienced the same love.
I want to wrap my arms around each one of these hurting children, and the hurting children who become hurting adults. I want to pull them close and whisper in their ear, “The world hasn’t treated you like you are, but you are precious. God loves you, dear one. I love you.”
God, use us. We need your glory and power to break the spiritual and physical chains of oppression. Forgive those who sin egregiously against your precious children, and help us be your hands and feet to come alongside those who have been so broken and discarded. We know this pain is not of you, and we know that your light can shine in even the darkest places.
If this story touches you, do something. Let’s not let desperation paralyze us — we can’t do everything, but we can all do something.
Check out Livada Orphan Care, which is part of the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Livada is the Romanian word for orchard and serves as a symbol of what they want their ministry to continue to do: nurture Romanian orphans and at-risk kids to bear fruit that will last.
Here’s an excerpt from Tara Bahrampour‘s story, “A Lost Boy Finds His Calling”:
Izidor got out of the orphanage in 1991, but he has never quite left it behind. He has stayed in touch with many Sighetu kids who came to America and some who did not, and he is a linchpin in a network of parents, children and activists, hundreds of them, connected to Romanian adoption. If you call any of them for information on the subject, they are likely to ask, “Have you talked to Izidor Ruckel?”
So it makes sense that, this past October, he is one of the ones telling his story to the government of Romania.
Romanian lawmakers have gathered to hear from advocates of a bill that would overturn Romania’s international adoption ban. Several, including some adoptees, have traveled from as far as Italy and New Zealand; others, like Izidor, are participating via Skype.
Izidor’s testimony is impassioned. He likens life in a Romanian institution to “a holocaust” and excoriates the country for its lack of education and training to provide for abandoned children. He warns that nobody in Romania is willing to adopt children with mental or physical disabilities. Instead, they are left “imprisoned and caged.”
From Izidor’s perspective, the ban cut abandoned children off from the kind of opportunities he had. He and other advocates think Romania can be seen as a test case for what can happen when international adoptions are cut off in a country with limited resources to care for orphans.
Around 40,000 children are in institutions there, according to Catharsis, a Romanian children’s rights organization; government estimates are around 22,500. Children who have disabilities or are of Roma heritage have particularly slim chances of being adopted locally, advocates say.
Other countries have also barred international adoptions, the most recent — and notorious — being Russia, which in the 1990s and 2000s was the source of some of the world’s highest numbers of international adoptions. In what many saw as a political tit for tat, Russian lawmakers last year abruptly banned adoptions by Americans, including many who had already met and bonded with children they had been cleared to adopt. Advocates fear that these children could remain in institutions.