Monday, June 6, 2011

Oradea, Romania: May 18th-June 2nd, 2011

Dear family and friends,

Greetings from Romania! Kayla and I arrived late in the evening on May 18th. Since arriving, we have been quite busy. Our first 2 weeks were spent in Oradea, primarily volunteering at the Children’s Hospital. We were also asked by my friend Mihaela (Michelle) to teach English 1 hour/week in a 1st grade classroom. We have also had the opportunity to visit several families and experience warm Romanian hospitality and delicious Romanian food. There are so many stories and pictures to share, but for now I chose to focus on our visit to Denisa and our work in the hospital.

Denisa, Dawn, and Adam

At the river (Denisa, Kayla, and Dawn)

The Mate family

Dawn and Denisa

On our second day in Romania, I received a phone call from Lucia, Denisa's mom, inviting Kayla and I to their new home in Santion (a village outside of Oradea). Initially I thought we were going to visit for a few hours, but 15 minutes before they arrived, we received another call to let us know they were planning on us staying for the weekend! When we first got in the car, Denisa was skeptical of Kayla, especially when she was informed that Kayla did not speak Romanian or Hungarian. However, by the time we arrived in their village, they were becoming fast friends.

Denisa is now 8 and Adam will turn 6 in a few weeks. They are both doing well and are deeply loved by their parents, Lucia and Iuliu. Both children know that they were adopted, but because adoption is not common here, it is still a "taboo subject". Denisa asked her mom if I "knew her story". Her mom reminded her that I cared for her as an infant, so yes I was aware of her adoption. She then reminded us that no one else needed to know as it was a secret. When I look at her and think back to where she came from and the hopelessness I felt 8 years ago, I am reminded again of God's mercy and faithfulness.

AT THE HOSPITAL~9th Floor, Genetic Unit
So much has changed at the place I have always referred to as "spitalul de copii" (The Children's Hospital) in Oradea. It is now a municipal hospital, serving both adults and children. The children are now on the 7, 8 and 9th floors. Due to several events, many hospitals in Romania are being renovated. Although these renovations were desperately needed, they also came at a cost to the sickest, weakest children~ those who are abandoned and/or disabled. In the past, we were encouraged to take these children into the hallways to walk with them, to place the infants in baby swings etc. Since the renovation, the children are forced to stay in their cribs, unless one of the volunteers from a foundation is holding them. They have also installed security cameras in each room, thus taking pictures is no longer allowed.

Thankfully, I was still granted permission to work at the hospital in spite of all of these changes. Kayla and I have been working at the hospital from 7:30-12:30 on most days that we are in Oradea. On average we have had 21-22 abandoned children on our floor. I have been spending most of my time with Dorina (one of Kathy's workers), helping with Evelina and Levente. Both of these children are nearly 6 years old and have spent their entire lives in the hospital. Evelina has multiple genetic issues and Levente has hydrocephaly. I have known them both since they were infants. (You can see pictures of these children on my October 2009 blog post). I was also asked to do some trainings for another foundation, In Brate (it means "to hold" in Romanian). One of the babies I was working with, Fruzsina, is a 6 week old with spina bifida and hydrocephaly. The workers also reported she has Down Syndrome. Last Wednesday her parents came to take her home! This is essentially unheard of in this country, so it was so amazing to witness. Her parents are Hungarian and did not understand Romanian, but with the help of one of the workers, we were able to show the parents how to position her and help her develop.

Dawn, Dorina, and Kayla

The amazing caregivers who work for the foundations in the hospital

Ana, Kayla, and Mia

Fruzsina's family comes to take her home

Dawn and Fruzsina

Kayla has been a tremendous help at the hospital, primarily staying in a room with 5-6 children, sometimes by herself. She has also been helping me to bathe Levente as it now takes 2 people to carry him since his head is so large and he has no control. Although she has encountered many obstacles and is having her heart broken daily, she continues to persevere, knowing this is where He has called her to be for this time. I am so thankful that she is here for this portion of my journey.

So much has changed here in Romania, in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse. But He has given me this verse for Isaiah 43:18-19 to hold on to:
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland".

I continue to be thankful for this journey He is leading me on and am indebted to you for your prayers and support.

Pace (Peace)

1 comment:

Meg Lindsay said...

Hello Dawn! I stumbled onto your blog as I was searching for news in English about the hospital renovations. I've traveled to Oradea as well, and serving in the hospital is always the most challenging and inspiring part of the trip. I worked through the foundation that Ana and Maria are employed by and have spent a lot of time in the rooms with Evelina and Levente. Last time I was there was in January when the renovations were in full swing, and I was hoping to find news about how things were going. Are the renovations completed? How are Ana and Maria and Mia?