Associatia Catharsis-Copii Adoptati Orfani Abandonati

 

 

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Copilul, cel mai preţios dar
6 Photos · Updated about a month ago

2017 a fost cel mai generos an pentru 39 de copii abandonaţi, aflaţi pe lista copiilor cu profil greu adoptabili. După schimbarea legii adopţiei, iunie 2004, numărul copiilor adoptaţi naţional a scăzut de la 1422 în 2004 la 313 în 2016. Şi mai grav, de la 251 copii adoptaţi în 2004, numai doi copii au fost adoptaţi internaţional, apoi, zero adopţii internaţionale în anii 2006…. 2012 şi doar cinci în anul 2016. În schimb, a crescut numărul copiilor abandonaţi, de la 44.000 în 2004, la 70.000 în 2010. Atunci am lansat campania ”Vrem o Românie fără orfani” ! Am reuşit împreună cu alte ONG -uri să modificăm de trei ori această lege, respectiv, articolele care au îngreunat adopţia naţională timp de 12 ani şi au făcut imposibilă adopţia internaţională. Este greu, este imposiobil de înţeles, motivul pentru care Guvernele Tăriceanu, Boc şi Ponta au respins ideea redeschiderii adopţiei internaţionale. Zeci de mii de copii au fost condamnaţi la o viaţă fără familie, fiind hărţuiţi prin centre de plasament sau spitale, în loc să fie daţi în adopţie internaţională. Din cauza stării de sănătate, a vârstei şi a etniei copiii abandonaţi de ieri şi de azi sunt adulţi asistaţi social, cei mai mulţi marginalizaţi, în risc de excluziune socială. Am luptat ani de zile cu autorităţile centrale şi greu, foarte greu am reuşit să îndreptăm greşelile celor care decid destinele orfanilor români. Începând din 2016 am reuşit să schimbăm mentalităţi şi atitudini în rândul familiilor care vor să adopte un copil şi iată, împreună dăruim copiilor un cămin, o familie, un viitor în siguranţă. Schimbăm destine şi mentalităţi care se aflau pe lista copiilor cu profil greu adoptabili. Ne-a adus zâmbete şi multă bucurie!


	

The Romanian Federation of Non-governmental Organisations; 51% of Romania’s Children Lives in Poverty

Romania: Children’s Ombudsman institution must be established

Photography: Silviu Ghetie

Source: The Romanian Federation of Non-governmental Organizations (FONPC)

The Romanian Federation of Non-governmental Organizations writes an open letter to draw attention to the importance of the Children’s Ombudsman in Romania, an institution that would guarantee effective protection for the rights of the child.

Dear Mr. President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis,

Dear Mr. President of the Senate, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu,

Dear Mr. President of the Juristic Commission on appointmens, discipline, immunity and validations from the Senate of Romania, Cătălin Boboc

Dear Mrs. President of the Commission for human rights and minorities,

The number of children in Romania is drastically decreasing: on the 1st of January, 2016, the number of children was 3976,5, 23,4 thousand lower compared to the previous year. Amongst these children 51% live in poverty and only one in 3 disadvantaged children finish middle school, 57.279 children in the social protection system, over 44 thousand of primary school age and over 48 thousand children or middle school are found outside the education system, over 2.700 children with severe disabilities aged between 7 and 10 do not go to school, 2 children on average are victims of some form of abuse every hour by over 20.000 children, amongst who 15.000 have been condemned.

The Federation of Child Protection NGOs FONPC, a common voice of 87 active organisations in the domain of welfare and protection of children draws attention to the importance of the Children’s Ombudsman in Romania as an institution that would guarantee effective protection for the rights of the child.

The UN Convention for the Rights of the Child, an international convention signed and ratified by Romania back in 1990 which set the foundation for the country’s child protection reform starting in 1997 mentions in its Article 3, Al. 1: “The interests of the child will prevail in all actions that affect children, undertaken by the public or private social work institutions, by the judiciary bodies, administrative authorities or legislative organs”. Given the fact that we are referring to the future of our country and the rights of a vulnerable category of individuals, the rights of children must be prioritized in Romania.

In this context, we ask you to support the establishment of a Children’s Ombudsman institution in Romania, guaranteeing verification and monitoring mechanisms for the implementation of the UNCRC requirements regarding the rights of the child and that would protect the superior interest of the child, even from state abuse at times.

The legislative proposal to establish the Children’s Ombudsman institution as an autonomous public authority, independent from any other public authority, which governs the respect for children’s rights as defined in the Romanian Constitution, the UNCRC and other legal provisions, can be found in Romania’s Senate.

According to ENOC standards, the Children’s Ombudsman institution has attributions and missions that exceed the sphere of competence of the current People’s Ombudsman, which is why  Romania lacks other adequate structures that fully correspond to the function of monitoring the rights and protection of children against violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation, as well as against social exclusion and discrimination.

In support for this proceeding for the establishment of a Romanian Children’s Ombudsman we recall the recommendations of the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child addressed to Romania back in 2009, from which we quote the following:

13. […] The Committee expresses its concern regarding the fact that the People’s Lawyer does not meet the criteria established in the Paris Principles and notes that the existence of this institution is not very well known. Consequently, this receives a reduced number of complaints with regards to children, a number that has been declining compared to the total number of complaints made. The Committee notes with concern that the Parliament’s rejection of a normative act project through which the desire to establish the Children’s Lawyer institution was expressed.”

14. The Committee recommends that, keeping its general commentary nr.2 (2002) with regards to the role of independent national institutions for the protection of human rights from the domain of promoting and protecting children’s rights, but also its previous recommendations, the state party ought to revise the statute and efficiency of the People’s Lawyer institution in the domain of the promotion and protection of children’s rights, equally taking into consideration  the criteria retrieved in the Paris Principles. This body has to benefit from all human and financial resources necessary for fulfilling its mandate in an effective and significant manner, especially in terms of capacity to receive and examine complaints from/on behalf of children related to the violation of their rights.

The Committee recommends that, in accordance with the previous recommendations, the state party continues to invest effort into the creation of an independent Children’s Lawyer institution”.

In the report finalized following Romania’s visit back in 2015, UN Rapporteur Philip Alston claimed that there is a need for a Children’s Commissary-type institution, a body that would have a clear mandate and the power to protect the rights of children, whilst also benefiting from adequate resources to promote and protect the rights of the child, as well as independence. At the European level the Child’s Ombudsman or the Commissioner for the Rights of the Child are identical institutions, with names varying from country to country.

The Federation of Non-governmental Child Organizations has been advocating for the establishment of the Children’s Ombudsman institution in Romania for more than 10 years.

We strongly believe that you will support the Children’s Ombudsman and the creation of an independent mechanism for the monitoring of child’s rights which will guarantee respect for all children’s rights and will protect them from abuse of all kinds.

With kindest regards,

Bogdan Simion

FONPC President

Daniela Gheorghe

FONPC Executive Director

România sa renăscut – atunci și acum. Povestea de credință a lui Corina

 

 

Ea a crescut în zilele cele mai întunecate ale comunismului, fiica unui predicator penticostal. Își amintește că a fost batjocorită pentru credința ei în fiecare zi la școală. Își amintește că aruncă o privire sub ușa dormitorului pe timp de noapte, uitându-se la cizmele soldaților care veniseră să-i ia tatăl pentru interogatoriu. Își amintește cum a fost atunci când comunismul a căzut în cele din urmă și a aflat că guvernul a ascuns sute de mii de copii în orfelinate teribile. Și atunci Corina Caba știa ce vrea Dumnezeu să facă cu viața ei.

Ea și-a fondat orfelinatul într-un apartament mic în 1996, luând copiii abandonați din spital și îngrijindu-i până când a putut găsi familii adoptive. Treptat, ea a adăugat la personalul ei, plătindu-și salariile oricât ar fi putut. După ce România a fost înființată pentru a susține lucrarea, ea a construit o unitate mai mare, a angajat mai mulți muncitori și a luat mai mulți copii. Odată cu trecerea anilor, legile și sistemul de protecție a copilului au evoluat, însă Dumnezeu a făcut întotdeauna o cale pentru Corina să-i ajute pe copii abandonați.
Corina cu un copil abandonat la spital în 2005
https://www.romania-reborn.org/…/11/8/corinas-story-of-faith
Astăzi, Corina este mama adoptivă a patru copii și o figură mamă la sute de persoane, a căror viață sa schimbat pentru totdeauna. Ea este, de asemenea, un lider național în curs de dezvoltare în domeniul îngrijirii orfane, călătorește pentru a vorbi la conferințe, ajutându-i să consilieze guvernul cu privire la politică și (cu reticență) vorbind cu mass-media națională. Și încă luptă pentru copiii individuali în fiecare zi. "Când durerea este prea mare, Dumnezeu ma învățat să am încredere în El", spune ea. "Într-o zi, El va restaura tot ce pare pierdut, va răscumpăra tot ce pare fără speranță, va repara tot ce pare distrus. Dumnezeul nostru are ultimul răspuns!"

Dăruiți darul de angajament
Cadoul dvs. va ajuta personalul nostru angajat să lupte cu pasiune pentru copiii aflați în îngrijirea noastră, susținând practici guvernamentale mai bune și utilizând sediul central al ministerelor noastre ca centru de instruire și consiliere pentru familii. Puteți să vă adresați următoarelor nevoi ale personalului și ale ministerului:

$ 50: ONE SĂPTĂMÂNĂ DE CHELTUIELI DE GAZ / CĂLĂTORIE (PENTRU LUCRĂRI SOCIALE)

250 USD: ONE LUNA CHELTUIELILOR ELECTRICE (PENTRU SANATOARE)

600 de dolari: SALAREA UNEI LUNI PENTRU UN LUCRU SOCIAL
GASITI ACUM

 

 

Government Officials in Romania Leave a Family of Five to Starve

Government officials in Romania leave a family of five to starve.

Four children, left by their mother, in Handalu Ilbei, a Village in Maramures, live in poverty in a house ready to fall down.

They have days when they eat nothing but forest fruits, if the neighbours do not pity them and prepare something for them to eat.

Their mother left them about one year ago. The children go to a normal school but have not been properly assessed.

The four children live off an allowance and the money that their father sometimes earns from working in the Village.

Officials at the Cicarlau Town Hall, to which the Village belongs, say that they cannot help because the father doesn’t work for the community.

The four children are aged between six and fifteen years old. The eldest girl is in charge of washing and cooking.

They complain to their father that they have nothing to eat and go to school barefoot in the winter.

The father does not drink and is doing his best to send the children to school.

Abandonaţi de mamă, patru copii trăiesc într-o cocioabă la marginea civilizaţiei. „Toţi merg la şcoală. Desculţi, că n-au cu ce se încălţa“

oficialii guvernamentali din România lasă o familie de cinci persoane să moară de foame.

Patru copii părăsiţi de mamă din localitatea maramureşeană Handalu Ilbei trăiesc la limita sărăciei, lângă tatăl lor, într-o căsuţă mică, sărăcăcioasă, gata să se dărâme. Au zile în care mănâncă doar fructe de pădure, dacă nu-şi fac milă vecinii să le pregătească ceva de mâncare.

Un tată cu patru copii din Handalu Ilbei trăiesc la limită, într-o căsuţă sărăcăcioasă. Mama lor i-a părăsit în urmă cu aproape un an, iar de atunci, de ea nu mai ştiu nimic.
Copiii au probleme de adaptare, însă în lipsa unor evaluări ale specialiştilor merg la o şcoală normală, unde fac faţă cu greu cerinţelor. Din păcate, sărăcia şi lipsurile vin, de obicei, „la pachet” cu alte necazuri. Cei patru minori trăiesc doar din alocaţie şi din puţinii bani pe care îi prmeşte tatăl lor, muncind prin sat, cu ziua. Însă nu mereu.

Câteva femei din vecini îşi fac milă şi le mai oferă micuţilor o farfurie cu mîncare, ori o vorbă bună. Rodica Mureşan, o femeie a cărei mamă locueşte în vecini de cei patru copii, spune că a încercat să se implice să-i ajute, însă fără succes, până acum.

„Am fost personal la Primăria Cicârlău (de care aparţine satul) şi am sesizat Asistenţa Socială despre cazul lor. Au spus că nu le pot da ajutor social, pentru că bărbatul nu munceşte în folosul comunităţii. Şi eu sunt absolvent de Asistenţă Socială şi cunosc legea. Dar trebuie văzut fiecare caz în parte, unii oameni chiar nu sunt capabili de muncă. El a muncit o perioadă în folosul comunităţii, dar pe urmă n-a mai mers”, explică Rodica Mureşan.

Ea mai arată că cei patru copii au vârste cuprinse între 6 şi 15 ani. „De când a plecat mama lor, fata cea mare se ocupă de spălat şi gătit. Numai că nu au, bieţii de ei, uneori, nimic ce pune pe masă. Se plâng tatălui lor că le e foame şi nu au nimic ce să mănânce. Au zile în care tot ce mănâncă sunt fructe de pădure”, mai spune ea revoltată.

Mai mult, femeia spune că bărbatul nu are obiceiul să consume alcool şi că face tot posibilul să-i trimită pe cei mici la şcoală. „Toţi merg la şcoală. Sunt desculţi, nu au ce să încalţe. Am fost pe la tot felul de organizaţii şi am încercat să le găsesc încălţăminte, dar deocamdată nu au”, mai spune ea.

 http://fixininimata.biz/2017/12/abandonati-de-mama-patru-copii-traiesc-intr-o-cocioaba-la-marginea-civilizatiei-toti-merg-la-scoala-desculti-ca-n-au-cu-ce-se-incalta/

Romania Without Orphans Alliance Report on Adoption

The degree of declaration of adoptability did not increase at all one year after the revised law on adoption was implemented, keeping it below 6% of the number of children in the system.

In March 2016, there were 57,581 children who had been abandoned by their families and entered the child protection system.

This report is the result of an analysis of the situation of abandoned children in the child protection system, carried out by the Romania Without Orphans Alliance.

The report was made public at the start of the A.R.F.O Summit, held in Bucharest, November 2017.

The report shows that the declaration of adoption for children where there is no possibility of being reunited with their biological families, is hampered by over exaggerated legislation and poor implementation of legislation.

The very small number, only 1.5% of children being adopted, highlights a worrying practise to keep children in institutions.

Another aspect highlighted by the report is that, whilst private organisations are not allowed to provide services unless they are licensed, 83% of public services do not have a license and do not meet mandatory minimum standards.

Raportul ARFO cu privire la situația copiilor din sistemul de protecție

Morgan Freeman; The Story of Us; The Power of Love.

“The Power of Love” is the title of the third episode of the National Geographic series “The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman”. The episode includes Izidor Ruckel’s life story. Izidor spent the first 11 years of his life without the love and support of a family. For 8 years, he survived horrific conditions in one of the most terrifying “child care” institutions during the Ceauşescu era, the Home-hospital for the irrecoverables in Sighet. In 1991, he was adopted by Danny and Marlys Ruckel and started a new life in America. However, all the attachment issues he developed due to the lack of love in the early childhood needed a long time to heal. And not just time.
Morgan Freeman interviewed Danny and Marlys on their efforts to reach such a broken boy with the power of love…
All you need is love!

Polio is a crippling disease. Izidor desperately needs a new leg brace for his polio damaged leg. Please donate if you can and thank you for your support.

Cursed Romania; Nearly Ten Thousand Children Abandoned in the Past year.

Cursed Romania! Nearly 10,000 children have been ABANDONED by their parents in the past year. The international bodies have identified the causes for a decision at the limit of cruelty

Nearly 10,000 children were abandoned by their parents in the last year, the number being lower compared to the previous year. The main cause of this phenomenon is poverty, according to statistics provided by the National Authority for the Protection of Child’s Rights and Adoption (ANPDCA).

According to the ANPDCA response at a MEDIAFAX request, data provided by the General Directorates for Social Assistance and Child Protection in the counties / sectors of Bucharest Municipality which have been centralized on a quarterly basis, show that between July 2016 and June 2017 a total of 9,614 children were separated from their families and entered into the special protection system (placement with relatives up to 4th grade, placement with other families / persons, placement in foster care and placement in residential services).

The same source shows that between July 2015 and June 2016, a total of 10,196 children entered the special protection system.

According to the study “Romania: Children within the Child Protection System” conducted by the World Bank, UNICEF and the ANPDCA, the three main causes – constantly identified – for the child being separated from the family and entering the child protection system, are poverty, abuse and neglect, and disability.”

According to data available at ANPDCA, most of the children in the special protection system come from poor or at-risk families living in precarious housing conditions.

Of the total number of children in the special protection system, about 36% had poverty as a structural risk factor as the main cause of child’s separation from the family of the child child.

The mentioned source states that about 32% of the children in the special protection system were abandoned by parents, and 10% of the children in the special protection system were taken over by the care system from their relatives.

According to the same source, “the counties with the highest number of children entering the special protection system were Iaşi, Vaslui, Timiş, Constanţa, Buzău”.

On the opposite side, says ANPDCA, are the counties of Ilfov, Gorj, and Sectors 3, 5 and 6 of Bucharest.

mediafax.ro  Sept.2017

The Tragedy of Babies Abandoned in Romanian Hospitals

 

Tragedy of children left in Romanian hospitals continues: 245 newborn babies were abandoned in the first three months of 2017

According to data published on the website of the National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption (ANPDCA), 245 children were left in maternity wards and other health care facilities during the first quarter of 2017. According to the same data, last year about 1,000 children were abandoned in hospitals.

Out of the 245 children left in medical units, 164 were abandoned in maternity wards, 71 in pediatric wards, and 10 were left in other hospital departments.

Also, of the 231 children discharged from medical units between January and March 2017, 100 returned to their families, one was placed with the extended family, 7 were placed with other families/persons and 102 were placed in foster care.

At the same time, 6 children were placed in placement centers, 4 children were placed in emergency reception centers, and 11 children are in other situations, according to ANPDCA, quoted by Agerpres.

Almost 1,000 children (977 to be exact) were abandoned in Romanian hospitals last year. More than half of them have been left in maternity wards. This results from data centralized by the National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights and Adoption (ANPDCA).

The Romanian Boy Who Overcame The Dark Side of International Adoption

The Romanian boy who overcame the dark side of an international adoption

Nicolae Burcea got smallpox immediately after arriving in the US in 2002. He was sick in bed, looking out the window in a nice neighborhood. The 8-year old boy felt uncertain where the future was gonna lay, but it was the best feeling of being uncertain- to go to bed and not to worry about when you’re gonna be beaten up,when your food is gonna be stolen. It was a big relief. But of course, only for so long.

In his early childhood, he was Nicolae Burcea, but friends called him Nicu. After being adopted, the boy’s name became Nicolae Butler, and everybody in the US called him Nico.

The 23-year old man now uses Nicolae Burcea when he writes books or in casual conversations, but he’s still a Butler in official documents. Officially, though, he’s no longer a member of the Butler family.

“I like to think about it, to say that I’m a new generation Charles Dickens character because everything is an up and down. (…) The amount of luck I get is incredible especially given the odds,” says Nicolae.

In a hours-long Skype interview, Nicolae tries to disentangle his life story, to explain it to a stranger. It’s not the first time. He’s written a book about his early childhood in orphanages in Romania and he’s told his story hundreds of times. But despite the suffering, the young man feels that there could be a meaning, that his story could inspire others.

Nicolae Burcea was born in December 1993 and placed in the “Sfanta Ecaterina” foster care center in Bucharest’s District 1, according to his adoption papers.

Nicolae remembers a room full of cribs, everybody crying, car horns from outside, sitting in a room forever, and nobody coming to the room.

He wrote a book about his early years called “Memories of Childhood: Life in the Romanian Orphanages”. The book has a small poem as a dedication.

“These Memoirs are dedicated to
My biological and adoptive mothers,
So that you will know a part
Of my life that you never experienced with me.”

Nicolae now lives in Berlin, where he’s enrolled in a master’s program at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. He hasn’t yet visited Romania, but when he comes to Bucharest, he first wants to visit the “Sfanta Ecaterina” foster care center. The center no longer exists; instead, it hosts the headquarters of the District 1’s General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection.

The “Sfanta Ecaterina” foster care was closed before Romania joined the EU, as part of a large deinstitutionalization process. The institution was shut down and replaced with three alternative services, with pre-accessing EU funds of over EUR 1 million.

The orphanage was synonym to abuses, from getting whipped to being sexually abused by the other kids. Caretakers played a role, but it was a vicious circle, says Nicolae. Caretakers were cruel to kids, who became abusers. “The orphanage is viciously making people abuse others and themselves,” he adds.

When asked if it’s not too disturbing to talk about these things, Nicolae replies immediately:

“Not an issue. I think for me the abuse has been so much and I am so used to it that I’ve become detached from it,” Nicolae says.

Around 2000, a family of wealthy engineers from Missouri, US, started the process to adopt Nicolae, who was from a Roma family. Most of the people prefer to adopt babies, but this family wanted to give a chance to an older boy.

His adoption papers include a report drafted by the Sperante foundation, which describes Nicolae’s mental and emotional development.

“The language is normally developed, the vocabulary is well represented, he uses complex sentences and can reproduce short poems. (…) He is emotionally balanced and has a proper social behavior,” reads the report.

Nicolae was healthy and went to school. “For my parents, I was like the perfect kid. In the US they all think all these kids just need a loving home and they’ll be perfect. It’s a lot of myth and I guess good selling from the people at adoption agencies,” Nicolae says.

The adoption process took forever, but a final decision came in April 2002. The document certified that the adoption of Nicolae Viorel Burcea was carried out according to the law.

By June 2002, Nicolae had his first bedroom ever, in a white neighborhood in the Saint Louis area, in the Missouri state. He was eight and a half.

“For me, when I was adopted was like the best moment. Because I was like the most important guy. You come from a place where you are nobody and suddenly you are the most important person in that family,” says Nicolae.

Nicolae in Romania

His adoptive family was a very caring and loving one, especially his dad. His mom used to dream about adopting a kid since she was a little girl.

“I had everything,” says Nicolae.

It seemed like a fairy tale, but things didn’t go as planned.

Nicolae was not easy to handle. In school, he got suspended many times. He was aggressive, talking back to teachers, showing high defiance, not following orders. He once punched a disabled guy when the boy took his soccer ball and refused to give it back to him.

School was tough.

“People look at you and you have dark skin and your parents are white skin. How did this happen? This obviously makes you feel pretty awkward. Especially because I went to very white communities,” Nicolae says.

He’d have to explain that he had been in an orphanage. People would sympathize with it. But to him this was bad.

“Nobody gives me anything because I deserve or because I earn it. They always give it to me because they sympathize and this makes you feel less of a human when you are being victimized not by yourself but by all the people who are surrounding you,” Nicolae explains.

The boy suffered from reactive attachment disorder, a very rare disorder in which kids don’t establish healthy attachments with parents.

“Parents didn’t treat their kids right, didn’t love them and eventually you get people who are incapable of loving others. And when people show love, it’s seen as a threat,” Nicolae says.

He found it difficult to adapt to an organized, rule-driven family, after years of chaos in orphanages. The rules felt as authority, and he had been traumatized by abusive authority in his past.

“I felt that my power was being taken away from me. When somebody said ‘go to bed at this hour’, I was like: I don’t want to do that. The authority felt very much like the orphanage in that sense.”

His parents became obsessed with fixing him, took him to several therapists, put him on medication. The situation at home got pretty bad. Nicolae felt that he was cast in the troublemaker role and that no matter what he’d do, he’d be different from the rest of the family.

“I became this super obscene, super trouble kid who cannot work in this very nice loving family,” Nicolae says.

Nicolae tells the story as if he was the bad character who failed. This tendency stems from his first years in the foster care system, he explains.

“You are kind of taught to take the blame when you are in foster care. Why are you there? Why would a normal family put you there?”.

But things were more complex. His family had the money, the lifestyle, but they had no patience, they had no time, they were stubborn, very engineer- minded, Nicolae adds.

All the therapists would tell them to stop thinking of a kid as something that you could fix. “This is a kid who has been through a lot, is working through a lot. You can’t compare him to his brothers.” Nicolae remembers that his parents would lock him in his room for hours, for days.

He thinks that his parents were people who had never experienced big trauma in their lives, who wanted to help but weren’t prepared to deal with a traumatized kid, who was far from perfect.

Every night he would always ask them “Even if I’m a terrible kid would you give up someone like me?” That became a ritual, something he would do every night. And every night the parents would say “We love you till everything, never will we give you up.”

The constant fear that he could be abandoned again was there all the time.

***

Dealing with Nicolae created a rift in the family. His grandparents had one way of thinking how to take care of the kids and his mom had another. Nicolae remembers a summer trip to Florida when he was 12.

They got into a fight over Nicolae. His grandparents told the parents that Nicolae was just a kid, that he just wanted to go to the beach and have fun. “Leave him be. You don’t have to be so restrictive, always think that he’s no good. He may be, but not all the time. Kids are kids,” Nicolae remembers his grandparents saying.

Things continued to escalate. At 16, there was an incident when Nicolae became physical with his parents and he had a fight with his dad.

“My dad told me something and it came to me as very aggressive, at least verbally and I immediately stroke back. This was after the situation at home got really bad,” he says.

His parents called the police. The officer took Nicolae to a medical center, which is what happens if you don’t know where to put kids and you don’t want to put them in jail, Nicolae explains. After a few days, his parents had to pick him up.

They came to the medical center, only to drop him off in an institution two hours later. They went to the court a few weeks later and gave Nicolae up to the state.

“I think it’s a fairytale gone wrong for them. I think it’s literally a German fairy tale on a grim side,” Nicolae explains. “They never got what they wanted. They wanted a kid who loved them, followed their rules, a kid they could react to. I wasn’t that way.”

Then he adds: “This is just what happens. This is just the dark side of adoptions gone wrong.”

***

Nicolae now lives in Berlin, but spends the summer in London. People have often told him while he was abroad: “Oh my God, you come from America; please tell me how awesome it is. How great it is.”

Not only that he got the bad end of America in sense of family, but he also got the worst of it in the sense of where unwanted kids go, Nicolae says.

At 16, Nicolae became one of the United States of America’s unwanted kids.

In 2015, there were about 428,000 kids in the US foster care system, according to US official statistics.

“You get the kids who are unwanted and you get the kids who are high abusers. (…) Their lives are ruined. There is no other way of saying it. Many kids, two-thirds of us, would end up in jail. That’s what we were told. It was just a fact of life,” Nicolae says.

When he entered the foster care system, he went from being a terrible kid to a great kid. He had more freedom, he could dictate his plan based on his behavior. This was in the beginning. After some months, he became really frustrated about the system’s immovability. The education was terrible, nobody cared about you. He was scared to remain in the same institution for years, so he tried to force the system. The only way to move forward was to get expelled.

Nicolae moved to several schools and different levels of the foster care system. Meanwhile, his former adoptive parents were still in touch with him, although they were no longer his parents.  This felt like a pressure for Nicolae. Once they relaxed their grip on him, Nicolae started improving. He decided to prepare himself for college. He read everything that he could find, wrote a lot.

At 21, the state gave him up, and his grandparents stepped more into the picture. They helped him pay for the college.

“We’ve always thought that he was very smart and he’s always wanted to go to college very badly so we’ve helped him with finances although he got some grants,” says his grandmother Velma. “If it didn’t work out it didn’t work out, but at least we felt that he had a chance.”

Nicolae joined a fraternity, became the school vice president, played football, had two jobs. He managed to do four years of college in two years. Nicolae’s good results weren’t a surprise for his grandparents.

“We were expecting that because he would read anything he could get his hands on,” says Velma.

“He knew a lot more about the US Government than I did,” adds his grandfather Marion.

After college, Nicolae came to Europe, where he’s currently in a master’s program in international relations.

One of his teachers recently asked him if he felt that he belonged anywhere. He doesn’t feel American, nor Romanian, but he’d like to come to Romania someday and do something big here; maybe even run for the president office someday. Many people have told him that it’s a crazy dream, but Nicolae says that he doesn’t want a simple life. He wants to inspire people, to change Romania’s image abroad.

“I would say my parents never left me so much room to kind of do things on my own. They thought I was a kid, treated me as a kid, never let me do things independently. This caused a rift in the family. It just became a psychological battle between me and them. When I had the freedom to do what I could do, all I had to do was show people: look, I am an exceptional kid.”

By Diana Mesesan, features writer, diana@romania-insider.com

Mums Who Hold Their Tempers Hold The Key

Mums who hold their tempers, hold the key

Children of highly educated mothers who keep a clean home and can hold their tempers, are less likely to develop behavioural problems, a new study has found.

It would seem as though mothers once again shoulder the burden when it comes to links between family income and child potential according to the new study, “Child Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Development: Does Money Matter?

“For a long time there has been a consensus that there is a connection between family income and child health, child cognitive and non-cognitive development,” said Dr Rasheda Khanam, the USQ Senior Economic Lecturer who led the study.

“But the mother’s outlook, how she raises her children, and the home environment she provides – reading with her children, taking them to the cinema, playground or sporting events, providing a clean, organised home – have not been included in previous studies.

“What we wanted to do was look at the pathways that make this connection between family income and child development to get the story behind this well-established link.”

Dr Khanam took a new approach, combining for the first time economists’ and psychologists’ views in modelling the relationship between income and child development outcomes.

Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children –– she found that a mother’s mental health, and stress levels were crucial in ensuring her children were less hyperactive or had less emotional, behavioural or peer problems.

“What we found is that family stress – that is parenting styles and the mother’s mental health and parental investment capacity– are extremely important in child emotional and behavioural development,” Dr Khanam said.

“A mother who had a ‘warm parenting style’, who invested in her children, who gave them access to books and computers, could bridge the income-potential gap, with love and time.”

Dr Khanam said it was the education standard and input of the mother that found to be more significant than fathers in the study, as women were still the primary carers.

However, fathers were not completely discounted in fact dads with “warm parenting styles” helped their children develop higher reasoning skills; while mums and dads who stayed together were less likely to raise children with behavioural issues.

The study also found depressed parents were more likely to produce children with poorer math scores, while those from low income families were more likely to be hyperactive.

“We found children from lower income households were more likely to be unable to stay still and were easily distracted, with poor concentration and memory,” Dr Khanam said.

“They often acted without thinking.”

Dr Khanam said while income was important for cognitive development, the ground breaking study found when it came to non-cognitive development, mothers were key.

“We didn’t have the story behind the link between household incomes and child potential, and now we do – those who have a higher income tend to have mothers with a higher education who practice better parenting skills, resulting in lower mental stress on the family, and better relationships,” she said.

“In other words, if you have a good income, you can live in a better house in a good environment with lots of books for your children, and all in all, you will have more of an idea as to how to raise your children.

“So what is needed is to get more systems in place to educate parents, to teach them to correct their children where needed yet at the same time show them affection, hug their children, invest in their children and start having conversations with them.

“If you don’t have the income but you invest the time, you can breach the gap.