Rusine unei Natiuni

Rusine unei natiuni

Izidor Ruckel sa născut în 1980. La vârsta de șase luni, el a devenit bolnav și părinții lui l-au dus la un spital, unde a contractat poliomielita de la o seringă infectată. Ulterior, medicii spitalului a încurajat părinții lui să-l las la un orfelinat. Din 1983 până în 1991, Izidor a trăit în orfelinat Sighetu Marmației.

Nimeni nu știe cum au fost mulți copii în orfelinate din România la sfârșitul comunismului. Numărul este estimat a fi fost undeva între 100.000 și 200.000. Ceea ce știm este că abandonul copiilor a fost de fapt încurajat de guvernul român ca un mijloc de creștere a populației prin aruncarea înapoi în mare de copii care nu au putut fi muncitori productivi pentru stat.

Sighetu Marmatiei este situat la Sighet, un oraș mic din nordul România. Este orașul natal al supraviețuitor al Holocaustului și laureat al Premiului Nobel, Elie Wiesel.

Instituția Sighetu Marmației este situat la marginea de vest a orașului în spatele unui perete de 6 picioare. Semnul de mai sus mențiunea citește „Pentru Minori Camin Spital deficienti“, care se traduce la „domiciliu spital pentru copii deficient.“

În 1990, la scurt timp după căderea comunismului, ABC News’ 20/20 producatorul Janice Tomlin a vizitat Sighet si a produs seria de atribuire «Rușine unei națiuni.» Fotografii și clipuri video Tomlin a adus atenția lumii practicilor de protecție a copilului oribile din România.

ziar comunist încurajează mamele să lase copiii în grija statului

Dan și Marlys Ruckel din San Diego urmărit 20/20 difuzat și a mers în România cu intenția de a adopta un copil. La 29 octombrie 1991, Dan și Marlys adoptat Izidor. El a fost unul dintre mulți orfani de la Sighet pentru a face din San Diego, noua lor casă.

În 2016, Izidor sa mutat înapoi în România, unde și-a dedicat viața copiilor fără familii și găsească mijloacele pentru a sprijini 60.000 de orfani ai generației sale, care nu au fost niciodată adoptate.

Izidor întâlnește noua lui mama
1990 – Izidor în spatele gratiilor orfelinatelor
Familia lui Izidor
Am întâlnit recent Izidor la gara din Cluj pentru a vorbi despre viața lui, de ce sa mutat înapoi în România, iar starea actuală a bunăstării copilului.

Povestește-mi puțin despre trecutul tău

De la 3 până la 11, am fost într-un spital pentru copii, nu un orfelinat. Dar atunci, și încă astăzi, nu există nici o diferență între modul în care un copil este tratat într-un spital de copii sau un orfelinat de stat. Acestea sunt cele două instituții.

La doi ani după sosirea în SUA, am început să dor de instituția de la Sighet. Nimeni din Statele Unite au avut răspunsurile pe care le căutam, și am scos furia mea pe cei care ma iubit cel mai mult, familia mea a adoptat. Am fost un copil din iad.

Apoi, o familie românească a venit la San Diego, pentru Paște și am auzit despre Hristos. Am scris tone de întrebări și a început să găsească răspunsurile pe care le căutam. Oamenii mă întreabă cum am depășit acest lucru. Nu este din cauza părinților mei sau orice am făcut, a fost pentru că am lăsat pe Hristos să-mi spună cine sunt cu adevărat.

După cum furia mea potolit și viața de familie îmbunătățit, am fost rugat să scrie o carte pentru a ajuta familiile care adoptă copii abandonați. Cartea, a abandonat pentru viață, a fost publicată în 2003 și a vândut peste 30.000 de exemplare.

Izidor în SUA cu tatăl său

Timp de 17 ani, din 2001, scopul meu de viață principal a fost de a spune oamenilor ce sa întâmplat în instituția mea și asigurați-vă că nu mai întâmplă cu alți copii din România. Am vorbit de sute de ori, inclusiv la BBC, în Washington Post și recent într-un interviu cu Morgan Freeman, care va fi difuzat în luna octombrie, în 176 de țări de pe National Geographic.

DESCRIETI Viața în Orfelinat

Am trezit la 5, dezbrăcat, din moment ce majoritatea copiilor se ude în pat, și sa dus la o altă cameră pentru haine noi, în timp ce podeaua a fost curățat. Am mâncat micul dejun, se spală și au fost puse într-o cameră curată în cazul în care ne-am așezat acolo balansoar înainte și înapoi, lovind unul pe altul, de dormit sau vizionarea cineva plânge până când au fost drogați. După prânz, ne-am dus înapoi în camera curată, repetând aceleași lucruri ca și dimineața. Apoi, am fost hrăniți, scăldate din nou, pus în haine curate și în pat pentru noapte.

CE VREI sa stie lumea despre experiența ta?

În primul rând, faptul că copiii au suferit mai mult decât știe nimeni. Nici reporter poate captura suferința. Abuzul a fost mai rău decât orice raportat. Dacă ai fi handicapat ca mine, ai fost ascuns și nu a permis în afara instituției.

În al doilea rând, în ciuda tuturor Rănile traumatice și emoționale, nu se pierde viața vreodată. Dacă vom da acesti copii, acum adulți, unele oportunitate, cu dragoste, alimentație și dezvoltare, acestea pot funcționa în lume și să dezvolte independența. Am rămâne în contact cu copiii cu care am crescut și ele pot fi ajutat. Ei încă mai au vise.

De ce continui să REVENIREA LA SIGHET?

Sunt multe motive. În primul rând, a fost casa mea timp de 11 ani și crezi sau nu, există amintiri Prețuiesc. De câteva ori am fost scoasă în afara instituției, am fost în venerație de frumusețea naturală a Sighet. România mi-a fost frumosul ținut în afara instituției, nu răul din interiorul instituției.

Îmi place să viziteze unele dintre asistente medicale. Eu le numesc celor șapte îngeri. iubirea și compasiunea lor a fost singura sursă de speranță am avut.

Există, de asemenea, o memorie specifică, care îmi amintește că Dumnezeu a fost cu mine, chiar dacă nu știam cine era El. Într-una din călătoriile mele în afara instituției, am văzut un om mort agățat pe o cruce. Asistenta a spus că a fost Isus Hristos, dar fără nici o explicație. de fapt, am crezut că era un tip sărac de la Sighet.

Am păstrat simt rău pentru el, când m-am întors instituției. Acum, eu iau o imagine de cruce de fiecare dată când m-am întors la Sighet.

Mă duc înapoi să se reconecteze cu copiii cu care am crescut. În 2014, patru dintre noi a revenit instituției. Păpuși, mobilier și haine au fost culcat în jurul ca doar închis. Crows erau peste tot ca într-o casă bântuită. Dar a fost remarcabil faptul că fiecare dintre noi a amintit lucruri pe care ceilalți au uitat. M-am simțit foarte bine pentru a ne împărtăși experiența noastră comună. Când le-am întrebat dacă au ratat acest loc, noi toți au spus „da“. A fost singura noastră acasă din copilărie.

Dar cel mai important motiv este de a afla ce sa întâmplat cu adevărat acolo. Chiar dacă locul a fost închis timp de 11 ani, este încă plină de înregistrări și provizii. Când aveam șapte ani, un copil pe nume Duma a fost bătut atât de tare încât m-am ascuns sub foi, temându-se că s-ar putea fi următoarea. Dimineața, am văzut trupul învinețită gol Duma și masa de prânz el era mort. Anul trecut am găsit dosarul lui medical. Cauza oficială a morții a fost „incetat sa mai respire.“

Nu a fost un alt copil pe nume Marian, care a fost hiperactiv si a fost dat de multe ori medicament. Tatăl său l-au vizitat în fiecare week-end și mi-ar uita cu gelozie pe fereastră așa cum au așezat pe o bancă. În timp, Marius încetat să mai mănânce și a pierdut voința de a trăi. Îmi amintesc în căutarea pe fereastră pe duminică, când a murit în brațele tatălui său. Tata lui plângea și se ruga la cer.

În 1995, a existat o poveste media care orfanii români s-au dat otravă de șobolani. Acum trei ani, o asistentă medicală de la instituția a confirmat că Marius și mulți alți copii s-au dat otravă de șobolani.

Mulți foști orfani se întorc în România pentru răspunsuri. Pentru mine, este totul despre iertare și asigurându-vă că România nu mai măturat problema bunăstării copilului sub covor. drepturile și interesele copiilor sunt încă ignorate.

De la stânga la dreapta: istoric Mia Jinga, Izidor Ruckel și directorul IICCMER, Radu Preda. Foto: Lucian Muntean

Pe 1 iunie, 2017, cercetarea finanțată de stat a Crimelor Comunismului (ICCMER) a depus o plângere penală la Ministerul Justiției pentru moartea a 771 copii din Sighetu Marmatei, Cighid și orfelinate Pastraveni între 1966 și 1990. Anchetatorii spun acest lucru este doar vârful aisbergului pentru o investigație mult mai amplă care este nevoie în 26 de orfelinate din România.

anchetatorii ICCMER și arhiviștii spun lista de înregistrări oficiale, pneumonie și boli cerebrale ca principalele cauze ale deceselor, dar martorii spun cauzele au fost expunerea la frig igiena, săraci, foametea, lipsa de asistență medicală, otravă de șobolani, și abuzul fizic violent.

Anchetatorii spun înregistrările comuniste clasificate copii în 3 categorii: reversibile, parțial reversibile și non-reversibile. Copiii din ultimele două categorii au fost aruncate în centre de a muri.

Radu Preda, director al ICCMER spune „Îndemnul meu ca tată este să se asigure că aceste lucruri nu se întâmplă din nou. Să facem ceva la nivel de mass-media și la nivel instituțional pentru a se asigura că nici un copil în această țară, care are un handicap, sau de boală, sau a fost abandonată va fi vreodată palmuit, au murit de foame, legat sau lăsat să moară în lor fecale proprii.

Trebuie să recunoaștem societatea cu totul necivilizat din trecutul nostru comunist și scăpa toate urmele de această boală din sistemul nostru de protecție a copilului.“

Spune-mi despre ANCHETEI PENAL EȘTI O PARTE?

Am fost de acord pentru a ajuta atrage atenția asupra unei anchete penale conduse de Institutul de Investigare a Crimelor Comunismului (ICCMER). Această investigație se concentrează asupra decesele copiilor de la Sighet Marmației și a două instituții.

Am întrebat anchetatorii, dacă acestea mergeau după asistente medicale și au spus: „Nu, doar persoanele care inlaturata medicină și gestionate facilitățile.“ Odată ce am știut că, era în regulă cu mine.

Dar sunt mai puțin interesat în a pune oamenii în închisoare decât Sunt interesat în obținerea de resurse financiare din partea statului pentru a sprijini 60.000 de orfani din generația mea, care nu au fost niciodată adoptate. Cele mai multe dintre ele nu au nici un mijloc de a se sprijini ca adulți și sunt fără adăpost. Speranța mea este că această investigație va conduce la un costum de acțiune de clasă mult mai mare, în numele acestor 60.000 de cetățeni. Trebuie să existe un cost pentru neglijență gravă sau de lucruri nu se va schimba.

SPUNE-MI CUM DESPRE ROMÂNĂ DE MEDIA HUSE COPILULUI ȘI BUNĂSTAREA ABUZ

Nu am putut crede toate mass-media românească la conferința de presă de 1 iunie care anunță urmărirea penală. Acest lucru a fost istorie! Românii în cele din urmă lupta pentru ceva ce nu am reușit să facem toți acești ani. Am provocare întotdeauna mass-media românească, deoarece toate poveștile pe orfani și a abuzului față de copii provin de la organizații internaționale de știri. Chiar și astăzi, toate imaginile de neglijare a copilului vine de la organizațiile internaționale.

De ani de zile oamenii au fost jenat și speriat cu privire la această problemă. Dar acum se pare că tinerii se trezesc la faptul că acest lucru se întâmplă în continuare.

ESTE ÎNCĂ ABUZURILOR DIN ROMANIA INSTITUȚIILE

Da este. Nu știu din proprie experiență, dar am auzit atât de la oameni pe care le cunosc și de încredere. Sunt încercarea de a obține acces la mai multe instituții pentru a ajuta copiii și asistenți sociali. Eu nu trăiesc în România, pentru a stânjeni sau distruge oameni. Dar oficialii guvernului în Parlament par să aibă nici o idee despre ceea ce se întâmplă cu adevărat în instituțiile lor.

CREZI CA ROMÂNIA ar trebui să deschidă Adopția internațională?

Lupt pentru adopția internațională a copiilor cu nevoi speciale sau cei care nu au nici o șansă de a fi adoptate în România. Cele mai multe dintre oamenii din guvern resping această idee pe baza faptului că copiii vor fi afectate de pierderea cultura și identitatea lor, în cazul în care se adoptă în afara România.

E o scuză oribilă. Din momentul în care acești copii intră în instituția în care sunt deposedați de tot. demnitatea, libertatea și creierele lor devin terci. Spune-mi, ce cultura sunt ele pierd prin a fi adoptate în străinătate?

Problema în România de astăzi este vorba de bani și locuri de muncă pentru patronajul politic. Statul plătește instituții, case rezidențiale și centre de plasament, o bursa pentru fiecare copil. În cazul în care statul a găsit familii adoptive pentru 20.000 de 60.000 de copii aflați în custodia statului, ei ar pierde 33% din finanțarea lor și locurile de muncă de multe ori da familiei și prietenilor.

În generația mea, guvernul a dorit să dispună de copii. Astăzi, ei vor să profite de pe urma ei.

Ce va deranjeaza cel mai mult despre sistemul de protecție AZI?

Sunt de fapt, impresionat de cât de mulți lucrători sociali buni doresc să schimbe sistemul. Am obține o mulțime de e-mailuri de la asistenți sociali și a fost șocat pentru a vedea cât de mulți lucrători sociali au prezentat la România fără Orfanii conferința noiembrie anul trecut. Este o mare bucurie pentru a vedea toate familiile românești care au adoptat și doresc să adopte.

Știm cu toții că instituțiile nu sunt răspunsul. Dar eu nu sunt în favoarea doar închiderea instituțiilor. Pur și simplu pune copiii pe străzi este chiar mai rău. Cel puțin instituții oferă un pat, hrană, îmbrăcăminte și adăpost. Stațiile noastre de tren sunt pline de persoane fără adăpost.

Cea mai mare problemă pe care o avem astăzi este că muncitorii care au lucrat în instituțiile în anii 1980, prin mijlocul anilor 1990, încă mai lucrează în sistem. Nu vă puteți aștepta schimbarea prin renovarea clădirilor atunci când aveți aceleași persoane și aceeași cultură.

Am vizitat 6 orfelinate acum 2 ani. Cele mai multe dintre copii au văzut povestea mea la televizor și au fost confortabil vorbind cu mine. Am întrebat fiecare copil, „Îți place care trăiesc aici?“ Ei au spus „Vezi că doamna de acolo? Ea încă ne bate.“Am întrebat«cât timp ea a lucrat aici?»Ei au spus«din prima zi, din moment ce acest loc a fost deschisă.»

Acesta este în mod constant același răspuns. Și m-am gândit: „Wow, există o problemă.“ Acești oameni trebuie să fie înlocuite.

Vreau să lucrez cu sistemul. Vreau să rămână în România. Pot să văd că oamenii sunt într-adevăr caută răspunsuri. Primesc un răspuns puternic atunci când vorbesc cu noua generație de români. Eu cred că este momentul potrivit să se confrunte cu trecutul nostru și de a crea un sistem care funcționează în interesul copiilor.

CONCLUZIE AUTORULUI

Am fost mișcat de Izidor. El călătorește în jurul valorii de România în trenuri murdare. El poartă valiza fără plângere, în ciuda unui picior paralizat parțial. El nu are mulți bani și nu este motivată de faima sau atenția publicului. Ceea ce el are o pasiune și scop.

România în 2017 îmi amintește de creștere în Germania în anii 1970. Îmi amintesc să vorbesc cu prietenii mei germani adolescente despre nazism și Holocaust. Ei au avut nici un răspuns, nici capacitatea de a înțelege groaza, doar o pasiune profundă pentru a lupta orice moștenire a nazismului. Mă simt același sentiment în rândul tinerilor români de azi ca se simt furie profundă față de orice abuz sau nedreptate față de copii.

Este un clișeu să spunem că viitorul nostru este în copiii noștri. Dar, în România cifrele vorbesc de la sine.

Orice decizie luată în casele noastre, comunități și guvern, trebuie să fie făcută în contextul „Este un loc bun pentru a ridica copiii sănătoși și facem tot posibilul pentru a găsi fiecare copil o familie iubitoare?“

 Izidor este în nevoie disperată de un nou picior bretele pentru piciorul poliomielita deteriorat. Vă rugăm să consultați link-ul și partaja sau dona dacă poți.
Iti multumesc pentru sprijin

Shame of a Nation

Shame of a Nation

Izidor Ruckel was born in 1980. When he was six months old, he became ill and his parents took him to a hospital where he contracted polio from an infected syringe. Later, the hospital doctors encouraged his parents to drop him off at an orphanage. From 1983 until 1991, Izidor lived in the Sighetu Marmatiei orphanage.

No one knows how many children were in Romanian orphanages at end of communism. The number is estimated to have been somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000. What we do know is that child abandonment was actually encouraged by the Romanian government as a means of population growth by discarding children who could not be productive workers for the state.

Sighetu Marmatiei is located in Sighet, a small city in northern Romania. It is the hometown of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

The Sighetu Marmatiei institution is located on the western edge of town behind a 6-foot wall. The sign above the entry reads “Camin Spital Pentru Minori Deficient,” which translates to the “Hospital Home for Deficient Children.”

In 1990, shortly after communism fell, ABC News’ 20/20 producer Janice Tomlin visited Sighet and produced the awarding series “Shame of a Nation.” Tomlin’s photos and videos brought the world’s attention to Romania’s horrific child welfare practices.

Communist newspaper encourages Mothers to leave their children in State Care

Dan and Marlys Ruckel of San Diego watched the 20/20 broadcast and went to Romania with the intention of adopting a child. On October 29, 1991, Dan and Marlys adopted Izidor. He was one of many Sighet orphans to make San Diego their new home.

In 2016, Izidor moved back to Romania, where he has committed his life to children without families and finding the means to support the 60,000 orphans of his generation who were never adopted.

Izidor meets his new mother
1990 – Izidor behind orphanage bars
Izidor’s family
I recently met Izidor at the Cluj train station to talk about his life, why he moved back to Romania, and the current state of child welfare.

TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND

From 3 until 11, I was in a hospital for children, not an orphanage. But back then, and still today, there is no difference between how a kid is treated in a children’s hospital or a state orphanage. They are both institutions.

Two years after arriving in the US, I started to miss the institution in Sighet. Nobody in the US had the answers that I was looking for, and I took out my anger on the people that loved me most, my adopted family. I was a child from hell.

Then a Romanian family came to San Diego for Easter and I heard about Christ. I wrote down tons of questions and began to find the answers I was searching for. People ask me how I overcame this. It isn’t because of my parents or anything I did, it was because I allowed Christ to tell me who I really was.

As my anger subsided and family life improved, I was asked to write a book to help families who adopt abandoned children. The book, Abandoned for Life, was published in 2003 and sold over 30,000 copies.

Izidor in the US with his father

For 17 years, since 2001, my primary life goal has been to tell people what happened in my institution and make sure it stops happening to other children in Romania. I have spoken hundreds of times, including on the BBC, in the Washington Post and recently in an interview with Morgan Freeman that will be aired this October in 176 countries on National Geographic.

DESCRIBE LIFE IN THE ORPHANAGE

We woke up at 5, stripped naked, since most kids wet themselves in bed, and went to another room for new clothes while the floor was cleaned. We ate breakfast, washed up and were put into a clean room where we just sat there rocking back and forth, hitting each other, sleeping or watching someone cry until they were drugged. After lunchtime, we went back into the clean room, repeating the same things as the morning. Then we were fed, bathed again, put into clean clothes and into bed for the night.

WHAT DO YOU WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE?

First, that the children suffered more than anyone knows. No reporter can capture the suffering. The abuse was worse than anything reported. If you were handicapped like me, you were hidden and never allowed outside the institution.

Secondly, despite all trauma and emotional wounds, no life is ever lost. If we give these kids, now adults, some opportunity, with love, nourishment and development, they can function in the world and develop independence. I stay in touch with the kids I grew up with and they can be helped. They still have dreams.

WHY DO YOU KEEP RETURNING TO SIGHET ?

There are many reasons. First off, it was my home for 11 years and believe it or not, there are memories I cherish. The few times I was allowed out of the institution, I was in awe of the natural beauty of Sighet. Romania to me was the beautiful land outside the institution, not the evil inside the institution.

I like to visit some of the nurses. I call them my seven angels. Their love and compassion was the only source of hope I had.

There is also a specific memory that reminds me that God was with me even though I did not know who He was. On one of my trips outside the institution, I saw a dead man hanging on a cross. The nurse said it was Jesus Christ, but without any explanation. I actually thought he was some poor guy from Sighet.

I kept feeling sorry for him when I got back to the institution. Now I take a picture of that cross every time I am back in Sighet.

I go back to reconnect with the kids I grew up with. In 2014, four of us went back to the institution. Dolls, furniture and clothes were lying around like it just closed. Crows were everywhere like in a haunted house. But it was remarkable that each of us remembered things that the others had forgotten. It felt really good for us to share our common experience. When I asked them if they missed this place, we all said ‘yes’. It was our only childhood home.

But the biggest reason is to find out what really happened there. Even though the place had been closed for 11 years, it is still filled with records and supplies. When I was seven, a kid named Duma was beaten so badly that I hid under the sheets, fearful that I might be next. In the morning, I saw Duma’s naked bruised body and by lunch he was dead. Last year I found his medical records. His official cause of death was “stopped breathing.”

There was another kid named Marian who was hyperactive and was often given medicine. His father visited him every weekend and I would jealously look out the window as they sat on a bench. In time, Marius stopped eating and lost the will to live. I remember looking out the window on the Sunday when he died in his Dad’s arms. His Dad was crying and praying to heaven.

In 1995, there was a media story that Romanian orphans were given rat poison. Three years ago, a nurse from institution confirmed that Marius and many other kids were given rat poison.

Many former orphans are returning to Romania for answers. For me, it is all about forgiveness and making sure Romania stops sweeping the child welfare issue under the carpet. Children’s rights and interests are still being ignored.

From left to right: historian Mia Jinga, Izidor Ruckel and the director of IICCMER, Radu Preda. Photo: Lucian Muntean

On June 1, 2017, the state-funded Investigation of Communist Crimes (ICCMER) submitted a criminal complaint to the Ministry of Justice for the deaths of 771 children in the Sighetu Marmatei, Cighid and Pastraveni orphanages between 1966 and 1990. Investigators say this is just the tip of the iceberg for a much wider investigation that is needed into Romania’s 26 orphanages.

ICCMER investigators and archivists say official records list pneumonia and brain disease as the main causes of deaths, but witnesses say the causes were exposure to the cold, poor hygiene, starvation, lack of healthcare, rat poison, and violent physical abuse.

Investigators say Communist records classified children into 3 categories: reversible, partially reversible and non- reversible. Children in the latter two categories were thrown into centers to die.

Radu Preda, director of ICCMER says “My plea as a father is to ensure that these things never happen again. Let us do something on the media level and at the institutional level in order to ensure that no child in this country who has a handicap, or illness, or has been abandoned will ever be slapped, starved, tied down or left to die in their own feces.

We need to acknowledge the utterly uncivilized society of our communist past and rid all traces of this sickness from our child protection system.”

TELL ME ABOUT THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION YOU ARE A PART OF?

I agreed to help bring attention to a criminal investigation led by the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes (ICCMER). This investigation focuses on the deaths of children in Sighet Marmatiei and two other institutions.

I asked the investigators if they were going after nurses and they said “No, only the people who dispensed medicine and managed the facilities.” Once I knew that, it was okay with me.

But I am less interested in putting people in jail than I am interested in getting financial resources from the State to support the 60,000 orphans of my generation that were never adopted. Most of them have no means to support themselves as adults and are homeless. My hope is that this investigation will lead to a much larger class action suit on behalf of these 60,000 citizens. There needs to be a cost for gross neglect or things will not change.

TELL ME ABOUT HOW THE ROMANIAN MEDIA COVERS CHILD ABUSE AND WELFARE

I could not believe all the Romanian media at the June 1st press conference announcing the criminal investigation. This was history! Romanians finally fighting for something that we failed to do all these years. I always challenge the Romanian media since all of the stories on orphans and child abuse come from international news organizations. Even today, all the footage of child neglect comes from international organizations.

For years people were embarrassed and scared about this issue. But now it seems young people are waking up to the fact that this is still going on.

IS THERE STILL ABUSE IN ROMANIA INSTITUTIONS

Yes there is. I do not know from firsthand experience, but I have heard so from people I know and trust. I am trying to get access to more institutions to help kids and social workers. I am not living in Romania to embarrass or destroy people. But the government officials in Parliament seem to have no clue what is really happening in their institutions.

DO YOU THINK ROMANIA SHOULD OPEN INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION?

I am fighting for international adoption for children with special needs or those that have no chance of being adopted in Romania. Most of the people in the government reject this idea on the basis that children will be damaged by losing their culture and identity if they get adopted outside of Romania.

That’s a horrible excuse. From the moment these children enter the institution they are stripped of everything. Their dignity, freedom and their brains become mush. Tell me, what culture are they losing by being adopted abroad?

The issue in Romania today is all about money and jobs for political patronage. The State pays institutions, residential homes and foster care a stipend for each child. If the State found adoptive families for 20,000 of the 60,000 children in State custody, they would lose 33% of their funding and the jobs they often give to family and friends.

In my generation, the government wanted to dispose of the children. Today, they want to profit from them.

WHAT BOTHERS YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE CHILDCARE SYSTEM TODAY?

I am actually impressed with how many good social workers want to change the system. I get lots of emails from social workers and was shocked to see how many social workers showed up at the Romania Without Orphans conference last November. It is a great joy to see all of the Romanian families that have adopted and want to adopt.

We all know that institutions are not the answer. But I am not in favor of just shutting down the institutions. Simply putting kids on the streets is even worse. At least institutions provide a bed, food, clothing and shelter. Our train stations are filled with homeless.

The biggest problem we have today is that the workers who worked in the institutions in the 1980’s through the mid-1990’s still work in the system. You can’t expect change by renovating buildings when you have the same people and same culture.

I visited 6 orphanages 2 years ago. Most of the kids saw my story on television and were comfortable talking to me. I asked each child, “Do you like living here?” They said “See that lady over there? She still beats us.” I asked “how long she has been working here?” They said “from day one, since this place opened.”

It is constantly the same response. And I thought “Wow, there is the problem.” These people need to be replaced.

I want to work with the system. I want to stay in Romania. I can see that people are really looking for answers. I am getting a powerful response when I speak to the new generation of Romanians. I believe the time is right to confront our past and create a system that works in the interests of children.

AUTHOR’S CONCLUSION

I was moved by Izidor. He travels around Romania on filthy trains. He carries his suitcase without complaint, despite a partially paralyzed leg. He does not have much money and is not motivated by fame or public attention. What he has is a passion and purpose.

Romania in 2017 reminds me of growing up in Germany in the 1970’s. I remember talking to my German teenage friends about Nazism and the Holocaust. They had no answers, no ability to comprehend the horror, just a deep passion to fight any legacy of Nazism. I feel the same sentiment among young Romanians today as they feel deep anger towards any abuse or injustice towards children.

It is cliché to say that our future is in our children. But in Romania the numbers speak for themselves.

Every decision made in our homes, communities and government, needs to be made in the context of “Is this a good place to raise healthy children and are we doing our best to find every child a loving family?”

 Izidor is in desperate need of a new leg-brace for his polio damaged leg. Please see the link and share or donate if you can.
Thank you for your support

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

 

 

Shame of A Nation

 

Shame of a Nation

Izidor Ruckel was born in 1980. When he was six months old, he became ill and his parents took him to a hospital where he contracted polio from an infected syringe. Later, the hospital doctors encouraged his parents to drop him off at an orphanage. From 1983 until 1991, Izidor lived in the Sighetu Marmatiei orphanage.

No one knows how many children were in Romanian orphanages at end of communism. The number is estimated to have been somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000. What we do know is that child abandonment was actually encouraged by the Romanian government as a means of population growth by discarding children who could not be productive workers for the state.

Sighetu Marmatiei is located in Sighet, a small city in northern Romania. It is the hometown of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

The Sighetu Marmatiei institution is located on the western edge of town behind a 6-foot wall. The sign above the entry reads “Camin Spital Pentru Minori Deficient,” which translates to the “Hospital Home for Deficient Children.”

In 1990, shortly after communism fell, ABC News’ 20/20 producer Janice Tomlin visited Sighet and produced the awarding series “Shame of a Nation.” Tomlin’s photos and videos brought the world’s attention to Romania’s horrific child welfare practices.

Communist newspaper encourages Mothers to leave their children in State Care

Dan and Marlys Ruckel of San Diego watched the 20/20 broadcast and went to Romania with the intention of adopting a child. On October 29, 1991, Dan and Marlys adopted Izidor. He was one of many Sighet orphans to make San Diego their new home.

In 2016, Izidor moved back to Romania, where he has committed his life to children without families and finding the means to support the 60,000 orphans of his generation who were never adopted.

Izidor meets his new mother
1990 – Izidor behind orphanage bars
Izidor’s family
I recently met Izidor at the Cluj train station to talk about his life, why he moved back to Romania, and the current state of child welfare.

TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND

From 3 until 11, I was in a hospital for children, not an orphanage. But back then, and still today, there is no difference between how a kid is treated in a children’s hospital or a state orphanage. They are both institutions.

Two years after arriving in the US, I started to miss the institution in Sighet. Nobody in the US had the answers that I was looking for, and I took out my anger on the people that loved me most, my adopted family. I was a child from hell.

Then a Romanian family came to San Diego for Easter and I heard about Christ. I wrote down tons of questions and began to find the answers I was searching for. People ask me how I overcame this. It isn’t because of my parents or anything I did, it was because I allowed Christ to tell me who I really was.

As my anger subsided and family life improved, I was asked to write a book to help families who adopt abandoned children. The book, Abandoned for Life, was published in 2003 and sold over 30,000 copies.

Izidor in the US with his father

For 17 years, since 2001, my primary life goal has been to tell people what happened in my institution and make sure it stops happening to other children in Romania. I have spoken hundreds of times, including on the BBC, in the Washington Post and recently in an interview with Morgan Freeman that will be aired this October in 176 countries on National Geographic.

DESCRIBE LIFE IN THE ORPHANAGE

We woke up at 5, stripped naked, since most kids wet themselves in bed, and went to another room for new clothes while the floor was cleaned. We ate breakfast, washed up and were put into a clean room where we just sat there rocking back and forth, hitting each other, sleeping or watching someone cry until they were drugged. After lunchtime, we went back into the clean room, repeating the same things as the morning. Then we were fed, bathed again, put into clean clothes and into bed for the night.

WHAT DO YOU WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE?

First, that the children suffered more than anyone knows. No reporter can capture the suffering. The abuse was worse than anything reported. If you were handicapped like me, you were hidden and never allowed outside the institution.

Secondly, despite all trauma and emotional wounds, no life is ever lost. If we give these kids, now adults, some opportunity, with love, nourishment and development, they can function in the world and develop independence. I stay in touch with the kids I grew up with and they can be helped. They still have dreams.

WHY DO YOU KEEP RETURNING TO SIGHET ?

There are many reasons. First off, it was my home for 11 years and believe it or not, there are memories I cherish. The few times I was allowed out of the institution, I was in awe of the natural beauty of Sighet. Romania to me was the beautiful land outside the institution, not the evil inside the institution.

I like to visit some of the nurses. I call them my seven angels. Their love and compassion was the only source of hope I had.

There is also a specific memory that reminds me that God was with me even though I did not know who He was. On one of my trips outside the institution, I saw a dead man hanging on a cross. The nurse said it was Jesus Christ, but without any explanation. I actually thought he was some poor guy from Sighet.

I kept feeling sorry for him when I got back to the institution. Now I take a picture of that cross every time I am back in Sighet.

I go back to reconnect with the kids I grew up with. In 2014, four of us went back to the institution. Dolls, furniture and clothes were lying around like it just closed. Crows were everywhere like in a haunted house. But it was remarkable that each of us remembered things that the others had forgotten. It felt really good for us to share our common experience. When I asked them if they missed this place, we all said ‘yes’. It was our only childhood home.

But the biggest reason is to find out what really happened there. Even though the place had been closed for 11 years, it is still filled with records and supplies. When I was seven, a kid named Duma was beaten so badly that I hid under the sheets, fearful that I might be next. In the morning, I saw Duma’s naked bruised body and by lunch he was dead. Last year I found his medical records. His official cause of death was “stopped breathing.”

There was another kid named Marian who was hyperactive and was often given medicine. His father visited him every weekend and I would jealously look out the window as they sat on a bench. In time, Marius stopped eating and lost the will to live. I remember looking out the window on the Sunday when he died in his Dad’s arms. His Dad was crying and praying to heaven.

In 1995, there was a media story that Romanian orphans were given rat poison. Three years ago, a nurse from institution confirmed that Marius and many other kids were given rat poison.

Many former orphans are returning to Romania for answers. For me, it is all about forgiveness and making sure Romania stops sweeping the child welfare issue under the carpet. Children’s rights and interests are still being ignored.

From left to right: historian Mia Jinga, Izidor Ruckel and the director of IICCMER, Radu Preda. Photo: Lucian Muntean

On June 1, 2017, the state-funded Investigation of Communist Crimes (ICCMER) submitted a criminal complaint to the Ministry of Justice for the deaths of 771 children in the Sighetu Marmatei, Cighid and Pastraveni orphanages between 1966 and 1990. Investigators say this is just the tip of the iceberg for a much wider investigation that is needed into Romania’s 26 orphanages.

ICCMER investigators and archivists say official records list pneumonia and brain disease as the main causes of deaths, but witnesses say the causes were exposure to the cold, poor hygiene, starvation, lack of healthcare, rat poison, and violent physical abuse.

Investigators say Communist records classified children into 3 categories: reversible, partially reversible and non- reversible. Children in the latter two categories were thrown into centers to die.

Radu Preda, director of ICCMER says “My plea as a father is to ensure that these things never happen again. Let us do something on the media level and at the institutional level in order to ensure that no child in this country who has a handicap, or illness, or has been abandoned will ever be slapped, starved, tied down or left to die in their own feces.

We need to acknowledge the utterly uncivilized society of our communist past and rid all traces of this sickness from our child protection system.”

TELL ME ABOUT THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION YOU ARE A PART OF?

I agreed to help bring attention to a criminal investigation led by the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes (ICCMER). This investigation focuses on the deaths of children in Sighet Marmatiei and two other institutions.

I asked the investigators if they were going after nurses and they said “No, only the people who dispensed medicine and managed the facilities.” Once I knew that, it was okay with me.

But I am less interested in putting people in jail than I am interested in getting financial resources from the State to support the 60,000 orphans of my generation that were never adopted. Most of them have no means to support themselves as adults and are homeless. My hope is that this investigation will lead to a much larger class action suit on behalf of these 60,000 citizens. There needs to be a cost for gross neglect or things will not change.

TELL ME ABOUT HOW THE ROMANIAN MEDIA COVERS CHILD ABUSE AND WELFARE

I could not believe all the Romanian media at the June 1st press conference announcing the criminal investigation. This was history! Romanians finally fighting for something that we failed to do all these years. I always challenge the Romanian media since all of the stories on orphans and child abuse come from international news organizations. Even today, all the footage of child neglect comes from international organizations.

For years people were embarrassed and scared about this issue. But now it seems young people are waking up to the fact that this is still going on.

IS THERE STILL ABUSE IN ROMANIA INSTITUTIONS

Yes there is. I do not know from firsthand experience, but I have heard so from people I know and trust. I am trying to get access to more institutions to help kids and social workers. I am not living in Romania to embarrass or destroy people. But the government officials in Parliament seem to have no clue what is really happening in their institutions.

DO YOU THINK ROMANIA SHOULD OPEN INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION?

I am fighting for international adoption for children with special needs or those that have no chance of being adopted in Romania. Most of the people in the government reject this idea on the basis that children will be damaged by losing their culture and identity if they get adopted outside of Romania.

That’s a horrible excuse. From the moment these children enter the institution they are stripped of everything. Their dignity, freedom and their brains become mush. Tell me, what culture are they losing by being adopted abroad?

The issue in Romania today is all about money and jobs for political patronage. The State pays institutions, residential homes and foster care a stipend for each child. If the State found adoptive families for 20,000 of the 60,000 children in State custody, they would lose 33% of their funding and the jobs they often give to family and friends.

In my generation, the government wanted to dispose of the children. Today, they want to profit from them.

WHAT BOTHERS YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE CHILDCARE SYSTEM TODAY?

I am actually impressed with how many good social workers want to change the system. I get lots of emails from social workers and was shocked to see how many social workers showed up at the Romania Without Orphans conference last November. It is a great joy to see all of the Romanian families that have adopted and want to adopt.

We all know that institutions are not the answer. But I am not in favor of just shutting down the institutions. Simply putting kids on the streets is even worse. At least institutions provide a bed, food, clothing and shelter. Our train stations are filled with homeless.

The biggest problem we have today is that the workers who worked in the institutions in the 1980’s through the mid-1990’s still work in the system. You can’t expect change by renovating buildings when you have the same people and same culture.

I visited 6 orphanages 2 years ago. Most of the kids saw my story on television and were comfortable talking to me. I asked each child, “Do you like living here?” They said “See that lady over there? She still beats us.” I asked “how long she has been working here?” They said “from day one, since this place opened.”

It is constantly the same response. And I thought “Wow, there is the problem.” These people need to be replaced.

I want to work with the system. I want to stay in Romania. I can see that people are really looking for answers. I am getting a powerful response when I speak to the new generation of Romanians. I believe the time is right to confront our past and create a system that works in the interests of children.

The massive decline in child population is the greatest threat to Romania’s future

AUTHOR’S CONCLUSION

I was moved by Izidor. He travels around Romania on filthy trains. He carries his suitcase without complaint, despite a partially paralyzed leg. He does not have much money and is not motivated by fame or public attention. What he has is a passion and purpose.

Romania in 2017 reminds me of growing up in Germany in the 1970’s. I remember talking to my German teenage friends about Nazism and the Holocaust. They had no answers, no ability to comprehend the horror, just a deep passion to fight any legacy of Nazism. I feel the same sentiment among young Romanians today as they feel deep anger towards any abuse or injustice towards children.

It is cliché to say that our future is in our children. But in Romania the numbers speak for themselves.

Every decision made in our homes, communities and government, needs to be made in the context of “Is this a good place to raise healthy children and are we doing our best to find every child a loving family?”

 Izidor is in desperate need of a new leg-brace for his polio damaged leg. Please see the link and share or donate if you can.
Thank you for your support

The Romanian Town’s Revolution

 

The 2-hour Revolution in a small Romanian town

The 1989 Revolution that marked the fall of Communism  in Romania, seen through the eyes of a couple living in Zalau, the smallest county capital.

On the morning of December 22, 1989, Zalau was covered in silence and in an inappropriate spring. Zalau is a small city in northwestern Romania, where Viorica Mesesan and Ilie Mesesan met, got married, received an apartment from the State, gave birth to a child and then experienced a Revolution.

Ceausescu had held his last speech on December 21, 1989, in front of millions of burning heads, deaf to his words (or maybe for the first time actually listening), and on December 22, at noon, he and his wife climbed in the helicopter and ran away. Viorica and Ilie went to work that day like on any other normal day .

Viorica, 35 back then, was working for the municipality in a building right next to the central square. She and her colleagues were gathered in the main hall that day, in front of a TV, watching mesmerised what was going on there. She remembers Ceausescu’s last speech, promising to raise children’s allowance by 100 lei and Dinescu, announcing that Ceausescu and his wife ran away. Two of her colleagues took Ceausescu’s portrait, threw it on the ground, stamped on it and then ran out of the building to the central square, trying to convince other people to join them. It was the portrait of a person no one had even dared to make a joke about before, which now turned into little glass pieces. Her husband Ilie, 34, remembers too such an image: different portraits of Ceausescu, flying out of the windows and breaking down on the alleys of the factory where he was working.

The morning silence which was covering the city was only a deceiving one. There was a great tension hiding behind that silence which exploded when the announcement was made that Ceausescu ran away. Those in factories stopped their work and formed a march to the center of the city. Around 3,000 women and men, taking advantage of the almost spring-like winter that year, singing and shouting among radio announcements, walked to the central square (in picture). Ilie was among them and he perfectly remembers the enthusiasm he was feeling then. An enthusiasm his wife doesn’t recall. She only names fear and confusion among the feelings. “I cannot say that we were very enthusiastic. We didn’t really know what was happening and what kind of consequences this would have on us,” remembers Viorica.

The people gathered in the central square waiting to see what will happen. Who – and what – will come next. The secretary of the county, a woman called Maria Stefan, tried to talk to the people, but they refused to listen to her. They were only receptive to the speech of the Army Commander, who assured them that no fire was shot or would be shot, that he gave orders to the Army not to interfere with the population. In the end, indeed there was no gun shot. At least Ilie remembers it that way and his wife too.

But Ilie’s cousin, Nelu, a communication engineer, remembers the story differently. He was called in those days by the secret police (Securitate) to do some interceptions and he recalls perfectly the gun shots, which stayed in his mind for some months after everything ended. But memories are vague and history is just a collection of these memories.

Ilie remembers that they were gathered in the central square when they heard the news at some loud speakers. “The Ceausescus were caught in Targoviste. They are being held at the Military Section number…from Targoviste. Please stay calm, there will be a law suit”.  He tells it exactly how he heard it that day, using the present tense, like it would happen now. Those were words with such a great impact, words he has never forgotten and have stayed with him for 25 years. The heroes of the day in the small city of Zalau were the figures talking to the people gathered in the central square. They were different factory managers, professors, mostly people who had the power to influence, to capture trust, to assure their place in the new order. Patriotic songs, flags with the communist symbol cut out showed everywhere, loud speakers bringing news, this was the 2-hour gathering in the central square and the short Revolution in Romania’s smallest county residence, Zalau. Then people returned to their houses and followed the Revolution on TV.

The TV is the central character in the memories of those days. Ilie remembers that he couldn’t move away from the TV, being mesmerised, incapable of reacting to any other stimulus. „What was happening there was hugely important. We could not afford to skip any information, any image,” recalls Ilie. Viorica was constantly moving between the TV, the kitchen and their 2-year old baby. It was only two days before Christmas and she had to prepare ‘sarmale’, the traditional Romanian food. “Our little girl was crying all the time, maybe she felt in some way the tension and pressure, my husband was effectively stuck in front of the TV, I asked him many times to help me, but he didn’t react, he did not move from there”.

The news, the rumours, the figures were pouring from TV amidst the preparations for the Christmas, the cooking, the cleaning, and taking care of the child  The rumours were the most tormenting thing, because nobody could tell what was true and what was false. „They were telling us not to drink water because it may be poisoned, that there were terrorists  shooting  everybody, we were so afraid a civil war would break out,” recounts Viorica.

And then on December 25, the things finally settled down. It was the Christmas day and after a short lawsuit, which was broadcasted on TV, Ceausescu and his wife were shot to death by a military squad.

Both Viorica and Ilie still remember the noise of the guns shooting at the Ceausescus, and still recall some images of Ceausescu and his wife lying on the ground and then in their coffins, dressed in their winters coats.

„Kids, kids, please behave, people, please” and „I refuse to talk to anybody else except for the Great National Assembly” were the words of Elena and Nicoale Ceausescu during the trial. Words that Ilie still recalls at the present tense. He thinks it was very wrong to kill them.
„First of all it was the Christmas day and you don’t do something like this on Christmas day. Secondly they were not alone, there were so many people beside them that should have been also judged and only afterwards a sentence to be passed,”  comments Ilie.

”It was suddenly all silence. I am being honest to you, I felt relief, I too was afraid a civil war would break out. I may be wrong, but I guess the majority wanted them killed. We felt they were bad people. Or maybe they made us believe that way through the images they were showing us on TV,” recounts Viorica.

New heroes were proclaimed or maybe proclaimed themselves that way. Ilie and Viorica were watching on TV how a new world was settling in. The Ceausescu trial, the foundation of the new party, the new leaders. Some of them were familiar. Most of the things that confused them and brought about fear in those days were never resolved. „Nothing could be proven. Everything remains a mistery,” comments Ilie.  Nobody has discovered any single terrorist. A few Army Commanders were prosecuted but almost everybody escaped. The people that talked in the central square of the small city Zalau did find a place in the new order.  And the TV got and more important with every day more.

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

(the two  main characters of this feature are the writer’s parents

The New Zealander Who Went Through Hell To Adopt

http://www.romania-insider.com/new-zealander-adoption-comunism-romania-adele-rickerby-promise/158933/

By Diana Mesesan.

The New Zealander who went through post-communism hell twenty-five years ago to adopt a Romanian baby.

Adele wrote in her memoir, ”The Promise I Kept”; You wake up one morning to the sound of history knocking loudly, impatiently, persistently at your door. To answer it is to take a leap of faith into your future.

 

Adele Rickerby went through the hell of early post-communism to adopt a girl from Romania.

As the plane was flying over Brisbane, an Australian city set on a wide, beautiful river, one of the mothers gathered at the playgroup pointed out to the plane and told her little daughter: “We came on a plane like this one when we returned from Romania.”

The woman was one of Australians who adopted a kid from Romania in the early 90s. Several people living in Brisbane, whose kids were born in Romania, started a playgroup, so that the children would get together regularly. They’ve never kept it a secret from them that they were adopted.

Adele Rickerby, a New Zealander who moved to Australia after she got married, would also bring her daughter to these playgroups. She felt like she had a special bond with the couples that went through the same experience. They were an extended family for each other. For Adele, adopting a child from Romania was not an event from the past that simply went forgotten as years went by. Instead she would think every single day about her six weeks in Bucharest in the early spring of 1991, as she was struggling to adopt a baby girl. After she semi-retired, due to a surgery on her back, she found the peace and time to sit at a table and write down her thoughts. This is how “The Promise I Kept”, her book on adopting a baby girl from Romania, was born.

Romania allowed international adoptions until 2001, when it placed a moratorium on the practice. It officially banned these adoptions four years later. But even domestic adoptions go through only with great difficulty. Last year, only 840 children were adopted in Romania, despite that fact that the country had over 58,100 children in the special protection system at the end of March this year. The big problem lies in the complicated laws which define when a child is “adoptable.”

Adele Rickerby herself had to overcome a number of limitations to adopt the baby, she tells me during our first Skype discussion. Her voice is very warm and a bit nervous. It is the end of summer here in Bucharest, but the beginning of spring in Australia. Her Romanian-born daughter, who is now in her 20s, helped her install Skype. Adele laughed about it. “I have a reputation for being bad with technology.”

When Adele came to Romania to adopt the baby, after she had seen the terrible images of Romanians kids in orphanages, it was late winter. Bucharest, which had just come out of the Communism era, was gray and felt unsafe. Many kids were sold illegally in those early days of freedom, and the rumours about a moratorium were everywhere. Adele was afraid that she would not be able to get through with the adoption. But spring was slowly making its way.

April 1991: The winter train ride between Budapest and Bucharest

In April 1991, Adele Rickerby took the plane from Australia to Frankfurt. She had a luggage full of documents, which were necessary for the adoption. Back in Brisbane, she left her 6-year old daughter, which she hugely missed, and her husband. Their marriage was kind of falling apart. She was planning to take the plane from Frankfurt to Romania, but when she arrived in Germany, there were no free seats for that weekend. Instead of waiting a few days for the next flight, she booked a train from Germany, which passed through Austria, Hungary and then reached Romania. She had this strong sense of urgency, that she needed to get faster to Bucharest.

Everything went well through Germany and Austria. However, soon after the border with Hungary, Hungarian soldiers got on the train and asked for her passport. Then they ordered her off the train and threw her luggage out of the window. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and she didn’t wasn’t sure where she was.

Adele had no choice but to get off the train, and the train left without her. “I was just standing there in the afternoon, not knowing what was going on.” She went to the wooden train station and waited. Then a man who spoke English and was well-dressed approached her and told her that he was the local taxi driver. He could help her get a visa for Hungary, then take her to the train station in Budapest so she’d catch the same train. “We will get to the border and we will get a visa for you. The same train leaves Hungary at nine o’clock at night. I will make sure you are there on time,” the man told her. She then paid 350 dollars to this stranger to drive her across Hungary. She had the feeling that the man and the soldiers which got her off the train knew each other and were part of a scheme. But what could she do about it?

“I got in the taxi. It was getting dark and we started to drive through the back streets of this village. Where are we going, I asked him. I need to get petrol, he replied, which was fair enough. I had no choice but to trust him.” She sat in the back of the car. The man started talking about his wife and family, while Adele was looking out of the window. The Hungarian villages and town they were driving through looked particularly disheartening in the dim winter light. After she finished her nursing training in Australia, Adele did a lot of travelling around the continent with her husband. “I was like, I’ve done a lot of travelling, I can cope, but nothing could prepare me for the shock of Hungary and Romania.”

It was just getting darker and colder, but they made it and arrived at the railway station at Budapest. They found an empty carriage, the man threw her suitcases and her sleeping bag, and then he left. Within 15 minutes the train left too.

She spent all night just travelling the rest of the way into Bucharest. It was very dark, and every time the train passed through a little town, officials would get on the train, come to her carriage, look at her passport, at her visa, then go through her luggage, searching for contraband.

“We’d go through villages that were very poor; a light bulb in this village, a soldier with a rifle just walking on the platform. It was still a lot of snow on the ground, the end of winter; a peasant man’s jacket made out of of sheep’s skin.”

At about 8 o’clock, when the train was getting closer to Bucharest and Adele was tidying up her belongings, taking her sleeping bag off, three well-dressed man came into her carriage. One of them was an engineer for the railway station and was on his way to a meeting. He could speak English and asked her was what she doing there. “I said I was adopting a baby girl.”

She remembers the main saying: “Our country is poor, but our hearts are rich.” Then the train finally arrived at the Gara de Nord railway station. It was early in the morning.

May 1991: The promise
The only person Adele knew in Bucharest was a Catholic woman called Mihaela, who had hosted other couples from the US, New Zealand and Australia willing to adopt babies from Romania. Adele knew that going through the whole process would take about six weeks. The law gave the adoptive mother the opportunity to change her mind within this period. She was planning to do the adoption as a New Zealander, because the Australian Department of Immigration had rejected her request to adopt from Romania.

She phoned Mihaela, who was in holiday, but luckily hadn’t left Bucharest, so she picked Adele up from the railway station. After so many hours of uncertainty and fear, Adele felt desperate for a shower, a hot meal and conversation with English-speaking people. She found another couple from Australia in Mihaela’s house. Adele wrote in a diary during her six-week stay in Bucharest, describing her experiences. It later became the source of her book “The Promise I Kept.”

In those speculative days after the fall of communism, Romania had several people who worked as intermediaries between foreigners wanting to adopt kids and state institutions. Some were willing to intermediate sales of children. With 20,000 dollars one could buy a baby on the black market. Some were decent people, who spoke English and grabbed the opportunity to make some money. The man who helped Adele get through all the process was a doctor, who was well-educated and spoke English. She paid him a small fee. But these go-between persons weren’t the only ones asking for cash. Sometimes even the birth mothers would demand money, even if they had given up their children. However, Adele didn’t go through that. The mother of the girl she adopted was a very young girl herself, living in a small apartment in Ramnicu Valcea, with her parents, a brother and a sister. They had no money and no way of supporting the newly-born kid. It was also the stigma attached to being a single mother. Poverty and the blame passed on to single mothers forced many women to abandon their children during communism and afterwards.

Adele met the mother and her family in their apartment, where they had a meal. It was very emotional for both parts. Adele thinks that maybe the grandparents were even more distressed about the whole thing, because they understood the enormity of it, while the mother was still very young. But the girl did tell Adele that she wanted her daughter to have a future, so Adele promised her she’d give her daughter a future. “And that’s the promise I kept,” she said. “25 years later, the daughter is very beautiful, has a wonderful partner. She is a pharmacy assistant, and she has a lovely family and home.”

Then she met her future daughter, who was in an orphanage. A nurse held the baby up to the window. “She was four-month old and she was really cute,” Adele said. The judge, who had the final word on the adoption, said yes, and Adele finally had the little girl in her arms.

The Mother
One year after returning to Australia, Adele divorced and had to raise her two daughters by herself. “I had whole sentences that I wanted to write down, but I was really busy and I didn’t have the opportunity.” But two years ago, she had to give up work, due to a surgery on her back. She rented a little unit and went away by herself for several months to write her book. It was really difficult revisiting the whole experience, she said. “It was one stage where I couldn’t finish it. And I had to leave it for about 6 weeks before I ended it.”

After she finished the book, Adele was approached during book launches by Romanian adoptees, who didn’t understand why they were left and abandoned.

Several Romanian kids who were given for adoption are now trying to find their families. There are even Facebook groups, where they share their experiences. The media has immediately picked up the topic, searching for emotional stories. But for some of the adoptees, this can be a traumatic experience. They discover all sorts of terrible situations and they are tormented by the question of why they were given up for adoption. “They are trying to pull their lives together but in the meantime they also feel this burden of responsibility towards their birth families,” Adele said. Her own daughter was once approached by a newspaper interested in her experience. But she said no. “I’m not gonna do that so that they’re gonna have a story.”

Adele lives with her Romanian-born daughter, so she still gets to hear “Mom, can you do my washing?” or “What’s for dinner tonight, mom?”. The girl works a lot, but she has Fridays off and they go out and have coffee together. Her older daughter now lives in another city, but not too far away.

Adele shares a very close bond with the other adoptive couples from Brisbane. They’ve organized trainings about adoption, they’ve set up this playgroups for kids, they’ve spent Christmas together over the years. Adele was once talking with a couple from England, who also lived in Brisbane. “When do you get over Romania?” they asked themselves. “But you can’t get over Romania. You can’t have an experience like that and not change your life. You can’t live superficially,” Adele said.

Adele has now been living in Australia for 30 years. She is not very close to her family in New Zealand. “My mother died when I was not even 13. I don’t think we were close when we were growing up. I like to say that mothers have a glue that bind us together and when my mother died, the family fell apart. I think that’s the truth,” Adele says. Then she pauses for a while, and adds: “Maybe that’s why it meant so much to me to adopt a child. I know what it’s like not to have a mother.”

 

” The Promise I Kept” is available as a kindle edition from your Amazon.com store. https://www.amazon.com

 

Also available as a paperback from the Book Depository. https://www.bookdepository.com

 

 

God’s Original Romanian Protestor

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-16-12-32Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife, Sabina, led lives of meaning and purpose serving the persecuted church in Romania.

They left a legacy- The Voice Of The Martyrs.

The Story of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand

Many people called him ‘the Voice of the Underground Church’ and others referred to him as ‘the Iron Curtain St Paul.’ This humble man, who began the ministry of Voice of the Martyrs, was the Rev Richard Wurmbrand, who passed away 17 February 2001.

Richard’s life was a partnership with the equally amazing Sabina who he married on 26 October 1936. Richard Wurmbrand was born the youngest of four boys in a Jewish family, on 24 March 1909, in Bucharest, Romania. Gifted intellectually and fluent in nine languages, Richard was active in leftist politics and worked as a stockbroker. After their marriage, Richard and Sabina were converted to Christ in 1938, chiefly by the influence of a German carpenter, Mr Wolfkes. They joined the Anglican Mission to the Jews in Bucharest. Richard was ordained firstly as an Anglican, and then after World War II, as a Lutheran minister.

During WW II, Richard and Sabina saw an opportunity for evangelism among the occupying German forces. They also preached in the bomb shelters and rescued Jewish children out of the ghettos. Richard and Sabina were repeatedly arrested and beaten and at least once, were nearly executed. Sabina lost her Jewish family in Nazi concentration camps.

In 1945 Romanian Communists seized power and a million ‘invited’ Russian troops poured into the country. Pastor Wurmbrand ministered to his oppressed countrymen and engaged in bold evangelism to the Russian soldiers. In the same year, Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand attended the Congress of Cults organised by the Romanian Communist government. Many religious leaders came forward to praise Communism and to swear loyalty to the new regime. Sabina said, “Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ.”

Richard warned, “If I do so, you lose your husband.” She replied, “I don’t wish to have a coward as a husband.” Thus Richard declared to the 4,000 delegates, whose speeches were broadcast to the whole nation, that their duty is to glorify God and Christ alone. Between 1945 and 1947, Richard distributed one million Gospels to Russian troops, the books often disguised as Communist propaganda. Richard also smuggled Gospels into Russia. On 30 December 1947, the Peoples’ Republic of Romania was proclaimed.

Richard Wurmbrand Kidnapped

On 29 February 1948, the secret police arrested Richard while on his way to church and took him to their headquarters. He was locked in a solitary cell and assigned as ‘Prisoner Number 1’.

In 1950, his wife Sabina was also imprisoned. She was forced to serve as a labourer on the Danube Canal project, leaving their nine-year-old son Mihai alone and homeless. Following her release in 1953, the Romanian authorities informed her that Richard had died in prison. A doctor masquerading as a Communist Party member discovered Richard alive in prison.

In a general amnesty, Richard was released in 1956 after serving eight-and-a-half years in prison. He was warned never to preach again. While in prison, he went through horrific tortures at the hands of the brutal secret police. Despite the treatments and the warnings he received from his persecutors, after his release Richard soon resumed his work with the ‘underground’ churches. He was re-arrested in 1959 through the conspiracy of an associate, and sentenced to 25 years. He was accused of preaching contrary to Communist doctrine.

Due to increased political pressure from Western countries, Richard was granted another amnesty and released in 1964. In December 1965, the Norwegian Mission to the Jews and the Hebrew Christian Alliance paid $10,000 in ransom to the Communist government to allow the Wurmbrand family to leave Romania. Reluctant to leave Romania, other underground church leaders convinced him to leave and become a ‘voice’ for the underground church to the world. Richard, Sabina, and their son Mihai left Romania for Norway and then travelled on to England.

The Birth of a Unique Ministry

Richard began his ministry of being a voice for persecuted Christians in England with Rev Stuart Harris, where he also wrote his testimony of persecution, Tortured for Christ. Later Richard moved on to the United States, and in 1965 he appeared before a US Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, where he stripped to the waist and revealed eighteen deep torture wounds on his body.

His story spread rapidly, leading to wider speaking engagements. In 1967, the Wurmbrands officially began a ministry committed to serving the persecuted church, called Jesus to the Communist World (later called Voice of the Martyrs). In the same year, Richard released his book, Tortured for Christ. In October, the first monthly issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter was published in the USA.

By the mid-1980s his work was established in 80 restricted nations with offices in 30 countries around the world. In 1990, after the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu in December 1989, Richard and Sabina returned to Romania after 25 years in exile, and were warmly received. A printing facility and bookstore were opened in Bucharest and the officials of the city offered storage below the palace of Ceausescu, the very site where Richard was held in solitary confinement.

Richard retired from the day to day work of Voice of the Martyrs in 1992, but continued as a consultant and member of the Board of Directors, showing a keen interest in the work until his death. During his ministry, Richard wrote 18 books in English, others in Romanian, which have been translated into 38 languages. His most well known book is Tortured for Christ. He received numerous honours and citations for his work during his lifetime.

Richard will be remembered with great affection as an outstanding man of God, passionate for the cause of Christ, powerful in evangelism, persevering in suffering, for the sake of Jesus whom he loved. Sabina, who passed away 11 August 2000, will be remembered as a woman of great integrity, mighty faith and serene godliness.

Richard Wurmbrand in Australia

In August 1969, Richard Wurmbrand arrived in Sydney in response to an invitation issued by Ambassadors for Christ. For a month, he preached in meetings held all over Australia. Australian Christians warmly responded to his plea to ‘remember the persecuted.’ The meetings led to the founding of Voice of the Martyrs in Australia. The first Australian newsletter was published in November 1969. We praise God that VOM Australia has experienced constant growth from the beginning and is currently moving into ever enlarging projects to serve the persecuted church around the world.