A story by C.R. Roberts.
The home leader arrives and he looks tired, for good reason.
Government health inspectors were here this week and they issued a warning because the sour cream in the refrigerator was not labeled with a date. Cristi buys his sour cream — the best around — from a local farmer. The farmer doesn’t offer a pull-date. He’s a farmer, for crying out loud, not a corporation. His product comes from cows, not factories, and it is always consumed long before it might spoil.
Oh but it gets worse.
Cristi gets a call earlier this month. The local office of the Romanian equivalent of Child Protection Services called to say there were some children who needed placement. Two sisters. If Cristi didn’t take them in then they would be placed in a government-operated orphanage, which is not the kind of place where any child should live.
The government policy is that orphans and abandoned children should be placed in foster homes or else reunited with family members, extended or not. Which sounds great on paper and in the madcap congress known as the European Parliament. The EU makes a lot of rules and passes a lot of laws thus giving elected officials a reason to exist. But foster families are few, and as far as family reunions go, well, mom and dad might be in Western Europe making money in euros rather than lei, the local currency. So grandma and grandpa get the kids, only they’re getting older and are unable to care for themselves much less their grandchildren, but hey, there’s a date on their sour cream.
The equivalent of CPS called, and our home leader responds. He visits the office where the two girls are waiting. Tears flow. They’ll either be transferred to a state orphanage or else he’ll bring them here, to a new home, to a new family where children live with house parents who care. But the home leader knows that the priority at Kidstown is to get more sponsors instead of adding more homes or children.
He decides in favor of the children, not the rules.
Similarly, there’s a home with 13 boys — a home not supported by Kidstown — that we visited last fall in India. A local pastor has taken it upon himself to find a house, add some paint, get some chairs and a table and rescue those children. They are all the sons of prostitutes and so they fall to the bottom of the bottom of the caste system there. They’ve been shunned by their villages, beaten by peers, ostracized or at best ignored. They have no known fathers and their mothers are otherwise engaged. They have precisely no place to go, and now they’ve been rescued and the local pastor wanted us to visit. The boys greet us with garlands of flowers. This home has been added to a list of homes that have asked for support.
It’s a growing list.
C.R. Roberts is a retired journalist from Tacoma, Washington. After studying at the University of Washington he moved to England, and upon his return owned a small business dealing in rare coins and stamps. Later, following a 30-year career as a columnist and business writer at the Tacoma News Tribune, he retired to a life of volunteerism and has made several trips with Kidstown to Romania, India and Nepal. He personally sponsors two young men in Romania.
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