Monday, September 24, 2007

Street Children of Bucharest

I just posted a video called "Street Children of Bucharest" on my Blog. It shows exactly what I see in Romania on a daily basis. I travel these very same places. Mirel, the boy I mentioned on a previous email, is exactly like the children shown in the video.
FYI...The video starts out with some background information followed by music and videos. The plastic bags you see the children holding and breathing into have glue in them. They sniff glue to "escape". Escape the cold, escape hunger, escape life.

I hope you take time to watch the video and to pray for all the children who live on the streets of Romania

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Nicolae and me singing "La Multi Ani." Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is our mom's birthday. I videotaped Nicolae and me singing La Multi Ani (Happy Birthday) to my mom the day before I flew home to the states. Happy Birthday Mom. I love you! I am so happy to be able to be here to spend your birthday with you. love, Debbie

Nicolae and me singing "La Multi Ani."

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Simple Things

Hi all,
I wanted to let everyone know that I am back home in the states. I just flew in late last night. I actually flew right into Modesto. Nice.
I am at my house and I am so thankful for the "simple things". Like airplanes that can get you home from far away and for a house to call home. And for things like my washer and dryer. In Romania, I use the bathtub and a clothesline. Although there are times when I do get to use some of my friends' washers. What a blessing. And well, nobody has a dryer. So, I can't wait for soft and fluffy ...yea!
I am also thankful for being able to see my family. Ok, so far I have only seen Bev and Ann, but I will catch up with the rest of my family today. I can't wait to hug them, laugh with them, share with them, see them. So "simple", but something most of us take for granted.
I plan to drop by my parent's favorite breakfast spot this morning and surprise them. I can't wait.
My mom's birthday is this month and it was one of the big decision factors in me coming home right now. Also, since I have to wait 30 days for my Romanian residency card anyway, I thought...why not wait at home?
Being in Romania has certainly taught me to REALLY appreciate the "simple things".

We can't make "time"... only God knows how much of that we have, but we can make the decision (with the time we are given) to spend it with the people we know and love.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Another Visit with Nicolae!

I got to visit Nicolae again today. The visit was very short, but considering they said no at first, I am thrilled. I just kept asking. I said that I didn't need a long time and that I would be happy to be able to spend even a few minutes with Nicolae. I would even be fine with meeting right outside their apt. Plus I had pictures to give them as well. Some from Nicoale's birthday, some for Eforie(when we were at the ocean) and some from the boat ride. Carmen finally agreed. We, Carmen, Nicolae and I, ended up going to a park nearby...without a translator! I am getting better at understanding and speaking Romanian. It was a rough conversation for sure, but between Carmen's limited knowledge of English and my very limited knowledge of Romanian, we got by. It was great. We spent about 30 minutes at the park. Multumesc Frumos Carmen. Thanks for being so kind Carmen.

I worked at the hospital today too. Only 2 children left in the big room and 2 down in ICU.
I didn't go to ICU, but the two kids left in the big room are Florica and Larisa. Ionut and Aristita are now at the Luminita Foundation. It is a place for children with special needs. Please pray them. Aristita has been at Victor Gomoiu for a year now. She is/was doing so well. Now that she is at Luminita, I have to wonder what will happen with the attempts to get her the surgery she needs. I also am concerned on how she will adjust and how she will be treated. God protect her. It hurt my heart to see her not there today. Ionut doesn't do well at Luminita either. He just came back from there about 3 weeks ago. Please pray for these precious children.





Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today's meeting ....not meetings

I was able to meet with Mr. Mocanu today at 11 am at the Office of Foreigners to turn in the paperwork to obtain my Romanian residency. It can take up to 30 days to get the actual card. We are going to check in a couple of weeks though. The picture ... argh ...the lady didn't even tell me she was taking it. I was in the middle of talking. I am sure it is lovely. Not. The good thing is that another step of many is done.

Afterwards I was expecting to go to the DPC to see about visting Nicolae and seeing Cristian. However, we didn't even go to the DPC today because Mr. Mocanu said he didn't have time. Doing two things in one day? Does that happen in Romania? He said he will call me. Grrr.*&^%$! I also found out from Radu that there is still some legal trouble with Cristian's paperwork. Procedure stuff as Radu calls it, but don't worry it is not a problem. Not a problem for him maybe.

"Everything" is done for Nicolae. Which sounds great in theory, but the fact that I can only see him when his foster mom wants me too is a problem.Once every two or three weeks isn't getting it for me. Please pray for me. The road is long and emotionally hard.
I so want to be home right now. My mom's birthday is this month and it only adds to the emotions of everything here. It feels like I am here for no reason at times.

Riding home on the metro, it was all I could do to stop my eyes for watering. I thought about treating myself to McDonalds, but that all changed when I was walking into the subway at Universitate. There on one of the platforms leading down to the metro was a street kid sleeping. He was dirt from head to toe and his clothes (if that's what you want to call them) were so worn. The need for eating or cheering myself up didn't seem so important anymore.

I just got done reading a book called "When Invisible Children Sing". It is about street kids in Bolivia. I could certainly relate to the book. It talks about the street children and all the things they do just to make it through a day. Begging, selling...sometimes themselves, stealing, cutting, sniffing glue, trying to keep warm and safe. So here was this kid sleeping in the middle of the subway stairs. People walking around him and looking at him like he was trash that someone, not them of course, forgot to pick up and throw away. Suddenly my self pity stretch was over.

I did end up going to Mcdonalds... for Mirel age 14. It took me a while to wake him up, but seeing that I had food for him, helped. He took the soda immediately. We sat on the stairs, right where he had been sleeping and chatted for just a bit. Knowing limited Romanian, does limit the conversation. Please pray for him. I can't stop thinking about him. He is the same age as my nephew Daniel and yet there lives are literally and figuratively, worlds apart. It was huge reminder of how incredibly blessed many of us are.
I hope I see Mirel again and that we can talk some more.

Anyway, Radu is supposed to check with DPC about me getting Nicolae on the weekends etc. He said he will call me. He said that he "will try" to go tomorrow to the DPC.
I will let you know what I find out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

An Awesome Evening with Nicolae

Yesterday evening, I got to visit with Nicolae again!
We started out at the park. Nicolae spent some time jumping on the trampoline. Then I asked if they(Carmen, Marius and Nicolae) would like to go for a boat ride. We got to go for an hour. It was a blast. We all took turns rowing. We spent the time being silly,laughing and just having fun together.
Nicolae "fished" with a stick that had leaves at the end. He made up little stories about the big fish he was catching and made sure that I had a "fishing pole" too. They come fish already attached! Known in the Missouri parts as wood or weed bass. He was/is so adorable. He shared stories from when we were at the ocean together. He also recited the Leu(lion) recording by heart...again. Buna Nicoale, sunt Mama Debbie. Te iubuesc, I love you... Followed by the random English words he knows.(Turtle, fish, duck). He is really good at saying. "I love YOU very much" in English as well. Which of course I love. He also counted in English to ten. In Romanian he can now count to twenty, with a bit of help. I love him so much.
Anyway, it was a great evening. I got to visit with him for three hours. (6pm-9pm)
My next visit is tentatively set for a week from today. We shall see. Praise God for today and for the time I got to spend with Nicoale.

* If you click on the pictures below, they will show up larger*

Nicolae jumping on the trampoline.

Nicolae "fishing".

Nicolae row,
row, rowing
the boat.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thank God for IKEA!

I went to IKEA today. You know there are those days when you need to take time out for yourself. I did that today. Something familiar that has a connection to home. It so reminded me of shopping with my family and friends in Emeryville...without the friends and family part. Even so, it made me think of home and it felt good.
So here is a picture of me in my IKEA apt. The couch, red pillows, candles and flower are all from IKEA. The magazines are "HOME" magazines from home.
My big purchase today were the candles and the blue rug. You can catch a glimpse of the rug at the bottom right of the picture. The candle holder is made from a brick I picked up on the way home today.
The picture frame was given to me by Costin and the picture inside of the frame is of Mom,Elisa and Dad. Elisa is Mai's cousin from Japan. The coffee table is a discarded window that Ann helped me confiscate when she was here and the blue tub is from Walmart! Eat your heart out HGTV.

Love and miss you all,

Friday, September 7, 2007

Whoo Hoo! Do the Happy Dance!

I got the letter today from Office of Foreigners saying that they accepted my application to obtain my Romanian residency. On Wednesday, I will go and submit the necessary paperwork. It can take up to a month to get my actual card though. grrr. Germany is who issues the card. I hope to learn more on Wednesday. Things like...Can I start seeing Cristian? Can I start the process for obtaining my foster care permit now? Or do I have to wait to do these things until the "official card" comes?
Hey, at least it is a step forward and I get to see Nicolae on Sunday!

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Hospitals

Hi all! Today I worked at the hospital again. There were two more little babies in the big room. I have no idea what there names are. The other girls didn't know either. It still "throws me" for lack of a better word, that these two new babies can be in the room all day and nobody knows their names. They came over the weekend.
You come in on Monday and see what babies are there. You bathe them, feed them, hold them and eventually find out their names. This is how it goes when babies get left at the hospital. Eventually their parents will come back or they will go into foster care. You never know how it will turn out. Some kids bounce in and out depending on if their families can take care of them or not. Technically, they are all there because they are sick, but this isn't always the case. Please continue praying for Ionuts. He had a hard day today. He cried a lot and he is sooooo thin.

Sara is from Michigan. She has been trying to adopt Luiza for quite some time now. Sara first met Luisa when she was about 6 months old. Luiza is now 7. Luisa does live with Sara now and God willing should be adopted soon.
Today, Luiza was admitted to Grigore Alexanderescu children's hospital. They are running tests to check up on her Hepatitis. Seems they have been giving her adult medication for a while and well they weren't supposed too. Anyway, hopefully, they will get it all straightened out. Please pray that this hasn't caused any damage and that they can find and administer the correct medications soon.
I went to visit them today after I was done working at Victor Gomoiu. Sara is already wanting to go home. She doesn't understand why they have to stay. They did blood work, x-rays etc. Seems like they are just waiting for results. Luisa however, is loving it at the hospital. They are in a room with 10 other beds. Lots of action for sure.
Please keep Sara and Luiza in your prayers.
Please continue praying that my Romanian residency approval comes
soon. It should be any day now.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ann's Surgery

Ann's surgery went well! Thanks for all your prayers.