We welcomed Maria M.H. in the fall of 2017, at the age of eight, together with her brothers, Cristian and Mihai. The three siblings used to live together with their parents; however, after their divorce, the court granted their mother sole custody and they were separated from their father who went abroad in search for work.
Soon afterwards, financial difficulties changed the course of their lives. An orphan herself, adopted at the age of two, the mother lost both her adoptive parents and was soon faced with complete loss of her housing, finances and place of employment. Desperate and alone, she took her children and moved to a local housing center for single mothers in need. This proved to be a temporary solution and fearing she would have to live on the street, the mother decided to ask the local authorities to find a place for her children while she would leave the country to find work.
Her desire is to be able to come back and offer her children a home. However, until then, having no other relatives that could take the children into their care, we were asked to step in and welcome Cristian, Maria and Mihai into our family. In the light of so many changes, the children have missed school numerous times and they are in need of special care and attention – not only pertaining to their education, but also emotional support and personal time dedicated to help them adjust to their new home.
Maria had some difficulties integrating in our center. Our social workers and doctors had to carefully work with her to help her cope with her mother's departure and the challenge of moving into a new environment. At first, she refused to talk but slowly she started opening up to at least a few of our staff.
During her first activities in church for the Christmas special in December, while impatiently waiting for the program to end so that she could receive her gift, she answered a question about next year's program with such serious eyes and almost utter confusion that our hearts sank: "I can't say anything about next year's program because I will not be here. My mother will be back and I won't be a part of this." She couldn't possibly understand why we included her in future events at the orphanage and we realized yet again the deep wounds that our children have to endure when confronted with the reality of their circumstances. We pray that God will make a way for the family to reunite soon but until then we ask for wisdom so that we can help Maria during this time.
Every day we see improvement in her communication skills and we ask God to continue to heal her emotionally. We hope that she will see in us the Father's love and that she will grow in strength and in knowledge.