Romania: Before, After and Beyond
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This paper is the result of my interest in the issues related to children in the institutions of Romania. My interest began when my brother, Michael Castlen, took a job with Holt International Children's Service, Inc. to work in their office in Bucharest, Romania. The stories that he told me caused questions to form in my head that needed to be answered. Such questions as "Why are there so many children abandoned?", "How can a dictator be so cruel?" and "What's being done and what can be done?" It was an obvious SIP topic. When I suggested it to my brother he was more than willing to let me come to Romania and see for myself what was happening. Unfortunately, obtaining an extended Visa is a time consuming and difficult task, so my brother suggested I come on a vacation visa. This allowed me only two weeks to spend in Romania. During my stay in Romania, Dan Perrie and Luminita Tatu became companions and historical mentors. They took part in teaching me the ways of life in Romania from the point of view of a visiting foreigner and a native. Lumitia's family were also very supportive by being a model for me of a living family system within Romania. I met many people from different Non-Governmental Organizations that gave me another aspect of Romania to consider, as well. These people became a very reliable, available resource, especially after institutions and orphanages were unwilling to allow me to visit. NGO members, Becky, Rick, and Bill were full of information that was more useful than they realized. As well as, Dan and the other Romanians who took time to talk to me. The most valuable resource came when I was allowed to attend a USAID child welfare meeting involving all the American NGO's and a few Romanians. This meeting not only gave me issues that needed to be addressed, but also allowed me allowed me to see just how the NGO's and Romanians work together. During my two weeks in Romania, I learned many valuable lessons in how a society works, even under some of the worst conditions. The most impressive lesson was how much hope and dedication can play into the survival of society. Without this, Romania would have wasted away long ago.