The highlight of my week was a visit we made yesterday with Sarah and Anna of Anchor of Hope Romania. Their usual day to serve at this orphanage is Saturday, but thankfully for us there were supplies to be delivered.
This building houses other child services in addition to young children – even more babies! As we walked in a super polite, wheelchair bound guy with no feet greeted us on the porch. During the day, physically handicapped children and young adults come to this building to receive physical therapy. We climbed four or five flights of stairs, honestly I was carrying a box and lost count. Sure was nice of Sarah to offer to carry mine as well as hers. I declined, but I was quickly reminded that my age is starting to show.
When we topped the stairs, we heard the sounds of children. I didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly was taken back by the sight. Fifteen or more training potties were lined up against the wall with tiny little bottoms perched on top of each. The workers picked them up one by one, redressed them and placed them back in the crib. Kim and I are trying to train two munchkins I can’t get my mind around 15! We walked down the hall a bit, dropped off the goods we were delivering and the hall way erupted with children.
I couldn’t count, but there must have been at least two dozen children from two to three. Immediately they ran to Anna and Sarah begging to be held. Didn’t take long for the little guys to make their way to me to do the same. Hands held high, voices begging, “Ma’ma! Ma’ma!!” desperately wanting to be held. I picked up each one, loved on him a bit and rotated my way through the crowd. One little pair of hands kept grabbing mine, tugging, swinging, happy to have a larger hand to hold.
As I watched the crowd run up and down the hallway. Everything seemed perfectly normal. My western mind was convinced I was at a daycare in Wilmington. No big deal, but then as a little hand reached in my pocket to search for whatever trinket he might discover – I was quickly brought to reality. These children are not in a temporary facility, they’re home. Perhaps in the only home they will ever know, save the next facility where children age three – sixteen spend their years. My heart hit the floor.
As we walked out I asked if one of the workers would pose for a photo with Sarah and Anna. I thought her reaction was one of embarrassment. Sarah later told me that the lady said it made her cry that I thought of including her.
Without the work of volunteers through Anchor of Hope, these children would spend the bulk of their time with little to no interaction. In fact, on weekends when Anchor serves, there is only one worker per floor. That means twenty to thirty toddlers are left either in the crib all day or in a large room with the others to fend for him or herself. Wow!
I’m still taken back by the stories Sarah shared of several of these beautiful, vulnerable children which I don’t dare share here. Suffice it to say how depraved the human mind without Christ becomes. One HUGE shout out to the labor of love which is Anchor of Hope Romania. It is all too easy in our sheltered western world to live a lifetime never comprehending such places exist.
Will you join me this morning in lifting up Sarah, Anna and the other volunteers from Romania as well as those who cross the ocean to serve?