Last night I posted a link on Facebook of Mia sharing her story of adoption by the Bulgari family. These kids, especially Mia have my undivided attention right now! In the Youtube video, Mia shares a gut wrenching plea as in closing she begs for anyone with a heart for children and an empty bed to please adopt a child from the orphanage. Those, she says, who are not adopted by safe homes are sold for their organs and worse. Tonight Dina shared a bit more of the back story with us.
As we traveled along from village to village picking up teens for a rally tonight, I couldn’t help but remember my days as a youth pastor at Enon and Southside! Boy have we packed a van before! Tonight we loaded about 20 teens and adults into a 15 passenger minibus and headed to a nearby town. When we came to the interstate, Dina leaned over to me with a sincere look of distress on her face. She said, “I hope we don’t see the police. They would stop us for sure and there would be big trouble.” I asked why and she said, “They would never believe that we were going to church, they would think we are trafficking these teens.” As she said this, the blood rushed through my brain as I thought, “and here sit two Americans!” My mind raced back to our time on the train from Chisinau to Bucharest last year this very week. We purchased and extra ticket for luggage and the guards thought for sure we were trying to smuggle a child out of the country!
Here comes the real challenge for my brain to wrap around. Yes, police would stop us in an effort to prevent trafficking. That’s a great thing and scary all at the same time. The total flip side came with the next story Dina shared.
The orphanage Mia and the other children were in is now closed. Sounds GREAT on the surface! All 500 children are gone and have been placed. Problem is, 500 were sold by the government officials running the orphanage for $25,000.00 each. Most went to a Yugoslavian man who bought them to sell their organs, for sex trafficking and slavery. When I asked how they made it across the border unstopped, Dina said it was the Government who arranged it.
Suffice it to say I am amazed and broken for the children and teens who have been abandoned and orphaned in this beautiful country. Dina said that when Mia came to live with them she asked, “How much did you pay for me?”
God, draw these beautiful children close to you tonight.