Abandoned and Rescued (Romania)

By Ed Rosella

“While we were in Romania, I received a call from Attila Pal, the Administrative Director of the Sanctuary Orphanage. He said, “I am in Alba Iulia (‘Alba’ — a city in Romania). I came here with three children and I am coming home with six.” I said, “How did you do that?” He told me that he went to ‘Alba’ with three of the children from the Sanctuary Orphanage for a routine visit to the doctor. As he was there, he received a phone call from Social Services asking him if the orphanage could take in three more children. He then told me the story:

A mother had walked into the Social Services office that day with her three children. She said to the social workers, “I cannot take care of them anymore. Take them!” The social workers begged her not to do this. They offered her government assistance, but she wasn’t interested. She refused to live with her girls in a women’s shelter. She walked out and left the girls there.

The stunned social workers were preparing to leave for the weekend, but now they had three abandoned children in their office. The Director of Social Services considered who would take these three girls in an emergency situation. He called Attila on his cell phone. He asked him if he could come to Alba to pick up the girls. Attila said, “I am in Alba. I will be right there.” Attila picked up the girls, put them in his car, and drove an hour’s ride back to the Sanctuary Orphanage. From his car he called me to tell me what had just happened to Paula, Denisa, and Diana. My wife and I eagerly went to the Sanctuary Orphanage to meet these three precious children.

A few things amazed me about this story. I loved seeing how naturally and quickly Attila made the decision to take in three more children. He didn’t have time to pray about this decision. He didn’t have time to calculate to see if the Sanctuary Orphanage was financially ready to take in three more children. Three children were abandoned and in need; he just did what was right! It was also nice to see how Social Services turned to a church group for help when they were in dire need. The Sanctuary Orphanage was there to help just as they had been so many times before. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every church had this reputation with the government? The other thing that amazed me was to see how God had turned a bad situation into a good one for these three special girls. They could have been split up in the Romanian foster care system, but through God’s goodness they have been kept together.

The Rest of the Story

By Attila Pal, Administrative Director of the Sanctuary Orphanage

Paula, Denisa, and Diana lived with their parents, at their grandmother’s house in a village near Alba Iulia. There were several uncles and aunts who lived in the same home. Their parents would often argue and fight with each other in front of their children. The girls were living with trauma and fear. Denisa (the middle child) had sleeping problems when she arrived at the Sanctuary Orphanage. She would wake up crying in the night, troubled by bad dreams.

All three girls were dirty, thin, and their hair was discolored due to malnutrition. At the beginning of the year, their father moved out of the house to be with his new girlfriend. He left the children in the care of their mother. After their grandmother died, their mother started to argue with her brother; so she left the home to go to Alba Iulia with her girls and her new boyfriend. They did not have a place to live. Their mother decided to leave the girls at Social Services.

Paula, (oldest) knew very well what it was like to be abandoned. This was not new for her; from an early age she had been put in and out of state orphanages, foster care, and left with her uncle. Their mother also grew up in a state orphanage until she was sixteen years old. She gave birth to Paula after she was raped.

Since coming to the Sanctuary Orphanage the girls have not been visited by their parents, even though they are back together again. They call sometimes and promise that they will come some day.

The girls have recovered well. Paula is ten year’s old; she goes to public school. She likes to go to church and say poems. Diana and Denisa are going to kindergarten. They have changed emotionally and physically. All three girls are loved by the other children and our workers. They are able to smile again; God is working in their hearts. They like to quote Bible verses in church. They are not afraid anymore, and they like to learn about Jesus. They also pray for their family.