7 Siblings Kept Together (Romania)

In America and Western European countries it is highly unusual to be able to keep seven abandoned siblings together. It is not even likely that two siblings will be kept together in western countries due to a shortage of foster homes. The opening of the new Sanctuary childrenís home in Romania created the space in the other two Sanctuary Orphanage homes to keep these seven siblings together. Thank you for your support which has made the rescue of these seven children possible.

The following is their story told by Mimi Gatea, the Director of the Sanctuary Orphanage.

"The gentle hand of God is at work in all situations. Regardless of the thoughts and opinions of the world, God loves deeply all of his children. Even in situations where, in our eyes, there seems to be no hope, God opens a door to save. Five years ago a woman with three children found herself abandoned by her husband. Unable to cope, she gave her children to a local orphanage in eastern Romania and moved to the western part of Romania. She never tried once to visit her two girls and boy as they tried to survive in a state orphanage.

After a few years, this woman met and married a man who had three children from a previous marriage. Together, this woman and her new husband had a boy, Andrei. The child was born at home and was never taken to a doctor. The family was poor - very poor, but they were together.

Then Romania changed its laws. The new regulations required that all children in orphanages must live in the same county as their parents. The local authorities found this woman and told her that she would be required to take care of her first three children at home until a suitable orphanage could be found for them.

Mariuta, Stephania, and their little brother Silviu left the state orphanage and came home to a new house, a new father, and new brothers and sisters. The new house had only two rooms, no running water, and no toilet. It was more like a small barn. The family had no money, little hope of gaining much, and little food.

For the next 6 months, these seven children ate nothing but thin pancakes made from flour mixed with water. The local neighbors tried to give the children other food when they could. They slept in a single bed filled with lice. The children struggled to survive as best they could. They didnít rebel. They didnít run away. They survived.

When the mother was told about the Sanctuary Orphanage in Ocna-Mures, she went alone to see what it was like. There she found 23 children singing, playing, going to school, and cleaning their rooms. No one knows what she thought. Maybe she was surprised that these children looked so healthy. Maybe she found comfort in knowing that these children had plenty of healthy food. Maybe she saw the care the children received from the staff as they played with the kids and enjoyed being with them. Whatever she saw convinced her that this was the place for her children. When she came again, she brought all seven children. She brought the children in and the staff tried to get the children settled into their new rooms. As the children were led to a table to eat, their mother quietly turned and left without a single word.

Alexandru, Silvia, and Daniel sat quietly at the table; this was all new for them. Mariuta, Stephania, and Silviu knew too well what it was like to be abandoned; this was not new for them. Little Andrei looked around for his mother. He could not find her. Tears filled his eyes; fear filled his heart. He began to cry. In a panic, he went from room to room looking for his mother. He had never been separated from her in his two short years.

When the children arrived, they were dirty, malnourished, and infested with lice. For the next two weeks, these seven children ate as if they had never eaten before. While the other 23 children ate only three loaves of bread in total, these seven children ate five loaves by themselves along with the other food. It was as if they were trying to fill a bottomless pit.

They were all cleaned and scrubbed. Their hair was so infested with lice that it was impossible to comb their hair without covering everything in lice eggs. Their heads were shaved and ointment was applied to the large areas on their scalps where the lice had eaten away the skin on parts of their heads. The local doctor came and gave them a thorough exam.

In all situations, God is at work. These seven children have been abandoned to an orphanage, but God has never abandoned them. Rather than being in a large, impersonal state orphanage, God has brought them to the Sanctuary Orphanage where each child feels that they are part of a family. These seven children have been given a new life, a life filled with hope. They are learning that God cares."