When we look back at ten years of working in Romania, it is hard to believe how much things have changed. In 2002, when we first arrived, we met the great people of Motivation Romania. When we came in the winter, we worked in a donated office with our winter coats on. There was no Internet, only a handful of donated computers, and shortages of everything from food to clothing.
Before we actually started taking children out of the institution, there was one thing that made us believe this would all work out. That one thing was that these people who had lived through the Communist times and survived the revolution had found each other, perhaps 25 staff, and they had become a community … not a segregated community, but a family. Almost half of that community were people who had spinal cord injuries and were busy finding their place in the world, yet their hearts still had more space to be filled.
When we brought the first children out of a horrible institution, they were not received by staff, but rather as members of a new family, something they had never known since they had lived in the institution their entire lives. This union created more social capital than money could ever buy. The staff became godparents, some became foster parents, and others in this community or family would get married and have children.
This story has been inspiring; it inspired the people at Mosaic from the beginning, from the first staff who traveled to provide training, to the donors who took the time out of their busy lives to see the joy of the work being done, to those who responded to our first donor appeal. That first appeal, “Embrace One,” was offered as a way for donors to connect their gifts to a child. Today, whenever we review the donor gifts lists, we are amazed at how many people still give, year after year after year. Some give $5 a month; some give more. Many are staff at Mosaic, and others are people committed to these children through their own sense of love and caring.
Through their example, Motivation Romania has started their own successful appeal to the people of Romania. So at this time of Thanksgiving, it seems to us it is about those who came early, gave of their resources, helped build an extended family half way around the world, and were embraced by a community they never expected to find.
Happy Thanksgiving from Romania.