Monday, August 04, 2008

What To Do

I am not posting on this blog anymore. The world is not interested in orphaned children. I have started another blog for whatever.

If anyone is still interested in this subject, let me know.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

News Clip

From ProTV February 19, 2007 7:00PM

(There was also a specific clip regarding the Maternity hospital in Giulesti [Bucharest])

26,000+ children await a family. They will have a long wait, even though they have been abandoned for many months. Many families would like to adopt, but the road to having these children declared adoptable is long and difficult. And in most cases, there is no paperwork (or at best incomplete paperwork) regarding the child or the family. Consequently, nothing can be done for these children regarding getting them declared adoptable. There are also thousands of cases of children whose biological parents killed them and tossed them into garbage cans, dumpsters, and garbage dumps.

"Adoptive parents invest more time and financial resources in their children compared with biological parents, according to the results of a national study that challenges the more conventional view -- emphasized in legal and scholarly debates -- that children are better off with their biological parents.

The study, by sociologists at Indiana University Bloomington and the University of Connecticut, found that two-parent adoptive parents not only spend more money on their children, but they invest more time, such as reading to them, talking with their children about their problems or eating meals together.

"Society often tells people that adoption isn't normal," said IUB Professor Brian Powell, who focuses on the sociology of the family. "When people make the decision that they want to have children and then use unusual means to have them, they compensate for the barriers."

Florentina Ban Story

By Florentina Ban (her personal story)

There are many people who consider our attacks on the Romanian system to be politically motivated. This is not the case. I have decided to publish a problem which appears to be a personal one, but which demonstrates with a vengeance how Romania violates the rights of people as a common and regular practice.

I said to some friends the other day that I am ready offer 1,000 euros to anyone who can show me one single, solid, unemotional argument which would convince me to NOT hate Romania. But to this point, I have found no one who has picked up the gauntlet and I will probably have to find the answer within me in order to get past all the filth.

To: The Government of Romania, the National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, and the Arges County Office for Child Protection

To the attention of: Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, State Secretary Bogdan Panait, and Arges County Director, Adrian Macovei

I am a Romanian citizen with residence in Holland because I am married to a citizen of Holland. My chosen domicile is in Romania and I am the parent of a little girl who was born on April 24, 1995. She has a severe handicap and was entrusted to me for raising and education via a definitive and irrevocable judicial decision which was handed down more than three years ago. I want to bring to your attention the inexcusable and intolerable abuses suffered by us at the hands of the Services for Children with Disabilities in Arges County and specifically the Director of this service. I am asking for these things to be considered with all due urgency and measures taken so that such situations will not be repeated.

Here is the situation: My little girl whom I adopted at the age of 3 days, has a congenital handicap, and at the age of 18 months was entered into the system for children with handicaps Arges County. Even though this handicap is irrecouperable, nevertheless, we must go before the Evaluation Service for Children with Disabilities Arges County every year, though nothing can really change with regard to the medical situation of the child. Year after year those responsible for following up on children with disabilities pretend to be interested in the fate of the child but ONLY in the time period when they must do the necessary home studies which need to be added to the file. Otherwise, INDIFFERENCE is the one thing that characterizes these services (an attitude which is accepted as normal in Romania; in fact, indifference IS Romania). In September, 2006, we once again had to go before the evaluation commission in order for my daughter to be "re-entered" into the system for children with disabilities. The commission approved a certificate which certified my daughter's disability. I have not yet received this certificate (Feb. 11, 2007).

Here in Holland, my daughter benefits from the care of numerous specialists to whom I presented her medical file. But because I live in Holland, I decided to get a notarized power of attorney for my mother so that she could pick up the paper certifying my daughter's disability and send it to me here in Holland. Unfortunately, the Evaluation Service which has the OBLIGATION to give me this certificate "forgot" that Romania is a "democratic" country and is "part of" the European Union. The Arges County Evaluation Services behaved themselves as though the communist regime was still in power. Practically speaking, my mother was subjected to much mistreatment by a secretary, as well as having to endure a barrage of questions. This person commanded my mother to: 1.) Prove that my daughter is in a hospital in Holland, 2.) To explain why I was getting treatment for the child by foreign doctors and not Romanian doctors [but all of these treatments are paid for out of our own pockets and not by the Romanian government], 3.) To tell her when we were going to come back to Romania, 4.) To prove that the power of attorney was not falsified, 5.) Affirmed that she (the secretary) would contact the Romanian embassy in Holland in order to get clarification regarding the legality of our living in Holland. In these and many other ways, this secretary went way beyond her authority. This secretary committed a whole chain of abuses since she denied our right to freedom of movement, she denied our right to freely choose where we wish to live, and she attacked our right to privacy. It is the right of every Romanian citizen to decide where he wishes to live within the European Union, while the administrative reglementation of this residence is something that belongs to the private and personal lives of everyone.

Her affirmation that she will check up on things through the Embassy is proof of a "police state" mentality because she threatened to take "appropriate measures". This attitude represents the general policy of the National Authority for the Protection (??) of the Rights of the Child. Consequently, I will put in a complaint to the European Commission against the Romanian government.

I believe that this relevant example, among many others, demonstrates the deficient way in which the National Authority of the Protection of the Rights of the Child operates. It also demonstrates how unprepared Romania was for entry into the EU and especially to the rights of Romanian citizens. In all these years of fighting for the rights of my child, I was NEVER helped by any "representative" from the Child Protection Services. The care of my child falls entirely to me and those who have claimed that they want to help, actually only "protect" (??) the child, but I am the one who must fight for the child so that she can live and grow as normally as possible. The handing over of the certificate regarding my child's disability is a debt and obligation that the local authorities have. It is not optional. And next year, the suffocating bureaucracy in the area of child protection (??) in Romania will require us to completely re-do the file.

Therefore, I am asking the authorities to take appropriate action to respect the rights of my child and that these measures would, in fact, fulfill the declarations of the National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of the Child. I know the law and I know the rights that are ours. I will make the appropriate appeals, not only with regard to the flagrant abuses in my situation, but also to those in similar situations. I will not delay putting in my appeal to the European Commission for more than 48 hours, and I expect that the Child Protection Services in Arges County will resolve my situation, the situation involving my child's certificate of disability, and the administrative measures taken to rectify past mistakes and prevent future ones.

Romania urged to resume international adoptions


International adoptions of Romanian children ground to halt after the government banned the practice, under EU pressure. Now its laws on adoptionare being criticised as too restrictive.

By Paul Ciocoiu for Southeast European Times in Bucharest - 16/01/07

Two members of the European Parliament (EP) are calling for a change in Romania's restrictive adoption laws, only three years after the same laws were enacted at the insistence of the European Commission.

The proposal came from EP members Jean-Marie Cavada and Claire Gibault, both from the centre-right Union for French Democracy. They claim that Romania does not have the financial means to maintain the necessary social services to care for institutionalised children whose adoption process has been prolonged due to entangled bureaucratic and legal procedures.

In the years after the fall of the Ceaucescu regime, some 30,000 Romanian orphans were adopted worldwide. Under EP pressure however, Romania banned international adoptions, except in cases where a family member living abroad requests guardianship.

The EP's rapporteur for Romania at the time, Emma Nicholson, threatened that she would propose suspending accession negotiations unless a ban was imposed. Legislation to that effect was drafted by Romanian and EU adoption policy experts.

Cavada and Gibault say Europe's view of international adoptions has changed, due to a decline in child trafficking. Nicholson, an MP representing Britain, now says the issue is a county's sovereign matter and does not fall under EU competency.

The Romanian media has scorned this new stance. The government, moreover, has made clear that it plans to stick to the policy of banning international adoptions and encouraging domestic adoptions.

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu has pledged that the government will invest more money in improving the needed social services. Statistics show that domestic adoptions have been on the rise since the ban went into effect.



By Ron McNamara
International Policy Director

Foreign Ministers from the 56-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe approved a major initiative on combating a wide range of sexually exploitative crimes against children, including prostitution, child pornography, trafficking in children for sexual exploitation, sex tourism and forced marriages of children. A collaborative effort spearheaded by the United States, Belgium and France, the decision was unanimously agreed in recognition “that sexual exploitation of children constitutes a grave and heinous crime, in many cases involving organized crime that must be prevented, investigated, prosecuted and penalized with all available means.” The decision, taken during the annual Ministerial Council meeting, held in Brussels, provides political impetus to enhance cooperation among law enforcement agencies throughout the OSCE region.

The statement issued by the Council condemns the sexual exploitation of children in all its forms, urging the participating States to conform their legislation on this subject to their relevant international commitments and obligations. Progress in strengthening the legal framework to combat these forms of abuse and close existing gaps is viewed by experts as essential to effective action by law enforcement, especially as these crimes often involve entities in numerous countries. The need for greater uniformity in relevant laws was made clear in a comprehensive report, Child Pornography: Model Legislation & Global Review, issued in 2006 by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children in cooperation with Interpol. Surveying laws in 184 Interpol member countries, the report found that more than half of these countries (95) had no laws addressing child pornography and, in many other countries, the existing laws were inadequate.

Among OSCE countries, the report found that six countries lacked any laws criminalizing any aspect of child pornography, with 32 countries lacking any legal definition of child pornography. Sixteen OSCE countries have failed to make the possession of child pornography a crime and 20 lack laws criminalizing the distribution of child pornography via computer and the Internet. Fifty OSCE countries do not require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to report suspected child pornography to law enforcement. To date, Belgium, France and the United States are the only OSCE countries to have enacted comprehensive laws addressing all five areas analyzed in the report. The Ministers drew particular attention to the role played by new technologies, including the Internet, in facilitating the sexual exploitation of children, in an industry with revenues in the billions of dollars each year.

States were urged to take a holistic approach toward the problem of sexual exploitation of children, addressing root and contributing factors, including the demand that fosters all forms of sexual exploitation of children, and to develop comprehensive and proactive strategies and measures aimed at preventing and combating the sexual exploitation of children. OSCE countries were encouraged to develop compatible and exchangeable data registration systems specific to the sexual exploitation of children as well as create telephone or Internet hotlines as a resource for victims and their families. They were likewise urged to work with ISPs, credit card companies, banks and other corporations as well as relevant NGOs, to ensure information related to the sexual exploitation of children is tracked and reported.

In addition, the Ministerial decision included a series of specific recommendations for further action by the participating States, many aimed at strengthening the tools available to law enforcement, including adoption of legal measures that would allow them to prosecute their citizens for serious sexual crimes against children, even if these crimes are committed in another country. OSCE States were urged to aggressively prosecute the sexual exploitation of children and impose tough penalties on offenders perpetrating such crimes.

The Council recommended the establishment of training programs concerning sexual exploitation of children for personnel, including those working in the areas of justice, policing, tourism, transport, social work, health care, civil society, religious organizations, and education. Similarly, Ministers called for countries to facilitate legal protection, assistance, appropriate medical care, and rehabilitation and reintegration programs for child victims of sexual exploitation as well as efforts for the safe return of trafficked children.

The OSCE, as an organization, was encouraged to pay increased attention to these issues, including the links to trafficking in persons, and to cooperate with other international organizations, NGOs and civil society in combating the sexual exploitation of children.

The Brussels Ministerial decision on sexual exploitation of children originated, in large part, from a resolution sponsored by Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith and managed by Commissioner Rep. Joseph R. Pitts during the Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly convened in the Belgian capital in July 2006. That proposal, “Combating Trafficking and the Exploitation of Children in Pornography,” was overwhelmingly approved by parliamentarians from the participating States.

A Helsinki Commission hearing, “Protecting Children: The Battle Against Child Pornography and Other Forms Of Sexual Exploitation” was held on September 27, 2006, to assess the magnitude of abuse against children. In opening remarks, Co-Chairman Smith explained, “The anti-trafficking efforts have convinced me that combating sexual exploitation of children in all of its forms requires even more comprehensive laws, as well as effective partnerships between local, state, and federal law enforcement, and the nongovernmental communities at all levels, and that includes international.” Smith noted strong indicators that those captivated by pornography are more likely to become predators and purveyors themselves, further feeding the cycle. As with other addictive behaviors, these individuals are often driven into more extreme acts of preying on younger victims or employing violence. He observed that organized crime, including gangs, also appears to be venturing further into the lucrative trade in children. As a result, global criminal networks are springing up, further complicating efforts to prosecute those responsible for these horrendous crimes against children.

James E. Finch, assistant director of the Cyber Division of the FBI discussed the Bureau’s efforts to combat the sexual exploitation of children through the use of the Internet and promote closer cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies. James Plitt, the unit chief of the Cyber Crimes Center of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement stressed “that the issue of child exploitation is enormous and multidimensional. Furthermore, any potential solution to this issue must be multidimensional….collectively, we need to understand the challenge we face, and we need to understand the trends, techniques and vulnerabilities of those engaged in international criminal business enterprises,” he concluded. On the question of limited resources, Plitt noted, “If we had triple the investigative resources, we would still have investigative leads untouched.” Finch underscored the challenges faced by law enforcement given the relative ease and limited expense involved in setting up exploitative web sites. Commissioner Mike McIntyre urged greater partnership between law enforcement and the public to identify perpetrators of these crimes as well as aggressive investigation and prosecution of them.

Linda Smith, founder of Shared Hope International and a former Member of Congress, presented the findings of the U.S. Mid-term Review on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in America, identifying five key issues which stand out as the most immediate and urgent needs to protect America's children: confront the demand side of exploitation; aggressively pursue those responsible for the online trafficking in children; ensure sufficient services for victims, especially shelter; expand cooperation between law enforcement agencies at all levels; and further strengthen Federal law. She made an impassioned call to decriminalize the prostituted minor, “What we've found was that these kids, when identified, are called prostitutes, and they're quickly moved into detention when they're found, treated like a criminal, and then, when released, put in a foster care system where they bleed out. We do not have child prostitutes. We have prostituted children.” With respect to pornography, she decried the marketing to recruit boys as clients as well as the explosion of pornographic images of children creating demand for direct sexual violation of children.

Carol Smolenski, executive director of ECPAT-USA discussed multilateral efforts to more effectively combat the sexual exploitation of children. She cited demand and prevention as major of common concern as well as the need to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies. Commissioner Pitts voiced particular concern that law enforcement have the tools necessary to adapt to technological challenges. Turning to the role of organized crime and gangs in exploitation, Smolenski observed, “you'd be hard-pressed to talk to a service provider who has not found gang involvement with child prostitution these days…yes, gangs are definitely a part of it and a growing part of it.”

Dr. Mohamed Mattar, executive director of the Protection Project at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, touched on several positive developments in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children: expansion of criminal liability; extension of territorial jurisdiction; and enhancement of child protection, including the abolition of a statute of limitations. He welcomed Senate ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime of 2001. Mattar made a series of recommendations to enhance implementation of relevant U.S. law. He urged funding to back up U.S. efforts to prevent sex tourism, while citing laws in Sweden, Switzerland, and The Netherlands as particularly problematic. Dr. Mattar called for funding to support research on victims of child exploitation; establishing programs to expand state law enforcement officials' capabilities in prosecuting demand and providing services for victims; shifting the focus of the United States toward penalizing the purchaser of sexual services; and mobilizing countries to enact Internet laws that protect children from commercial sexual exploitation.

Ernie Allen, chairman and chief executive officer of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, focused largely on commercial child pornography, a multibillion-dollar industry, stressing that children are plentiful and easily accessed; child pornography is easy and inexpensive to produce; there is a huge consumer market for it, making it enormously profitable; and, finally, historically there's been virtually no risk, far less risk than trading in drugs or guns.

Allen presented his candid conclusion, “Most people don't understand what this problem really is; there's a real misconception. But what we are finding and what law enforcement is finding is that the victims are getting younger and the content, the images, are becoming more graphic and more violent. From the data on the hundreds of offenders who have been identified to date, we can report to you that 39 percent of those offenders had images of children between the ages of 3 and 5. And, 19 percent had images of children younger than 3 years old. This is not what America thinks it is.”

Few of the world's nearly 200 countries, he pointed out, have any kind of meaningful system or capacity to adequately and effectively combat the sexual exploitation of children, especially through child pornography. Allen discussed his organizations work in training law enforcement officials around the world in the investigation of computer-facilitated crimes against children as well as initiatives to enlist the support of ISPs and leaders in the technology and banking industries in dismantling networks responsible for exploitation of children. He echoed calls for additional resources to aid law enforcement, including in the field of forensics.

In response to a suggestion from Co-Chairman Smith that the United States push for an international form of Megan's Law aimed at sex offenders, Allen replied, “I agree 100 percent. I think it's absolutely appropriate. It's a prime opportunity for American leadership and the leadership of other countries on this issue. It's unbelievably important. These offenders are mobile…offenders from other countries come here, where we have no knowledge about their history or prior record.”

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Abandonment is a key issue affecting children in Romania. UNICEF says that while there has been a notable increase in the number of children being placed in foster or guardian care rather than in institutions, the primary rate of child abandonment has not declined.


Article from Monitorul Dec. 2, 2006

By: Daniela Micutariu

This is about the destiny of a student named Gheorghe Nedea. He has written a book entitled "The Destiny of One Young Person who Grew up in an Orphanage". Gheorghe Nedea is 26 years old and in his last year at the University Stefan Cel Mare in Suceava. His major is History and Geography with a specialization in Tourism Geography. He is also the president of the "Protin Association" for young people who have come out of the orphanages in Suceava county. He is the only young person from an orphanage who has had the courage to bare his soul before people in order to let the world know the horrors in which he grew up. The book is addressed to children in the orphanages and to those who have abandoned the orphanages. It is also written for those who have never even lived one day in an orphanage. Gheorghe said, "I want to show the world how these children lived, what it's like in an orphanage and more especially that they are not given any sure future." He said that the horrible reality of the orphanage included beatings, arguments and many wicked things. He added, "All these things and more are experienced by the poor children in the orphanage. It is the price they have to pay for being abandoned. They have no one to encourage them or who can talk to them." In his book, one can find many sad stories that were actually lived out by the author in different orphanages in Suceava county. You can also read about his meeting with a part of his family. The book can be bought at any Orthodox Church in the city of Suceava. With the money received from the sales of the book, Gheorghe Nedea wants to construct Young People's Center for those who have grown too old for the child protection system. He knows that the wish of every young person is to have a place to live.


By: Alex Pintea

More than 50 children were abandoned since the beginning of the year in the Municipal Hospital. Only 30 of these managed to be re-integrated in their families, while the rest fell under the system of child protection. The highest rate of abandonment was registered in the neonatology section and the principle cause is the economic situation of the mothers. Many of them are very young and do not have much schooling.

The phenomenon of abandonment is growing in the city of Medias. Since the beginning of this year, more than 50 children were abandoned in the hospital by their mothers. In about 20 of these cases, re-integration into the birth family did not take place and thus these children fell under the system of child protection. Valeria Guliman, social worker for the Medias City Hospital, explained that, "In general these mothers come from very poor conditions where they have been rejected by their own families. Another cause of these abandonments is the limited schooling of these mothers."


At the Medias City Hospital, people are working very hard to prevent these abandonments. The medical teams from the neonatology unit as well as the pediatric unit, together with social workers, are making an effort to convince these mothers that they do not need to abandon their children. From the moment the mothers are admitted, attempts are made to determine whether she is at risk to abandon the child. For example: A person who is admitted and does not have any acts of identity or who is not accompanied by someone in the family immediately attracts the attention of these authorities. "At that point, the social worker is alerted and the mother is admitted to a program of counseling," said Valeria Guliman.


In 2005, a total of 54 children were abandoned at the Medias City Hospital. This year, the number of children abandoned by their mothers has already passed 50.

Children abandoned in the Maternity Hospital

This is for the year 2006.

From the beginning of the year, 52 children were abandoned in the Maternity Hospitals in Timis County, 45 of these being in Timisoara. The number of adoptions completed were limited to 15 in the same time period. Rodica Negrea, director of the CPS Timis, declared that, compared to 2005, when there was not even one adoption completed, this year represents progress. But things are much more difficult because of the change in adoption legislation.


15 years ago Pat was found tied to his cot and left to rot in a Romanian orphanage..he was rescued by a British family but now he's returned. By Bob Graham In Bacau And Clare Raymond

THE stench of stale urine and human excrement was horribly familiar to British teenager Patreascu Peberdy.

Looking around the dormitory of what was once a Romanian orphanage triggered long-buried memories of his own desperate childhood. It was in this room that the 19-year-old from Milton Keynes, Bucks, had been left to die as a baby. He and another child were found in a stinking cot in the fetid Ungerini Orphanage, east of the city of Bacau. Their legs and hands had been bound and their soiled clothes were in rags.

Sixteen years after being rescued from his terrible plight by the British family who later adopted him, Pat returned to the place where he spent the hellish first three years of his life. He wanted to learn about his past and prepare for his speech to MEPs in Brussels last week, urging them to overturn Romania's ban on foreign adoptions.

"Being there again brought back memories of the awful smells and the suffering of all the kids - and I was just one of them," says Pat, who was given up shortly after birth by his impoverished parents.

"I looked at their faces and kept thinking how lucky I was to escape from the orphanage. If fate had played things differently I could still be there as one of them - or more likely dead."

On his trip he managed to track down his biological father - a farmer called Gheorge - and 68-year-old grandmother, Elena. Sadly his birth mother is dead.

Pat, who describes his escape from Ungerini as "the luckiest day of my life", was also anxious to trace Iulien Boanta, the boy who shared his cot.

Although Ungerini is now a home for 120 handicapped adults who have grown up there, he heard that Iulien had been moved to another institution. Then he learned that his friend had died in 2003, of liver failure caused by the years of neglect and all the drugs he was given for his mental problems.

Pat wept as he, Gheorge and Elena went to visit Iulien's graveside.

"This could have been me," he says. "Poor Iulien. His life would have been spent in misery. Maybe now he's free of the pain and suffering of all those years of being abandoned in the orphanage."

Of the 100,000 children dumped in orphanages because of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's insane population-building policy, Pat is one of the fortunate ones.

AFTER Ceausescu's fall in 1989, foreign aid workers and TV cameras were allowed into Romania for the first time. The world was shocked by what they saw.

A year later, the horrors of Ungerini Orphanage came to light - the children inside had been abandoned by parents who were simply too poor to care for them. In 1991, Beverly Peberdy, a building society worker from Milton Keynes, volunteered to work in the orphanage.

"The conditions were shocking," recalls Beverly, 49. "There was one room, the 'dying room', where children were left to die. That's where I came across Patreascu. He was pitiful and close to death."

Pat was tied up, his arms and legs curled under his skeletal body. He had malnutrition, polio, pneumonia and bronchitis. His body was covered in raw sores.

Beverly took him to the Mother Teresa's Sisters Of Mercy home in Bacau where he began to recover.

The following year she brought him back to England where, in a hospital in Birmingham, he had the first of 13 operations to correct the deformities in his limbs caused by being tied to his cot - one of his legs was six inches shorter than the other and the muscles had withered.

In October 1995, Beverly and her husband John adopted Pat who, despite his traumatic early years, soon settled in to his new life.

He thrived at primary school - never letting his leg brace get in the way of games. And he was a promising student who later won a scholarship to attend the £6,000-a-year Bury Lawn private school in Milton Keynes.

Pat set his heart on going to RADA and becoming an actor but then changed his mind, telling his headteacher: "I have never seen a limping James Bond... and I do not wish to be Richard III for the rest of my life!"

Instead, he has started an apprenticeship as a television cameraman in Cyprus, where the Peberdys have a holiday home.

He knows that his life could have been very different. That is why, for the last three years, he has returned to Romania to help those still suffering. But last week was the first time he had returned to Ungerini.

"It was a journey into my past back to an experience I'd been able to leave behind," he says. "During it I had flashbacks to the terrible conditions. I had to make this journey to try to understand what happened when I was a child and how I escaped the misery of an orphanage. It was part of my determination to try to help the kids I left behind."

The building remains much as it was in Communist times.

DOUBLE glazing, heating and fresh paint give the appearance of better care, but many of the inmates wear clothes soiled by food or soaked in urine.

The staff at Ungerini are far less welcoming to foreign visitors now. "You need permission to come in here," says the director. "You must not take pictures, it is forbidden." In 2001, Romania imposed a moratorium on all inter-country adoption. The ban became law last year. But Pat is determined to do all he can to overturn this and give hope to the 70,000 children who remain trapped in such desolate institutions.

His story moved MEPs to tears and was central to last week's heated debate in Brussels between the pro and anti foreign adoption lobbies.

Those in favour say Romanian children in care would have the chance of a better life. But critics claim it is ripe for corruption, with unscrupulous agents willing to sell orphans into child-sex rings.

Beverly Peberdy, who accompanied Pat to the EU, says: "I'd like the European politicians and both sides of the inter-country adoption debate to close their laptops, put away their reports, and come with me to see the reality of the orphanages and the conditions as they are now. They should come out of Brussels and away from Romania's capital Bucharest into remote areas - away from showpiece institutes to places like Ungerini, where Patreascu comes from, and where very little has changed in the past 16 years. Cosmetically they look better, but beneath the surface neglect and suffering continues. I have visited projects which are wonderful but they are only catering for a minority of the young people stuck in institutions. The majority are still living in archaic and terrible conditions. Patreascu's story shows that it's possible to be adopted by a family living outside Romania and to still retain the cultural and ethnic values of his country of birth. We are most proud of the fact that he has, of his own free will, returned to Romania each year to voluntarily work in an institution similar to where he was abandoned, to try and make a difference for those who were left behind."

In fact, this could well turn into his life's work.

Pat concludes: "My ambition is to make films that matter to people. To that end I hope to make one of street kids in Romania and one about the people who live in the sewers of Bucharest."

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Article from Jurnalul National Nov. 11, 2006


At a time when a part of the British press is relaxing in its treatment of the situation of Romanian immigrants who will "assault" the doors of Britain after January 1, 2007, another part of the London press is preoccupied with a different issue which is just as delicate -- international adoptions.

Without even remembering that the moratorium of 2001 forbid international adoptions from Romania under pressure from the EU, the Daily Telegraph published yesterday the story of a young man who grew up in Great Britain after he was adopted from an orphanage many years ago.


Petrescu Peabody, age 19, was actually adopted 10 years ago by a British family and told the Europarliamentarians about the miserable conditions in the orphanages in Romania. He asked for the Europarliamentarians' support for re-opening international adoptions from Romania. The boy "was nearly dead when he was delivered from one of the most notorious orphanages in Romania and taken to Great Britain." He had lived his early years in an infected bed which was soaked in urine. He could not speak nor walk and he had hearing problems. He said, "It is shocking to think that there are still thousands of children in institutions in Romania.


The article published by the Daily Telegraph was, of course, pleasing to the United States and to France who repeatedly warned that Bucharest's decision to forbid international adoptions would punish the approximately 76,000 children currently in orphanages. Vice-President for the European Commission, Franco Frattini, maintained that the Commission would support the Romanian authorities in their current legislation because the results of it are visible.


From Adevarul -- November 10, 2006


by Dana Filipescu

Several europarliamentarians are desperately trying to re-ignite the international scandal regarding the situation of orphaned children in Romania and the scandal regarding the re-opening of international adoptions. Yesterday in Brussels, Europarliamentarians Jean Marie Cavada and Claire Gibault held a long public conference which included the European press. The announced theme of the conference was "A European Policy Regarding Adoption". Instead, they concentrated on the issue of re-opening international adoptions of Romanian children. The organizers of the conference believed that the moratorium which stopped international adoptions and which was imposed upon Romania by the European Parliament, is "foolish stupidity". These two Europarliamentarians had invited Franco Frattini, the vice-president of the European Commission, to speak. He spoke about the progress made by Romania with regard to the situation of abandoned children and also about the possibility of some recommendations on the part of the European Union concerning adoptions within EU territory. Theodora Bertzi said, "Romania was backed into a corner," and was presented as being in a situation which was painful and sad regarding the orphan children from Romania and this was used as a reason for re-opening international adoptions. A film was presented by ITN, which showed some old footage of the Ungureni orphanage which was, in fact, closed in 2001. Another tactic which was absolutely unusual, was that the two Romanian officials present at the conference, Theodora Bertzi and Bogdan Panait, were not allowed to be on the platform. They were allowed to give their point of view at 5:00 with the closing of the conference coming at 5:50 p.m. The French Europarliamentarian Cavada, was very tense and repeatedly made some extremely grave accusations toward the Romanian authorities. He believes that they lie and give false reports as well as threatened journalists with lawsuits if they make even the smallest reference to international adoptions in a favorable light.

In addition to this, another completely unusual action for a conference of Europarliamentarians was to ask Roelie Post to leave the conference room because she "had become aggressive toward a little girl from a Romania orphanage". Roelie Post is a permanent functionary who has worked at the European Commission for 23 years and who for the last eight years has dealt with files concerning orphaned children from Romania. She maintains that she was merely trying to speak to the little girl who was crying. She said that she had to notify the Belgian police and the security forces of the European Commission about the intimidation and harassment that she received from representatives of the international adoptions lobbies. Theodora Bertzi declared, "I believe that they want to re-open adoptions from Romania because the corruption involved in this system is only dormant and has not been completely eradicated. I believe that it is injurious to compare international adoptions with the free movement of people, services and goods. We have lost track of tens of thousands of adopted children. To date, the number is approximately 30,000 children from 1990 - 2001."

This is one of the comments to this article:

Comment by George Enescu

"Bertzi is Delirious"

Isn't it in fact Bertzi who is always speaking about the export of children as goods? And now all of a sudden it's an injurious expression? It is plain that she got made because the truth was told. And especially since the Romanian press abounds with horrible stories about the treatment of children in Romania. But why is she so upset that they lost track of 30,000 children who were adopted abroad? Doesn't Mrs. Bertzi know that when a child is adopted in another county he receives the citizenship of that country? What does Mrs. Bertzi really want? Does she want Romania to spy on these children in their adoptive families? I think that her fury at not being given an important place at the conference has blinded her. You know, she has become used to so many praises from false admirers......

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

UN calls for EU helP on Roma children

UN calls for EU help on Roma children

06.03.2007 - 09:29 CET

By Helena Spongenberg

Roma children in south-eastern Europe are facing serious discrimination, social exclusion and disproportional poverty, according to a new UN report. The author calls on the EU to help improve the situation.

The report from UNICEF – the UN's children's fund – found that Roma, Sinti and traveller's children in south-eastern Europe are facing "human rights abuses on a large scale".

The children "remain invisible" because they do not have birth certificates and therefore do not have access to the social agencies that ensure they have basic health-care and education. As many as one million Roma children in south-eastern Europe are unaccounted for in official statistics, said Gordon Alexander from UNICEF.

Later in life, they will not be able to vote, make use of the social services nor register their own children.

Mr Alexander called on the EU to use its leverage to raise accountability. "If you look at new member states, their problems have not been solved; in fact, they are getting worse," he said, according to Reuters.

UNICEF presented the report at the German parliament together with the report on Roma in Germany, prepared by Berlin's Technical University.

That study found there are some 50,000 Roma from the former Yugoslavia living in Germany on refugee status who are not eligible for integration and language courses because they don't have official papers.

"Roma children should be given the chance to break up the vicious cycle of poverty, discrimination and prejudices," said Reinhart Schlagintweit, head of UNICEF Germany in a statement on Monday.

He warned of the "dramatic consequences" when "hundreds of thousands of children around the world grow up in ghettoes, without educational perspectives in the heart of Europe."

At the same time another UNICEF report shows that the percentage of Roma children at school age, but not attending school, are 60-80 percent in Bulgaria, Albania and Romania, while it has been reduced to 20 percent in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to AFP.


Article from Ziua Nov. 10, 2006


The Hunt for Children

After Romania had been sharply criticized for the way in which international adoptions were done between 2000 and 2004, now some European Parliamentarians are vehemently demanding the re-opening of international adoptions. At the opening of a conference entitled "A European Policy of Adoptions" held yesterday, and organized by Europarliamentarians Claire Gibault and Jean-Marie Cavada, Romanian authorities were accused of using the fight against corruptions merely as a pretext for closing international adoptions. Gibault stated, "The issue of corruption is very important, but it should not become a mere pretext for sacrificing whole generations of children." Thus, in spite of the fact that the conference was supposed to be about European adoptions, the first session had more to do with the refusal of the Romanian authorities to re-open international adoptions.

Romania Will Not Give In

Theodora Bertzi, State Secretary for the Romanian Office for Adoptions, declared, "These are not pretexts. Such a position is inadmissible. Romania is going to maintain its position and respect the current law because this law is in conformity to European standards and is the only thing which can protect against the international adoption mechanisms which still exist in the world. It is the only legislation which can protect the children of Romania. The system of international adoptions which existed before is only in a temporary dormant state. The people who were involved in this are waiting for a change in the legislation so that they can once again start up their business. I was expecting something like this to happen. The Europarliamentarians Gibault and Cavada, who organized this colloquium, are trying to drag people into error. They said we were going to talk about European adoptions, but now they are talking about adoptions from Romania."

Parliamentarians Try To Stop The Tears

There were three young Romanians at the debate organized by these two Europarliamentarians. These young people spoke about the conditions in institutions. The first of these was Petrescu who was adopted in 1995 by a family from Great Britain. He had been institutionalized for 4 years at a center for handicapped children in Ungureni because he suffered from polio. Among the statements that this young person made were the following: "I was tied to the bed and my feed were bound. We did not receive sufficient food nor clothes and we were always dying of cold. When people from outside were coming to visit us, they put nice clothes on us. But afterward, these clothes were taken away from us and we continued to freeze." He was later invited to speak about the advantages which came from being adopted. Additionally, his adoptive mother said that the situation at the orphanage hadn't really changed much if at all. On the other hand, the head of the National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, Bogdan Panait, said that the orphanage in Ungureni no longer falls under the system of child protection but rather is under the National Authority for Handicapped People. The 15 children who were there had been moved into a family type home in 2000. Panait declared, "I came to this conference very relaxed hoping to find out somethings about the policies of member states. I would ask that Romania not be shown as a negative example when it comes to the area of child protection. We have to remember that our system is very young, but we have made important progress. The system is not perfect and I have never maintained that it was."

Europarliamentarian Cavada stated that he will protect these witnesses and asked that the Romanian authorities would stop their slandering and threaten Romania with a lawsuit if they continue. Cavada acknowledged that progress had been made in Romania, but at the same time he said he was not impressed with their "publicity campaign". He said that he wishes to help Romania to continue the reforms. He added, "We are trying to help, but Romania refuses to believe that we want to help them." Europarliamentarians Gibault, Cavada and DeCombret had initiated a petition in which they asked for the re-opening of international adoptions.


Article from Mediafax Nov. 10, 2006


Brussels, Nov. 10, 2006

"The law from 2004 regarding adoptions in Romania includes an article which is against the United Nations Convention and the Hague Convention, because it forbids international adoptions," declared the president of the foundation SERA France, Francois DeCombret, in an attempt to force Romanian authorities to review the legislation in this area.

He explained that the international adoption of a Romanian child is not possible today except in the case where the one who wants to adopt the child is his grandparents.

"It is about a disguised ban on international adoptions. This article (nr. 39 from law 273/2004--n.r.) doesn't respect the international conventions ratified by Romania. The authors of these laws are not Romanian, but pretend to be international experts sent from the European Union," declared Parliamentarian DeCombret Thursday, on the occasion of the conference "European Policy of Adoption".

Many children claim abuses in a private orphanage

Article translated from Sept. 11, 2006


Many children claim abuses in a private orphanage

The problem of abuses in orphanages again becomes a reality. Many children who have stayed for years in the care of a private orphanage in Brasov told a journalist from Great Britain that they were beaten by the workers and forced to stay days at a time in isolation. The head of the Educational Complex denies all the accusations. Still, the CPS will open an investigation.

The children who launched the accusations against the employees of the Sunny Glade Educational Complex (Poinana Soarelui) in Brasov, have lived there since 2004. Unhappy with the behavior of those who cared for them, the children asked to be moved into a state run orphanage, and now they are in the state's care.

"The employees beat us (...) They made us believe that our only option was to depend on them, that other orphanages weren't good," a young 16 year old man who lived in the Sunny Glade (Poiana Soareleui) told us.

Even young people who are still at the center say that employees lock them in isolation.

"Yes, as a punishment if we smoke or if we do bad things, but how many days? Well, three days if you smoke..." testified one of the children from the center.

Representatives from the Center do not acknowledge the accusations:

"No isolation exists, besides the room for those with contagious diseases," declared Luminita Tampea, director of the Complex.

What's more, two girls who stayed at the Sunny Glade Complex (Poinana Soarelui) complained that they were violated by the administrator of one of the camps in Bacau during summer camp. The CPS will send a notice to the police, but will begin their own investigation. If the accusations prove to be true, the Sunny Glade Complex risks losing their license.


Translated from Cotidianul Oct. 24, 2006


By: Radu Calin Cristea

Romania will not be able to put up for very long with a total embargo in international adoptions. The subject demands at least a very serious debate.

International adoptions from Romania were a well justified idea, but the idea was applied in a catastrophic way. Thousands of children were sold like merchandise through the intermediaries called NGO's who were motivated merely by the money they could get from this business; and then they refused to present the Romanian authorities with post adoption reports. Baroness Emma Nicholson, former rapporteur for Romania from the European Parliament, spoke about the interests of certain dubious politicians as well as about the international adoption of certain children for the criminal purpose of using their organs. The moratorium of Oct. 2001, suspended international adoptions, but left the door open for exceptional situations. In Feb. of 2004, international adoptions were completely stopped. The EU says they are thankful, but the United States is pleading for the re-opening of international adoptions. The presence of various lobbying groups has also been felt. The National Authority for the Protection of the Child and Adoption does not have funds to deal with the situation of children in difficult situations. We have seen plenty of reports about families with five or six children who live in wild conditions and who survive for the most part on gifts or on what they can find in the field. About 400 Europarliamentarians are lobbying for the unblocking of international adoptions. The investigations which were recently made by Europaliamentarians Cavada and Gibault have stirred up rumors in almost all of the press with articles resonating the following idea "We will not sell out children".

My opinion is that international adoptions should be re-opened because there are perhaps tens of thousands of children who have no parents that will assure them of a decent life. National adoptions are extremely difficult, and they will not ultimately catch up with the huge number of children that need to be adopted. A new system of international adoptions needs to be put into place which avoids the errors of the past. I believe that the best guarantee would be to give the agreement on an intergovernmental level. Governments would be required to periodically verify the situations and then communicate this to the Romanian government as well as to families who gave up their children for adoption. Communication between the adopted child and his family in Romania would be regular and diverse. Any deviation from the requirements would immediately cause the child to be brought back to Romania and given to the biological family. The time for international adoptions will come for Romania. It would be good to initiate some public discussions on this theme so we don't wake up one day in a situation which demands a hasty response and which will be dependent on political convergences.

Below is a comment to this article:

By: Ioana Apopei--Unfortunately, and especially for the children, no one has wanted to defuse the bomb which has been put at the doors of orphanages by the Baroness and big Mr. Tiriac, who praises himself for the fact that he gives children from the orphanage work to do (but what does he do, make them his slaves?).

How did these children get lost? Give us some names. Why has no one ever mention the name of a child who has been adopted after 1997? Hasn't anyone ever been able to find even one newspaper to pay 2 or 3 million euros to grab an adoption file at random, to get the address of some adoptive parents and go there? Go to the country where the child is and find the adoptive parents. They should ask to see the child and compare it to any pictures which are found in the adoption file at the court. Ladies and Gentlemen, the judges are not as has been said. Don't you think that the judges read every jot and tittle from every page of the adoption file? Do you know how many documents were required from adoptive parents? You will be flabbergasted. Do you know how many people read these documents? Do you know how many they approved? A huge amount. There is something I don't understand: it is curious to me that not one functionary from the Romanian Adoption Committee gave the right to free thinking in the press when the Baroness lorded herself over all the TV channels, etc. 'Look, man, she's from the EU'! Adoptive parents needed to have a background check from their police department which was no older than one month before the court hearing for the adoption. There were psychological studies, home studies, plus the adoption had to take place through an agency authorized by the receiving state. But also authorized by the Romanian Adoption Committee, which involved many, many formal procedures.

In addition, each adoptive family was flanked by other families from their area when they arrived at the airport and were received in adopters clubs and everybody knew about this adopted child. They met with people, they visited with people, they had all kinds of outings; and curious thing, they gathered funds for the orphanages in Romania. Do you know how many donations were made to support the orphanages during the years when international adoptions were open? Oh how easy it is to cast blame. With all the hysteria, I am amazed that Mr. Radu Calin Cristea was able to publish such an article. Involved with their own concerns, the leaders of our country omitted important aspects of this problem and left the destiny of the children to the whims of them EU. But what will happen when they turn 18? What awaits them? Will Mr. Tiriac take them all to work for him? Nobody wanted the truth. It's more trendy to sling mud. That's what we've done--like the Romanian saying, "we've thrown the whole shepherd's coat into the fire because of one louse" which in fact, was not a louse but a flea which no one actually saw. However, merely because someone had an itch, and scratched, a hubbub erupted that the shepherd's coat was full of fleas. And the children have not been hammered by this fate. It happened when they were abandoned in the hospitals, when they were left by the government, and most of them are without parents when they could have been sent to any civilized place in the world. Do you realize that these adopted children are treated like little Princes? Why doesn't anyone go where these adopted children are and write an article? Do you know what principle should govern the art of journalism and especially the government? "Sine ira et studio"--it demands that what is said should not be for self-serving purposes (for favors from the present ruler by studium for him and ira for the previous). I am disgusted with writers who write what is 'in vogue' in order that sales will increase due to the scandals. Perhaps the children who could have been adopted will grow up and will ask us, "Why did you keep quiet? Now we have no chance for a family and we have no home to which we can go back at holidays.

I didn't really want to get into this dispute, but I recently read an article in which a child from the U.S. kept running away from the children's home or from the family who had him in foster care ("family type placement", as we say here). When the psychologist asked him why, he said, "I want a stable family, people that I can call momma and daddy and where I can return for the holidays and know that people are there waiting for me." The child was a girl. If we are parents, then we ought to think like parents. The 1997 law said clearly 'adoptions are done in the best interest of the child'. I believe that it seemed good for the new government in 2000, to use the matter of international adoptions as a way to show how corrupt the former government was. An adoption, however, was eventually signed by a judge (from among 3 judges) and in the presence of the prosecutor. But nobody really wants to know how adoptions are done. For 2 years after a child has been adopted, the adoption agency from the area of residence of the adoptive parents, would send a report every 6 months with photographs of the child to Romania. The Romanian foundation which did the adoption, was obligated to make sufficient copies and give them to the CPS of the county, to the orphanage from which the child had been adopted, as well as to the Romanian Adoptions Committee. The foundation was also required to keep one copy in their files. Many foundations visited the children at home in their new families. But why was no foundation allowed to give its point of view but rather only the Baroness was allowed to speak and right of reply was killed? There are many foundations which intermediated hundreds of adoptions and have hundreds of files in their archives.

Unfortunately, the destiny of innocent children has been politicized. These children were abandoned and then beaten again by the government because that's what the government thought would be good for them politically. It's shameful. How will these leaders be able to look these children in the eye? It has been said that a child is a gift from God, but the government has made him political pawns. Sin! Yes, it's true that different fates came about when the lots were cast. But the one who doesn't know is not the one who is being accused, rather, the one who doesn't want to know.

Helping Families Adopt Orphans Act

Congresswoman Wilson Introduces the Helping Families Adopt Orphans Act Legislation

Congresswoman Heather Wilson today announced she has introduced the Helping Families Adopt Orphans Act, legislation to aid families adopting orphans from foreign countries.

The legislation would extend the validity of the I-171H "Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition" form to at least two years.

This form is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. It is the final form needed to adopt international orphans and is the ticket to adoption for many families.

The form is currently valid for 18 months, although the time needed to complete the adoption process has significantly increased over the last few years because of delays in travel approval, visas for orphans, and additional processing time to gain approval by foreign governments.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Article translated from Gandul Oct. 19, 2006


by: Sinziana Ionescu

The visit of French Europarliamentarian Claire Gibault in Constanta began with a scandal. Accompanied by two filming teams from the French mass media, Gibault wanted to check on the conditions which were being offered to children in hospitals and orphanages in Constanta. From the very beginning, the attitude of her delegation created tensions in their hosts. At the first stop, the Emergency Hospital in Constanta, the Europarliamentarian manifested her unhappiness with the presence of Romanian journalists who disturbed her in their recording of events. Although he wished to visit the maternity section, she went to the pediatric section believing that she would find abandoned children there in filth. It was explained to her that these little patients come from needy families. They have health problems and their parents are not able to assure them of proper treatment. The head of the pediatric section, Dr. Valeria Stroe assured Gibault that the families do visit the children from time to time. The French Europarliamentarian posed with several children in her arms and spoke to one of them who was only a year and 3 months old saying to him in French, "After the opening of international adoptions, you will have a happy childhood."

In the maternity hospital, Gibault could not converse with the nursing children. She spoke, instead, with the head of the maternity section, Dr. Vlad Tica. After that, she shared her impressions with the press and also rebuked them for coming into the children's ward. She said, "I didn't expect that all of the press would come into the room out of respect for the children and the doctors." Noteworthy is the fact that she never wore a white gown.

After the visit to the hospital she made her way to some orphanages. At "Little Rotterdam" Gibault and her team commented that the visit seemed a little too much "by the book" and suspected that the Romanian authorities had orchestrated the whole visit. Petre Dinica declared, "They had the impression that we only showed them what we wanted them to see." At "Little Rotterdam" there are about 60 children who come from needy families. The French visitors accused the Romanians of hiding some of these children in order that they would not be seen. However, the students were in school and there were only pre-school children in the center. Dinica told the French that what they believed was absurd.

The atmosphere at the home of a foster mother who is raising a handicapped child as well as a visit to the "Horizon" family type home, only strengthened the conviction of the French that the Romanians were covering up the reality. "I don't see any smiles on their faces," declared Gibault. She was informed that along with the psychological and physical problems that these children have, they are also marked by disabilities and were scared by the hubbub created by her visit. Although the program was supposed to end at 12 noon, the visit of the French woman was prolonged without the knowledge of the Romanian officials.

At the "Antonio" orphanage, the employees refused to permit her access without the approval of the head of the Constanta CPS. When they arrived at the orphanage, Gibault said that the reason for her visit to the orphanage was an attempt to escape from the Romanian press.

Yesterday in Bucharest, Gibault asked forgiveness for her attitude, admitting in a press conference that it was due to being very nervous.

The official visit of Claire Gibault in Romania which began Monday, was marked by changes of plans at the last minute, unannounced visits at institutions where children are housed, violations of Romanian law, and disrespect for the Romanian authorities regarding their right to be informed.

Also present at the press conference on Wednesday, was Europarliamentarian Jean-Marie Cavada. He, along with Claire Gibault and Francoise de Combert, is the initiator of a petition for re-opening of international adoptions in Romania. He said that he has had discussions at the governmental level and has proposed constituting a commission regarding the cases of Romanian children whose international adoption had been requested before the stoppage of international adoptions. According to Cavada, these cases should be "reviewed". The government of Romania firmly rejected this request by the Europarliamentarians regarding modifying the law or reviewing the more than 1,000 requests for adoption of Romanian children by foreigners which were made before the stoppage of international adoptions. The head of the Romanian Adoption Authority, Theodora Bertzi, declared that a working group had been constituted at the governmental level and had analyzed each individual case and that all the families involved had received a response from her office. Bertzi specified that, "It should be understood that not even for one moment would I be in agreement with re-analyzing these cases."


Article translated from BBC October 18, 2006


A group of French Europarliamentarians ask Romanian authorities to revise legislation which forbidsalmost all international adoptions. Jean Marie Cavada and Claire Gibault presented Romanianofficials, including Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, a list of signatures, over 400 of the 632 Europarliamentarians, who maintain their position of changing the Romanian law.

Emma Nicholson says the problem of the children is one that is to be resolved by nationalsovereignty, and doesn't enter into the competence of the European Union.

For two French Europarliamentarians, there are two reasons why Romania should allow foreign citizens to adopt Romanian children.

The first one is that the Romanian government does not have sufficient money to keep the thousands of abandoned children in orphanages nor does it have enough money to prepare and pay social workers and medical people to care for these children, nor does the government have the money to offer these children the best conditions of hygiene and education. These officials did recognize that the situation in the orphanages is not the same nightmare that it was said to be several years ago by the foreign press.

The second reason given by the Europarliamentarians is that many children are not adopted here because of very difficult procedures in adoption or because of different problems that the children have. On the basis of these two arguments, Jean-Marie Cavada proposed that the European Commission suggest a law which would permit the re-opening of adoptions, if not international ones at least inter-European ones. The European sentiment has changed a great deal. They are not of the same opinion that they were when international adoptions were forbidden. I know many Romanian families who wish to adopt, but wouldn't it be just as simple to adopt a new European law which would be valid in Romania when Romania is part of the European Union, which says that any adoptable child in a member country of the EU is able to be adopted by any citizen from any member state. As a refutation, the head of the National Authority for Child Protection, Bogdan Panait, says that official statistics indicate that the number of children being adopted has grown only after the closing of international adoptions. British Europarliamentarian Emma Nicholson, who fought for the stoppage of international adoptions from Romania, says that, "The problem of the children is one which has to do with national sovereignty and that it is not in the competence of the European Union to resolve it. The European Union has many responsibilities but not the problem of children in its member states. All the social problems need to be resolved by the authorities in these member states. In other words, Brussels cannot decide anything about the problems of children in Romania." Prime Minister Tariceanu declared at a meeting on Tuesday that Romania will maintain the current policy with regard to adoptions and will give more money for improved services in this domain.


Article translated from Adevarul Oct. 18, 2006


By: Carmen Chihaia and Magda Crisan

A delegation of Europarliamentarians who came from Brussels to visit institutions that protect children changed their original scheduled visits twice, trying to catch Romanian authorities 'on the wrong foot'.

The most recent try was yesterday, when the delegation went unannounced to an orphanage in Prahova. Europarliamentarian Claire Gibault hadn't yet arrived in institutions in Arges and Brasov, stopping instead at an orphanage in Campina, where 32 minors are cared for. Local authorities in Prahova were told of the change in schedule only Monday evening (the evening before) after 11 p.m. The head of Romanian office for Adoptions, Theodora Bertzi, considers that Gibault's attitude is without transparency and respect with regard to the authorities in Romania.


European Deputy, Claire Gibault, also tried Monday to take Romanian authorities by surprise, trying to sneak into an orphanage in Constanta. After she left, with a smirk on her lips, from officials and journalists from Constanta, she suspects the hosts showed her only the nice part of things, she turned around at the barrier, and asked the personnel of the orphanage to show her everything immediately. She went into the Pediatric section of the County Hospital, but turned around, finding out that she had gotten the wrong address: instead of Maternity, she had gotten lost in the sections of little children sick and undergoing treatment. In another visit to the Micul Rotterdam orphanage, the special conditions offered to over 60 orphans, instead of making her glad, made her run away.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Article From Gardianul Oct. 9, 2006
Also in Gardialul on Sept. 22, 2006
Also on on Oct. 8, 2006

By: A.D.

"There is no institution, no matter how large or how much money it has, that is able to resolve the problems with the children if the whole of society is not available to help," declared Bogdan Panait, director of the National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of the Child. His declaration was made after warnings given by the international organization "Freedom House", in their campaign "Unseen Children". This foundation sounded a powerful alarm concerning the fact that Romania is confronted with huge problems with regard to the situation of institutionalized children, street children, and those who come from poor families. This is true even though they have signed the declaration on the rights of the child. This organization also believes that children who come from families who are better off also violate the rights of the children because many of these children are abused by their parents. Dispite these problems, Panait thinks that his organization is the best prepared institution for entry into the EU.


This is an amazing lie!!!!

Article from Gardianul

BY: Andreea Dancu

After she had declared repeatedly that approximately 1,300 internationally adopted Romanian children had disappeared without a trace, Theodora Bertzi, head of the Romania Office for Adoptions, stated that volunteers from non profit foundations are involved in spying for adoptions. According to her affirmations, these volunteers are spies in the maternity and pediatric hospitals as well as in the orphanages in order to find abandoned children who would be suitable for illegal adoptions. She explained, "Certain NGO's have volunteers in the hospitals in order to find out which children could possibly be adopted. They are a kind of under cover informers."


From Gardianul (Oct 06, 2006)


Although it has been demonstrated that volunteers from charitable organizations have been involved in trafficking children and have profitted from the fact that they are allowed to work in maternity and pediatric hospitals, Bogdan Panait, head of the National Authority for Child Protection, has indicated that he does not want them to withdraw their services. Panait affirmed, "I haven't even thought about removing the volunteers from these hospitals. Many of them will be the social workers of the future here in Romania." Standing in contradiction of him, however, is Theodora Bertzi who is the head of the Romanian Office for Adoption, and Zita Vatnai the head of the Social Assistance Directorate in Bihor county. These two believe that these volunteers actually hinder the work of the hospitals. Bertzi declared, "I don't understand what role these volunteers play in a maternity hospital. Why do they need to work with newborns? There are cases where children have had operations or are in casts and have need of care. Why are these people not over there?" Zita Vatnai said, "Under the cover of saying that they want to help, these volunteers try to do unorthodox things." This is also the opinion of Theodora Bertzi who declared that she suspects that these volunteers are spying. She explained, "From the information that they hold, the volunteers from these foundations are involved in spying regarding adoptions. More precisely, they are spying in these maternity and pediatric hospitals as well as orphanages in order to find abandoned children who could possibly be adopted illegally. They are in fact undercover informers." She also declared that Bogdan Panait is not the one who decides whether the volunteers will be allowed in hospitals or not. Theodora Bertzi stated, "Panait doesn't put them in the hospitals nor can he take them out. It is the Ministry of Health who will decide the destiny of these volunteers. For example, the Health Department in Oradea decided that volunteers from foundations can no longer go into maternity hospitals." At the beginning of August, CPS Bihor discovered that one of the volunteers from the Hope House Foundation stole an 18 month old child from the hospital. The volunteer had been sent by the NGO for the purpose of helping the medical personnel with the children who were in that institution. Representatives of the CPS System said that the child was then sold to a family from Romania who badly wanted to adopt a young child.


by: Ana Minziu

Everyday in 2006, scores of newborns are forgotten by their mothers in different hospitals. The reasons for this are many, including poverty and unwanted pregnancies. In hospitals in Bihor county in the course of this year, so far approximately 150 newborns have been abandoned. Over 160 children have been abandoned so far in 2006. According to a statistical report from CPS Bihor, from Jan. through June of 2006, 158 children were abandoned in different hospitals. Ciprian Novac, spokesman for CPS Bihor, said, "Approximately 160 children were abandoned in different hospitals in Bihor county. At the Obstetrical and Gynecological hospital in Oradea, 59 children were abandoned. At the Children's Hospital "Gavril Curteanu" 64 children were abandoned, at the Municipal Hospital in Solonta 23 were abandoned, at the Municipal Hospital in Marghita 13 abandonments took place." According to a statistical report from Census Bureau, 26 of the abandoned children were placed in the care of maternal assistants, 2 were taken in by substitute families and 8 were transferred to the Children's Hospital 'Gavril Corteanu'. At the Obstetrical and Gynecological Hospital, there are still 13 abandoned children. All the others have been reintegrated into their natural families. According to specialists from CPS Bihor, at the Children's Hospital Gavril Curteanu 64 children have been abandoned since the beginning of the year. Novac further declared, "CPS Bihor decided to constitute a commission which will go to the Children's Hospital in Oradea in order to get a clear picture regarding the situation of abandoned children in this hospital. After examining the situation, this commission found 31 cases of abandonment, 8 cases of repeated readmissions and 31 cases in which the situation could not be determined exactly. These will be monitored by specialists from Bihor. We believe that some of them will go back to their families." At the moment, in the children's hospital Gavril Curteanu, there are 38 abandoned children.


In 2005, CPS Bihor saw 95 children reintegrated with their natural families or extended families and 36 children adopted by different families in Romania. However, in the course of this year, there was only 1 adoption case registered so far. Ciprian Novac said, "At the moment there are 25 families who have been approved to adopt. Twelve of these have identified an adoptable child and only one of these has actually been adopted. In the other eleven cases, the adoptions are in different phases." In 2005, 33 children were given in foster care under emergency situations. Novac stated that, "We have 24 maternal assistants who are available for emergency placements. In 2006, we have had 25 children placed in emergency situations. In Bihor county, there are 365 maternal assistants who have a total of 459 children in their care. There are an additional 132 maternal assistants prepared to receive children."



Seventy percent of children begging on the street refuse to go into orphanages. One reason is that the law permits them to go into these shelters for a limited number of hours and to leave whenever they want.

On the streets in the summer, there are approximately 2,000 children begging, most of them can be found in Bucharest, Constanta and Timisoara.

The procedure is simple; when the social worker finds a child who has no shelter and who is living by begging, the social worker can guide the child to an orphanage. But in the case where the child does not want to go to the orphanage, the police can intervene. The current law, however, forbids the keeping of that child there against his will. The only solution is that of dialog, but very few of the children are convinced. In any case, the number of vacancies in the orphanages are insufficient for the number of children who have need of such shelter. Child protection services who are responsible for these children and for convincing them to go to the orphanages are under the authority of the local mayor's offices. In other words, the child protection authorities have no legal grounds to give sanctions but rather merely recommendations. This fall programs will be launched to integrate the children into institutions with the financing of these programs coming from abroad


By: Luminita Gurita

Every year thousands of children are abandoned in hospitals in Romania. Most of them are relatively healthy and they all need to grow up in a family. However, they remain in the hospitals because the orphanages have been closed before the state has been able to provide an alternative system of protection.

Consequently, they are condemned from birth to a life without affection, to alienation and to infections from their stay in the hospital. They are not vaccinated (something that is required and is free for children who have identity documents) against childhood diseases. Those who are born with problems often end up in the pauper's cemetery.

The salvation of these children is the responsibility of every Romanian. Jurnalul National has made the first step, via a press campaign through which they wish to mobilize the state authorities.

We are debtors to these children who wait on a bed in the hospital to help them further


Article by Rompres


Children who are abandoned in hospitals and who have no documents regarding their identity do not have any rights as Romanian citizens under the current law of child protection because their existence is not officially recognized. The situation of these children resulted in the organizing of a public debate at the Caritas hospital. The initiator of this debate is the director of Caritas hospital, Bogdan Jansean, who raised the problem regarding the impossibility of being reimbursed by the national health insurance for medical services performed with regards to these abandoned newborns. The reason why the children have no rights is because there was no personal ID code assigned to them, no do they have family names and surnames.

The representative of the National Institute of Personnel Records, Paraschiv Petu, declared that the obtaining of a personal numeric code (ID number) is strictly related to a person's name. The only way a situation can be resolved, is to modify law nr.272/2004 regarding the protection of the rights of the child.

Another proposal which was put forth was the creation of special funds by the government for these children in order to help cover the costs of taking care of these abandoned newborns until they obtain their identity documents and can come under the care of the state.

According to the general director of the Ministry of Health, Ioan Buraga, there were 4,500 children abandoned in maternity hospitals and pediatric hospitals in 2005. This is 700 fewer than in 2004. Of these 4,500, 150 still do not have any identity documents. Thus, from a legal point of view, these children cannot benefit from any rights that are available to Romanian citizens.


From Adevarul Dec. 6, 2005
By: Marcel


Hungry, covered in filth and frozen by the cold, thousands of children live on the street. Theydon't know the joy that comes from a visit by Santa Claus. In 1998-1999, the number of streetchildren was said to be 2,100. But the latest statistics from the organization "Save the Children"shows the number of children has gone over 2,500. The majority of them are found in Bucharest,Brasov, Iasi, Craiova, Galati, Bacau, Buzau and Ploiesti. More than 30% of the street children havebeen on the streets longer than 5 years, while 25% of them have lived this life style for less thana year.


On the streets of the larger cities in Romania, there are four categories of street children:children who only live on the street and have no ties to their family or to any institution,children work on the street but who generally return daily to their families, young people who liveon the street (usually these are the group leaders of the street children and those who make therules for the group and who offer 'protection' and support for the other members), children who livewith their parents on the streets.


Full of foam and froth from the soap, yet still black from filth, and sopping wet from head to foot,Marian Iosif washes windshields at an intersection in Piata Regie. He looks askance at us with anevil glance "What do you want with me? Are you one of those who buys children and after that killsthem so you can take their liver?" He's gone through all kinds of trickery and knows about people.He is 10 years old but he has a furrowed face which is soiled with something shiny and silver:Aurolac (glue). From time to time he inhales from a bag on which are written the words, "Agfa ColorFilm".

It's become cold outside, but Marian is only wearing flip-flops. His feet are cyanotic and swollen.However, he doesn't feel the cold. He says he's used to it. He knows how to read and write. He knowsmoney, learns quickly, and he's not stupid. "Winter's coming," he says with an air of maturity. "Idon't know what I'm gonna do this winter. All the sewers are full of water from the rains andfloods. The dampness goes all the way to your bones. You know how it is? You can't sleep even ifyou're warm. There are swarms and swarms of mosquitoes and they eat you alive." Marian told us thatlast winter he slept in a sewer which ran along the bank of the Dimbovita River. It was warm and quiet and he heard only the running water in the hot water pipes which were as big around as his body. He made it nice there. He put up some ads from the Billa grocery store and from Carrefour, he had an icon with the Virgin Mary, and a pocket-knife to protect himself. He doesn't remember whether he ever received a gift in his life or not. "Two years ago I ran away from home with my brother, but he separated from me and now he stays over by the railroad station. From that time until now we've lived only in the sewers. We are barely away from Craiova. We left because our mother married a guy who beat us with a whip. We haven't seen her since then nor do we remember what her face looks like. It's better on the street. I get up when I want. I eat if I have something. And then I go off to beg. I wash windshields, I sweep the floors of small shops, carry goods, etc. I manage. And I haven't starved yet from hunger." At the moment, these children are sleeping under a large block of cement which was thrown into a waste area near a major intersection. That's Marian's house and others' house as well. Marian says that Santa has never brought him any gifts. I've never had a Christmas tree or a new toy. When workers decorated a center where he stayed he shouted for joy. Bucharest is his -- from one end to the other. "If I had the chance, I'd write Santa Claus and beg him: Dear Santa, I have a big craving for chocolate. I haven't had any to eat since I was little. And I have one more request: please get the cats and the mosquitoes out of this sewer so that I have some place to sleep this winter. Thank you."


The majority of street children are beaten, insulted, threatened, starving and under-developed for their age and they do not get enough nourishment nor sufficient sleep. They usually do not have a roof over their heads. These are the conclusions of a study entitled "A Rapid Evaluation of Street Children Who Work" which was done by the organization "Save the Children". According to this study, the most common activities of these little ones are begging, loading and unloading goods, washing windshields or cars, selling newspapers, or collecting garbage. On average the children work six hours on the street everyday all year. Their educational level is very low. Approximately 20% have never been to school, 30% are illiterate, 40% know how to read and write a little bit. Of those who left school, 18% left around the age of 12. The street boys are three times as numerous as girls. 70.4% of the street children are between the age of 14 and 18. These results come from a study by the organization "Save the Children". Of those questioned, more than 90% are permanently on the streets. The boys are more numerous than the girls because the girls are more vulnerable on the streets, they cannot do hard work and usually their families prefer to use them in housework. More than 60% of street children come from families with a lot of children, usually more than 4. According to the study, 57% are Romanian and 40% are Gypsies. The data show that the risk of ending up on the street, whether accompanies by a family or not, are in fact greater for Gypsy children.

According to the study done by the Save the Children organization, the average age at which a street child begins sexual relations is 12.5 years, which is well below the national average of 17 years for boys and 19 years for girls. Of those questioned, more than 42% said that they began sexual relations at ages between 6 and 12 years, while another 58% at 14 years. Thus the risk of various diseases is very great.


The majority of children say they ended up on the street by their own initiative and only 12% of them were thrown out by their parents. The usual causes for ending up in the street are alcoholic parents, negligence, physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional distress. Many of the children are sent to beg by their parents while approximately 10% come from orphanages.BEGGING IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF INCOMEBegging is the primary source of income for street children. More than 55% of them get their money through this practice. About 20% do day work, while 9% wash cars. 7.4% said that they obtained their money from stealing and 1.5% said that they obtained their money from prostitution. Because they want to get money, the children do not relax very much. For 11.9% of them, free time is synonymous with drugs or stealing. The usual place for such relaxation is on the street. Only 5.9% of the street children go to an orphanage for rest.


Some of these children are spending their ninth Christmas in the open air only a few meters from the fence of the Presidential Palace in Bucharest. At this location there are 8 people. There are 6 children who are between the ages of 3 months and 11 years who are shivering because of the cold. Their parents, Catita Afrim and Constantin Bobi Flueras have made this "house" and covered it with plastic and old clothes. It's a hut. Instead of a door, the hut has rags. On a nearby tree, wet clothes are hanging. They were washed yesterday by the children's mother in a trough with holes. For 9 years they have been on the street and some of the children were even born there in the field. Only later did Catita get to the hospital. The woman is 34 years old and is crazy with worry. Only her man, to whom she is not legally married, works. They live on his salary. At 6 in the morning when he leaves for work, it is so cold that it freezes the tears his eyes. He doesn't want to get out from under the blanket. But when he looks at the small hunched forms, his heart throbs painfully. He goes out hungry and comes back in the evening broken. All that awaits him is a potato broth in a beat up pot. He wolfs down the broth with the rest of them. Catita told us with moist eyes, "We stayed for a while in a park. It was summer. After that we moved to a ghetto in Ferental. For 2 years we slept in the field near Bolentin. Several months we rented, we had a television, my, how the children watched it. We were no longer able to pay the rent so we returned here. My soul is black with anger that no one looks at us! See, Christmas is coming and we find ourselves under the stars!" Catita says that every year when Saint Nicholas is to come, she teaches the children to clean their shoes and put them outside in front of the door. Before lying down, the six little ones arrange their misshapen and mismatched shoes in front of the hovel, still hoping that St. Nicholas will pass their neighborhood. But St. Nicholas keeps forgetting to stop there. In the morning, Catita's children find little shoes frozen solid and made wet by stray dogs seeking shelter in the area. Then she smiled and told them that they weren't good and that's why St. Nicholas passed them by. They believed it. And at Christmas, as miserable as they were, they wouldn't give up until they got a little Christmas tree which they decorated with whatever they had -- the foil from chocolate that they received from charity, little colored papers found in the garbage, a little doll without a leg, three buttons, a few plastic flowers. When it rains, their clothes are all wet and the palace of rags gets wet like cardboard. Three of the little girls go to school daily, helped by the organization Save the Children. The ones who stay home loaf around all day begging from cars at intersections, to the desperation of Catita who by no means wants to see them there. In one second the little children all go out of the tent in a row, like ants, some with no shirt and barefoot, some with slippers put on backwards. Carmenuta, the 3 month old girl, laughs and punches with her little hands. The boys pull a gray tomcat by the tail and then scuttle away to some bushes. They appear with a moth eaten stuffed fox, thrown away in the garbage by who knows who. They ride it, pull its tail and kiss its snout. Sometimes Catita messes up their names because there's alot of them; "Well, there's Lavinia, ahhh...Adelina, Camelia, Mihaita, Carmenuta (the little one) and .......oh brother, there's one more." She looks around the 'house' and realizes that a little girl is missing. "Hey, where in the world is that little rascal?!" screams the woman. Toward the evening the little one shows up too, barefoot, full of snot but happy, licking a lollipop victoriously. She holds it in her little dirty hands like a trophy. Catita puts her hands on her head: "You crossed the road again, you little rebel! How many times have I told you that I better not catch you doing that, because I'll crack you!"


From Adevarul Oct. 5, 2006

By: Val Valcu

Among seven children who were born in Cluj and Constanta, only 2 are still holding onto life. For doctors this is a simple statistic. Babies born prematurely in Romania have a 15% chance to survive. If they live for a week, their chances of survival are 20%. For the authorities, these statistics do not seem to have any importance. Confronted with an infant mortality rate which is as high as many African states, Romania is, nevertheless, under pressure to report an infant mortality rate which is more in line with European levels. It needs to be known that infant mortality numbers are not influenced by extreme cases nor by occasional situations which may happen once per year. Thousands of children have died, many anonymously, because the midwives from the villages did not have anything with which to wash their hands. Also, many times, the ambulance didn't arrive at the top of the mountain while other times parents fed their newborns bread and water which were poisoned with nitrates. Beyond the drama of individual cases, what has Romanian society lost in its war against its smallest citizens? In other words, what really is the value of the life of a child? Monetarily speaking, one could begin with the sums which are necessary for bringing the child into this world. Blood tests during the pregnancy cost between 100 and 500 euros ($130-650). The birth itself in a private clinic will cost between $1900 and $2500. Those who choose the classic system, that is with bribe money in an envelope, will find that they will pay approximately the same amount. Why is it that only half of all mothers are seen for the first time by a doctor on the day they give birth? Why is it that 80% have not had a sonogram which in Romania only costs $1? Many Romanian families have sold their houses and cars in order for their child to have an operation abroad. Others, and probably many more, have put their children to work at hard labor at the age of 10 years so that the parents can have money for alcohol.

What value are Romanian children given by the state in which they are born? Demographic experts point out that the population will grow older and smaller. In 2050 there will be only 16 million Romanians in the country, and a working adult will be working to support 9 people. In order to prevent a crisis, these Romanian demographic experts say that birth rates must be increased. Salaries for mothers and babies which are supposed to be introduced in 2007, have been shown to be efficient in Western Europe, but is this the solution to the problem? Are we interested in the number of Romanians or in their quality of life? If the state would invest in the health and education of Romanian children, perhaps a Romanian worker in 2050 will be able to support 9 people. If not, then the retirees of tomorrow will not have a very good life. Romanians depart for Italy because there they can earn money to buy a house. After Jan. 1, 2007, the local authorities will strive to construct kindergartens for children and to give them medical insurance. If the state does not take measures which view society as a whole, and if Romanians don't sense that things are going better, they will depart. People will go to the business owner to work abroad, and the little ones will be stolen from maternity hospitals and sold on the internet for adoption.