Life in a Romanian Orphanage: “A Mixture of Excrement and Open Wounds”

Global financier Arpad Busson is not one you might initially think would be an advocate for adoption.  He’s dated famous actresses and lives a lavish life.  I somehow came across a piece on him, though, and found this heartrending description of a Romanian orphanage:

For Busson, whose personal wealth is around £200 million, his Damascene moment came a decade ago, when he was setting up ARK. That first visit to a Romanian orphanage remains a vivid and deeply disturbing memory. “The most heart-wrenching thing is the smell. The awful gagging,” he recalls. “The institution was in a remote, poor region. But nothing prepares you for the moment you open the doors. That first woosh of fetid air. It is a mixture of excrement and infected wounds. Because they couldn’t afford heating, the windows were never opened. The children were emaciated because they were never given solids, only soup. They were strapped in cots. In one room there must have been 40, all banging their heads on the walls. They were naked and filthy. My son, Arpad Flynn, was just three then [he's 13 now, while Aurelius Cy, Busson's second son with Ms Macpherson, is eight] and the sight of those tiny children in such filth… with no hope. Like zombies. It made me utterly furious.

Russ Moore has talked about this kind of setting in his important book Adopted for Life (he also references orphanages in a powerful Christianity Today piece).  I would encourage you to think about whether there are things that you can personally do to give gospel-driven hope to those in such awful situations.  Also visit Together for Adoption for help and information about how to get involved.

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6 responses to “Life in a Romanian Orphanage: “A Mixture of Excrement and Open Wounds”

  1. Al Mather

    I know a lady who grew up in this area, now living somewhere else, who in the name of the Lord goes over to Romania for a month or more every year to visit and love the people in several of the orphanages. She goes to the same places year after year. Her description is the same as what you related. While adoption is certainly wonderful, we need to also care for the others who may never be adopted. We need to put arms around these people, cloth and feed them. To add an additional point, apparently, once these orphans reach a certain age they are on their own or get move to another “facility”. In her opinion, this often does not benefit the former orphans.

  2. owenstrachan

    Great thoughts, Al. Thank you for these comments.

  3. A friend of mine brought two of these kids home from Romania, when she was still single. Now she’s married and they foster. Now, she’s an example! My husband and I went to China to relieve an orphanage of a child. What a blessing she is.

  4. I grew up in a Romanian orphanage in mid 70’s till mid 90’s and life was so hard,you had to get day by day to survive and it wasn’t easy. The so called careers were very very heartless and so violent towards us. We used to be about 200 children with no love or care whatsoever. I will never forget the abuse we used to get it. I hope that what happened to me and my other friends will never happen again. I hope this facts come to light and something should be done about this. Now I have got a brilliant husband and 4 wonderful children, I will make sure no one will be treated the way I was treated and they are very much loved, the love and care I carved for.

  5. Katherine's (Kay please) wilson

    I wonder would there be any chance of naming a building within the orphanage, or room or something , after may husband Michael wilson , we always felt that if no when the time was right we would support a Romanian orphanage, but his own health is failing now. I know if I gave him a gift of a building room or something in connection with the orphanage, it mean more than words could express, of course I would make a donation, and regularly

    We are in our late 60s now and too old and infirm , but have talked about this sort of thing for years,

    This is a most sincere request,

    Thanks. , let me have our thoughts,

    Yours Kay wilson
    My only observation is that we are another church goers, but have
    Goodness and love your Neighbour as the heart of our

    0k, now, hope to hear from you as soon as hour pick your messages up.

    • Mariana Griffiths

      As i grew up in a Romanian Orphanage ,i do think that would be very generous from you and your husband to make a donation to the orphanage i grew up in,or any of them there was many in the town i lived in.They do need alot of help because things haven’t changed at all,and the children are still mistreated like i was and the many other’s i grow up with, only a few managed to bring there live’s around but we will never forget the year’s of abuse that i mentioned in my early post on this site.Like it has been said after a certain age you are left on your own and many turn to a life of crime or drug’s and prostitution,i know this because i still keep in touch with a few close friend’s.The Orphanage was called at that time CASA DE COPII FETE in RAMNICUL VALCEA.If you would like more details pls let me know.Many thanks Mariana.

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