Wednesday March 6, 2019

Psalm 4:1 Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

God has definitely had His hand in this journey, from changing dates to meeting people who point us in a direction we never imagined. I am so grateful for His intervention because without Him none of this would be possible. Our time here is a perfect example. We were not supposed to be here until May/June 2019, but we found out that they needed us sooner and everything worked out beautifully, just the way it was supposed to. They have many different needs which all of us as a family can help accomplish and it is so wonderful to know that we have the opportunity to make an impact on this community and the work this organization is doing here.

Jeff and I decided that I would take the first few shifts at the hospital this week and then he would start next week, so today was my first day. I was a bit overwhelmed by the need Firm Foundation Romania (FFR) is filling. They are working really hard to provide for children in the hospital and to be resource to the hospital staff. My role at the hospital will be to change diapers, hold and love on the babies, and to deliver diapers to all the children in the hospital without a parent there. Here in Romania when children get sick and have to be hospitalized the parents are expected to stay with them and provide the necessary clothes and diapers, as well as continue to care for the basic needs of the child (holding, feeding, diapers, etc). The hospital staff are unable to provide for the emotional connections these babies need because their primary focus is getting them healthy and there is not enough time in the day to be nurse and parent. The problem is that there are many parents who are unable/unwilling to stay to continue caring for their child, so they take them to the hospital when they are sick and then they leave. As a result hese children have no diaper supply, no clothes, and no attention. That is where FFR and its volunteers come in. FFR provides diapers and clothing for all the children whose parents don’t or can’t provide them and the volunteers are there to change diapers, feed them, and hold, snuggle, and love them. So that is just what I got to do today.

However, I will tell you that I never imagined the heartbreak I would feel hearing these children wailing as I put them back in their crib to go to the next room. They just wanted to be loved and held and while I wanted to stay, there were more children who needed the same thing. It was such a dichotomy of emotions. On one hand it was so wonderful to love and snuggles these adorable children, but on the other hand, having to spread the love over 15-20 children was just heartbreaking because I can only hold one at a time. This morning was very rewarding and I am so grateful that we are here to help.

The volunteer supervisor I have been working with today met with me after the shift to discuss the possible options to get the kids involved. I can’t believe all the options available to them. To start with they will be working on creating baby bundles, which is like a gift bag filled with clothing items for the child, and it is given to parents who stay with their child is in the hospital. They are also needing help to sort donations that have come in over the last several months in preparation for another truck load of donations to be delivered next month. So we have a lot of work to do and I am so happy that we were willing to listen and go where God needed us, not just where we wanted to be. We allowed God’s plan to lead us.

A big downside for Anjali is that she really wanted to work directly with the babies at the hospital, but all visitors to the hospital need to be at least 14 years old, so that is out of the question for her. And while she was sad about this, she understood and was glad to be able to help the babies in another way; I am so proud of her. I hope that when she sees the office and the work that needs to be done, she will understand that when we are volunteering and helping others we need to be focused on what they need, not what we want to do.

Jeff stayed home teaching the kids today and they did pretty well, especially since we have not had formal school over the last month. The kids had been getting hands-on and interactive lessons while working with the turtles and helping to lead tours at the sanctuary. Now that we are back to the grind with school work, I am hoping that the kids will get back into a rhythm and routine with getting their work done. It may also help that the family that lives below are expats from the states and they have been homeschooling their children from the beginning. Their children are usually done with their school work by 12 or 2 pm because, as they said themselves, they want to get their school work done as soon as possible so they can be done for the day as early as possible. I am hoping our kids will take a lesson from them, get their work done quick and don’t screw around so you will have the rest of the day to play.

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