Romania, Part II

Click here to see the start of this story. I’ve tried several times to sort of “wrap up” my experiences in Romania to be able to share them and it just hasn’t worked. The heartbreaking things I saw remain heartbreaking; there is no immediate happy ending.

It was great that we got to spend time loving on, teaching, and playing with these orphan children. On the day of the following journal entry we had taken a bus to another city in order to visit a zoo. For many this was one of their first rides in a vehicle. Just so you know: In Romania, “Air Conditioning” means hot air that gets blown around.

So here is one of my journal entries from my trip to Romania. We lived at an orphanage for a week and spent some time beyond that with the Roma people, more commonly known by the derogatory term “gypsies.” The names have been changed mostly because I think I’m supposed to do that.

I saw a small kid get beat up today. Like, beat the heck up.  I picked him up and tried to love on him. He was crying- hard.

He realized he had more attention on him than just mine. Other children were starting to comment on his tears.

I watched his emotions -his soul, his spirit- shrink and disappear inside his eyes as a blank fake smile appeared on his face.

He is so used to hiding. It means nothing to him.

Alexandru, the meaner, almost a bully-type kid. … I’ve fussed at him for stealing toys and corrected him a few times beyond that but only played with him briefly.

He came up to me tonight (our last night) and with his thick accent said “come on” and waved me over to walk with him. He put his tough little 12-year-old arm around me- A very strange act that I would never have expected from one of the toughest kids. He kept his arm there, I put my arm around him and we walked- well, he guided me- around the orphanage as the sky turned dark. He made small talk kept his head low. I could tell he was sad. I felt like he wanted to tell me what it meant to him that we came to be with him.

I asked him what animals he liked at the zoo today. He barely answered. I couldn’t shut up. I guess I wanted to keep him from being sad.

Eventually I realized what was happening and I stopped talking.

And we just walked.

… A long silence went by as we appreciated each other’s company. Then, slowly, some sincere and vulnerable words came. He asked me if I had a family, if Jenny had a family.

I struggled to answer his simple questions- they only forced me to ask my own questions: Why did I deserve a family and he gets nothing? Why did I get to grieve a broken family while he got abandoned? If I have a family why can’t I take him back to be a part of it?

He wants family so badly.

He needs it.

I told him he is my family, too. That he is my brother.

Then I went to a room alone and wept.

…and wept.

…and wept.

He needs so much more than those words, so much more than this visit. I need so much more than to say those words, so much more than to be here briefly.

The world is a broken, messed-up place. If you can love on someone, love on them. If you can support missions, support them. If you can go on missions, go. If you can move there, do it. If you can be a mother or a father to those who have been left without one, then by all means do so.

What do you think? What is your gut reaction to hearing about these kids? What questions force themselves into your mind when you read about these kids?



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  3. Pingback: Romania, Part III (Final) | ChadwickFloyd.COM

  4. I’m at a loss for words Chad. This has deeply affected me. I want to find both of those boys … to hold them and never let go.

    My next thought was that my son and daughter-in-law will be moving far away someday. I’ve been warned of this possibility before and I’ve been “OK” with it. After reading this, I’m not “OK” anymore. I finally get why it means so much to you. You weren’t able to share your experience with me right away when you returned. I understand that now as well. If/when you go, you won’t be going with my “OK” … you’ll be going with my encouragement, support, and blessing. I love you.

  5. My gut reaction is to tell you and Jenny you would be great parents to children like this boy. Adoption is such an amazing gift to yourself, and especially, those being adopted. Hopefully, one day soon, Will and I will be called to adoption as well. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  6. Chad, it is my belief that your tears, thoughts, and sharing are ministering still to the kids who touched your life in Romania. I cried also. Thank you for being so vulnerable. GM

  7. Oh, Chad. I love you. I love how much you love.

    I once went on a mission trip to Washington D.C. We volunteered in a homeless shelter one day. There was an old woman there who had probably not had a bath in MANY months, and was wearing the only set of clothes she had. Honestly, very gross and stinky. Our group was asked if one of us would help her undress and give her a bath. She wasn’t able mentally or physically to undress herself or bathe. Only briefly did I look around at the “not me” faces in the group before I volunteered to do it. I won’t go into the not-so-pleasant details of my job. Honestly, I was grossed out. What I also remember is that I felt love for her and I felt loved. I was gentle and loving as I peeled her socks off her feet. I imagined how I would want someone to treat me in the same situation. It actually felt good to me to be able to wash her in the bathtub. Wow. Humbling. I felt like I was receiving a bigger gift than she was.

    Like you will never forget that tough kid, Chad, or the one who was beaten, I will never forget that woman. It is no accident that she is a part of my life. And those kids touched you just as you touched them. Isn’t it amazing how great the impact is of just one brief moment with another person? Who is helping whom?

  8. So did I. (I’m in the writing lab at KSU. Crying here is kind of awkward.)

    I’m so glad that you’re posting these entries and that you are still thinking of these kids. I think the hardest part of a mission trip is the several-months-to-a-year-later period when you realize that somehow you’ve managed to leave it all in your past. It’s important to rehash and remember everything–not just what you learned or what you saw, but what you felt and what you shared with the people there. We can’t allow ourselves to forget that people are suffering all of the world and need to know that there’s a God who loves them and has a plan for them.

    So, what questions come to mind? I guess when I read things like this I instantly question whether what I’m doing is enough. Am I there for my friends like they need me to be? Do I go out of my way to show the love of Christ to others? How much of what I do is about me? Am I being selfish with my time, my money, my talents? What’s stopping me from doing what God has called us all to do? In short, I feel convicted and challenged. But I also feel energized. I feel called to action. I know that God has a plan for the broken-hearted and I feel overwhelmingly grateful that He has chosen to include me (and all of us) in it.

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