For nearly a decade, a devoted group of people from Kansas City has made it their mission to support 14 children who live in a Romanian orphanage known as Deb’s House.
The reasons are varied. Some do it because they were on track to adopt one of the children, but were shut out when Romania closed international adoption. So they advocate for a child the best they can.
For others, it is a chance to be an ambassador for the United States with an Eastern European community.
But for most of the 20-some volunteers who travel to the orphanage and raise money for the children, they do it simply because they fell in love.
“They are just special,” is the way Pam Turner of Kansas City puts it.
We discovered the children of Deb’s House back in 2001, while on a trip with Medical Missions Foundation to the former communist country where many people in the county named Botosani (bow-tow-shawn) live in desperate poverty.
Some of the children were babies. Others were placed in Deb’s House over the past several years.
All of them were abandoned by their parents either at birth or a young age; mostly due to poverty.
The children range in age between 13 and 7. There are seven girls and seven boys with two sets of twins.
All of their American sponsors have pledged to see them through to adulthood.
“My dream would be they grow up and be productive members of society and live happy and healthy lives, normal lives,” says Turner.
The Kansas City sponsors provide everything from food, clothing, and medical care, to school supplies, dance class and tutors who help with homework.
A caring Romanian staff works to provide a home environment that is as close to a family as possible.
“You can’t be around those kids without being affected by them,” said NBC Action News photojournalist Ben Chandler.
He volunteered to shoot video on this year’s fall trip.
“Even though I know some folks don’t have the opportunity to go, I can definitely vouch for the good it is doing for those kids and how important it is for them.”
We may not be changing the world. But our volunteers are changing 14 lives.
“They are so loving, and they bring a lot of joy to me,” said Dr. Vincent Hays who has visited the children three times.
“I feel like every time I come that I get more out of this than I give back.”
Deb’s House is supported by donations and with help from the Olathe Rotary Club.
For more information visit UnitedAidFoundation.org and look under “Missions.”