Sunday, August 30, 2009

Interesting article from a friend's blog...this is why so many of these orphans live the way they do... no one cares about them

Discrimination against Roma
Madonna booed in Bucharest for defending Gypsies
Associated Press - August 27, 2009 1:13 PM PDT
U.S. singer Madonna, center, performs during her concert in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. The concert is part of Madonna's Sticky and Sweet Tour. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)Associated Press
BUCHAREST, Romania - At first, fans politely applauded the Roma performers sharing a stage with Madonna. Then the pop star condemned widespread discrimination against Roma, or Gypsies — and the cheers gave way to jeers.
The sharp mood change that swept the crowd of 60,000, who had packed a park for Wednesday night's concert, underscores how prejudice against Gypsies remains deeply entrenched across Eastern Europe.
Despite long-standing efforts to stamp out rampant bias, human rights advocates say Roma probably suffer more humiliation and endure more discrimination than any other people group on the continent.
Sometimes, it can be deadly: In neighboring Hungary, six Roma have been killed and several wounded in a recent series of apparently racially motivated attacks targeting small countryside villages predominantly settled by Gypsies.
"There is generally widespread resentment against Gypsies in Eastern Europe. They have historically been the underdog," Radu Motoc, an official with the Soros Foundation Romania, said Thursday.
Roma, or Gypsies, are a nomadic ethnic group believed to have their roots in the Indian subcontinent. They live mostly in southern and eastern Europe, but hundreds of thousands have migrated west over the past few decades in search of jobs and better living conditions.
Romania has the largest number of Roma in the region. Some say the population could be as high as 2 million, although official data put it at 500,000.
Until the 19th century, Romanian Gypsies were slaves, and they've gotten a mixed response ever since: While discrimination is widespread, many East Europeans are enthusiastic about Gypsy music and dance, which they embrace as part of the region's cultural heritage.
That explains why the Roma musicians and a dancer who had briefly joined Madonna onstage got enthusiastic applause. And it also may explain why some in the crowd turned on Madonna when she paused during the two-hour show — a stop on her worldwide "Sticky and Sweet" tour — to touch on their plight.
"It has been brought to my attention ... that there is a lot of discrimination against Romanies and Gypsies in general in Eastern Europe," she said. "It made me feel very sad."
Thousands booed and jeered her.
A few cheered when she added: "We don't believe in discrimination ... we believe in freedom and equal rights for everyone." But she got more boos when she mentioned discrimination against homosexuals and others.
"I jeered her because it seemed false what she was telling us. What business does she have telling us these things?" said Ionut Dinu, 23.
Madonna did not react and carried on with her concert, held near the hulking palace of the late communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, said Madonna and other had told her there were cheers as well as jeers.
"Madonna has been touring with a phenomenal troupe of Roma musicians who made her aware of the discrimination toward them in several countries so she felt compelled to make a brief statement," Rosenberg said in an e-mail. "She will not be issuing a further statement."
One Roma musician said the attitude toward Gypsies is contradictory.
"Romanians watch Gypsy soap operas, they like Gypsy music and go to Gypsy concerts," said Damian Draghici, a Grammy Award-winner who has performed with James Brown and Joe Cocker.
"But there has been a wave of aggression against Roma people in Italy, Hungary and Romania, which shows me something is not OK," he told the AP in an interview. "The politicians have to do something about it. People have to be educated not to be prejudiced. All people are equal, and that is the message politicians must give."
Nearly one in two of Europe's estimated 12 million Roma claimed to have suffered an act of discrimination over the past 12 months, according to a recent report by the Vienna-based EU Fundamental Rights Agency. The group says Roma face "overt discrimination" in housing, health care and education.
Many do not have official identification, which means they cannot get social benefits, are undereducated and struggle to find decent jobs.
Roma children are more likely to drop out of school than their peers from other ethnic groups. Many Romanians label Gypsies as thieves, and many are outraged by those who beg or commit petty crimes in Western Europe, believing they spoil Romania's image abroad.
In May 2007, Romanian President Traian Basescu was heard to call a Romanian journalist a "stinky Gypsy" during a conversation with his wife. Romania's anti-discrimination board criticized Basescu, who later apologized.
Human rights activists say the attacks in Hungary, which began in July 2008, may be tied to that country's economic crisis and the rising popularity of far-right vigilantes angered by a rash of petty thefts and other so-called "Gypsy crime." Last week, police arrested four suspects in a nightclub in the eastern city of Debrecen.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia also have been criticized for widespread bias against Roma.
Madonna's outrage touched a nerve in Romania, but it seems doubtful it will change anything, said the Soros Foundation's Motoc.
"Madonna is a pop star. She is not an expert

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In case you have forgotten... Andrew and Gracie :)

It has been 4 weeks since we left Gracie and 5 since we held Andrew. I just wanted to remind you all to pray for our 2 children in Bulgaria... things are going very well and we hope to have our final approval ( 800- done after meeting the children) tomorrow and our medicals and police clearances to Toni next week.. the 800 goes directly to the embassy in Sofia... then Toni can start working on our court date and then we can get them home .

I love this pic of Gracie because it was one of the few times she played with a toy.. the musical phone was one other time.
The one pic of Andrew sucking his thumb and holding onto his daddy's finger is another favorite of mine.....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This is Toni - She is wonderful

I have shared some about our lawyer/facilitator in Bulgaria. She has become a real friend and kindred spirit... a sister in Christ. I know some of you have noticed that she is in a wheelchair and I wanted to share about her and ask a question. She was in a car accident and it left her a paraplegic.... she is very capable and caring individual who now gets around in a wheelchair. She never once complained and is actually grateful for what happened to her because of it she was lead to give her life to the Lord... she was a real blessing and honor to be with when we traveled on our first trip....
Paul and I want to bless her and because my father just died in May my family has a motorized wheelchair that she could use to get around. We already asked her and she would love to have it. We would give it to her but need a way to get it to her.... While we were there she had one of her brothers travel with us as well as her mom or cousin to help with her personal needs. One of our hotels she could not even fit her wheelchair into the bathroom and when we ate out her brothers very lovingly and willingly helped move her up flights of stairs to the restaurant. Bulgaria is not handicapp accessible . It is a very hard life for anyone in a wheelchair... but you know she never once complained.... as I shared she was a blessing to us and has a strong spirit and a deep faith.
So if any of you know of a way to help us to get Toni this motorized wheelchair... maybe even when we travel to pick up our kids for free or not to costly we would be grateful.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I love new life.... children and flowers or the things that grow in my garden

Menus from Bulgaria.... every place had English ones and this one restaurant had over 40 salads to choose from.... yummy

Some pictures of some of what we ate in Bulgaria

From this hotdog at a Sheetz like gas station ( actually was a Shell Station), to the typical shopska salad,a Bulgarian casserole, ham and pineapple pizza, potato salad with lots of cheese on top, Fanta lemon with ice ( we had ice everywhere), and Lipton tea,crepe like pancakes to die for,ice cream with fruit and an expresso..... we loved eating there .

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This is what happens to a child who is neglected, not loved and placed in a crib all of his life with nothing to stimulate his senses.. and who knows

These are the 2 referral pictures of Dancho (Andrew) that we got... they speak volumes to me. In the first as an infant when he was first brought to the orphanage... he was chubby and engaging.. very endearing and able to connect to others... then after a few years with rough handling, neglect, and absoulutely no stimulation for his senses... He lost 1.32 lbs. in 8 months. He weighs just 20 lbs.I hate this picture of him..... Actually I can not even think too long about him there and what he is enduring while we wait for our court date.... we mailed our 800 off yesterday and have done all the updates for the medicals and police clearances... now we wait . We have asked for our case to be expedited because of his condition.... please pray that we get to return sooner than later for our kids. Gracie Jane was not as critical... even that is a ridiculous comment but at least she has some body fat, and gets some attention......
There are 2 precious little girls ( infants) in the room next to his who look and act just like his baby picture... I shudder to think what will happen to them in a few years... My doctor looked at Dancho's pictures and said,"That is a failure to thrive if I ever saw one"... then you watch the video of him laughing and I just know how much he will change when we get him home and we all can't wait.....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More pics for Jenn and Jeremiah :)

Swimming in the rain,watching the Cars Movie, and playdough ....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We have company- our "grand" babies

Jenn and Jeremiah are in Haiti on a missions trip to orphanages :) Boy does my heart sing when I think of them loving on the orphans down there... and they have some children who have already stolen their hearts... imagine that.
We are watching Ella and Ezra for them and are we having fun!!!! It is so different to be able to watch your grandchildren without their parents around :) We have loved every minute of it... too bad they have to come back... actually I will drive them back on Friday to NC.
I am posting pics of some of our time ( so Jenn and Jeremiah can see their kiddos) by reading our blog while they are done there...