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.

  • 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.

  • owenstrachan

    Great thoughts, Al. Thank you for these comments.

  • Holiday Longing

    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.