A few days after I returned home from Bulgaria in August, our Bulgarian adoption attorney emailed me with an urgent request.
Some non-governmental groups were distressed by what I had posted on this blog after seeing the extremely poor condition and neglectful treatment of many of the special-needs children in Katie’s former orphanage.
Out of their distress, they began peppering our attorney with emails and phone calls.
No, I’m sorry to say their distress was not a result of broken hearts over the condition of the children there, and they weren’t emailing and calling our attorney to learn what they could do to help rescue them or bring about justice on their behalf.
At any given time, our attorney’s workload is heavy. Since our visit to Katie’s former orphanage in August, it has only increased due to her diligent efforts on behalf of the children waiting there. The multiple emails and phone calls were keeping her from her real work.
Because of this, she kindly asked if we could please temporarily remove some specific things from the blog.
We also began to receive scathing and threatening anonymous comments from individuals who mistakenly thought that we were calling people Satan. For the record, we do believe that Satan exists, and we are not getting him confused with any human beings.
At the time we didn’t yet know that the MOJ, or Ministry of Justice, is eager to see the waiting children adopted, and that they get a lot of satisfaction out of helping those adoptions happen. They like and respect our attorney.
Contrary to the panicked threats being flung about, the Bulgarian government is not even close to shutting down the special-needs adoption program. It is one aspect of their laudable longer-term goal of closing Bulgarian orphanages and relocating the children via adoption, foster care, and very small group homes. We continue to unhesitatingly recommend the Bulgaria special-needs adoption program to many other families! It is an excellent, stable, trustworthy program. We have truly enjoyed every aspect of the Bulgarian side of our adoption!
There was another reason for us to temporarily take down the “offending” blog posts, a reason that I have not written about here on the blog at all.
The very first day our attorney and I went to the orphanage and saw the effect of the neglectful treatment, she called an international human-rights group, the Helsinki Committee. She and her contact in that group did a lot of talking over the next day and a half.
As soon as she and I got in the car that Wednesday morning in mid-August to head over to the orphanage to visit Katerina, she turned to me in great excitement and announced that the human-rights group had agreed to carry out an investigation of the orphanage.
In Bulgaria, directors of orphanages are required to be either pediatricians or family practice doctors. It is very difficult to remove them from their posts once they are established. The director of the Pleven baby house is not representative of the typical Bulgarian orphanage director! Our attorney has been in orphanages all over Bulgaria, and has met many directors who care about the kids and do their best to get them the care they need!
The director of Katie’s former orphanage has been there for years, and is directly responsible for the condition of the children there. The only way for her to be removed would be as a result of this type of investigation.
We had no idea how long this process might take, but we prayed. Prayed and did not ask our attorney. We knew she would tell us what she could when she could. We knew that she and her mom were working very hard to keep the pressure on where pressure was needed most.
It wasn’t until the November day that our attorney came to see Joe and me and Katie in our hotel room in Sofia, the afternoon before we flew Katie home to the States, that we learned the news. She had not wanted to trust it to an email.
The investigation had already taken place.
A team from the human-rights group and the government of Bulgaria went in unannounced with permission to perform a search.
They found all we had seen and more.
Katie was named in the report.
They found horrible things.
Attempts to cover up evidence.
Charges were being formulated against the director.
I wept to hear it!
It was real! God was really doing it!
He was really setting the children free!
I also wept with relief to know that I wasn’t being an over-dramatic crazy woman after all. I did question this at some low points during the long, silent wait, under outside pressure to keep it all pleasant. I’ve learned that it’s acceptable to talk about ignorance, but evil? Like some overheated religious fanatic?
This was more than ignorance.
They cared more about their own hides than about the little ones entrusted to their care.
On that Friday, our attorney also told us that the time was coming when we could “let the truth explode.”
Today that time has come.
In short, from our attorney~
“The orphanage director has been fired for systematic violations of the rules and failure to perform her duties! It is official!”
Shelley Bedford of the About A Child adoption agency stated in response, “That orphanage is NOT indicative of the level of care that most orphans in Bulgaria receive and the abuse that those children experienced directly conflicts with everything that the Bulgarian government is trying to do for the children in their care. Once they were made aware of what was happening to the children, they took immediate action and that director is GONE. Today we are thanking the Lord for those who saw the abuse and were brave enough to report it to the appropriate authorities (because many before had turned a blind eye) and that those in the Bulgarian government with the power to do so put actions behind their words and laws. I have said many times that Bulgaria’s adoption program, their policies in regards to orphan care and their pro-active government stance on adoption and orphan care is the one that all of Eastern Europe should model. There is no such thing as a “great” situation when a child is an orphan, but orphans CAN be taken proper care of while families are sought for them when those in charge DO THE RIGHT THING. Today, we rejoice that the children in this orphanage will finally start receiving the care that they deserve!!!!
Oh, friends! There are truly no words to describe the rejoicing!
If God does not act, human work is all for naught!
God has acted!!
PRAISE HIM WITH US!!!
Coming up, “The Rest of the Story: Q & A”