Putting it Back Up

December 20th, 2011

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.  

Deaths.

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 knew.

They knew.

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”

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88 Responses to “Putting it Back Up”

  1. I found this too, that even here in America, we do not want to hear the sad tragic stories, we want to be ignorant and pretend that it doesn’t happen! Thank you for not  putting your head in the sand. 

  2. Anne says:

    This is just amazing. To God be the glory. So glad the director is gone and your attorney found the courage to act. Next time anyone thinks they are insignificant or unsophisticated, please remember this. God does not call the ones who think they are mighty for his service. He calls the faithful, the humble, the ones with a pure heart to do his will. You have taught me so much just by being a living example of what a christian should be. Thank you.

  3. Mommaofmany says:

    I am thrilled to hear how the Lord has brought this abuse to an end.  Praises to HIM!

  4. Laura - Fishbait says:

    Tears and praise pouring out of my heart!!!!  Praise the Lord!  I don’t have words to express what is in my heart.  Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you!!

  5. EG says:

    I’m smiling and tearing up at the same time.  Yay God!

  6. CS says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us.  I’m crying tears of joy.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Thank you Lord! Praise the name of the Lord forever and ever! What a Christmas gift for all those kids…This is the best gift ever. Thank you Jesus

  8. Leigh says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this amazing news!

  9. Mary Feigum says:

    Isn’t it amazing how God planned for the birth of your daughter Verity “truth” set off a chain of events like this. Isn’t it amazing how truth has been exposed?  I rejoice in the hope of the changes that I pray will now come to this orphanage. God is good.

  10. Carey says:

    The greatest Christmas gift to all those children. I am so thankful to our God!  This is incredible news.  Thank you God!  Thank you!

  11. Angel says:

    WHOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!  So amazed at what God can do.  Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.  :)  Thank you for working so hard to bring Katie home and spreading the word about all the other children there. Praying that now they can get what they need (FOOD, and LOVE) and find their forever families.  

  12. Holly says:

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

    Evil will not triumph because God has worked!  I give Him praise but I also acknowledge you, Joe, and your attorney.  And I bless Verity as the beginning of all of this!  “Truth” is so fitting!!!   

    And to your attorney, you are the good person that decided to something!  I imagine it is hard for you because you are in country and certainly challenging the system, your courage astounds me!  Evil will not triumph!

  13. Joy says:

    JOYFUL TEARS HERE, SUSANNA!!! I’M SPEECHLESS!

    THANK YOU, FATHER! YOU ARE AWESOME! 

  14. Rebecca ~asplendidtime says:

    Praising Him, for He is good!  :)

  15. Caroline says:

    I just found a video on Youtube about the Baba program in Katie’s orphanage, and I believe found Katie with her Baba very briefly at 7min50 on the recording.  It really shows the changes in her.

  16. Katie says:

    Caroline, I was just about to post the same video to see if Susanna had seen it.  I identified Katie and her Baba too.  

  17. Gail says:

    Caroline – when I played the video Katy was therre at 7:40 with her Baba.  FYI to anyone watching for her.

  18. Amy Rainey says:

    Thank you, Jesus!  Praise your name!  You are a warrior for the orphan, a protector of the helpless.  Thank you for using these precious people to shine light into darkness.  Thank you for your provision. Thank you for your servants in Bulgaria.  Strengthen them for the continued task of helping these precious ones come home!

  19. Heather says:

    Praise God for bringing justice and truth to the orphanage!  What an amazing story of how God still chooses ordinary people to battle giants.   FYI…I discovered the Baba video last week on another blog and enjoyed watching Katie there, also. 

  20. Christine says:

    I cry reading that. That’s wonderful news! Thank you to God for bringing those kids’ plight to light. How amazing!

  21. Susanna says:

    Caroline, can you imagine how priceless that video was to me back at the beginning of August, less than two weeks before I went to the orphanage myself? (http://theblessingofverity.com/2011/08/ten-beautiful-seconds/) The ability to recognize her baba? The ability to recognize the other children (including the little girl who appears first on the video: http://theblessingofverity.com/2011/11/one-small-girl/, who is now being adopted with Liliana and two little boys by my friend Jenny: http://thesousabrownfamily.blogspot.com/)? Amazing now to look back and see the timing of God.

  22. Anne Ross says:

    Wow is right!!!! now that is GOD kicking Satan in the butt! AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! I hope every child in that horrid place gets a family and a voice!!!!!!! 

  23. Robin says:

    God is so good!  Praise HIM!  Chills and tears of joy for the children, your obedience and his love.  “Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God our Father!  Morning by morning new mercies I see!  There is no shadow of turning with thee! Thou changest not. thy compassions, they fail not. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto thee.  “

  24. Rochelle Wilson says:

    Praise God!! Thank you for sharing!

  25. Bernadette says:

    Praise God! WOW! He answers prayers powerfully!  It is such a relief to know that this is not the pattern all over Bulgaria as I had feared. God be praised!

  26. Lara Font says:

    I got chills and tears reading this post, God is BIG enough!

  27. Robin says:

    Tears of joy!

  28. Melissa says:

    SO happy to read this!  I WILL praise the Lord right along with you!  He came to set the captives free and how WONDERFUL it is to see that happening!

    Thank you for sharing the Lord’s work with us.  All glory to Him, our wonderful Savior. 

  29. Shanna says:

    What an amazing God we have! Praising him for using you as a vessel to this amazing miracle!!!

  30. Carissa says:

    WOW!  It is amazing to see how God is using Katie in His plan for all His children in that orphanage!  Such a tiny girl, such a big blessing playing such a HUGE role in God’s plan!  :)

    I also have to say my big girls (ages 11 and 7) are incredibly amazed at Katie and her progress thus far.  They understand just how tiny she is because we have met a VERY tiny Theo Nance when he came home from Ukraine.  They also have a baby sister who actually weighs the same as Katie does right now (she is 8 months old and tiny for her age, which just baffles me that my bitty baby is the same size as your 9 yr old…) They LOVE Katie updates!  They are loving her pictures and we are praying for her.  It makes them say “When are we adopting?” every time I show them a new picture!  :)

  31. Phyllis says:

    I’m crying, too. I think I know a little more of how much of a miracle this is. Officials in other Eastern European countries would probably not have responded so well. To an American mind, this is a miracle, but it’s also probably just what should have happened. If you know how impossible it is to have a complaint heard, to get a person in power out….

  32. elizabeth says:

    she is getting so much more beautiful 

  33. arelyn says:

    Thank you Father, Mighty God! You are just and wonderful and my heart just sings as tears well up. You are just and faithful. Thank you for working in this place!

  34. Emily says:

    Praise God!! It’s a miracle!! 
    He is big enough to move mountains!!  

  35. Kathy says:

    As someone who found your blog recently, I was so glad to see this information go up.  I love every bit of detail you can give us about little Katie, but I have just been grieving and beyond outraged at the injustice, that disabled children are treated this way in a modernized country.  It’s good to know the abuse was not necessarily widespread, and amazing to see God working through the suffering of these precious little ones to bring justice.  I’m praying that even more attention will be brought to this matter.

  36. incredible news!  I am so happy for all those little ones in that orphanage!  WOW!

  37. Christy says:

    Praise the LORD.

  38. Lisa says:

    Praise God!!!
    I Have been following your story!  And remember when you removed what you had posted.
    I have followed many Bulgarian adoption stories through the years, none so horrific, of the care at this orphanage!  So thankful for you being lead there, and the difference it has made for SO many children!

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