Today was an incredible day. One that I never would have expected. Over 8 years ago when I was visiting Constanta for the first time and working with street children, I met a girl named Ramona. She came regularly to the soup kitchen ministry that YWAM organized weekly and she was a sweet little girl. The next time I visited Romania in 2004 I got to know Ramona and her sister better and learned more about the challenges they faced in their families and that dangers that surrounded them everyday at home and on the street. They were coming to YWAM's Day Center regularly but it was clear that they needed more care and a safe place to live. So the dream was born for a Girls Shelter that would offer these sweet girls a home and stability.
Unfortunately before the Girls Shelter was available, Ramona and her sister stopped coming to the Day Center and also left their home. For years they survived on and off the street and in abandoned buildings and centers for street children. Our street ministry continued to meet them on the street and kept up the relationships until they started coming to a Bible Study for the homeless. For a few more years Ramona was invested in, as a special group of young people who wanted to know God and see some changes in their lives.
About 4 months ago we found out that Ramona and her sister were both pregnant. Immediately we started working on their legal papers and got them to the doctor for a check up. There was a lot of excitement at first and then the girls stopped showing up for appointments. While I was in the States for the holidays I found out that Ramona had given birth at 7 and 1/2 months. Our YWAM staff went to visit her in the hospital and then I heard nothing more about her or the baby. Had she kept the baby or had she abandoned her?
When I got back to Romania at the beginning of the year we went to Ramona and she told us that she had left the baby at the hospital. The place she was staying it was not terrible but she didn't want to bring the baby there, with so many people staying there and coming in a out. They didn't have a kitchen or indoor plumbing. It was just a room of an abandoned building they had cleaned up and made into a home. In a way I could understand Ramona. But how could she just leave her baby?
We went to hospital to visit the baby and on our third visit we made it in to see her. The baby girl was precious, but so alone. She needed her mother. We tried to think of families that might want to adopt her, or solutions through foster parents, and we prayed. Then the most wonderful door opened. A family was willing to take Ramona and her baby on and help them get on their feet. When I heard about this, I have to admit, I was doubtful. Would Ramona even be open for this?
When we shared with Ramona the possibility of her having a place to staff with her baby she was so excited! I was shocked! (In a good way ;) ) So we had a meeting with the family and Ramona and her boyfriend, the father of the baby. They were all so pleased with the situation. Ramona would have a chance for a new life and her little baby would no longer be stuck, alone in the hospital.
Finally, today I went to hospital first to find out what was the process for a mother to declare her baby and take her home. I was sent to the social worker in charge of abandoned babies and I started to get a little nervous. What if they wouldn't let her pick up the baby??? Trust, Leah, trust. After talking with the social worker, I knew what we had to do. We returned to the hospital a couple hours later with a very excited mother and father.
The social worker was waiting for us and gave us the go ahead. We headed to the room where the baby was and then began the one of the greatest moments of my time here in Romania. Ramona was so excited to see the baby. It had been two months since she gave birth and she had forgotten what the baby looked like. Both her and the father were all smiles at the sight of their precious baby. And it seemed to me that the baby knew exactly who these two people were. I just can't express the incredible feeling that I had, just seeing this baby, once abandoned, back in the arms of her parents. And the joy that was on Ramona's face was overwhelming. Mother and daughter were together again. It was just the way it should be.
My base leader said I was flying after our time in the hospital. And it was true. I had always wanted to adopt and everything about taking in a child without a family, touches my heart so much. But today, seeing this sweet baby girl back with her mother, who was so overjoyed to have her back, was a brand new feeling. It was redemption! Lives being given back and a chance for a new future. It was amazing...
And now comes the hard part. Ramona is now with the family and is already having a hard time. The house is beautiful. She has everything she needs. But everything she knows is not there and she wants to go back. So I ask you to pray. To pray for her to have the strength to stay and be the mother that she is called to be. Pray that the family will have the wisdom to know how to help her adjust. And pray that both mother and baby will adjust into this brand new life.