KNOW to TRUST

Girls Ministry at the Orphanage

 

We were looking for a way to build relationships with the young ladies in the orphanage before they are in the position to have to enter our home. In the Spring of 2016, that became a reality. Our volunteer agreement has us teaching an abstinence course for 9 weeks of the year and the rest of the year, we can teach whatever we want. Since our first 9 week course we when to the orphanage every Monday to meet with the girls to teach the bible. After our first year of ministry there I still felt that something was missing…It was trust. Without trust there can be no relationship. They don’t trust us. These girls have trust issues to begin with, so why would they trust a group of ladies that just come every Monday and talk at them. It was time to bring them into our crazy world. We started that summer by bringing them to the Soar Home monthly for a meal and a time of testimony. They enjoy being around our moms and babies, and they asked questions for the first time.We decided to make this a weekly home group instead of going to their turf where there are hundreds of distractons.  I personally wanted them to know that although it is hard for me to come to them more than one day a week when we have a full house, they could alway come to me.  🙂   

 

I worked with the teen girls the generation before at this same orphanage and they would never share feelings in front of the others for fear of being ridiculed, so even if they trusted me they wouldn’t talk in the group. Not so with these ladies, they are asking questions, making statements and three of then have shared bits and pieces of their past and how they became orphans. “You can’t trust something or someone you don’t know.” We shared with the girls this statement and that we want them to know God so that they can build a trust relationship with Him (and us) and we are seeing the fruit of that. 

Last Month, we loaded up the car with 5 of the girls on a 6 hour road trip to attend the Billy Graham Association Crusade.

Posted by Sue Volpe on Sunday, October 22, 2017

REWIRE

Moms come and go with their children.  Some finish well and others bail out early. Just like most people…our moms want to do what they want to do.

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images…”  Romans 1:21-23

I am sure I have shared this before but…other than leading them to Christ, our second object is to guide them to use wisdom over feelings.  We want them to make good decisions about their future and to consider how it will effect their child.  The one thing that complicates this effort is that most of the ladies that come to us have some form of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder.)  The study that was the foundation of this diagnosis was based on examinations conducted here in Romania on infant and toddlers in orphanages in the early 90’s.  (read more about RAD).
borrowed from spectrumnews.org This study showed the effect of extreme deprivation in infancy. The temporal lobes, which regulate emotions and receives input from the senses, are nearly quiescent. Yet, none of these now young adults in our program have ever been properly diagnosed. However, it is evident in their behavior. We believe that God can rewire and heal the brain, and humans can create healthy habits.  We can give them both secular and biblically based tools and we can share the changing and healing power of CHRIST, but each person has to see their need for God and want a renewed life.

Knowing all this doesn’t make it any easier when one of our “least of these,” chooses to leave. Despite my desire to see them stay, learn and grow in Jesus, Iby and her daughter are no longer with us. As you know, I have known Iby for 10 years which makes this all the more difficult.  With the support of my home church, my church leadership here, and my staff, we decided to leave Iby over to her foolish thinking.  In our last effort, we got Iby’s church leadership involved and yet she still decided to move to Germany without our blessing. I pray for them daily and I trust that my God is mighty to save.

Alway in my Heart, Sue Volpe

Praise & Prayers

  1. We signed all the paperwork this last Friday to become a not-for-profit association in Romania.  We should have the judge’s approval before the end of the year. Pray that there are no complications.
  2. Our new American Ministry Partner, Alissa Foreman, received the all clear to get a religious workers visa.  We are just waiting on the actual card to see if she got 5 or 7 years. 
  3. Alissa and I are traveling by car to Bucharest, the capital of Romania, for the annual Romania Without Orphans conference (I missed last year).   We are so excited to be able to be learn, encourage, and network with others that have been doing the same work in Romania for years.  Please pray for us as we travel.
  4. We will also be hosted in Bucharest by a ministry, like us, who are committed to orphans with children. I am personally looking forward to gleaning from their model. 
  5. Alina has a job that she likes and it has hours that are the same as day-care.  Good for her, bad for me as I don’t get to see them as often.  Please pray for this transition for all of us. Also, pray for Alina’s health…she is always tired, has headaches and a loss of appetite.  We are just waiting for her health insurance to kick in so she can get some blood work done. 
  6. I will be traveling 2 hours south to evaluate a potential new resident on December 22.  If there are no red flags, she will be joining us in February.
  7. As always please pray for all the moms who have come and gone…God knows them by name.  Pray for the protection of their beautiful children. 
  8. My Romanian counterpart, Alys, has traveled to England to work for the next six months.  She is not clear what her future holds but God made it very clear to her that this was just a season.  I am reluctant but I do need to make the decision to replace her before a new mom arrives.  Pray that God brings the right person.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

What is reactive attachment disorder?

Attachment disorder is the inability to form loving and lasting relationships, to give or receive love or affection, form a conscience, or trust others. Attachment difficulties are on a continuum of disturbance that range from attachment issues all the way to reactive attachment disorder. Reactive attachment disorder falls under many names and categories.

In children, these names include:

  • Reactive attachment disorder or RAD
  • Attachment disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Childhood trauma
  • PDD
  • Pervasive development delay

In adults, these names include:

  • Borderline personality
  • Histrionic personality
  • Antisocial personality
  • Narcissistic personality
  • Dependent personality
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

What causes reactive attachment disorder?

The attachments we form as humans early on critically impact our entire lives. If we form healthy and consistent bonds early on, healthy attachments most often continue. When a child misses that window of opportunity, reactive attachment disorder is a likely result.

We are not typically born with reactive attachment disorder. Reactive attachment disorder occurs when a child misses the chance to bond with an adult. Sometimes, that happens before birth due to maternal drug or alcohol use. Other times, babies miss the chance to bond with their mothers due to illness on behalf of mother or baby. More often, reactive attachment disorder begins after birth and within the first three years of life.

Symptoms of adult attachment problems:

  • Difficulty handling conflict with other adults
  • Denies responsibility for wrong-doing
  • Controls others through manipulative or overtly hostile ways
  • Trouble showing empathy, remorse, trust or compassion with others
  • Lack of the ability to give or receive genuine affection or love. Relates sexual behavior to feelings of acceptance or closeness
  • Resistant to efforts on behalf of others to nurture or guide them
  • Lacks cause and effect thinking, especially when around normal thinking
  • Acts out negatively and provokes anger in others
  • Lies, steals, cheats and/or manipulates
  • Destructive, cruel, argumentative and/or hostile
  • Lacks self-control. Impulsive.
  • Superficially charming and engaging
  • Behaves in anger to protect feelings of sadness or fear
  • Feels isolated and depressed
  • Feels frustrated and stressed
  • Addictive behavior i.e. substance abuse, sex addiction, work addiction, gambling addiction, etc.
  • Behaves hyper-vigilantly and agitated and has trouble concentrating
  • Confused, puzzled and obsessed with finding answers
  • Feels blamed by family, friends, and professionals
  • Feels helpless, hopeless, and angry
  • Feels that helping professionals minimize his or her family problems

    Source:  http://instituteforattachment.org/learn-about-attachment-disorder/common-questions/

Resident’s Report & Prayer Requests

Resident’s Report

If you didn’t watch the video, Alina & Felicia have transitioned into their own appartment.

As we reported back in December, Alina’s job search has been rocky but praise the Lord she has been working the same job for two months now.  The real praise report, is that she is sticking it out even though it’s not the best fit for her while she searches for a new one…this is a first.  She has expressed that she misses being around christians all the time and she feels alone, so she comes for dinner every other night when she picks up Tori. Tori is potty-trained and starts Preschool in September but will still come one day a week with us for English and developmental learning that they don’t teach in Romania.

Felicia hopped from ministry to ministry then came to us in October 2014 when her daughter was 8 months old. She left after only 4 months. After trying to make it on her own for a year and a half, she returned to the father of her child. When evidence of child abuse by the father was verified, she called us for help. She returned January 9th and is entering independent living with Alina.  Her daughter has been working with a professional to help with trauma of the abuse and is progressing nicely.

Iby was a resident of our partner ministry, Romania Orphan Ministries, for almost three years.  She has returned to work there part-time.  She has been struggling to walk in victory though as she is still letting the sins that put her in this situation to define her instead of the trust of God’s word. She is striving to remember her first love (Rev 2:4).  Baby Ami is on the move and getting into everything…she is an explorer. It is so fun to see her investigate new things.

 

Valentina has come to the conclusion that she cannot be a good mom and a student. We offered to babysit so she could go to the library and study but it was still not enough for her. Her decision was to give her daughter, Baby A, to her mom to care for her.  We advised her of our concerns and fears for Baby A. That her choice could have the same emotional consequences for her daughter that she suffered because her mom left her with her grandmother, but she assured us that this is only temporary.  She returned without Baby A, found an apartment, and finished the semester. Sadly, we’ve heard nothing from her all month.  We miss them both.

 

Praise: 

Sue Volpe was able share about the ministry at 5 new churches on her trip to the US. It was wonderful to see their heart for what we are doing.

After 5 months of being on their own our girls in independent living are financially independent as well.

We have expanded the ministry to include an appartment across the hall for education and discipleship purposes (see video for the whole scoop).

Prayer:  

Please pray for all our moms as they come to terms with the emotional damage of growing up in the orphanages here… abandonment issues, fear of rejection and failure, and victim mentality. These issues really affect the way they see the world and ultimately their parenting.

Pray that Alina finds a job more suited for her.  Pray that she is willing to move to the next step in her discipleship as we are moving onto some deep issues.

Iby is willing to go to counseling for some of the things she been struggling to overcome.  Please pray that we find the right christian counselor for her.

Pray that Felicia accepts Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Pray for her daughter as she continues working though the trauma and is getting ready for preschool soon.

I don’t know what God’s will is for Valentina and baby A, so all I ask is that you pray God’s will for them and the protection of baby A.

For the new mom-to-be that will potentially be coming to our home.

And us as a staff as we work with these women through their issues, that we would have wisdom in how to teach and disciple them so they do not repeat the cycle of emotional abuse they’ve been subjected to in the orphanage.

2016 Updates

Although the focus of our updates are the moms, we want to show you how beautiful and healthy their babies are growing to be as a result of empowering and equipping young pregnant women.

Valentina graduated high school and has begun nursing school. She’s enjoying this new endeavor. This nursing school is actually a christian school and she seems to be making friends and enjoying her studies.

Iby settled into the dynamics of our home very well and is getting along with the other moms. She’s adjusting to motherhood and still pretty exhausted.

Alina’s job search has been rocky so far. She seems to be allowing her insecurities to become hinderances in this process. It’s a challenge to face these new responsibilities and changes.

Felicia is returning to Romania after a disapointing attempt to reunite with the father of her daughter. We have secure an appartment for her and Alina to move into in February. We will assist with a portion of their rent and child-care, as they work and continue to be mentored by our volunteers.

After a training program at our local church, Meggan and I have restructured our discipleship tactics. This new approach invites more involvement and ownership from the moms and it has been bearing fruit. We are encouraged!

Alys, Allyssa and I are still going to the state orphanage. Our initial prevention/self-worth group has bloomed into more of a Bible Study, at the request of the girls! We were encouraged by their desire to know more about the Bible.

Sue V will be traveling home to support raise in February and March. The last year has been sustained by all the one-time gifts from my last visit home. However, we would like to grow in monthly commitments. Our budget for this next year will increase $150 because of education and independent living expenses. We are also hoping and praying for a house to grow are assistant living project which would triple our current cost to operate. Please let me know if I could come share with your small group, church, Sunday school class or any group really about our ministry for pregnant orphans as they transition into motherhood.

Hope & a Future

by Sue Volpe

7 weeks old at her dedication

Most of you know our newest mom, Iby. She has been in my life for 10 years now and some of you may have met her the couple times she traveled to the states with me. Through the last year with Iby I have learned a lot about how we minister to the orphans here in Romania. We share the Gospel, we teach them the Word, but we often fail them because of our focus on “normalizing” them rather than training them to apply the Word of God to their life. In Iby’s case she was easily swayed by the lies of the enemy that she deserved more. Her “friends” told her she should make her own decisions and do what she wanted. These decisions led her on a course of rebellion and rejection that resulted in her pregnancy and need to be in my ministry. It was a difficult summer of repentance and getting back on the path toward restoration. I’m thankful that God continues to work in Iby and for the first time ever, I can see that her relationship with God is not based on deeds, but rather on a

10 days old

greater understanding of God’s unchanging character. Iby’s favorite bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and now instead of wanting this to be true in her future, she is beginning to grasp that this promise is already hers. Iby’s baby is almost two months old. God is using parenting to shape her. Through this journey with Iby, God is teaching me the importance of submerging the ladies in my ministry in His Word. My heart is that they will learn to be steadfast when faced with difficulties and deception.

Cherish

by Valentina (our newest resident)

The secret of life is not what you cherish, but is to cherish what you have.

Me and Aliya at 7 months old

I was 20 years old… so young and unprepared to have a child.  I met a boy. I wanted to have a serious relationship with him. I believed we would have a beautiful future together. I supposed that he desired the same. Shortly into our relationship, it took an unexpected turn: I found out that I was pregnant. After I did the first pregnancy test, I called the boy and calmly told him. In his fear, he freaked out and started yelling vulgarities. It continued with one explosive conversation after another. One conversation he was telling me to have an abortion, the next not to, and the next: do whatever you want. This went on to the point that all the beauty, love, and respect was gone; it was replaced with emptiness in my soul. Most everyone I knew told me to have the abortion. I made an appointment, then didn’t go. I went to an open clinic, left crying. I went again (with only 3 days left) and the nurse saw my hesitation. She asked if I wanted to talk to a counselor, I did. The counselor helped me realize that my constant hesitation to have the abortion and sense of peace about having the baby was God leading me in the right direction. I never lost hope.

The counselor worked for a ministry called P.U.L.S. whose sole purpose is to guide pregnant young women and support them through their first couple years of motherhood. After giving birth to an adorable baby girl, life got harder. I was completely overwhelmed because of the situation. I felt like everything around me was tumbling down. I was alone in a house with a new born baby, emotionally broken, spiritually empty and with no money to pay the rent. So, I decided to call P.U.L.S., where I knew I could find someone to listen me. That’s when I found out that they do much more than crisis counseling. I explained my situation and that I was about to be homeless. They supported me in every way possible. Knowing  that it wasn’t good for me to be alone, they connected me with an American missionary, Sue. She had a place for me in her apartment and let me come live with her. I can easily see God’s hand in bringing me to Soar Romania.

I am blessed to call this place my home. I moved 8 months ago and in all this time I have had all the support, care, and counsel that I needed. I believe that if I wouldn’t have met Sue, my life would be full of hardship and sadness; I certainly wouldn’t have finished high school. She has a big heart, faith in God, and she is helping so many other girls, giving them the all the support that she can. I am so grateful for all the things that she has done for me and my daughter. She made a difference in my life. She helps me to become a better person, to discover who I am, to develop Godly character and to be a good mom. She always motivates us to focus on positive things. I cherish my relationship with her so much that with out it there would be a big void in my life. With the help of her church family (mine too) and colleagues, I am learning what it means to be rooted in Christ. I’m learning that everything is possible if you have faith in God. When I doubt, Sue is there to help me to rise up. I am sure it was not a coincidence that I met her; God had a purpose in it all.  I know it is not easy to sacrifice they way she does; it takes a lot of faith and support.

My daughter’s name is Aliya, she is the most wonderful thing that ever happened in my life, (even if at the beginning I didn’t see it in this way.) God took care of us, and now we have wonderful people around us. They are always there when I need them. A child is not a burden, but a blessing. You need hope and faith in God to overcome the hard times, to truly rejoice in a beautiful thing like your child. I am grateful that people like Sue exist, and that the church and like-minded believers work together to play an important role in the lives of those in despair like I was.

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