Family Updates

If you did not get a chance to watch the update video from May 2018, what you read below may be missing some context.

Both Larisa, my current resident, and Iby are still working at McDonald’s.  Larisa has been moved up to working at the register which is big, as her ethnicity is Roma (gypsy), a discriminated people group here.  Both ladies have been praised for how diligent they are on the grave-yard shift which after 2am is primarily cleaning and they do a great job.

Little Man turn 1 in June

Larisa, who has been with us since March, has decided that she would rather be “on her own” and is searching for an apartment.  After a meeting with our pastoral oversight and her mentor, she has made it clear that she doesn’t want to be a parent. The pastor told her that we would be happy to facilitate a permanent placement for her delightful son but she would need to stay until the boy’s birth certificate issues are resolved and she has full custody.  She has no desire to do this and is in complete rebellion against the standards of the program.  The other moms have been gossiping to me about what she is up, to which I try to shut down immediately; however, what I’m hearing scares me.  Please pray for a miracle so this precious boy doesn’t end up in the state orphanage.  Her beautiful boy is walking now and catching on to the sign language so he gets what he wants without screaming for it.  His first words in english were “all done.” 

Blessed to have Alissa to co-parenting.

***Upon preparing this newsletter, there was an incident that caused Larisa to leave the project immediately.  She has left little man in our care until the birth certificate is solidified. Please pray that she follows through with this or we will have to hand him over to child protection in September.

Iby is finally in an apartment that is affordable and the landlord is very gracious. It’s a bit far but is right off the tram line.  She is still having difficulties as her ID card is expired.  ID cards are issued only with a permanent address, which like most orphans, she doesn’t have.  So they will only issue her a new one for a year at a time with the consent of the orphanage.  When we called child protection in May to see what she had to do, something was either miscommunicated or not understand by Iby.  But never-the-less, this week she found out she needed another paper from child protection to proceed.   This effects a lot of other things that need to happen for their little family.  For example she can’t get a different job that has the same hours as daycare nor can she register her daughter for daycare.  Amelya is too smart for her own good…she is so curious which causes a lot of destruction (Today she destroyed an umbrella while I was putting little man to bed…I don’t know how a 21 month-old can do something like that.) She has the best facial expressions and I think she knows it.

Paddle boating on the lake with our first graduating mom and her daughter.

Alina and Tori are doing great.  As Tori is on summer break, she and her mom are here almost every evening for dinner.  It’s nice to see them every day.  We had a guest preacher at church last month that both her and Larisa enjoyed and they are now following his YouTube channel. Please pray for her salvation.  She doesn’t have the best job but she is making the best of it and not complaining.  Tori loves praising Jesus, enjoying gymnastics and zealous for the water.  We just come back from a three day getaway at a man-made beach a couple of hours away (hope you follow us on Instagram to see all the pics & clips). 

From Rome to Romania

It’s a privilege to see the SoarRomania residential apartment being used for all sorts of ministries.  I’m not just talking about our weekly bible study for the girls from the orphanage which is an extension of our mission to offer hope and wholeness though Jesus Christ.  It’s also used for church activities like mid-week community groups or ladies’ bible study.  But it’s the unexpected events that bless my socks off. I was asked to host a birthday party for a young man, Andy.

Andy thanking Justin for this surprise.

God brought him into my life though my dear brother, Justin Boatright, who serves in Rome. Justin traveled to Oradea for the party. Andy has not yet given his life to the Lord and none of his 12 friends that attended the party know the true gospel.While all of Andy’s guest arrived, and waited to surprise Andy, Justin did a full gospel presentation with everyone.  Andy was brought to tears by all that Justin had done for him and the party was a great success.  I also invited a brother from my church, Razvan, that Andy had previously met, and he had great in-depth conversations with some of the guys too.  It’s cool how a question about his beard came up and lead to a discussion about Jesus. 

The gang
Cutting the custom Camera Cake
Building Relationships

ALOT OF NEWS

THE BIG NEWS!

We are officially a non-profit association (Similar to a 501-c3) here in Romania.  The word Soar doesn’t really translate well so we will be going by the name “Agape FSC.” We are now free to train our mom’s to produce homemade goods and sell them for additional income, as the maternity support from the government is barely enough to pay for diapers. We are also able to hire foster parents to house expecting moms that are minors. We can also accept donations from nationals. As such, we’re on the lookout for a new ministry assistant that we can now pay directly from our ministry instead of being employed by our church.

The BETTER News!

We are so thankful for the opportunity to continue building trust in our relationships with the young girls at CP2. We praise the Lord for the consistency we’ve seen in many of the 10 -14 year old girls. For the older girls, however, we’ve seen how distracted they become with school or boyfriends or the general busyness of their lives. As a result, they lack consistency in coming to our weekly meetings. We are praying that they would prioritize these weekly meetings and desire to be a consistent examples for the young girls who also want to “be cool” like them.

There’re several young girls who have been consistently coming since the new year that didn’t come previously and we’re hoping that God will move in their lives. One of them, Izabela, has asked if I would help tutor her in English and I am excited for the unique opportunity to get to know her better and invest in her life!

The BLESSED News!

We have a new mom with us.  She is 20 years old and arrived with her 8 month old son on March 1.  She was living on the streets in Belgium with her abusive boyfriend that had her involved in a shop-lifting ring.  She seams to really want to change her life, work and provide a stable home for her child.  She has been very appreciative, helpful and willing to learn.  The baby’s father doesn’t have a valid ID card so the baby was not legally registered in Belgium and now we are having problems getting the baby legally registered in his own country because the fathers name is on the Belgium temporary certificate.

From Sue Volpe

My trips back to the US have rarely ever been times of rest or refreshment,  as I use most of the time and spend most of my energy advocating for the ministry. And with the growing burdens of the ministry along with personal issues that I’ve faced, I needed to take a respite break. I was directed by my mentor to use this time to attend a debrief in Croatia. This was a great time for me to reflect and the Lord showed me that I needed to take some time to grieve. I experienced the loss of my grandmother in 2016 and then my dearest friend, Lynnette, in 2017. Of course, we also saw two moms leave with their daughters. All of this seemed to come to a head in the first couple of days at debrief. It was a wonderful time of just letting God be my Dad and resting in the comfort of His wings. I returned home to spend a wonderful Christmas with the moms still in Oradea. Alina and Victoria came and spent the entire week with us. It truly was like family and was such a special time!

In my efforts to be better equipped for the work of Soar Romania, I am using much of my time to strengthen my Romanian, with two classes weekly. I also have begun a biblical counseling course which is offered in Timisoara (a three hours drive for here). I’ve only attended two sessions, but they’ve already been profitable and proved to be biblically grounded. It is only one weekend every other month. I should be able to finish it in two years.

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.

Facebook

Get the Facebook Likebox Slider Pro for WordPress