In March 2017 just before her 16th birthday, Melinda arrived at the orphanage from a small group home in a village. The circumstance of this move is always a little convoluted as we only hear her side. The foster parents are wonderful God-fearing people and have instilled truth in Melinda’s life and she has a good relationship with her foster mother. When she arrived at the orphanage, she quickly got involved in our Bible Study groups. As fall approached, she starting hanging out with a few of the more rebellious girls who would run away for days at a time. She got a boyfriend who would become her son’s father. I remember, so vividly, in May of 2017 after not being at Bible study for 6 months, she came and the girl next to her started asking questions of what it is like in residence for moms. I could see on Melinda’s face that the questions were being asked on her behalf. Not yet 18, Melinda ran away and lived with the boy’s family. They decided to make a go at parenting together, but Melinda told us at the baby’s baptism that she didn’t love him.
In the months to follow their relationship progressively got more and more volatile… both sharing the blame. She would come with her son and stay a few days a month at my apartment; she would say she wanted to be apart of the project. Yet, each time she would find a reason to go back. In August, I gave her an ultimatum that I can’t be her I need a break place; SoarRomania is not a hotel and she had to decide what is best for her son. It took a couple of months, but she arrived on November 13 and she is working the program. She has been faithful to do her devos, meet with her mentor, and go to small group. She also wants to take some courses. Her son Ruben is adjusting well. He is not able to self-soothe, just yet, but he is doing great being with other people and not always being held by mom.