What do you think of when you think of home? Do you think of your nice two bedroom house with wood floors and that trendy farmhouse kitchen? Do you think of your loving family that gathers around the table every night to eat together?
For me, when I think of home, I think of a sense of belonging. A sense of love. A sense of safety and protection. But I realize that this is not the case for some.
In fact, this is not the case for a lot of at-risk youth in Romania.
This was not the case for one little girl, Ramona.
Eating out of a dog bowl under the kitchen table on mud floors. Physical and sexual abuse from a man living in the same house. This was her knowledge of “home.” No doubt, Ramona was no stranger to fear. She was no stranger to the brokenness of humanity. She was no stranger to the feeling of being unloved.
Lorena Rusovan (a Romanian Christian social worker) stepped in and fought to rescue Ramona when she was six years old from her abusive home life. The rescue was not easily accomplished for reasons of inadequate child abuse laws, cultural indifference, and disinterested police. Despite Lorena’s objections, Ramona was classified as “retarded” and placed in the mentally handicap section of an orphanage with a population of over 250 children and only five full time caretakers.
This led Lorena to realize there was no adequate placement for severely abused girls. Thus, the Deborah House is built. The Deborah House is a safe haven for girls rescued from trafficking and abuse that provides a place of healing and hope.
Lorena did not forget about Ramona. After much persistence from Lorena, the orphanage finally allowed Ramona to be transferred to the Deborah House. After a year of intensive therapy and vital social skills counseling, she was able to attend school. In her second school year she was the top of her class in math. Today Ramona continues to demonstrate the success of the Deborah House program by her remarkable recovery.
She has found hope. She has found healing. She has found her sense of belonging. She has found her sense of safety and protection. She found her home.
**While the story is true, the name used is generic in order to protect the persona of the youth involved**