Dorina’s parents both died of alcoholism within a year of each other while Dorina was of preschool age. During her early childhood she suffered the typical child abuse from alcoholic parents, including severe malnutrition. Following the parents deaths the village elders placed Dorina with a relative, a woman who “entertained” strange men in the one room they shared, more often than not, “entertaining” in Dorina’s presence.
When she became of school age, the woman left Dorina at a government orphanage. Each spring she would retrieve Dorina to work in the fields through the summer, until the fall when Dorina would be returned to the orphanage for the winter months when she was of no use in the fields.
One summer, when Dorina was twelve, a pastor started the village’s first evangelical church. He soon learned of her plight and how she was treated during the summer months when she was working in the fields. Instead of returning her to the orphanage at the end of that summer, the pastor and his wife convinced the woman and the orphanage to allow Dorina to live with them.
The pastor was a simple village pastor whose education was limited to underground Biblical training as a “house pastor” during Communist persecution. He had a big heart, but no counseling education or training regarding behavioral disorders resulting from severe child abuse. Although willing to raise her as his own, the pastor soon realized Dorina needed more than just the love and home he and his wife could offer.
Later that year he learned from another pastor about the newly opened Deborah House. After confirming Dorina’s case history, Lorena, the Christian social worker who founded Deborah House, was able to convince the authorities to award legal custody of Dorina to Deborah House.
Thus began another chapter in Dorina’s young life. However, at first she could only feel as though she was unwanted, yet again being passed off to strangers. The dark clouds of her early childhood seemed to be her a forever storm.
But gradually she began to feel the sincere warmth of a loving Deborah staff. Instead of working in the hot summer fields, she found herself surrounded by American church mission teams visiting in the summer to share their witness and the love of Christ.
And, to her surprise and great delight, the teams returned the next summer, and the next. Slowly she learned from the Deborah staff and visiting church teams that she had value because she was a child of God. It was then that the hurt began to turn into hope.
While at Deborah House, Dorina came to know Christ as her personal savior and was baptized! She found hope and dreamed big dreams that became reality. She was the first girl at the Deborah House to apply to college ,where she studied economics and business, and she was the first girl at the Deborah House to graduate from college.
They say child abuse casts a shadow that can last a lifetime, but with the help of the Deborah House Dorina was able to reclaim her life from the shadow of her abuser.
***Though the story is true, the name and photo used is generic in order to protect the persona of the youth involved***