A second chance at childhood

Moraru siblings with their foster family.

For years, the Moraru* siblings didn’t have a stable family or a place to call home. Their respective fathers abandoned them, and their mother was unable to care for them due to her alcohol addiction. So Eleonora (7), Iuliana (5), Nadejda (2), and Nicu (1) were all left to the care of local orphanages—separated from each other, without the love of a family. It was at that moment in their lives that CERI met them—vulnerable and separated—and started advocating for a solution. We knew that a loving family would give these children their best chance at a happy childhood. Two years later, we identified the solution: the Ieseanus.

Nadejda with her foster dad, Constantin.
Nadejda with her foster dad, Constantin. (2021)

The Ieseanu family decided to foster them, reuniting the siblings and showing them what a family truly could be. 

Irina and Constantin Ieseanu have two biological sons, but their own family’s demands didn’t stop them from taking in four more. The Ieseanu family is a welcome change for the four Moraru siblings—especially for Nicu, the youngest. He has lived in Moldovan state care since the earliest days of his life, left without a chance to bond with a loving mother or father.

Moraru siblings with their foster family.
Moraru siblings with their foster family. (2021)

The Moraru siblings were officially placed with the Ieseanus on June 1, 2020. Since welcoming their new foster children home, the Ieseanus have noticed significant and encouraging changes in the children. Nicu, the youngest, has shown the most improvement. His time in the orphanage worsened his existing health problems, delaying his development. Most days, he lay in his crib without much human interaction. After only a few months with Irina and Constantin, however, Nicu started to sit on his own and even tried walking.

The girls have changed, too. Irina and Constantin say the girls’ behavior and life skills are improving every day as they experience the unconditional love of a family.

Eleonora studying at home.
Eleonora studying at home. (2021)

Irina and Constantin’s care for the Moraru siblings is a product of their generosity and willingness to help children in their own country. But it’s also a testament to CERI’s work of more than 20 years in Moldova. Through CERI’s support and programs, foster families like Irina and Constantin are offered counseling, training, and vital tools to help them create a safe family environment. With CERI’s support, they can work to repair the damage of a traumatic childhood and strengthen communication between every member of their new family.  

It’s a ripple effect: the Ieseanu family receives Christ-centered services from CERI, and in turn, the Ieseanus are empowered to offer God’s love to the children in their care.

Moraru siblings with their foster brother in their garden.
Moraru siblings with their foster brother in their garden. (2021)

The Moraru children also receive their own direct care from CERI through cash stipends, food, clothing, and the dedicated attention of their case managers at CERI Moldova. All of this is possible because of the support CERI receives from generous, passionate donors in the U.S.  

“They have a safe and nurturing environment where they are properly cared for and loved,” said Irina Rotaru, CERI Moldova staff member.  

“Here, it’s much different than in a shelter. They have the opportunity to experience things they could never have at a shelter—individual attention, genuine interest from other family members, opportunities to learn and improve—and just be kids.” 

The story isn’t over for the Moraru children.

Moraru girls playing with their foster brother.
Moraru girls playing with their foster brother. (2021)

Right now, they have the support they need, with a loving family and a team of case managers to help them through every joyful and heartbreaking moment that life will bring. But there are many years between the children they are today and the adults they will become. Their childhood has been set on a path of restoration, but they will need ongoing support throughout the rest of their childhood years.  

Not every child is as blessed as the Moraru kids. But at CERI, we’re working hard to change that. Thanks to the generous support of people just like you, children like Eleonora, Iuliana, Nadejda, and Nicu will have a chance at a restored childhood. 

We only get one childhood.

Help us protect more children in Moldova & around the world by giving them the gift of a loving family. 
* Identifying details are modified to protect the privacy of the children and families we serve.

Learning to cope at 15

Renosha, a girl in Sri Lanka

Renosha* was 15 years old when her mother died. As a young girl living in Sri Lanka, she didn’t know who she would live with next.

Her father was still alive, but he made his living by begging on the streets, often disappearing for days or weeks at a time. According to Mary Chryshanthan, one of CERI’s Case Managers in Sri Lanka, “It was not safe for Renosha to live in such an environment, with no relatives to support her. She could not live with her father.”

All this happened in 2019: Renosha lost her mother, experienced the stress of living with her father, and went to live in an institution (orphanage). This was just months before a virus would upend not only Renosha’s life, but the lives of people all around the world.

Renosha, a girl in Sri Lanka, with kids from the orphanage
Renosha with children from the orphanage. (2021)

During the pandemic, many children in institutions went to live with family, but not Renosha. Her father was her only living family member. And one day, she received the sudden, terrible news: her father had died of Covid-19.

“Even after her father’s death, she had to identify and release her father’s body as the only child,” remembered Mary.  

Renosha had experienced so much trauma and tragedy in the span of a few short months. And the longer she spent in the orphanage, the more anxious, depressed, and hopeless she became. She had conflicts with other kids in the orphanage and started pushing back against the authority of the adults in charge. She was navigating the challenges and stresses of her teenage years without the support of family or the stability of a loving home.

Renosha, a girl in Sri Lanka, watering the garden
Renosha watering the garden at the orphanage. (2021)

“She did not know about a family structure; she felt sad and confused [about] not having a family or relatives,” Mary said.

Around the time of her father’s death, Renosha was given the opportunity to work with our team in Sri Lanka. We began providing services to children in Renosha’s orphanage to help ease the effects of trauma and help children cope.

One program that made a world of difference for Renosha? CERI’s stress management group sessions. The program taught kids how stressful situations affect the body and mind, tips and techniques for relaxing even amidst stress, and small group discussions where participants were invited to share about their pasts. During these sessions, Renosha was able to process her pain, reframe her past, and gain the strength to take on the future.

Renosha, a girl in Sri Lanka, receives counseling
Renosha with her case manager, Mary Chryshanthan. (2021)

We also provided Renosha with one-on-one counseling sessions to help her deal with her trauma. Renosha has made huge progress. Now, she gets along well with others, and she understands how to process her emotions in a healthy way.

“She has less conflicts with children in the institution now,” said Mary. “She is more understanding and has control of her emotions. She feels comfortable to share her emotions with others, and she takes time to talk with other children [there].”

Renosha got the help she needed when she needed it.

But there are thousands more just like Renosha who simply need someone to care.

* Identifying details are modified to protect the privacy of the children and families we serve.