A second chance at childhood

Moraru siblings with their foster family.
Moraru siblings with their foster family.

A second chance at childhood

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.

The Gift of Being Together

Children from South Africa, Amahle and Siyanda,
Children from South Africa, Amahle and Siyanda,

The Gift of Being Together

Amahle and Siyanda, like many children, find great joy in the simplest things. For Amahle, a 12-year-old girl, it’s playing netball with her team at school. For 8-year-old Siyanda, it’s riding his scooter through their neighborhood.

And no matter what they’re doing, Amahle and Siyanda find their greatest joy in being together. Amahle looks after Siyanda, and Siyanda looks up to Amahle. They are each other’s family.

Their relationship—and the simple moments they spend together—are what make childhood special.

Children, Amahle and Siyanda, playing in the yard
Amahle and Siyanda playing in the yard. (2021)

But in many ways, Amahle and Siyanda are not like other children. Their chance at a happy and safe childhood is at risk. In April of this year, the siblings became orphans when their mom died of cancer.

Now, they’re vulnerable to the many challenges orphans face worldwide. We know that the childhood years are some of the most formative of a person’s lifeand Amahle and Siyanda are right in the middle of those years. The decisions they make (and the ones made for them) will shape their personalities, wellbeing, and future permanently.

Children, Amahle and Siyanda, with a CERI staff member
CERI staff, Siphesihle, visiting Amahle and Siyanda (2021)

When the siblings’ mother passed away, her dying wish was for her children to be placed in an orphanage. For a mother in her situation, it seemed like the only option. But if Amahle and Siyanda had been placed in an orphanage as their mother had requested, there was not promise they could stay together.

Beyond the risk of separation, orphanages in South Africa don’t always provide the best care for children, according to Siphesihle Khumalo, Program Director and Social Worker with CERI South Africa. Institutional care can’t always meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of children in the same way a parent or a family does.

The aunt of Amahle and Siyanda
Amahle and Siyanda's aunt. (2021)

When CERI began working with Amahle and Siyanda, we were dedicated to giving them the best childhood possible. In this case, that meant finding a family for them to live with. After working closely with child protective services as well as a local community worker, we discovered that Amahle and Siyanda had a living aunt who could take them in. Together, Amahle and Siyanda’s care team decided the best situation would be to place the kids in foster care with their aunt and only living family member.

It wasn’t a perfect solution. Often in cases of orphanhood, the solutions are imperfect. But Amahle and Siyanda now have a chance to grow up with a loving caregiver within their own family—and they get to stay together.

Children, Amahle and Siyanda, with their aunt
Amahle and Siyanda with their aunt and CERI staff (2021)

We believe every childhood is valuable, and a child’s future should never be taken lightly. The story of Amahle and Siyanda is an example of how we can rally together and protect the joy and safety of childhood.

For now, Amahle and Siyanda live in a loving home together with their aunt, with whom they have a wonderful relationship. Amahle and Siyanda were given a second chance at childhood and the gift of being together—but there are millions of other children who are waiting for that same opportunity.

Can you give today so more kids can grow in a loving family?

You are the solution.