Bolivar woman’s goal: Help more children find permanent homes
BOLIVAR — There are more than 9,000 children abandoned each year in Romania. Bolivar resident Jayme Metzgar wants them to have homes.
On Sunday, Metzgar will host a benefit for Romania Reborn, the Christian-based organization she founded after returning from volunteering in an orphanage in 1997. The public is invited.
Romania Reborn, a 501(c)(3) organization, is the primary source of funding for the Hope House Family Center, an orphanage located in Oradea, which is a city of 183,000 people in the northeastern part of the country near the Hungarian border.
Metzgar said her efforts got their start after meeting Corina Caba, who began her own ministry with seven children who had been abandoned in hospital maternity wards.
“She filed the legal paperwork and then found Romanian adoptive families for them,” Metzgar said.
Over the years Caba has found adoptive homes for more than 300 children in need. Romania Reborn was set up to give her support. In 2000, donors helped fund the construction of an orphanage, but a change in regulations only allow as many as six children to live there at any one time.
More than 80,000 children in Romania are wards of the state. The ethnic group, the Roma, commonly known as the “gypsies,” makes up 2.5 percent of the population.
Almost 90 percent of the Roma population live below the poverty line, while more than 80 percent of the abandoned children are Roma. Romania suffers from the highest infant mortality rate in the European Union, 14 percent.
One-fourth of the country lives in poverty, with half of those living in severe poverty subsisting on less than $2 per day. The average Romanian household spends 40 percent of its income on food.
Most of the children under Hope House care live with families; approximately 30 now live in foster families supervised by the ministry.
Want to go?
What: Benefit for Romanian orphans
Where: Bolivar Community Center, 60 Panama St., Bolivar
When: 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday
To know more: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or find Benefit for Romanian Orphans on Facebook.
The foster program was created to address the needs of children for whom adoption is difficult.
In Romania today, adoption has become such a legal nightmare that many children are unable to be placed in adoptive families quickly. Adding to the problem, international adoption was banned in 2004.
Metzgar said there is no cost to attend the benefit, but donations will be accepted. Attendees will be treated to homemade desserts and hors d’oeuvres, as well as coffee and soft drinks.
The benefit will feature photos and stories and a webcam broadcast via the internet live from Romania.