Dear LMI,

Well we are way overdue for our post HOA trip talk. I am slowly working on getting the pictures where I can send them to you via email. If you like I can send hard copies. Steve thinks you probably have a preference for email photos so that you can use them on your website. Just ask my family; sending photos is not our best thing.

Of course there is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t think about my trip to Romania. It’s hard to be so far away that even sending something as simple as a magazine is a production. In particular, I miss Fl orin Micu and his little sister Laura. My eyes fill up with tears every time I think about them. In case you hadn’t guessed by now, I completely fell in love with them. I hear this is a common hazard to visiting the HOA. All of the children there are so precious (even little Petru t, who bit me twice), but sometimes there is just a special connection you make with a child – I’m sure you know what I mean. I have not quite figured out what to do with these unsatisfied maternal feelings. I know it’s an odd thing to say coming from someone with four children, but I do feel like I have had to leave someone I love behind.

I really enjoy getting the newsletters. Now that I know the children and the staff from visiting, I am eager for every bit of news I can get. Simona (and so many others, such as you) obviously maintains her energy and persistence to provide for these children. I sent her an email and told her that she could let me know at any time if there is a specific unfilled need that I can help with. I don’t know if I was really any help when I went to HOA. In fact, sometimes I think I even got in the way. What really matters though is that I got to hold so many beautiful children. I sang to them and told them how special they are. In return, they gave me that childlike unconditional love that always astonishes me. The older ones became very possessive of me and would fight each other to get to me first when I came in the room. I could never have imagined that being so popular would make me feel so sad.

It was fun to shop for the children – I bought a cart full of groceries, a bag full of socks and tons of Romanian children’s books. What a joy to be able to share these basic things with them. However, when I left the HOA (in tears of course) all that shopping seemed so inconsequential. What I really wanted them all to have is a Mommy and a Daddy. Hopefully, the Romanian government can create that opportunity for abandoned and neglected children in the future. For now, I thank God everyday for those who work so tirelessly for and give so generously to this program. If I can’t bring Florin and Laura home with me, then my prayer is that this program continues to be strong and well supported so that all these little angels can continue to thrive in a loving and nurturing environment.

My only regrets from the trip were that I didn’t get to do any sightseeing in the mountains (which I hear are breathtaking) and that I couldn’t fit two children in my carry on luggage. I guess I’ll just have to go back someday with more time and bigger bags. Thanks again for letting me visit your House of Angels.

Love, Anne

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