Luminita, NOROC. Tulcea, Romania.
Who is family?
From my perspective as a young adult, it was my parents and siblings. I was raised by a mom and dad who loved me and pushed me toward success. On top of that, I am a triplet with a brother and sister who are constantly part of my life, even in adulthood.
If you have been following me on social media, you will notice that I spent two weeks of August with The Archibald Project working with an organization called NOROC. Through NOROC, I was introduced to many of the orphans in Tulcea, Romania.
Meet Luminita. When she walked up to our group, she seemed a bit shy and reserved at first. That was what drew me to her. I am similar in the fact that I may be a bit reserved in new settings or around new people. As I have gotten older, I have grown to be more comfortable and confident in those situations but it has definitely taken time and can still catch up with me on a bad day. As we made introductions and were paired with a translator, I wanted to know and hear a bit of her story.
Luminita was taken into foster care at just 11 months old and has been with NOROC for 8 years. She does not know her parents or much at all about her family. The little she does know is that her family is from Turkey, and she is number 8 out of 12 siblings.
As she talked about her family and not knowing them, she seemed fairly matter-of-fact. She shared that “it’s hard not to know them. But I have learned to deal with it.”
How many times in life are we placed into difficult and sometimes impossible circumstances? As the years have passed by, I have been discouraged that life has not turned out the way that I thought or even dreamed. It has been much more complicated and hurtful with long seasons of waiting. It struck me that what she learned to “deal with” at such a young age, I am dealing with in my late twenties.
So how do we cope with situations and circumstances in life that are impossible? Mostly, we have people and community in our lives that have surrounded us during those hard situations. For Luminita, there is support and friendships at NOROC. For me, it is family and friends who have listened and provided direction. While she may not have grown up with her birth parents and siblings like I did, she was surrounded by her community and has overcome and is continuing to overcome less than ideal circumstances.
Sometimes it is community that surrounds us that becomes our family, whether by birth or not.
“…let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18