Romania’s lost orphans adopted abroad are they dead or alive now; who knows, who cares?

For almost 20 years the large concerns interested in International adoptions, their foreign supporters and followers along with many Agencies and NGOs that worked in inter country adoptions before the Romanian ban on such adoptions have constantly denied the public Worldwide the truth of what happened to the thousands Romanian children adopted and exported abroad between 1991 and 1997. They have at worst stated that there may have been a few irregularities in a few cases to cover the dirty work that saw thousands of nameless children transported abroad for huge sums of cash in exchange and these very people all well versed are today still trying to press Romania to re open its trade in children today despite the fact the Country has no need of inter country adoptions nowadays.

Today the truth is clear for everyone to read thanks to a “Romania libera” reportage that has investigated what happened to thousands of children adopted in the period 1991 to 1997 and proves that the Romanian authorities have no information regarding thousands of children adopted by foreign persons in that period.

In the Romanian Adoption Office one can only read in that period the number of children adopted within the official database without any names mentioned of those children, their addresses or biological parents or the names of their adoptive parents. Even the numbers of children adopted may not be a true figure as in the period after the Revolution up until 1997 in particular many a child was exported without its rights or that of its biological parents ever being taken into account as the huge unregulated business in international adoptions jumped into Romania to take its pick of innocent Romanian children.

Bucharest authorities have no knowledge at all on 16,041 children adopted by foreign citizens between 1991- 1997 as the database lacks all the important and relevant information about those children. Children’s names not filled in, no ages filled in and no mention of the foreign person that adopted them, what Country they went too and what address in that Country, just a number in the record and that’s it. Who were those children? Where are they now? Who are they with? Are they alive or dead?

These are questions that remain even today unanswered and even worse is that experts believe the figure may be even higher of children trafficked abroad under the guise of inter country adoptions within that period.

In the time after the Revolution and for the next 7 years Romanian orphanages were a hot potato in the arms of the authorities who were under huge pressure internationally to reform a childcare system left over by the communist’s regime that had departed in December 1989 and had housed thousands of children in orphanages in poor conditions. The authorities at the time under this huge pressure from external sources allowed a weak system of options including inter country adoptions that were completely as now known unregulated and certainly did not prove to be in the child’s best interest.

The entire World appeared in Romania under the pre text of saving a child as has also happened in disasters since like in the Tsunami crisis and the rule of law was literally forgotten about, thus children were exported abroad with ease and huge sums of cash around 30,000 plus USD per child changed hands as agencies working hand in hand with NGOs many times gained easy access to vulnerable children and profited from them.

In that time and up until the Romanian County offices for child protection were set up in 1997 one simply visited an advocate who one was pointed towards by those working in the export of children within Romania and a new act was produced and with this you took the child as yours! With this the Court issued a new birth certificate and you left with your child and went back to your home in the foreign Country. It was all too easy; no searches of the child’s identity, its biological family were about or of yourself and your background. The court information never went into the national database and so there was no official record, so no follow up as is international and Romanian law could ever take place on this adopted child.

Mrs Theodora Bertzi the former Secretary of State for the Romania Adoptions Office in 2005 – 2007 period has fought hard many years now to unravel the missing cases of Romanian children adopted in the period before her time in office and agrees that the 16.041 figure is in fact not correct as 2 or 3 Counties failed to furnish her with the information she asked for regarding at least 4.814 children that also were not accounted for in that 1991 – 1997 period and she agrees that the information in the old archives is indeed incomplete. The figure of 30.000 children is a far more realistic figure as revealed in a study produced by IMAS in 2002 about the number of children adopted abroad from Romania until the year 2001.

Another former official in the adoption system Alexandra Zugravesca the former director of the Romanian adoption committee until 1994 also does not agree with the figure of 16.041 internationally adopted Romanian children stating its too small a figure and agrees that a correct number cant be given for certain as in the 90s there was no data base of these children.

In the short period between August 1990 and July 1991 10,000 children were adopted internationally as Romanian became the hotspot on the globe for international adoptions; In the first 3 months of 1991 alone some 2,000 international adoptions were concluded by foreigners, thus the 16,041 figure can easily be seen to be far too low overall.

In this time Non Governmental organizations were not monitored and intermediary international adoption agencies took advantage of the chaos created and made certain that no follow ups could ever be undertaken on these children by failing to have their details properly registered in the national database and the Romanian authorities of the time also failed in their duty to control the whole inter country adoption free for all that had hit Romania.

The International adoption agencies then as toady hide behind the Hague agreement as a form of protection for children in inter country adoptions and clearly this agreement which favors the agencies as a tool to try show credibility for their actions failed the thousands of Romanian children who are now lost without trace as it still today fails the best interest of the child to be respected in inter country adoptions that are still unregulated and a form of child trafficking.

Children in that period were even sold in Bucharest Hotel lobbies and hallways as the complete lack of regulations saw hundreds of thousands of USD in total change hands for these children in total. In other Romanian towns also children were adopted in the same fashion and their details again never registered.

I myself in the 1990s was shocked when a former orphan young woman asked me to go with her back to Popricani orphanage just outside of Iasi as she was seeking information about herself and her Biological parents as was of age to get her own identity document and thus needed this vital information. In the small Popricani orphanage office she gained no information and after I pressed the orphanage clerical officer we were shown the actual register at that time, which again showed page after page with just a number and no other details on the register. In a few cases there would be a date of birth or first name but no family name and on asking we were told that these might not be real as were assumed to be information as in the date of birth based on a child’s size only. Asked why there was no information and all sorts of excuses appeared the best being that none had arrived with the child on admission. It took the young woman many years and a great deal of searching to gain her identity, plus meant her traveling to many areas of Romania for information and being often humiliated as she asked to gain such from local officials in the late 90s.

At the same time pedophiles roamed the Country also and for certain with such lacked regulations gained a child, plus in the case of Popricani children were abused by a respected French NGO and this saw eventually its head Michael Soulounet jailed in Iasi in the same time as the American Kurt Treptow was also jailed in Iasi for the same reason. His case was made worse by the fact that the US ambassador to Romania at the time Michael Guest who had already caused deep disgust to Romanians when appointed as brought his male lover to live with him in Bucharest plied thankfully without success for Treptow’s release from jail in Iasi.

The simple answer as to why Romania had to ban and did ban inter country adoptions is now clear for all to understand and it is a reason why more and more Countries are looking to follow suit today around the World as these kinds of unregulated adoptions are defiantly not in the best interest of the child whilst they remain unregulated and whilst huge sums of cash are exchanged for a child.


Romanian adoption ban

The Romanian government was not only completely justified in banning international adoption, it was the only responsible course of action for them to take. Adoption in Romania had become little more than an exercise in child trafficking fueling rampant corruption, money laundering and other forms of criminal enterprise. Meanwhile, enormous numbers of Romanian children were placed in families either unsuitable, unwilling or unable to deal with the after effects of lengthy institutionalization.

Romania is where I am from but I made to the USA safely

No one should ever talk about Romania was selling kids. My brother and Sister and I were all adopted in Romania in 1991, right before they closed down the borders. If my parents did not make it out of there in time, I would be DEAD!!! No mistake either. I am 20 now and live a happy life. My sister is at school in Texas and my brother is a manger of a pizza place in Ohio. No matter what we were saved and thanks to our parents and the Romania Govt. I am here today. Today, I still would love to meet my birth mom. For what I heard of my dad was not around. There is always hope.

The Good AND The Bad

No one should ever talk about Romania was selling kids.

I totally disagree.  In order to be informed about the adoption industry one MUST learn about the good and the bad about the many complex workings within the adoption industry.

Romania examples what happens when so little care and interest goes into the care-system created for children.  Yes, if Romania continued to practice as it did, many, if not all children left in-care would have died.  ICA only enabled the poor treatment of the children put in orphanages.  This option (selling children through adoption) creating a source of income that otherwise would not have existed in a country where there was an unwanted overpopulation due to forced births.

Thankfully, Romania did change it's ways, and with new eductational and support systems created for mothers and children, care (and outcomes) did improve.  But this took place only when ICA was taken out of the picture.

Surely that says SOMETHING worthy of further investigation and discussion.


A little of this, a little of that

In the 90's, Romania was a hot destination for IA. What the adoptees posted here is true, but the fact that some kids were trafficked for adoption is also true.

Some PAP's who flew to Romania were horrified by what they saw in the orphanages and knew they could not parent children with the high level of needs they were presented with. So what did agency facilitators do? They took those PAP's out into villages and asked who would like to give their child to these nice American families? Just like we have seen for years in (insert your country of choice).

So while there were many children adopted from institutions at that time there were also children taken directly from their families and were not by any stretch "orphans."


what did agency facilitators do? They took those PAP's out into villages and asked who would like to give their child to these nice American families? Just like we have seen for years in (insert your country of choice).

This is the continuing practice that horrifies me the most, especially if one takes the time to consider the AP's "chosen" for the child may turn out to be both negligent and abusive.

But let's not discuss that, because far too many will insist such outcomes are not true, or if they are true, such cases represent only the smallest of all percentage-rates found within adoption studies.  [Pst... BTW... abuse in adoptive homes, as a research topic, is NOT studied... just sayin'.]

<rolling eyes>

Not surprisingly, over time, the adoption industry has developed it's own form of adoption facilitators, through adoptees themselves.  I find the vast majority of those adopted-turned-advocates know very little about the history of child placement and women's rights in their birth-region and the adoption industry itself.  This is good news for pro-ICA advocates.  Ignorance and limited knowledge is very good when fleecing a group.

In addition, the many MANY adoptees who claim all was great in their happy Ahomes, (and state no negative comments about ICA or adopters should be made), in-turn invalidate and negate the many MANY claims made by abused or "ungrateful" adoptees who say otherwise.  This pro foreign adoption platform creates a real rift in open discussion about ICA.  After all, it's never the happy adoptee who gets banned from forums, or blasted for going against the popular grain.

So how can greater understanding about the many wrongs in Adoptionland be better understood, and changed, for the sake of the thousands of children put in the adoption system?

Easy.  When reading about adoption stories, (the good, the bad, and the very confusing), people must remember all sides exist, making absolutes a real problem for members of  the triad.  Problems exist, (they always have), and by all reports we receive it becomes very clear:  without radical reform, and open honest communication, (transparency), these problems are not going to go away.  [Try telling this to adoption advocates who A) cater to the demands placed by APs and B) sell the stories of still in-the-fog adoptees who insist all ends happy and great, with no unwanted aftermath or residual.]


Hi there

I noticed your comment that you were adopted from Romania, and was wondering what Orphanage you came from thats of course if you were adopted before going in the orphanage........I was also from Romania and went in the Orphanage at the age of 3 weeks old and then adopted at 7 years old......I lived in Falticieni Suceava.

Regards Anna

I have seen Romanian

I have seen Romanian orphanages. You say there is no need for foreign adoption? You adopt them. They live in less than human conditions. It is a disgrace.

What happened, indeed

Not too long ago, I was watching/reading a few pieces featured on the BBC network, and learned so-called orphans "abandoned" by mothers were given blood products infected with HIV to children not adopted by foreigners.

It's 20 years since the communist regime in Romania collapsed and the world saw for the first time the awful conditions in the country's state-run orphanages.

Thousands of children had been abandoned by their parents to lives of squalor and disease and many contracted HIV due to blood supplements given to them while in the orphanages.

Chris Rogers reports.  [From:  The plight of Romania's HIV orphans]

Unfortunately, not much is in the report explaining how or why so many children were "abandoned" by their parents and forced to live in poor state-care.  Instead, readers are led to believe the only children who were spared a fate of life in an institution, or death, were the ones sold to foreigners with money.  [Making international adoption appear as if it's the one and only act that stops and prevents children from being treated like unwanted animals in an institution.]

Learning now "many a child was exported without its rights or that of its biological parents ever being taken into account as the huge unregulated business in international adoptions jumped into Romania to take its pick of innocent Romanian children"  is not at all surprising.... learning official records were not kept for parents or children makes this situation more disturbing. 


Forced childbirth and the adoption racket

The two are directly related, in my mind.

Back in the early 90s, we didn't used to refer to Operation Rescue as Operation Ceaucescu for nothin'...

Many cases of abandoned

Many cases of abandoned children are given daily on television in Bucharest, but the power is in hand authorities

The orphans

My son is one of those orphans. Adopted in 1996 and I know several others. My son would be dead if he had not been adopted. Many orphanages had HORRENDOUS conditions. The kids have a FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT to a home and a family. You had one didn't you?

Fundamental human rights

Is freedom from abuse and exploitation included in the fundamental right to a family and home?

If so, you might want to review the hundreds of abuse cases we have collected for readers to review.  These cases represent the many adopted children who have not been given safe homes through an adoption agency.  Warning:  many of cases are especially brutal, as the young children were tortured and killed by their "forever" adoptive parents -- adults approved to care for "orphans" found filling foreign orphanages.

As for myself, I was relinquished at birth, and purchased brought to America before my first birthday.  Life at my adoptive home was bad enough for me to attempt suicide, more than once.  Any more questions?

A little history.....

Debbie C- I understand what you are saying, but I am sure your realize that not all children are placed in safe and nurturing loving homes, like yours.

Do you realize how the children got to the orphanages in the first place and why care deteriorated?

You may want to brush up on a little Romanian history,

Like you Deb, my husband and

Like you Deb, my husband and I adopted our son from Romania. I too believe my son would either be dead or living on the streets had we not adopted him. People tell me that he's lucky we adopted him but I know it's not lucky to be adandoned. No, we are the lucky ones to have the priviledge of loving and raising this wonderful child. I'm sure there were issues of abuse but the neglect of these children.....sorry but that was the biggest shame of all. When we were at the airport the Romanian customs agent looked at my son and said "you are a lucky boy to be going to America" heart broke for this young man. I thank God that we could adopt and we did so legally. My son is the joy of our lives and now he is very proud to be an American.

After working in a romanian

After working in a romanian institution I adopted my two daughters. They would have been dead if they had stayed. My 11 year old at the time of the adoption had spent her whole life in a crib. Both were abused, neglected and malnurished. My daughters had a fundamental right to a life without these things. Romania refused them this right. They did not feed them enough, did not educate them and did not give them the same treatment as those outside the walls of the institution. My youngest is special needs because of the horrific enviroment. She would have gone to regular school, college, had a job and maybe even her own family. Instead she is in sp needs schools, needs constant companionship, will never read and can not communicate like we can. If I could sue Romania for what they did to her, I would in a heartbeat. So until Romania can provide ALL the children with what they need and treat them like normal kids instead of soemones unwanted trash, they should let families who can love and support the children give the children their right to a home and family. As far as the children who were stolen or sold, ROmania did not care much about them or protect them. It is as much Romania's fault as the parents who sold their children and those who were involved. Tehy were more worried about how the world saw Romania then the fact my 11 yr old child weighted 35 lbs and was 36 inches and was unable to walk by herself. While I will always be greatful for my daughter, I hope the people who were responsible for my children's miserable Romanian life and their roommates that died rot in hell! The children were never the shame of Romania - the people who let this happen to thousands of children were and remain Romania's shame.

Romanian Orphanages thru rosey "adoption" glasses

Explain the difference between living a "miserable" life in an American adoptive family or living a "miserable" life in a Romanian orphanage? There are varying degrees of "miserable' unless you are the adopted child living it.

I know of two adopted Romanian children who were adopted by an American couple. This couple ran a less than clean adoption agency. On their adoption agency web site, they wrote of their excitement of bring home not one but two children from a Romanian Orphanage. Seems the wife had traveled with her sister and had seen the inside of the orphanage, and they just could not do without. Maybe they even had a "calling".
Anyway, these two Romanians who were whisked away from their "miserable existence" were brought to the States to join up with their "brothers".

These two Romanians grew and grew, to preteen age. That is when the "loving, adoptive" parents decided that they had grew into "difficult" children (all children are difficult) who had "attachment problems" These two children were set off on an airplane adventure to Western Samoa, to continue out their lives.

The girl is contacted and writes an "affidavit" describing the "less than happy life", (some would describe the life as "miserable")while living under the adoptive parents roof. (it can be found on this web site) Seems this adoption agency owners want to adopt yet another child to add to their "family mixture" The judge,,decides that this child's miserable life was not that important and happened years ago..too bad young lady, get on with your life. So this Romanian girl, or American girl or Samoan girl signs a petition that is written by PEAR, or Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform, to stop the adoption of another child by her first adopted parents.

So you higher than high adoptive parent who claim that an adoptive life is better than being left in a Romanian Orphanage, might just want to walk in the shoes of an adoptive child that has "suffered loss" twice, "lived unfairness" "been shipped out" and the final insult to have those years "not matter".

Walk in my child shoes and

Walk in my child shoes and see what is better. No not all adoptive families are good and most of the adoptive parents will tell you that. We would love to see something put in place to prevent it. But that doesn't mean that adoption is bad. There are thousands of children who have a better live because of adoption. There are thousands of children who are alive today becasue of adoption. Look at the statics of those who were in the orphanages. Go to romania and look at all the young adults who live on the street, commit suicide, are prostitutes, etc. Ask them if they had the oppertunity to be adopted if they would have taken it.

Yes, but...There are a lot

Yes, but...

There are a lot of kids that find out that they are adopted and commit suicide, are prostitutes, etc. I know that you are trying to understand the feelings of adoptees; however, people who are not adopted simply cannot truly understand. I am an adoptee from Romania and I have to live with the fact of knowing and wondering if my family is alive or dead. People who are not adopted can live their normal lives knowing who and where their family members are.

This article is written very well and maybe you should read it again more closely next time.

I am adopted from RO

I am a Romanian Adoptee, I also love your article, I have used it in many of my research projects on RO adoption. I have a blog that I started, its about my adoption story. Check it out here:

A Success Story

I cannot speak for all of the families who adopted children from Romania from 1991 to 1997. I can only tell our story. We adopted Mihai from Suceava in September 1998. We went through two reputable adoption agencies: Lutheran Social Services and Children's Home Society both based in Minnesota. We were given the court records in Romania to prove that Mihai was legally adopted by us.
I know other families who adopted children from the same orphanage in Suceava. All of the kids turned out well. Mihai is now 19, in college and is hoping to become a firefighter or paramedic. This is a story repeated over and over. I wish bloggers would take the time to tell of all the adoptions that went right. Mihai is a proud citizen of the United States and follows in the tradition of all our immigrants who have made this nation so great.

not a pound pup but a loved son

My husband and I adopted a son from Romania in 1991. Before we could adopt him we had to prove to the Romanian court he had been abandoned and had to bring his birth parents to court to testify. We gave no money in exchange for him. We know some Romanians tried to sell their children but that was the greed or desperation of Romanians.
We are from the USA and our government required proof our son had been abandoned. Our agency in the USA also followed us for some time to make sure he was well and adjusted.
Because his birth parents were required to attend court, and this was no easy task to locate them, my son has good information about where his family originated.
Your account of adoptions is too broad and does not reflect the genuine concern the world had for these children. Our daughter traveled to Romania to work in the orphanages in 2006 and found very sad situations still. Whether out of economic deprivation or cultural habit, the practice of leaving children in orphanages should stop.
My heart still aches for all the children we could not help. My son was malnourished and riddled with parasites when we brought him home. He is a delight to me still and we encourage him to find his Romanian family if he wants, now that he is an adult. He will.soon be thirty years old and is expecting bis first child.
Also, we were only provided a legal copy of his original birth certificate by the Romanian court. We were not listed as his parents on that document.

Adoptee vs. Immigrant

Although it warms my heart profusely on how well your adopted child assimilated and is progressing, it dismisses all the rest who are not or have been abused, atleast that is how it comes across. You are aware that you are on a pro-adoptee site. I really wish I would have heard the Romanian adoptee's voice and not that of the AP, but heck that's me. Not to nit pick but ICA kids are not...immigrants.
Immigrants come voluntarily and with their families for the most part, where the culture and first language of the child is nurtured and supported. Adoptees come to America not by their own choice, it is made for them and their culture and first language is not continued.

Reputable Adoption Agency???

It never ceases to amaze me how APs believe what they want to believe. Lutheran Social Services are anything but reputable and being shown "documents" does not mean that those documents are even real to bein with or if coersion wasn't involved. Do yourself a favor and do a bit of research before posting such naive comments. Living in the age of computers and Google, no parent is excused for not being aware.

Check the archives to see just how reputable Lutheran Social Services really are. I think they have been nominated for the Demons in Adoption Award several years in a row. Start your journey here:

Questions - can anyone answer please :)

Hi I just have a couple of questions. As you'll probably guess from my questions i'm totally new to all of this. My partner was adopted from Romania (89/90) his biological sister was also adopted at a later date. From what we know they were given up by their mother, not through an orphanage. What would you say are the chances of this being an illegal adoption? If both siblings were adopted by the same family. They have adoption papers not fake birth certs, although I suppose these could be fake too. But from my reading so far I thought I understood that these illegal adoptions gave the families fake birth certs not adoption papers. How easy is it to actually trace birth family from Romania, also what kind of response have people generally found when trying to make contact? Do these parents want to hear from their biological kids? And most important where in the world do we start? They were adopted to Ireland, and we are starting procedures here to find any information we can from the authorities.
Would love to hear from anyone with info, stories, help.
Much appreciated.
MsKazza :)

I was adopted in 1991 from Bucharest

My name is Katherine Wolf. My birth name was Mihaela Simone. Last I knew my parents names were Guse and Pira Ion. I was born March 15th, 1991 in Craiova, and adopted on May 8th 1991, just about 6 weeks later to the Wolf family in Germany.

I have always wondered about my birth parents and if I have any siblings somewhere else in the world. Not sure how to start looking since there are no records or anything that even comes up online about where I was adopted from in Bucharest. The man that my parents dealt with as their translator was Tavi, but I can't find anything online about him either.

adopted sister

hello! i am thinking of starting a data base of the children that were adopted back than. i am looking for a girl who was adopted back in 1991.she is my half sister her name was Mihalache Ecaterina.i have information her name is now David Ecaterina. i tried to ind records of her adoption without any luck. so i hope she might see this post :( my email is

These 3 men who where adopted then are alive and well in the USA

My husband and his brother were adopted in Romania in 1991 Budapest. They're romanian names were mihaita and vasilli they're names are now stokes my husband and Paul my brother in law. They are looking for information on they're family they have few pictures but dream of meeting theyre birth mom and family and they're romanian last name. They were 6 and 5 when they were adopted by the Isners. They have a step brother who was also adopted 2 yrs later from Romania who has a twin brother that still lives in Romania with the birth mom. Does anyone or has anyone been able to locate information and files from that time and who do u contact in Romania I would like my husband's dream to come true. Please If anyone knows anything please add a reply thank u

Pound Pup Legacy