The Lost Orphan: Mirela's Story

Natalie Pinkham

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One summer, presenter Natalie Pinkham worked in a Romanian orphanage, where she developed a special bond with one of the children, Mirela. Twelve years later, Natalie has decided to try to track down the youngster to see where life's journey has taken her.

Natalie Pinkham and Alex Daly are working hard to raise the funds to build a specially adapted home for Mirela and her friends. If you would like to lend your support please contact them on info@nataliepinkham.com

Comments (160)

  • emma

    1 month ago

    emma

    Hi my name is emma I suffer with a mild learning disability I was put in to care at a very young age because my mum couldn't cope with me I'm now independent living by my self as very good at being on my own and doing things by my self a lot I was watching your program about mirela it made my self cry alot after she had touched ur face when she was moved in to the new house I think she was very happy for u given her a new place it felt very sad but also happy to see she was feeling she was in the right place well done to the person who had got her this new home it was so happy to see it all I'm very greatful for what u have done for her and also for the people who gave out money to get this new home for them all I would love to see how well she is doing since then as it helps me as I was also in homes after homes and boring school and I helped so much of the children in them places I was in also it upsets me so much just seeing children and adults who hasn't been treated right in some homes it would just be helpful to see how mirela is getting on thank u

  • Richie

    1 month ago

    Richie

    Having watched the program,it's really brought it home about how desperate,things are for these children.......I was adopted 45 years ago,my goodness I was exceptionally fortunate to be found by two people who gave me an amazing upbringing & life,boy oh boy my heart goes out to these children......I'm from the uk,makes me again realise how good this country actually is.......you cannot put a price on your upbringing........I take my hat off to Natalie Pinkham what a women.

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  • Linda

    1 year ago

    Linda

    @Irina Hawker It will be due to copyright restrictions, nothing to do with RO blocking it. Though they do do this in some countries. Just like we here in the uk are unable to view american catch up tv. The best way for those you know in RO to watch it would be for you to record it and then email the file or post it. I know that Ch5 don't allow for downloading, but off the record this can be done by downloading a screen capture software and recording the documentary as it's played on your screen. Just to say though I'm in no way condoning copyright theft here Ch5, in fact I'm against it. This is just to help out one of your viewers, if you feel my comment should be removed then I will understand.

  • Irina Hawker

    over 1 year ago

    Irina Hawker

    I am part of a forum of discussion re abandoned children's sitaution, and many people in Ro are interested to see Natalie Pinkham's documentary 'The lost orphan: Mirela's story' only that they can't access it online. People were wondering whether this is because Channel 5 web page does not allow its access internationally, or whether this is because of the filters set on the Ro internet use. Please could you advise us on this. Many thanks.

  • Irina Hawker

    over 1 year ago

    Irina Hawker

    This film should be broadcast on national TV at high peak hour as we need constant reminders that these children need our on-going support. I am trying to identify a platform which can hold a sustained campaign for the rights of abandoned children of all abilities in Romania. There are some local charitable foundations making a difference but the situation is far from being resolved in spite of their kind efforts. I feel that what is needed it an on-going campaign that Ro authorities would find hard to ignore. Urgent regulations nationally/locally are needed for instance in hospitals to allow help which many Romanians are willing able to ofer. There is a forum of discussion on Facebook called 'Ingerasii de la Sf. Maria, Iasi' where people describe how they encounter difficulties from hospital management when trying to help these children and also the fact that very few key policy makers respond to local appeals. The problem is broader than individual hospitals or temporary help for abandoned childre. Ro appears to need a social assistance system in place to minimise child abandonment. Please any suggestions as to where we could start writing to get noticed by international policy makers who care to make a difference. Thank you.

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  • Alina

    almost 2 years ago

    Alina

    Hello, I live in Romania and apparently I cannot watch this video because of my location. Is there some way I could be able to access it? Thank you.

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  • A romanian imigrant in the UK

    2 years ago

    A romanian imigrant in the UK

    Romania stopped international adoption because of the numerous cases of children been abused by pedophiles or sold to them by the very people that adopted them. It goes on today wherever international asoptions are allowed. Even countries like to UK or Canada do not look after these children properly and they fall in to abuse. As a Romanian I support this ban forever and at the same time think Romanian adoptions should be more common but bare in mind, in the EU this children can still be trafficked freely even by Romanians so it remains a very sensitive issue for authorities.

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  • Lauren Waterman

    over 2 years ago

    Lauren Waterman

    www,closetoyouassociation.org is the Romanian charity that Alex and Ionut (the couple from the end of the documentary) have set up to fundraise for the safe home they were talking about. The purpose of this documentary was to highlight the dreadful conditions that these orphans with learning disabilities are kept in, so that hopefully people will help to get them out of there. I have volunteered with Mirela and the other children from her flat on 3 occations, and although many of you have pointed out that Nathalie shouldn't have brought her back to the flat, unfortunately it is the case that if we do not bring them back to the flats when we are instructed to, we may not be allowed to spend time with them any more. And from my own experience of volunteering with the children over a 2-year period, it is clear that time spent with them, providing them with love and the opportunity to feel safe and laugh for a while, is better than nothing at all. So please donate with me to this worthwhile cause, and help make the dream a reality!

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  • bob sheff

    over 2 years ago

    bob sheff

    I cannot believe some of the disgusting, self righteous, critical coments on here. Get off your judgement thrones and show some compassion. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • Jackie

    over 2 years ago

    Jackie

    I volunteered with the Wishing Well charity in Romania about 5 years ago. I have to agree that they do an amazing job in helping children like Mirela. The amount they achieve is exceptional considering the funding they have available. The staff work tirelessly to provide opportunities to these children that they otherwise would not have. I had an amazing and eye-opening experience during my time out there and would encourage others to see what great work they do and be a part of it themselves. You can find out more at http://www.wishingwellcharity.org/

  • Imogen

    over 2 years ago

    Imogen

    i went to a romanian orphanage to volunteer in the summer 2011. in the orphanage were 6 childen just like mirella, its called little johns house and it is a non-funded organisation and relies completly on donations. every summer they hold a summer school for the children of the local state orphanages, the state hospitals and children around the town. it is in a town near sibiu. I don't think people actually realise the effect the children have on you when you arrive and when you leave. this programme bought me to tears as i know exactly how she feels. the exact same. anyone who thinks that what she did was bad, as mirella gained nothing from it. I'd just like to say that these children are happy from the littlest thing, wether its from you stroking there hand for a while or just walking around with them. Every little thing you do that puts a smile on there face is good and they do gain a lot from it. This has inspired me to go back to the orphanage i volunteered at, thank you and very well done.

  • Beth

    over 2 years ago

    Beth

    It was so heart breaking to see Mirela walk back to her home as she clearly did not want to be there. She showed so much love when she met Natalie which was also touching but i have to agree with some of the previous comments, i am not 100 percent sure that her intentions for making this documentary were entirely genuine. We can all see Mirela did not gain from this experience. Having a sister with special needs myself, i know how the right care and support from a loving family could really improve the lives of Mirela and children alike. I for one have been inspired to help these children in what ever way i can! If any one else is interested, i think this is the website for the charity which help Mirela, http://www.closetoyouassociation.org/galerie.php

  • Tony

    over 2 years ago

    Tony

    Replying to Dave Bartletts comment about Ceaucescu he was executed on Christmas Day1989 so in all likelyhood it was still a bit awkward for everyone in the country mainly because he ran the Country for a long time. My wife and I have been visiting Romania every year since 2004 and we have seen normal kids begging on the streets as well as a lot of changes all over Romania. A lovely place to visit

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  • louise

    over 2 years ago

    louise

    Prev comment from David Bartlet makes you think. I just feel for the little children tossed aside. I dont know the situation of the people in the country,but they must be desperate to just abandon their children like this.I just hope things get better for the children.

  • David Bartlett

    over 2 years ago

    David Bartlett

    The theme of this programme is often linked to the famous Ceaucescu diktat to ban all forms of abortion or contraception. But as we are talking about Mirela being born in 1996, that is long after the death of the dictator. Surely the effects of that dreadful order were not still in place? Can anybody comment on this please?

  • Marius

    over 2 years ago

    Marius

    Isn't it a bit ironic that I can't see this video from Romania? Please do tell me how can I see the story, given the fact that it will never going to be aired here?

  • Louise

    over 2 years ago

    Louise

    Looking the little Mirrella in the picture , a bright little two year old. I have read all the above messages and noted on the ones that said Mirella in the picture, was not the same child as the one Natalie was told was the older Mirella. It does not really matter as all these little children need our help, but maybe the little girl in the picture had some chance.I hope she did, As Natalie said she was a bright little spark.

  • zoe

    over 2 years ago

    zoe

    OMG it brought me to tears but its amazing that mirellas still alive but soooo sad that shes developed the mental problems i love the bit when mirella keeps hugging natalie soo cute <3

  • Elena

    over 2 years ago

    Elena

    I'm romanian, i live in uk since 2004 and i'm a mother. I couldn't stop crying thinking how deferent she would have been if someone would have offered her the chance to grow up in a family. All orphans in Romania are let down by their country . it takes years to adopt a child and even if you would like to give one child the chance to be loved those who stupidly rule the country wouldn't let you. I would love to adopt a child but i know it's impossible and that breaks my heart.

  • Louise

    over 2 years ago

    Louise

    I watched the film and cant stop thinking about that little girl in the picture.i have two little girls and i feel so sad that these children never get the love and affection they need and deserve. I also felt the staff working here are prob over worked and under paid and are not as caring as they need to be. How sad, that there are so many good people in the world, that would love to adopt one of these children. But rules and red tape wont allow this. The picture of Mirela as a toddler looked so bright and normal, would she have been like this if she had a normal upbringing. she seems to have been robbed of everything.This has brought tears to my eyes.

  • Gemma Cameron

    over 2 years ago

    Gemma Cameron

    after watching this, i amongst others in my college class have decided to start some fundraising for the couple that are building the foster home, we are doing this by a sponsered walk for 3 hours, a baking sale and a day of bag packing at the local Morrisons supermarket. I hope that the money we raise will be good help to the couple.

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  • Mary Smith

    over 2 years ago

    Mary Smith

    I am very perturbed that the commentary blames the horrendous conditions in these orphanages on the laws against abortion and contraception. Are we to conclude that these children should have been killed in the womb or should never have been conceived? Outrage at the conditions in which these poor children have been forced to live should surely provoke anger at those who have allowed it to happen - not to the conclusion that their lives are not worth living, that they should never have been born.

  • barnard

    over 2 years ago

    barnard

    I just watched this documentary and it reduced me to tears. Romania should hang their heads in shame allowing healthy babies to be tossed aside,ending up in ill equipped orpanages and through neglect and lack of basic love and care these poor children develop harrowing mental and physical disabilities, never to fulfil their true potential in life.It's heartbreaking.

  • Jenna

    over 2 years ago

    Jenna

    This documentary brought me to tears. It's so shocking to see that children are still living in these conditions in 2011, such a disgrace. So painful to see how Mirela has suffered, especially when you think of what she could have been had she grown up in a different environment. So glad that Natalie got to see her again and lovely to see her get all those cuddles. I just wish Natalie could be a permanant fixture in her life as that would make such a positive difference to Mirela. Also, how inspiring Alex and her partner are, such a selfless act and it's clear how much they both care for the children.

  • rose beg

    over 2 years ago

    rose beg

    very heart touching and emotional story...heart broken to see children in bad states and left alone on streets..i hope situation changes for the better in the future so that theres help,suport and selter for children out there

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  • Smokey7

    over 2 years ago

    Smokey7

    Thousands of Romanian girls are strippers on video-chat (porn) websites and having a baby interrupts their lifestyle. IIt's a heart rending story, but sadly it's true !

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  • FARA Charity

    over 2 years ago

    FARA Charity

    FARA is a registered charity in both the UK and Romania and we have been working with orphaned and abandoned children and young people since 1991. Natalie visited our 2 homes in Bucharest. There are indeed many Mirela's in Romania and if you wish to help please visit the FARA website www.faracharity.org for more information about our vital work in Romania and how you can help.

  • ann o'flaherty

    over 2 years ago

    ann o'flaherty

    I first visited Romania for a week in 1992 and spent time in an orphanage in Bucharest, home to about 600 babies. It was a very disturbing experience and brought me to tears. I've been back to Romania several times and was able to help Jason develop his charity. I still do my bit and hope to go back to Romania again one day. Romania is 100 x improved on what I first saw but still it breaks my heart to see some of the things I do each time I go back. There is so much to do. Most of the "aid" groups have all closed now but there is still a hard core of committed overseas charities still working hard, and nowadays they all work in partnership with local volunteers from within Romania which is helping to create a now long term solution. I have not met Mirela but she appears to be a very cute girl deserving of a new start in life. Fingers crossed she gets it and fingers crossed for all the other Mirela's in Romania.

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  • jason o'flaherty

    over 2 years ago

    jason o'flaherty

    Hi Jenny, nice to read your comments. Nina was the Director as you say of the Pre-Scoala but Mirela was in the Leagnul de Copiii, which was still open in 2000. Having spoken face to face with the Director for Child & Adult Protection Services for the Olt County about Mirela and the Channel 5 film he was fairly sure this is her. She is definately a little girl called Mirela and she definately lived in the same "orphanage" at the same time Natalie was a volunteer. If she is not the "origional" Mirela Natalie worked with but another child that was there at the same time, also by chance called Mirela well does it really matter. The point of the film was to try to find a child Natalie connected with and in the end to try to improve the life chances for the children still living in the Romanian care system. Any Mirela is worth that help and I am sure if Alex & Ionuts of Close to You Foundation are lucky enough to realise their dream of opening the new centre who ever gets to live in the new home will have a fantastically improved life. I dont know if you have realised it yet but Ionuts is actually Mari's brother, the Social Worker that you and your group so kindly helped a couple of years ago when he was managing the project for children in Bucharest. Jenny, your group does a fantastic job supporting many charities working in the Olt County of Romania and has done so for 20 years. Thank you for all the support you gave to us and we hope to see you soon. When I am next in Slatina I will go and visit Mirela and check out if those statements are all true about the difference in the ears but I hope all the children will in the end benefit from this programme. As we at Wishing Well had helped in the production of the film and our involvement was not so well publicised I was a bit disappointed and spoke to Natalie about this over the phone but after speaking with her and several email communications I'm confident that this was not a PR stunt and Natalie actaully is 100% committed to following through with the promises she made to Alex in the film about creating the new centre. Natalie is also keen to do much much more and is trying to promote other great casues such as Hope and Homes and Fara. There are several charity links in this email thread and I know most of them and in my opinion they all do a fantastic job. I don't care which one anybody chooses to support (obviously I'd like people to join me at Wishing Well) but if people help elsewhere its sill a great thing. Romania has slipped off the radar and hopefully the programme will stimulate some new debate and interest but lets please remember that although things are still far from perfect in Romania things are much improved. There are many Romanian and non-Romanain people working hard to achieve positive change its just that the problem is still a big and long term one that is in need of much more help. Jason - Wishing Well Trustee

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  • jenny reid

    over 2 years ago

    jenny reid

    jenny reid Natalie even if this Mirela turns out to be the 'wrong child' PLEASE continue the work you are planning. I have been a member of a group visiting Romania for the last 20 years, It took years before the directors of institutions trusted us. They obviously thought we were a flash in the pan and when Bosnia happened, so many Romanian aid groups just switched their focus to that war torn area. We were asked many times why we didnt leave and go somewhere 'more in need' of our aid. Our view was that continuity is the key so we stayed and still work in Slatina today. When the orphanages began to be closed, those who had a living relative had to go back to them. The rest were fostered, where there were no relatives (sometimes they just couldn't be traced or if the children were genuine orphans). Those who were not fostered went to live in council run childrens' homes. These are flats where 6 or 8 children live with a house mother and 2 minders. (we are not talking disabled children here although they have the same set up in family appartments, but it sounds better than it really is by all accounts). Some of the children of Casa de copii presculari where Mirela was, have done well since they left the institution. Adi studied to be a nurse and Iulian is currently doing the same, some of the children still keep in touch with the lady who was director of the orphanage, Natalie, maybe you should do the same. Speak to Nina Pavel the orphanage director, she may be able to throw some light as to your real Mirelas wherabouts. Whatever happens , please continue your project, at least it will improve the lives of some who otherwise would face a wretched existence.

  • Jill Young

    over 2 years ago

    Jill Young

    What a heartbreaking story. We were in Romania in 1992, to find a little girl whose photograph we had seen. She was born with disabilities and was not expected to live. The result... She is now a dearly loved daughter..living in the UK. At the age of 20 she has just finished her A levels. She is deeply interested in politics and could tie any politician up in knots with her ability to thrash out what is happening in the world today. We were told this little girl would not develop mentally beyond a 4 montth old baby when we first brought her home. It brought me to tears to think what her fate might have been if she had remained in the orphanage.

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  • Claire McColl

    over 2 years ago

    Claire McColl

    I have just watched the programme and it made me feel so sad for Mirela and the other children . I remember watching the prog about the Romanian orphanages years ago . All these children missed out on was love and care which is so easy to give . Sometimes people dont realise what goes on . I will donate . Well done Natalie for making the programme

  • ToniShave

    over 2 years ago

    ToniShave

    don't forget www.cryinthedark.org who have successfully provided a home for life for 25 Romanian orphans

  • alex colman

    over 2 years ago

    alex colman

    Hi natallie, i watched your program and it really touched me, as i myself was a romanian orphan in 1989, but was lucky enough to be adopted into the uk in 91. I am amazed at the dedecation it took to find mirela, and was destraught at the realisation that i myself could have quite easily been a child who slipped through the system also. I think you are an ispiration to alot of others, and wish that i had the courage to go back and help in the way you did. As for peoples negative comments, and in reaction to them - if there were more people willing to open their eyes as to what is actually still going on in romania, maybe we would be able to help a still 3rd world country so that there are less cases like mirela. these children do not ask for the lives they are given, only a few are lucky like i was.

  • ALEX DALY

    over 2 years ago

    ALEX DALY

    Please take a look at www.closetoyouassociation.org or contact us at contact@closetoyouassociatio.org for further information about the work we do in Romania with children with severe to profound learning disabilities including Mirela and our plans for the creation of the multi-functional centre (where we aim to rehouse Mirela and 11 of her 'friends') as well as information on our volunteer program.

  • Lou Kelly

    over 2 years ago

    Lou Kelly

    Hello Natalie..having studied the photographs in detail i can confirm that the posters above are indeed correct that the two girls in the photos..the infant mirela and the older 14 year old girl are two different girls..they are NOT the same girl..the ears are completely different..the infant mirela had elongated ears with fuller lobes whereas the older girl has smaller ears with very thin lobes..i am very surprised that nobody noticed this detail during any identification process..i am very sad to be able to say this after all your wonderful work. Maybe one day you will find your mirela..i hope you do and in the meantime please continue all your wonderful hard work and dedication to these poor children :)

  • jason o'flaherty

    over 2 years ago

    jason o'flaherty

    Robert, whoever you are, perhaps you would like to give me a call and identify yourself as Wishing Well has never received any application from you. There are many great charities to volunteer with. We try our best but sometimes we do get it wrong. However we work hard to learn from these mistakes. As the Lead Trustee for Wishing Well i'd know very well if any Robert volunteered with us and apart from my good friend Robert who came with me on a social tip back in 2000 no Robert has ever applied. Call me, my numbers on our web site.

  • Kirsten

    over 2 years ago

    Kirsten

    I cannot agree with Roberts comments my very recent experience with Wishing Well in Romania reflected an organised but over worked charity with excellent staff and good communication on a very limited budget. I consider that my more recent experience (October 2011) should be viewed as an indication of what volunteers can expect from Wishing Well.

  • Robert

    over 2 years ago

    Robert

    NK I have already volunteered with Wishing Well thanks

  • NK

    over 2 years ago

    NK

    I strongly disagree with Robert's comment about Wishing Well. Kings College London has a very successful volunteering project for students in a Romanian Orphanage that would not be possible without the hard work,commitment and vision of Wishing Well. I would urge Robert to contact Wishing Well Charity www.wishingwellcharity.org and volunteer with the charity in Romania. I suspect that he will return with a different opinion.

  • NK

    over 2 years ago

    NK

    I would strongly disagree with Robert's comment above about Wishing Well Charity. Kings College London has a very successful volunteering project in a Romanian Orphanage only possible due to the hard work, commitment and vision of Wishing Well. It is a terrible shame that Robert feels as he does and I would urge him to contact Wishing Well and consider a trip to volunteer in Romania with Wishing Well. I have no doubt that he will return with a different opinion.

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  • mark conroy

    over 2 years ago

    mark conroy

    Well done Natalie and totally agree with tj's comment. The program brought so much back from when i was there. I will never forget the kids i taught joinery to and the rest of the kids on the farm. The last i heard was that the farm was still going strong as were the 7 or 8 houses in Bucharest. My father helped by a lady called Margareta from Ploiesti( a family friend who we met in the 90's) raised enough money to buy a house in Ploiesti suburbs for young mums and kids as a drop in center. Unfortunately the local government got involved and took the house from them, i'm not sure how it is doing now as it's been a while since we spoke to her. As i mentioned, i worked as a volunteer for Caritas international, one of the early organisations helping children in Bucharest. I think they had one of the first drop in centers down by the Gara de Nord - Bucharest where kids could get a bed for the night and a hot meal. I would like to think that this place, the farm and the houses did some good and hope they are still going strong. I know it did a lot to help with the flood relief in 2005. We hear so much about poverty and victims of disaster in other countries but not a lot about Romania so again well done Natalie.

  • NK

    over 2 years ago

    NK

    An insightful and important documentary. I was saddened to see that such little of the documentary highlighted the extensive efforts of Wishing Well Charity that have led to better health, education and cognitive development of many 'lost orphans' including Mirela. Having volunteered my time in orphanages in Romania, Belarus and Moldova, and spent time with Mirela herself in Romania, it is of utmost importance to understand that Mirela is one of a neglected generation. Small but effective charities, such as Wishing Well, that are pivotal to the long-term welfare of this generation of abandoned orphans need to be supported to ensure a brighter future for Mirela and the many other lost orphans next door. Channel 5, in the future please give more recognition to those that have worked for years to support Mirela and others in the same situation. I would urge all those that were touched by Mirela's story to visit www.wishingwellcharity.org and learn how they can make a real difference. BW

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  • tj

    over 2 years ago

    tj

    natalie i have to say tha this brought tears to my eyes, and well done for firstly bringing a very important topic into public view and also secondly having the guts to go back. You are an inspiration.

  • Riz

    over 2 years ago

    Riz

    For all of those small minded comments saying Natalie didn't really care and should have got Mirela out of there, that highlights how little you know about institutional care. I have witnessed first hand and volunteered myself in an orphanage, been in the same positon and grown extremely fond of a child and daily am racked with guilt and worry about the care he is receiving. It is not as easy to just say get them out of there, charities and organisations are working tirelessly to highlight the poor practices which are happening in orphanages, not only in Romania but other countries like Bulgaria. I've known a women wishing to adopt from there and it takes years, you need to be financially stable and obviously its a huge effort taking on a child who is heavily insitutionalised. Instead of throwing cheap digs at Natalie who has actually provided exposure and a compelling documentary (as the majority of you small minded people wouldnt have a clue what really goes on in a institution) why dont you yourselves do something about it? plenty of charities are seeking donations and volunteers alike, maybe then you will be able to understand!

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  • Charlotte

    over 2 years ago

    Charlotte

    I found the documentary great and i'm actually shocked that some people can be so vile and cruel about Natalie's portrayal in the film. Just reflects the kind of foul natured and petty some people are in this world.

  • AW

    over 2 years ago

    AW

    Mary, I agree with you 100%. Mirela's best interest was not considered at all in this documentary. To expect a child who has mental disabilities to have any comprehension of why Natalie was even there is completely foolish. A psychologist should have been consulted to discuss whether a reunion was even appropriate (once she found out that Mirela had mental issues) rather than just traveling out on a whim of guilt to go track her down. I appreciate that Natalie was limited in the amount of time she had in Romania but you know, with the internet, it's actually quite easy to have a phone conference with a psychologist that I am sure C5 has available to it's journalists under our country's insane obsession with health and safety. It's possible that Mirela could have eventually handled a reunion once that other care centre was built and she was in an environment where she had structure and people to trust. Visiting her, coddling her, taking her to the park, knowing what her current circumstances were like, was entirely inappropriate to Mirela's mental state and general wellbeing. Dragging a child back into the apartment should have been the first clue that this was not the appropriate action to take.

  • Gael

    over 2 years ago

    Gael

    I am currently volunteering in the Centre which featured in Mirela’s story, having been here for 3 months. I found the Wishing Well Charity on the internet and decided that the work they did sounded very worthwhile. The Centre is funded by the Wishing Well Foundation for which Jason O’Flaherty is the lead trustee and I know he uses his own money, as well as some donations, to keep the very good work of the Centre going, and has done since it opened in 2004. I have been astonished by the hard work, care and dedication shown by Mari and Norica, who are the Romanian girls working at the Centre and who work with Mirela and others like her. They visit the Homes, there are 9 in Slatina, and are very involved with the children there as well as giving them the opportunity to visit the Centre and enjoy the Sensory Room here. There is a lot of good work already being done in Romania, but more is needed. If you would like more information about the Wishing Well charity, please check the website www.wishingwellcharity.org

  • Kirsten

    over 2 years ago

    Kirsten

    I have recently returned from volunteering in Romania where I was working in the care homes with the orphaned children one of which was the home with Mirela. I also met with the Wishing Well Romanian employees Mari and Norika. Mari appeared on this documentary accompanying Natalie at various times. I cannot write enough about the tireless work and effort that the Wishing Well charity contributes to people in need in Romania. Every member works for a pittance but does so to ensure that Wishing Well can continue to help those who cannot help themselves. If ever there were angels to walk the earth it would be Mari and Norika from Wishing Well. Please take a look at the Wishing Well website www.wishingwellcharity.org.

  • Mary

    over 2 years ago

    Mary

    This documentary had me sobbing. Having worked with people with learning disabilities in this country and then seeing those children, most of whom it seems would not have learning disabilities but for the environment they have been brought up in, made me so angry and so upset. To be born with a disability can be awful but to develop one because of the environment is wicked. All because a whacky president had a whacky idea, thousands are suffering and will continue to suffer for many, many years to come. I have to say that I was distressed to see Natalie go back and interact so intensely with Mirela. Personally I do not believe she should have interacted on such a personal level with that one child even though Mirela was the one she was interested in. To give a deprived child hugs for a few hours and walk away even if she keeps in touch or visits again in a few months is playing with that's child emotions. I also thought that taking Mirela to the park and none of the others wasn't really appropriate. I appreciate Natalie probably didn't have a lot of time and Mirela was the focus of the documentary, there but I felt she was setting Mirela up for another fall. Of course she didn't want to go back, who would? I really hope Channel 5 go back and film the development and progress of the project where Mirela will hopefully live but in my opinion, Natalie should not be the journalist. Any child needs the security and consistency of knowing the people around them care about them and are going to be there for the good and the bad days.They can cope with irregular contact with others if they know they are loved by their parents/guardians. With a child who has difficulty understanding what is happening plus the language difficulties, dipping in and out of an insecure and vulnerable child's life is very unsettling for them. When my happy, healthy 6 year old has an unsettling experience it can affect her for weeks e.g. when we moved away from her Dad but she learnt to cope and now understands the situation. A child like Mirela may never understand and will carry that disappointment for ever, she will never understand what she did wrong to make the nice lady go away... I think that you can really only understand this if you have had children of your own. So glad I saw it but wish there had been more thought about the emotional impact this will have on the child.

  • Samantha H

    over 2 years ago

    Samantha H

    A absolutely devestating reminder of the plight of these vulverable children and young people. Makes you realise how lucky we are in Britain and how good our systems are for adoption and fostering. I too, like other people on here felt there was too little information at the end for donating and therefore a missed opportunity. I am glad to have watched this documentary, however upsetting it may be, because it is so easy to get on with our lives and worry about insignificant things. Brings you down to earth with a thump. Surely, whether or not you agree with the content of the documentary, it has raised much awareness of the continued problem in Romania. Hopefully more help will be given to these poor children.

  • Tanya

    over 2 years ago

    Tanya

    This program has really messed with my head. I remember watching a documentary a few years ago about Romanian orphanages which touched also touched me and Mirela's story just brought all those emotions back. I agree that the program was important to alert people about the problems in Romanian and I admire anyone who has had the strength to volunteer in the orphanages. I have to say though I understand that Natalie could not help all of the children but the subject of the program was Mirela. After claiming how guilty she felt for leaving Mirela the first time I can't for the life of me understand how she could walk away again. Mirela's life was obviously not a rosy one anyone could see that from her reaction to going back home. There is no way I could have dragged that poor little girl up those stairs it was heartbreaking. It's true that there is a lot of suffering in the world, people are ill and starving, however the mental torture experienced by those Romanian orphans to me seems much worse. Not only are they ill and starving but there brains are being slowly turned to mush by the total lack of stimulation and love. It truly is a cruel cruel world :-(

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  • db

    over 2 years ago

    db

    I have just watched this. I am so jealous but thrilled that you managed to find Mirela. Not a day goes by (as I said in my earlier post) that I do not think about the one child I bonded in particular with. Slightly fed up with reading all the negative posts about Natalie doing it for personal gain maybe unless you have ever been in the fortunate position of working in these orphanages, hospitals or institutions and seeing it first hand you cannot completely understand why Natalie (or any other volunteer) would (or does) go back to see what has happened to the children they have looked after. It really was (and is) a life changing experience. As guilty as I felt 18 years ago by leaving I had to reflect that I gave them 4 months of my love and care. Regret that I didn't do more - especially when I hear about ladies like Alex. Someone to admire greatly. I hope channel 5 do a follow up documentary when they start their build. It was due to Challenge Anneka's trip to Romania that I applied to be a volunteer! Good luck to Alex and Ionuts.

  • charlotte

    over 2 years ago

    charlotte

    alex you are a inspiration.will be donating and will defo be keeping up to date about mirela

  • Anonymous

    over 2 years ago

    Anonymous

    well done alex for all the effort you are putting in to the centre. If more people were like you, the world would be a much better place.

  • jason o'flaherty

    over 2 years ago

    jason o'flaherty

    Sandra, that is a bit unfair. Over the past 20 years I have spent a great deal of time out in Romania and if it was not for the financial difficulties I would be living in Romania now. However, the long term solution is not in international volunteers but local people responding to the problem and we put a great deal of effort in this direction too.

  • ToniShave

    over 2 years ago

    ToniShave

    and those that have done it before www.cryinthedark.org who took 28 children from the orphanage to give them a home for life !

  • Sandra Tanner

    over 2 years ago

    Sandra Tanner

    yes, yes you are all wonderful. Talk to people who came and STAYED. www.tannermission.org

  • jason o'flaherty

    over 2 years ago

    jason o'flaherty

    Wishing Well has been working in Romania for the past 20 years. We are a small UK based charity and we run a International Volunteer & Community Resource center in Slatina, which opened in 2004. The center was actually in the film and is where Natalie met Mari (our member of staff). Mari, Norica and our team of Romanian volunteers currently work with Mirela, all the other children living in care homes across Slatina, the adults living in the institutions where the children end up and we also support a large number of children in the more disadvantaged families in the town. Hope and Homes are right when they say most of the children are not orphans, and we do a lot of work to prevent child abandonment. We are a small volunteer run charity and we recruit people from the UK to work with us in Romania. Check out our web site for more information www.wishingwellcharity.org Thank you for your time in reading this message. Jason

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  • net

    over 2 years ago

    net

    really well done natalie, a great programme and dealt with in a great way, i will be donating and if ok will email as woul love updates, and the silly comments from various people, ie regarding ears are just not worth it,

  • ALEX DALY

    over 2 years ago

    ALEX DALY

    MESSAGE FROM ALEX DALY A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone for their messages, particularly those with kind wishes and support, they are very much appreciated. Close to You Association is a Romanian charity (hence why it was not publicised at the end of the documentary). Our website can be found at the following address http://www.closetoyouassociation.org/en/index.php I am currently in the process of setting up the UK charity, which we are hoping to name ‘Close to You International’ but this takes a huge amount of time, and as I already have a full time job as a Children’s Nurse as well as being involved in the running of the Romanian charity, planning for the creation of the multi-functional centre (mentioned in the TV documentary) and UK volunteer program, you can imagine this is a immensely difficult task for one single person. You can donate money to our Romanian bank account in GBP, but you will need to go into your local bank to do this, but we are also looking into other options in order to collect donations. Every penny of your donations will go towards building Mirela and other children a new home and a new life. You can also volunteer with the children shown in the TV documentary amongst other children living in similar Family Type Homes across Slatina through us. If you are interested in any aspect of the work of Close to You Association, please visit our website and/or contact us at the following email address contact@closetoyouassociation.org We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have or provide you with further information. I can honestly say that I love Mirela with all my heart. I have been working with her for almost 7 years now (since I was 18 years old) and throughout this whole time I have been back and forth to Romania several times a year, staying up to 2 and half months at a time, whilst also studying/working (I have made some trips even for a couple of days at a time between night shifts just to go and see Mirela and the other children). I have done everything that is humanely possible to help Mirela and the other children, but up until now I have had no opportunity to provide an alternative for Mirela, and as you saw in the documentary, taking Mirela back into her ‘home’ is a very distressing experience, not just for Mirela, it breaks my heart everytime, leaving her is traumatic and even soul-destroying, but international adoption is closed, it was even before I volunteered in Romania for the first time and I myself am only 9 years older than Mirela so even if it had been open, I, myself, probably would have not successfully been able to adopt Mirela. Please do not believe for a second that I wouldn’t have done everything I could to give Mirela a life so different from the life she has had up until now, but up until now, there has been no alternative, this is why the documentary is so so important. This documentary could potentially change Mirela and many other children’s lives, if enough people are willing to help us create this dream. We are not trying to save every abandoned child in Romania, we cannot possibly do that even if we tried, but we are trying to make a difference to a small number of children, who deserve the love and affection that every child deserves. I am going back to see Mirela next month. Mirela is always in my mind and in my heart. I can put my hand to my heart and say that I am honestly doing the best I can to change her life. If you have any questions or if you would just like further information i.e about the home we are planning to build or even just an update about Mirela, please contact us: http://www.closetoyouassociation.org/en/index.php contact@closetoyouassociation.org Ionut personally respond to every email written to Close to You Association (do bear with us if you email in the next couple of days, as we are a little bit swamped with messages at present). PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider making a donation to our cause or volunteering with Close to You Association. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Together we can achieve a completely new life for 12 children.....a new home.... a new family.... a chance for them to receive the love and attention they deserve.... a chance for them to be truly happy :)

  • tonishave

    over 2 years ago

    tonishave

    Natalie would you consider doing a follow up program on the state run instuitions that you mentionned in your prgramme?I have tried to email to info@nataliepinkham.com but it keep throwing it back at me any ideas?

  • Ian

    over 2 years ago

    Ian

    Natalie - on seeing your second post, I stand corrected and am happy to concede that the programme did draw attention to Romanian orphans. Just thought that you could have handled it better in terms of drawing attention to the charities now mentioned ! WHY did you not do this during filming ? Did Channel 5 not allow this ? Now that I'm aware of the relevant charities, pointed out by you in this blog (not during the programme) I'll donate ! And YES, I too hope we can help Mirela !

  • Bianca

    over 2 years ago

    Bianca

    Well done Natalie!!! I will send some money. I am from Romania and I did not know that is so bad

  • Laura

    over 2 years ago

    Laura

    If you're looking to donate to long-standing, credible charities that work with Romanian abandoned children please check out Romanian Children's Relief www.rcr.org or Livada Orphan Care www.livada.org An excellent charity - Disability Rights International - works to expose and correct human rights violations in mental institutions - where many abandoned children end up. Please go to their website at www.disabilityrightsintl.org to see what they've just exposed in Georgia. It will break your heart and hopefully move you to protest on behalf of these abandoned children. Sadly, even though they shined a torch on Romania's children and adults living in hell-holes of mental institutions, the EU still allowed them to enter and looked the other way....

  • Desiree

    over 2 years ago

    Desiree

    Natalie I am afraid to say that the girl you found is not the Mirela you are looking from, the ears are different, I am afraid to say, never the less please continue the good work and when you are back in Romania please study the ears

  • desiree

    over 2 years ago

    desiree

    I found the story poignant but the girl Natalie found is NOT the Mirela she was looking for, the ears are different, sorry to have to say

  • Natalie Pinkham

    over 2 years ago

    Natalie Pinkham

    Thanks Marta. Keep in touch with me via email or twitter @nataliepinkham and I will give you regular updates on Mirela and the other children. We are going back over to Romania next week, so I will keep you posted with pics too.

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  • toni shave

    over 2 years ago

    toni shave

    the best way to help is to get people like you Nil Desperandum out there to see the poverty and suffering of these people. And obviously to give give give and keep shouting for these children that have no voice ! www.cryinthedark.org

  • Natalie Pinkham

    over 2 years ago

    Natalie Pinkham

    Thanks for the comments. Positive + negative. They all help in the long run. Our objective is and always has been to help Mirela and her friends - and we will. Since the documentary was shot we have secured some support and funding to build a home for the children with specially adapted rooms. Pirelli have committed some money, and many of the F1 teams have offered logistical and practical support. We are not arrogant enough to assume we can change everything in Romania, and neither should we try, because there are great Romanians hard at work as we speak trying to fix their country one child at a time. I am sorry that you Linda Fitzpatrick and Ian Gough felt that I was doing it for personal gain - that truly wasn't the case. I believe if we have any sort of chance to shine a light on a subject (that has largely fallen off people's radars in this country) then it is our duty in the media to do so. Rather than throwing bad vibes out there, why don't we pull together to make a difference. Close to You Organisation, Hope+Homes and FARA are three places we can all donate right now. If you want to contact me directly please do so on info@nataliepinkham.com Thank you to those who have made constructive comments. Mirela - the real star of the show - will soon have a home because of people like you. Good night x

  • Nil Desperandum

    over 2 years ago

    Nil Desperandum

    Chris Rogers continues to do astounding work. (The journalist NP spoke with at start of prog). The amount of reports and tv programmes he has made on this subject in Romania as well as other countries (astonishingly enough Turkey also!) it is amazing that HE is not a broken man. These children's personalties are ripped from them and their spirits crushed because of the lack of physical contact, love, affection, parenting and all round loss in their lives. The majority started their lives innocent, healthy and full of joy and vivaciousness. The mental health problems develop because of the empty and sad life circumstances that followed. And they become broken. N Ceaucescu has so much to answer for. (and that's SO putting it politely). REALLY don't know what the answer is. Because so many people keep flagging these orphanage issues up and then very little becomes of their flagging. For example, Sarah Ferguson fronted a Tonight programme re: Romanian and Turkish Orphanages a few years ago. For at least a year thereafter I contacted all and sundry connected with the programme as well as UK government with offers of my fundraising. The majority said as Turkey especially was rejecting help little could be done. I continued not to give up until unfortunately I started suffering health issues of my own. I think we all want to zap these countries with a blast of empowerment in order to get to the root of the issue (because now the problem extends from the baby to child to adult institutions ) but the question still is how? Homelessness, addiction, human deprivation, poverty. All major issues, but to me this has got to be 1 of the worst kinds of human suffering. And still the excessively, obscenely rich versus the insanely poor divide remains. This is not kind, not right and not fair to humankind. Ideas and ACTION are needed please.

  • Portsmouth Pete

    over 2 years ago

    Portsmouth Pete

    marta. The people in Romania are wonderful. However, Politicians in EVERY country are a totally different breed! Just consider a few political names, then decide if you would like to be a member of their family. Names like Ceaucescu, Tito, Stalin, Brezhnev, Sarkozy, Merkhel, Blair, Brown.... The list could be endless.

  • jo

    over 2 years ago

    jo

    I have just been looking at Natalie's web page. I did not realise that she was a professional presenter. It was terribly presented. I hope Natalie does not return in 12 years to see how Mirela is getting on but I guess work is work, eh! Wish my heart was made of stone too.

  • toni shave

    over 2 years ago

    toni shave

    I have been involved with charities in North East Romania check out www.bigginhillromaniagroup.co.uk and www.cryinthedark.org both help children and adults from orphages like this one. I also have seen for myself the state run institutions. I organsie a trip twice a year so if you are interested in coming with me email tonishave@aol.com

  • Ian Gough

    over 2 years ago

    Ian Gough

    Natalie - where is the charitable website and money making initiatives on the back of this programme ? If you REALLY cared for Mirela and the other children then why have you A) not set up a charity (you spoke to two very willing volunteers out there, no), B) Not used your media opportunities / connections to draw attention to such a charity and its aims, C) Not used your Formula 1 connections to help in fund raising. I thought that this was more of a self-centered, egotistical programme for your own ends than it was to help those poor children. Time to take a look at yourself and do something good. Point me in the direction of your charity and i'll donate and i'm pretty confident that others who watched the programme will too !!

  • Glenn

    over 2 years ago

    Glenn

    I found a note on Natalie's website asking us to send an e-mail to info@nataliepinkham.com if we wanted to help

  • marta

    over 2 years ago

    marta

    Oh please lets be honest if people in romania where that great they would not let this happen daily ,the same way as people in china are wrong to let 2 year olds being run over my trucks over and over again . there is something amiss in those societies . Yes there are always bad people in every country but for a whole institution who is supposed to protected children to run so badly it mean the core of its population is purely rotten

  • Danny

    over 2 years ago

    Danny

    Anyone who wants to donate can get in touch by emailing info@nataliepinkham.com there is direct charity fund set up for the mirela centre iv just done a little research on Natalie Pinkham and she is on twitter feel free to get in touch with her and please donate what you can!

  • james

    over 2 years ago

    james

    I am pleased that this presenter is not a member of my family. I would be ashamed of her using this situation purely for selfish gain. Disgusting. I would not be able to leave any of those children in that room. I would build that young couple the place they dream of with my own hands before I left. To have done it once is one thing... twice! She has failed herself as a human being.

  • Simon

    over 2 years ago

    Simon

    Having been myself to Romania on several occasions doing similar charitable work, Natalie portrays true feelings which I can identify with. She is using her position to show the current situation, I revisited after several years and tried to find one who I held a bond with, eventually found her living in a slum, having been rescued from a life of prostitution.. broke my heart as I could do little to help..

  • marta

    over 2 years ago

    marta

    I agree that seeing Mirela going back to the apartment was just plain sad ,having a child with special needs myself I know as a mum you that child should have been loved and cared even more in same ways than any other child .BUT its not realistic to say take her out of there.romania does not allow international adoptions and in all honesty I'm not sure Natalies intentions where those anyway. Even those like me who want to adopt internationally have so many obstacles ,and its extremely expensive ,its wrong that so many children are left to die when so may people are ready to love and care for them. I also agree that the end of this programme left a void ,maybe they should have done it differently as the way it was done brings no help or confort to any of those kids involved so i dont really see the point .

  • Portsmouth Pete

    over 2 years ago

    Portsmouth Pete

    The programme, "The lost Orphan Mirela's story" was heartbreaking. It had me in tears.

  • mrs smith

    over 2 years ago

    mrs smith

    Think the programme was disgusting completely agree with some earlier comments. All it did was rid the presenter of her guilt. Mirella didn't not gain from it if anything it was a "this is what you could have had" in respects to mirella. And no information on donating utterly appauled.

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  • Portsmouth Pete

    over 2 years ago

    Portsmouth Pete

    Mike M is correct to rebuke mike. I regularly visit Romania. I have made good friends there. I will never holiday anywhere else. I am treated like a family guest by the Romanian people, and not “just another tourist”. Romanian people and Roma gypsies/Romani people are totally different. The Roma came from Asia. Dozy Sarkozy proved that name recently with his moronic attitude and typically idiotic politician’s assumptions. Romania is a beautiful country. MOST of its population, including the gypsies, tend to be nice, polite and helpful people. But EVERY country has some bad people. In Britain we have had many. Thanks to Ceaucescu and communism, Romania is at the start of a big rebuild. Money and jobs tend to be scarce. Imi place Romania.

  • Nick

    over 2 years ago

    Nick

    This is the organization that help Mirela, visit the website: www.closetoyouassociation.org

  • IP

    over 2 years ago

    IP

    I COULDN'T EXPRESS MYSELF BETTER This is cheap, opportunistic journalism. Most of it centred on Natalie and not on the horrific conditions of Romanian orphans. Lots of moody shots of her in a field or looking out of a window, making inconsequential comments about her own sense of guilt or her own memories and feelings. Constantly looking at the camera and saying things like "Oh, she doesn;t want to go home," or "Look, that's the smile from the photograph." Sickening, vulgar and cheap. These people are tourists, using the hell of other countries to further their own careers.

  • Lady kay

    over 2 years ago

    Lady kay

    I like so many of you have found this very moving and really shocking, what if anything can we do to support these young people!!!! does money go to them!! Someone tell me and I would be more than willing to support these youngsters some how.

  • jade

    over 2 years ago

    jade

    linda fitzpatrick i am so with you !! as a mother you know ,with love cuddles and a lot of fuss mirella would be amazing ...its heart breaking to think of her there and even more as to why she really didnt want to go up those steps ;;((((((

  • Beth

    over 2 years ago

    Beth

    Well done for one of the best pieces of tv I have seen demonstrating the problems of children from institutions in Romania - and especially what happens to them when they're aduts. Does anyone have details of the charity Alex & Ionut are setting up? I work in a similar line and would love to be in touch. Mainly thank you for highlighting this in a very understanding and sensitive way.

  • Laura

    over 2 years ago

    Laura

    Good on you, Nick. It makes me laugh bitterly that adults are able to freely move to a foreign country, work in a foreign country, drag their biological children to a foreign country and leave their culture and language behind, but won't grant the same opportunity to a parentless child who is left to rot in an institution or be bounced around from one foster home to another. And, in the case of Romania, either back to an orphanage when they're older or staying on to work as a maid. Studies have shown that ALL institutionalized children suffer PERMANENT damage. My own child was adopted from Romania when she was almost 3. Ten years later she's had her tonsils and adenoids removed due to infections and inability to breathe properly, surgery to remove 3 extra bones in her foot that were causing pain and an inability to walk, and got glasses when she was 5. She's been diagnosed with learning disabilities and has both special teachers in school and a tutor. NONE of this would have been possible had she remained in state care in Romania. And she knows more about Romanian culture and the language than any child living in state care. Most importantly, she's happy, loved by many, and as 3 of her teachers wrote on her report card that came home yesterday, "Is a pleasure to have in class.", ""Sets a good example for others." and "Relates well to and with her peers." Meanwhile, her former foster mother is now living in Spain and her biological family have left Romania looking for work!

  • Geraldine

    over 2 years ago

    Geraldine

    Does anyone know where funds are being raised for the new home planned to be built for Mirela and other foster children , having been to Moldova twice as a volunteer I am keen to find out more. "Never judge people before you have walked in their shoes Mike"

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  • jade

    over 2 years ago

    jade

    linda.... my thoughts exactlty i think its terrible that poor mirella has to go through this again!! WHY !!! if you are really that conc erned after 12 years .IF you were wouldnt you save her ,for gods sake get her out!!

  • linda fitzpatrick

    over 2 years ago

    linda fitzpatrick

    thought this programme was disgusting to the fact that natalie was more concerned about her guilt of leaving mirrella still dont know what the purpose of her visit was mirella gained NOTHING it was leading a lamb to slaughter taking her back into that room "QUOTE she dosent want to go in" would she? also noted saying feel better she is being cared for would like to be a fly on the wall after the camera stops rolling.to see the real care!

  • kerry

    over 2 years ago

    kerry

    a reminder is the basis of the programme . . Cheap n vulgar is the system to which put these children into care n the lack of love n care given by the same people supposedly caring for them at that time . . Well done to natalie for havin the courage to return to what is still a very real and distressing part of life for many unwanted children of this world lets hope n try to secure a better standard of life for all of the world 's children thank you for reminding us all this is not a problem of the past it is still a huge problem in many parts of our so called modern world.

  • Natasha James

    over 2 years ago

    Natasha James

    Natasha Just before watching this programme, I had just started wrapping up some shoe boxes to send to Romania, for a local charity based in Herefordshire who takes out shoe boxes. Over the years we have collected clothes from friends and families and have given to this charity. But it really hits home how very little these people have and they way the children are treated. The poor child did not want to go back into the building, it is so very sad.

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  • nicknack

    over 2 years ago

    nicknack

    i think chanel 5 should be taken to task over this documentary. We should have been advised of recognised charities we can donate to. I accept they cannot show 'unknown' charities, as i suspect the one at the end is.......but surely we should have been directed to a website giving us more information at the very least. A HUGE missed opportunity to help those who really need it. Utterly selfish.

  • Danny

    over 2 years ago

    Danny

    I would love to make a donation to the mirela centre can Someone get in touch or put a link on here ??

  • Alex

    over 2 years ago

    Alex

    Does anyone know where we can donate? What a truly moving programme.

  • Glenn

    over 2 years ago

    Glenn

    Major missed opportunity to ask for help for the House project . was expecting an appeal for help and poss a wensite or something.

  • rom

    over 2 years ago

    rom

    "tools" in the movie means money in real life

  • linda fitzpatrick

    over 2 years ago

    linda fitzpatrick

    just watched mirellas story thought this was absolutely shocking does channel 5 think this is good veiwing what did this natalie think she was acheiving mirella gained nothing from it after LEAVING HER 12 years ago now only to do the same it was like leading a lamb to slaughter in the end when the little girl didint want to go backin to the flat i noted natilie said "feel better knowing she is cared for and people love her2i thought this was absolutely shocking and disgusting

  • Han

    over 2 years ago

    Han

    Absolutely loved this..couldn't help but cry abit too!

  • AP

    over 2 years ago

    AP

    its called close to you association, you can donate at www.closetoyouassociation.org. im a volunteer for them and they really do a fantastic job/

  • Samantha

    over 2 years ago

    Samantha

    I also thought we'd be given an option to donate at the end of the programme for Mirela????

  • Sheree Powrie

    over 2 years ago

    Sheree Powrie

    how can u donate to the project i would love to help this programme had me in tears.

  • Nick J

    over 2 years ago

    Nick J

    Brilliant documentary. I'm a photographer and I'm going to Bucharest next year to do a huge documentary project on the orphanages as its something close to me and i want to see the reality of it all. I myself am from romania and was lucky enough to be adopted in 1990 at the age of 6months.

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  • Everybody Hates A Tourist

    over 2 years ago

    Everybody Hates A Tourist

    This is cheap, opportunistic journalism. Most of it centred on Natalie and not on the horrific conditions of Romanian orphans. Lots of moody shots of her in a field or looking out of a window, making inconsequential comments about her own sense of guilt or her own memories and feelings. Constantly looking at the camera and saying things like "Oh, she doesn;t want to go home," or "Look, that's the smile from the photograph." Sickening, vulgar and cheap. These people are tourists, using the hell of other countries to further their own careers.

  • Jemma

    over 2 years ago

    Jemma

    What a moving and emotional programme! I want to donate to the project where mirela is to be re housed

  • Debbie W

    over 2 years ago

    Debbie W

    Hello. Can you tell me what the first documentary was called the one before The Lost Orphan: Merelas Story. I remember watching it a few years ago and have been really wanting to watch it again, I have never been able to find it. Do you know what the name is, when it was aired and where i can watch it? Please. Thank you

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  • Nick

    over 2 years ago

    Nick

    Domestic adoption is brilliant, international adoption is flawed. If it has to be used at all it should be the last step in a developed Child Protection System, not one like Romania's at the moment. In an immature system it encourages people to give up their children hoping they'll go abroad, so many don't and they rot in orphanages. It is also hugely traumatic for children taken to another country, leaving everything and everyone they've attached to and having to learn another language. Whenever we talk about adoption it should be domestic.

  • Mike M

    over 2 years ago

    Mike M

    Mike, you do make a big missteke talking about this people like that. I am from Romania and now I am a British Citezen. This people dont't have ande never will have what you have. Here in uk you have all sorts of fake and lazy people who dont want to work. Over there this people are pore and no one to help them like here. Think before you talk abouth other people.

  • mike

    over 2 years ago

    mike

    I am working with a boy from this orpahange here in UK, he is 17 in December. His name it is Lucian , I am so happy to be working with him. He is here in SW Cornwall.

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  • LB

    over 2 years ago

    LB

    I would love to adopt Mirela, but applying to the local council to adopt is a bureacratic and expensive and often (intentionally by the social workers) arduous. it is a shame the UK are not allowing people who want to adopt to adopt as quickly as they used to, and a shame on British and European society that we do not have a quicker process. Afterall once a child's life is destroyed what we receive through the EU is the right of anyone to cross into our country for work...prostitutes, gang leaders, drugs adn arms dealers find it easier to get into the UK than children

  • Rocky's Dad

    over 2 years ago

    Rocky's Dad

    Petrica is right – the “not really orphans” ARE in fact orphans. Otherwise, what would you call a child who is abandoned at birth by parents who never show any interest in their child? Make no mistake: Baroness Nicholson and the Romanian authorities are the ones responsible for condemning tens of thousands of Romanian orphans and abandoned children to a life without a family. And the situation is getting worse due to the economic crisis, with more and more children from foster families being sent back to institutions because their families' small salaries have been cut drastically. They were abandoned once and now they are once again abandoned! They are sentenced to a life in institution and to no future. International adoptions are banned thanks to baroness Nicholson, domestic adoptions are very few and very slow, while the number of abandoned children keeps raising. All these children will reach 18 and will be kicked out on the streets, with no life skills and no means to survive, and no family to support them. Emma Nicholson, I am sure one day you will get what you deserve for forcing these thousands of Mirela’s to live in hell!

  • Petrica

    over 2 years ago

    Petrica

    There are tens of thousands of "Mirela's" in Romania who have little chance of growing up in a permanent family (the real need -- the smokescreen of "not really orphans" raised by the "Hope and Homes" post is just that -- a smokescreen, and obviously they have a vested [read "monetary"] interest in keeping the chilren in Romania.) The current internal adoption rate isn't even keeping pace with yearly abandonments, let alone putting a dent in the number of other children without a permanent family to grow up in. One answer to this dilemma would be to open international adoptions again so that many of these children would have the opportunity to grow up in a permanent family -- the thing that is truly in their BEST interests.

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  • Hope and Homes for Children

    over 2 years ago

    Hope and Homes for Children

    We at Hope and Homes for Children are looking forward to Natalie’s documentary this evening. Studies have shown that the physical, psychological and social impact of orphanages on children are devastating. Indeed, it’s inaccurate to call them ‘orphanages’, because about four out of five of the children living there are not orphans. Nearly all of them have at least one living parent, but have been abandoned because of poverty, family breakdown or social prejudices. We have been working in Romania since 1998, helping to close orphanages and re-unite children with their birth-families. When this isn’t possible we place them with new loving foster and adoptive families, or give them a new life in a purpose-built Small Family Home. To date we’ve closed 44 state-run orphanages in Romania and our work is seen as a model of best practice by UNICEF and WHO. Earlier this year we established a landmark partnership with the Romanian Government to close the country’s remaining 170 state-run orphanages by 2020. In their place we are developing a childcare system that keeps children in a family-type environment. You can support our groundbreaking work at www.hopeandhomes.org

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  • ctall

    over 2 years ago

    ctall

    I spent 4 weeks volunteering in an orpahange in Cernavoda Romania in 2000. I still have strong memories of the children I met. At the time I remember I wish I was able to do more for them. I will definately be watching this.

  • mark conroy

    over 2 years ago

    mark conroy

    Jo, db, where about were you working when you were out there? I worked on a farm called fermă Caritas in a small village named Arichesti about 10K from Ploiesti. I taught some of the older kids joinery, did a bit repair work and looked after the kids. their ages ran from 2 years to 18 years. It was the best year of my life and i only left because i ran out of my own money and got to know some Irish nurses in Bucharest. You could survive on the farm no problem but a trip to the city would cost a fortune for a weekend. I am scared to go back because i might want to stop out their again. Fantastic country, lovely people and i tell you what, when we moan about having nothing we have something compared to a lot in Romania.

  • Nic

    over 2 years ago

    Nic

    Check out www.lifefoundation.uk.com/international to find out more about volunteering in Romania. You could make a real difference!

  • db

    over 2 years ago

    db

    I volunteered over there 18 years ago. Not a day goes by without thinking of the children I helped look after. One childs birthday gets put in my diary every single year. I will never forget the experience and life lessons my time in Romania taught me. Cannot wait to watch this

  • Jo riley

    over 2 years ago

    Jo riley

    I worked in the orphanages in 1991. Florentine was a tiny 10 year old who carried a bear and stole any shoes she could get her hands on. She was the size of a 2 year old and I am sure could not survive this long- I would love to go back but am not brave enough to find out if she is still alive. Mirela is very brave - I will be watching the story

  • Sophie Olley

    over 2 years ago

    Sophie Olley

    I have volunteered in a Romanian institution three different times and am completing a large piece of research based here :) I am looking to make whatever difference I can.

  • mark conroy

    over 2 years ago

    mark conroy

    i worked on a farm for kids in 1994, there was a child who was taken away from us by his father which broke my heart, i often wonder what happened to him and where and what he is doing now. This programme i will not be missing.

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