This article was originally published in the September 2016 edition of ITMI Monthly.
Cipi (pronounced “Chipy”) was 12 when he came to ITMI’s Casa Dorca Orphanage in Prillipet, Romania with his brother and sister.
One of his earliest memories was crying as his mother left them at a state run orphanage when he was just a toddler.
Cipi grew up at Casa Dorca Orphanage.
Life in most Romanian orphanages is just hard. “I remember coming home from school, knowing I would be punished. For absolutely no reason. You knew after school, you had to go to the supervisor and put out your palms while she hit them with a stick.” She wasn’t the only one who abused them. The older kids terrorized and bullied the younger ones, too.
When the psychologist asked them if they’d like to go to Casa Dorca, they said, “Yes!”
Immediately, Cipi noticed a big difference between Casa Dorca and the other two orphanages he’d been at.
Instead of threatening and intimidating him, the older kids took care of him! They showed him around and helped him adjust.
“This place feels more like a family than an orphanage,” Cipi said. Brother Daniel, Casa Dorca’s administrator at the time, called Cipi his friend.
Cipi was eager to learn, so he did well in school and participated in church activities enthusiastically. “I remember liking it so much,” Cipi said of church, “It was so different from what I’d heard and knew.”
As he read the Bible, he understood that he needed Jesus and became a believer.
Brother Daniel observed Cipi’s love for learning and saw that he was able to attend high school and college, too. “They treat us like we are theirs,” Cipi said of the Casa Dorca leadership.
After finishing college, Cipi returned to Casa Dorca. He wants to give back. To help and serve the kids who are walking the road he once traversed himself.
What does Cipi have to say to ITMI supporters who gave sacrificially to support him and the others at Casa Dorca?
“There are no words for me to thank you, but I want to as much as I can.”
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.