Baby Emma Gets a New Heart

Emma post-surgery in the hospital.

Emma post-surgery in the hospital.

For every child who comes through our ministry, we have one long-term hope: not just a new home, but a new heart. We want to see children rescued not just from abandonment, but ultimately from sin through Jesus.

Little “Emma” may get two new hearts in the bargain: both spiritual and physical. She was born last February and abandoned at birth, alongside her twin brother “Ethan.” While Ethan was perfectly healthy, Emma faced life-threatening heart defects.  

But God was orchestrating a series of events to give the twins both medical care and a family. Scott and Gabi are a missionary couple who moved to Romania from the U.S. with their six children in 2014. (For Gabi it was a return: she had been born and raised in Communist Romania.) A central part of the couple’s ministry is helping children with heart defects get treatment.

Early this year, Scott and Gabi were guest speakers at a Romanian church, sharing about their medical ministry. Our social worker, Dana, was in the congregation, and she wasted no time in telling them about baby Emma.

Gabi and Scott began to look into the logistics of treating Emma’s heart condition. They learned that the only way to do so was to become the twins’ foster parents. Our staff got to work, and miraculously, all the pieces fell into place to get them approved. But doctors and social workers gave them severe warnings. “This baby will die,” one cardiologist told them flatly. State officials added to the dire scenario: “If this baby dies in your custody, you will face an investigation,” they told Gabi. “You will likely go to jail.”

Fighting for Emma

Gabi with both babies, shortly after bringing them home.

Gabi with both babies, shortly after bringing them home.

Undaunted, Scott and Gabi trusted God, taking the six-week-old babies home. “For the first two weeks they were not responsive at all,” Gabi remembers. “They just stared at the walls.” Soon, however, they began to recover from the effects of the institution.

Meanwhile, Scott and Gabi were busy seeking treatment for Emma—and running into closed doors. The medical ministry with which they work, which is based in Israel, delivered the bad news that Emma’s case was too complicated for treatment there. Next, the couple found a surgeon in Budapest, Hungary, who was willing to try—for a price. An initial estimate came in at $21,000.

At this point, our Romanian director let us know about the family's financial need. But she also told us that their conviction as missionaries has always been to operate on faith, after the example of George Mueller. They don't ask for money; they simply pray and wait for God's provision.

So we shared about Emma's need as a prayer request on Facebook. That post caught the eye of Sarah, a young mother from California who supports Romania Reborn. "The post wasn't even asking for money," she recalls. "But sometimes you see a need, and you just know that the Holy Spirit is saying: 'You're the one who's supposed to provide for this.'" After speaking with her husband, they wrote to us and offered to cover the entire cost.

God Provides Again

But there were still more hurdles to overcome. First, the Hungarian doctors delayed the surgery for weeks. Then, they raised the price to $35,000—which they required up front, in cash. "After that appointment, we came home somewhat discouraged," Gabi admits. "But I knew God had something better for us."

Immediately after her life-saving surgery.

Immediately after her life-saving surgery.

Although they'd been told Emma was too ill to travel, they contacted an American heart surgeon through a mutual friend. Within days, that surgeon had invited Emma to be treated at his hospital in Florida—at no charge. Sarah and her husband gladly agreed to redirect their financial gift to cover travel expenses. The local child welfare office expedited the family's approval to travel. Eight days later, the family was on a plane to the U.S.

Once they got to Florida, the family realized how close Emma had been to death on a daily basis. The first day in the hospital, her blood oxygen level temporarily dipped to 5%. Hospital staff panicked. They moved the surgery up, operating just days later.


Today, Emma is recovering and gaining weight quickly. She'll require a second surgery eventually, but the future looks bright.  "We believe she will grow up to become a zealous woman for the Lord, bringing many souls into the kingdom," Gabi says. After what we've seen, we don't doubt it.

Prayer Points:

Praise God for His provision, and ask His blessing on those who gave for this need (Sarah, the surgeon, and two other smaller donors).

Pray that Emma will continue to get stronger, and that her future surgery will be completely successful with no further need of surgery.

Then & Now: Orphan Care Movement

One snowy day in February 2012, our efforts to start an orphan care revival in Romania finally bore fruit. Until this meeting, our vision for a nationwide movement to challenge the Romanian church with the need of the orphan had seemed impossible. Numerous meetings over a two year period had seen few Romanian leaders and pastors willing to get involved, but we persevered in prayer, and God brought a special group together for this meeting. Thirteen Romanian pastors and non-profit leaders caught our vision, as the leader of Ukraine Without Orphans shared the miraculous movement of God in their country. Romanian Without Orphans was born that day. God was on the move in Romania.

THEN: early Romania Without Orphans meeting

THEN: early Romania Without Orphans meeting

Relationships began, barriers were broken, and we saw bridges built between adoption groups and the church. The vision expanded, and 150 pastors, leaders, and adoptive and foster parents from all over Romania attended the first-ever Christian adoption conference in October 2014. It was all we had prayed for and more. And God continued to grow the movement.

NOW: Romania Without Orphans conference 2016

NOW: Romania Without Orphans conference 2016

Today, Romania Without Orphans has become a trusted voice for adoption and child welfare law reform. The 4th annual adoption conference in November is expected to have more attendees than ever before. Vital training materials for adoptive and foster parents are continually being developed and translated. And our partners have been instrumental in helping leaders in neighboring Moldova start their own nationwide movement. God has begun an orphan care revival in Romania, and we are excited to see where He leads us next!

Check out the Romania Without Orphans website (in English) at

Give the Gift of Empowerment

Your gift will help empower God's orphan care and adoption movement to continue to expand and bring lasting change to the anti-adoption culture of Romania.  Join us in empowering the church to answer the need of the orphan, fight for legal reform, and see every child find a forever home.

$100: Monthly office expenses

$400: Gas (travel to churches and meetings)

$6,000: Lobbying expenses for one year

$30,000: Annual adoption conference

Then & Now: Corina

THEN: Corina with an abandoned baby at the hospital in 2005

THEN: Corina with an abandoned baby at the hospital in 2005

She  grew up during the darkest days of Communism, the daughter of a Pentecostal preacher. She remembers being mocked for her faith every day at school. She remembers peeking under her bedroom door at night, watching the boots of the soldiers who had come to take her father away for interrogation. She remembers what it was like when Communism finally fell, and she learned that the government had hidden hundreds of thousands of children away in terrible orphanages. And that was when Corina Caba knew what God wanted her to do with her life.

She founded her orphanage in a tiny apartment in 1996, taking abandoned babies from the hospital and caring for them until she could find adoptive families. Gradually, she added to her staff, paying their salaries however she could. After Romania Reborn was founded to support the work, she built a bigger facility, hired more workers, and took in more babies. As the years passed, Romania's laws and child welfare system evolved, but God always made a way for Corina to help abandoned children.

NOW: Corina with her four children in 2017

NOW: Corina with her four children in 2017

Today, Corina is the adoptive mother of four children and a mother figure to hundreds more, whose lives she has forever changed. She is also an emerging national leader in the field of orphan care, traveling to speak at conferences, helping advise the government on policy, and (reluctantly) speaking to national media. And she's still fighting for individual children every day. "When the pain is too much, God taught me to trust in Him," she says. "One day, He will restore all that seems lost, redeem all that seems hopeless, repair all that seems destroyed. Our God owns the last reply!"

Give the Gift of Commitment

Your gift will help our committed staff keep passionately fighting for the children in our care, advocating for better government practices, and using our ministry headquarters as a training and counseling center for families. You can give toward the following staff and ministry needs:

$50: ONE WEEK OF GAS/TRAVEL EXPENSES (for social work)

$250: ONE MONTH OF ELECTRIC EXPENSES (for headquarters)


Then & Now: Timotei & Sara

Adoption changes more than just a childhood: it changes an entire life. It can even change the next generation.

THEN: Timotei (right) & Teodora (left) as babies

THEN: Timotei (right) & Teodora (left) as babies

For Timotei and his twin sister, Teodora, their birth mother was caught in a cycle of poverty and addiction. This led to their premature births at only six months' gestation. Staff at the hospital where they had been abandoned assumed they would die, but God had other plans. They came to our ministry, and after a few months of intensive care, we found them an adoptive Christian family. "Being adopted means a lot," Timotei says today, "because I am aware that God has a plan for me. He did not leave me in an orphanage."

THEN: Sara as a baby

THEN: Sara as a baby

Timotei grew up in central Romania, but his family continued to keep in touch with our ministry director, Corina Caba. They would visit Corina in western Romania during family vacations. "I was going with them to Oradea, and we would stay there for a few days," Timotei remembers. He got to know Corina's four adopted children: Ramona, Rares, Sara, and David. Eventually, his friendship with Sara grew into something more. This year,  Timotei and Sara got engaged to be married.

Now 21, Timotei is working at a restaurant in Alba Iulia and studying kinetotherapy, with the goal of opening his own practice. Sara, who shares his background as a formerly-abandoned child, is studying educational psychology at Oradea University. The two look forward to a future of raising their own family. This is restoration come full circle: two young adults who have broken the cycle of hopelessness, building a new life together.

NOW: Timotei and Sara are planning their future together

NOW: Timotei and Sara are planning their future together

Give the Gift of Restoration

You can help adopted and foster children grow into strong and successful adults. Through your gifts, our staff provide individualized Christian counseling for children and their families, as well as training seminars for parents. Join us in helping children overcome the cycle of brokenness and be restored to wholeness.

$20: TRAINING SEMINAR (one person)

$100: CHRISTIAN COUNSELING (one child/one month)

Then & Now: Drew

THEN: Drew at our orphanage in the early 2000s

THEN: Drew at our orphanage in the early 2000s

Drew was left entirely alone at birth, abandoned in the hospital. Thankfully, we were able to rescue him at the age of 18 months, and he spent the next six months healing and growing in our then- orphanage. But we knew this wasn't enough: he needed a family. At age two, he finally found the loving connection of his "mama" and new brothers in his foster family.

NOW: Drew (middle) with his mama & brother Oliver

NOW: Drew (middle) with his mama & brother Oliver

Today, Drew is 16 years old and doing well. He lives in a family of teenage boys, including another foster child. He loves to play the accordion, and he and his brothers often play and sing together. He is especially protective of "Oliver," his foster brother.

It hasn't been an entirely smooth road for Drew. He has gone through times of struggle as he sought to understand his past and his future, but his foster family and our ministry director helped him make the ultimate healing connection: a relationship with Jesus Christ. For nearly the whole journey, Drew has benefited from the support and prayers of the Barkley family (below), his sponsors through Romania Reborn.

Barkley family 3.jpg

Sponsors Story: "Brett and I decided to sponsor a child through Romania Reborn after hearing the story of Corina Caba and her unbelievably brave and loving heart for children.  Our hearts grew year after year hearing of the impact Romania Reborn made in the lives of children, one by one.  We desperately wanted to be part of God’s work, and heard of an amazing boy who would inspire our family as he daily depended on the Lord and His grace in his life. Giving to this young man and to Romania Reborn is a blessing to us – everything we have is the Lord’s, not ours. We are grateful to give what is God’s right back to those He created and loves so deeply."  -Leslie Barkley, sponsor

 Click here to meet the children.

Give the Gift of Connection

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Your gift will give a child the blessing of a loving foster family, as well as a sponsor (you!) who will support and pray for them. You will have opportunities to connect with your child and get to know him or her through letters and updates. Choose your sponsorship level and get started today! 



$250: FULL SPONSORSHIP FOR ONE CHILD (food, clothing, etc.)

Necklaces with a Story

What if you can’t travel across seas and cultures to hold and help orphans? What if you have a heart for loving the downcast and uplifting those in need, but you don't know where to start?

This fall and winter, we have partnered with friends at the non-profit to offer a beautiful, one-of-a-kind necklace made just for Romania Reborn.

By purchasing one of our new necklaces, you will be directly supporting our ministry to abandoned children in Romania. It is such a simple way to make a real difference (and they’re beautiful!).


Inscribed with the simple word "Reborn," this necklace would make a meaningful gift for a friend, family member, or yourself. Our hope is that it becomes not only a conversation starter about what Romania Reborn does, but also a reminder to pray for the children around the world who need families.

The necklace also serves as a way for Christians to quietly share their own personal testimony: each of us too has been reborn, adopted into the family of God.

This necklace is made of gold-colored bronze and has a gold-plated, 16 to 18-inch adjustable chain. Supplies are limited.

The "Reborn" necklace costs $30 {sales tax already included}

Click here to purchase yours now!




How We Advocate Adoption


As we work to rescue children, build families, and support parents, step #4 is to promote adoption within the wider Romanian culture—starting with the church. We’re working to reach Romanian pastors and congregations, helping them understand and embrace God’s heart for the orphan. We also work in the realm of government, advocating for better adoption and child welfare laws.

Most of this advocacy is done under the auspices of Romania Without Orphans (RWO), a Romanian-led movement we’ve helped start and support. As RWO works to build bridges between adoption groups and the Romanian church, we pray the end result will be a much higher number of Christian couples seeking to adopt. If we can build up a “bullpen” of adoptive families, our ability to rescue children from abandonment and place them quickly into families will dramatically increase.

  Learn how to get involved in our ministry

Advocacy Stories:

"Susanna's" Story

Photo: The Archibald Project

Photo: The Archibald Project

Born deaf and blind, Susanna has a story that is opening people's eyes and ears. After God provided just the right family (her mother has specialized training in communicating with the deaf and blind), this little girl has been thriving in her parents' love and care. In fact, her parents have discovered she has more sight and hearing than previously thought. They've become an active voice encouraging other Romanians to consider taking in abandoned children. At the Romania Without Orphans summit in 2015, Susanna's mother spoke about the joy of mothering a child with special needs. We’re honored to be helping this family tell their story—and be a voice for the voiceless.

Hannah's Story

Our work with Romania Without Orphans could make all the difference in "Hannah's" life. Her older brother "Adam" was in the process of being adopted when we learned that she too had been abandoned. Adam's family immediately expressed a desire to adopt Hannah too. The law states that a family in the process of adopting cannot initiate a second adoption, but it does allow for exceptions. Unfortunately, local officials dragged their feet in making the exception and allowing these siblings to be united.

Thanks to RWO, we knew just whom to call next. An official from the central child welfare office in Bucharest has been working closely with RWO, even speaking at the annual conference. She has expressed delight in seeing our movement grow, and a willingness to help with difficult cases. We expect Hannah's case to be finalized soon.

Mina's Story

Photo: The Archibald Project

Photo: The Archibald Project

We drove and drove down a long, open street. I did not know yet what the drive was for, but I knew it had to be done to protect one of our foster children from being returned to her abusive biological family environment. I had met this child we were advocating for a few times, and I knew she still carried a deep fear of the place from which she had come. I also knew that our social workers were going to do everything in their power to protect her in ways she could never protect herself.

That is the thing about trying to make wrong things right, hard things easier, and dangerous things safe. It takes more than just a longing to do it: it takes action. Our team of social workers spend hours upon hours finding ways to make the government a more helpful partner in the desire to give every child a safe, loving family.

How We Support Parents


After we’ve rescued a child and placed him or her in a family, our job isn’t over. We actively work to support adoptive and foster parents as they help their children heal.

First, we provide professional Christian counseling for all our families and children, through our full-time staff psychologist. Our staff also put on public workshops, open to any local parents who wish to receive training. Finally, we closely partner with Romania Without Orphans as they put on a national orphan care conference every year, and as they develop other resources like books and training materials.

Beyond simply helping adoptive families, we believe this step will ultimately help us recruit new adoptive parents. We’ve already found that some of our best recruiters are other adoptive families – especially those families who are well-grounded and thriving. The better connected and supported our families are, the more likely they are to become evangelists for adoption among their friends, families, and churches.

  Read more about our next step: Advocating Adoption

Support Stories:

Joshua's Story

For far too long, Joshua was forgotten. First he was abandoned at birth; then the state failed to issue him a birth certificate. This lack of legal identity prevented him from getting the surgery he needed to repair his cleft palate. So Joshua waited and suffered for months in the hospital, his condition growing steadily worse. Finally, we found a family who joyously welcomed him as their son.

But our commitment to Joshua's healing didn't end there. We wanted to make sure he got the best possible surgery to repair his cleft palate, so we asked our supporters on email and Facebook if they could help. Before 24 hours had gone by, all the money necessary for Joshua's surgery had come in. Today, he is on the road to complete healing—which is the goal for every child in our care.

Darren and Ryan's Story

We first found "Darren" and "Ryan" in a place where they never should have been. After entering state care, the government placed these two young boys in a temporary youth shelter—alongside older delinquents and runaways. This negligent act led to all-too-predictable abuse. We rescued them and placed them in a family as quickly as possible. Still, the process of healing from trauma is anything but quick.

Thankfully, the foster family soon discovered that working with horses was extremely helpful for both boys. When their horse died in 2015, we asked our supporters to give toward a new one. Their generosity allowed us to bless this family with another horse —a horse they made available to all our foster kids. They named her "Blessing."

Becca's Story

Photo: The Archibald Project

Photo: The Archibald Project

Supporting parents as they learn to help their child heal is something that brings us great joy. The therapy office can be a place filled with uncovering painful memories, but it can also become the most freeing place of healing and safety.

“Becca” was a downtrodden little girl, with a defeated presence and skittish countenance. Her reservation and inner displacement could be felt, but it was clear she did not know how to express all that was inside. As our professional counselor took her aside and led her to open up from within, memories of her years in the institutional care came flooding out of her mouth. The bullying, the comments, the neglect, the fear—she had been carrying all of that by herself.

We believe that each child should have safe and strong places to explore their pain, receiving the attention and guidance they need to heal. Training parents how to listen well, how to introduce physical touch with dignity, and how to guide their child in developing is profoundly important to us. Redemption is a step-by-step progression of love, learning, counseling, therapy, training, and changing. It is a beautiful picture of God’s nearness and patience.

How We Build Families


Children belong in families, not institutions. After first rescuing abandoned children from state care, we then place them into forever families. Since our ministry began in 1998, we’ve found homes for over 400 children who were once abandoned. (All of our families are Romanian, since international adoption from Romania is now illegal.)

We currently have around 30 children’s cases that we’re shepherding through this long, arduous legal process. A typical child’s case takes two years and costs us around $3,700 – a cost we fully fund with donations rather than fees from our adoptive families.

Our family-building ministry is directly supported by the Family Support Team. If you want to play an active role in uniting children with families, please consider joining the team!

  Read more about our next step: Supporting Parents

Forever Family Stories:

Sam's Story

With a birth mother in prison and an extended family unable to care for him, Sam was a newborn utterly alone in the world. Abandoned in the hospital, he saw several prospective adoptive families come and go.  

But Sam was far from unwanted: his Mom and Dad just hadn't found him yet. Finally, one day, they walked through the door and knew him at first sight. Here at last was the little boy for whom they'd waited and prayed. It was a match made in heaven—but getting him out of the hospital and into their arms for good required a lot of earthly paperwork. Thankfully, our staff was there to do the job, supported by our donors in the United States. In 2016, after two years of work, his adoption was finalized.

Bethany's Story

“Bethany” was born into a highly unstable Roma family. Although she initially went home with her birth mother, Bethany later returned to the hospital with severe illness due to neglect. Child welfare workers visited the home and discovered the dangerous situation, so Bethany was removed from her mother’s custody and remained in the hospital.

Weeks went by, then months. Although she had healed from her illness, Bethany stayed on alongside the many other parentless children. Prospective adoptive parents came and went, but sadly, it became evident that Bethany’s beautiful Roma/African ethnicity was presenting an obstacle to permanent placement. 

One day, Corina got a phone call completely out of the blue. The voice on the other end of the line belonged to a woman who had adopted a daughter from our ministry 13 years ago. “I’ve had such a vivid dream; I can’t shake it,” she began. “I keep dreaming about a little dark-skinned girl who is crying and in trouble. It seems like I am supposed to help her. Tell me: do you know of a little girl like this who needs a family?” Of course, Corina knew of a little girl exactly like that. And the God who undoubtedly sent the dream knew too. Bethany is now adopted and thriving.

Philip's Story

"Philip" was weak from the beginning. Born a preemie, the squalid conditions and neglect at home wreaked havoc on his tiny body. Finally, his birth mother abandoned him at the hospital, saying she couldn't raise the sickly child. Her decision probably saved his life, but without a family, his prospects were dim.

But God saw Philip, and He made a way. An American missionary living in Romania took him out of the hospital and began the adoption process, with help from our social workers. Today, Philip is healthy and thriving, and his cheerful personality is the joy of the family. He and his 13-year-old sister (also adopted) recently enjoyed a visit from their American grandparents, who spoiled them as all grandparents should. Not only does Philip have a home; he has one in which he will grow up hearing about the Savior.

Dylan's Story

For nineteen years, year after year after year, this quiet and kind couple waited and tried to have a child of their own. When they first reached out to Romania Reborn, we knew immediately that they would be special parents to a lucky child, but we did not anticipate how beautiful it would be.

Dylan was a shy child, left abandoned early in life due to his significant heart problems. When a child is left for medical reasons, finding a family ready to care for those medical needs long term can be challenging. But for Dylan’s new parents, the couple who had been waiting for nineteen years, the path was certain. They knew that Dylan was meant to be theirs.

How We Rescue Children

In 1990, the world was shocked by images emerging from Romania, which had just thrown off Communism. Throughout the country, tens of thousands of abandoned children had been warehoused in abysmal orphanages resembling concentration camps.

Nearly three decades later, much in Romania has improved, but much work remains to be done. Children are still being abandoned today, at rates only slightly lower than the Communist years. While conditions in state institutions have greatly improved since the 1990s, they remain dismal places for children to grow up. The law forbids children under age two from being placed in orphanages, but many children’s hospitals operate as de facto orphanages for abandoned babies. (And this is certainly a better option than life on the street.)

At Romania Reborn, we rescue abandoned children from the state system and place them into families. We identify vulnerable children through hospitals, youth shelters, and sometimes a direct call from police or child protection officials. While children are sometimes placed in temporary care, the goal for every child is permanence in a forever family. 

Read more about our next step: Building Families

Rescue Stories: