On May 3, a team from Lost Sparrows—including one of our board members, Blythe Royaards, a ministry partner, Taylor Irby, and myself—flew to Sarajevo, Bosnia to reconnect with our local partners. It has been four years since we were last able to be there in person. It was so encouraging to reconnect with so many amazing people and support the ongoing work they are doing to serve orphans and those with special needs.
Our week in Bosnia involved training many foster parents, case managers, caregivers, and professionals on the impact of childhood trauma. So many of those we work with grew up during the Bosnian War that lasted from 1992 to 1995. They know the impact of trauma first-hand, and truly appreciated our focus on building resiliency and utilizing supportive relationships.
We were able to spend time with many children with special needs and adults through a partner organization called Dajte nam sansu (Give Us A Chance). They provide support and therapy for over 700 families in and around Sarajevo. We spent two days with their staff—traveling to visit with families and transporting their children to the service center for therapy. One night, we were able to host a dinner for the mothers of those children, and celebrate their commitment to raising challenging children in a challenging environment. We gave them necklaces we had made at a jeweler in our town of Winona Lake, with the word “worthy” inscribed on them. There were many hugs and tears shared that night.
From May 9–12, I was in Varna, Bulgaria, to visit with our partners that run the foster closet and support foster children and their families. We visited many foster homes, as well as some care homes for children with high-level special needs. We were able to deliver an entire suitcase of therapeutic supplies, medical supplies, and gifts for the foster moms. One day was spent in Roussè, on the border of Romania, training locals on trauma-informed care and listening, how we might be able to support them better. We also held a day of training in Varna for caregivers, foster parents, and professionals. There are so many people doing the best they can to help vulnerable children. It was truly a blessing to be able to spend time with them.
Lost Sparrows is committed more than ever to our mission, both domestically and internationally. Advocating for the worth and potential of every child, Lost Sparrows works to empower and equip families, caregivers, and communities to love, nurture, and protect vulnerable children.
We appreciate all of the support we receive from so many readers of Plain Values.
~ Darren Gagnon
To support the work of Lost Sparrows in Eastern Europe, make a donation to Room to Bloom with “Foster Closet” in the memo.
Lost Sparrows Annual Trauma Conference | September 8–9, 2023 in Warsaw, Indiana • www.LSConference.org
Room to Bloom’s mission is to promote the beauty of adoption and to ascribe dignity to people with Down syndrome and other special needs. We do this by partnering with organizations that are dedicated to orphan care and adoption advocacy, strengthening families who have children with special needs, and giving a voice to the vulnerable.
Interested in Adoption?
The process of adoption can be quite complex and confusing. If you have any questions about adoption, please contact:
Judy Williams | Adopt Global Services | 800-957-9384 | 2046 Rushmore Ct., Bel Air, MD 21015
Caring for Kids, Inc. | 800-254-1725 | firstname.lastname@example.org