Author’s Note

Bogdan is now married and is in practice as a dentist within shouting distance of New York city. Without his help, I wonder still whether I would have succeeded in my venture. It shouldn’t be thought, however, that there was anything particularly special or unique about me or my expedition. At least another one hundred and fifty or so British families undertook the same expedition, both to Romania and Moldavia (as it was then called). Some endured entirely different experiences, suffering obstruction or opposition from one or other or both Countries’ authorities. Others found it very simple to find a child, but then had to undertake various subterfuges – and in some cases, outright threats to contact the Press – to get the child back to the UK. I came across a number or entirely good and kind couples who were so overwhelmed with the unpleasantness which they encountered that they felt unable to continue.

A number of months after my return to England with Dominic, the postal services caught up with me and I received a letter from Dr Sadovici. He had finally received my letter some time after I left. He clearly didn’t realise that I was the person whom he had met in Bacau. He wrote to me in studiously polite terms, commending my intentions but warning me against my attempt. I should not think, he wrote, of entering Romania with the intention of removing one or more children, since that would be very much against the children’s interests. Had I received his letter before I set off, I wonder, too, whether I might even have thought twice about my endeavour.

Carmel and I were not alone in trying to do something, anything, to ease the suffering of the children in answer to the dreadful newsflashes coming out of Romania. Patrick Crapper, a close family friend begged, badgered and secured supplies and filled a truck loaned by Arnold Laver of Sheffield with nappies, clean laundry, toys and fresh infant clothing and drove from Sheffield to Liverpool where his load joined a convoy to Bucharest in the late Summer of 1990, while Peter Marsh, one of my judicial colleagues,  managed to learn and then pass the test to qualify as an HGV driver in six weeks flat, and with the cooperation of the Royal Mail, secured the loan of and drove a post office van with similar supplies from Birmingham to Romania.

Their endeavours and many others have gone unnoticed or have been forgotten. Nonetheless there remain a good number of Church groups who still travel to Romania, having adopted, as it were, particular homes where these unfortunate children still languish. One such group, headed up by Jane Williams, regularly travels from Coventry Cathedral. 

There are multiple calls on the goodness of the community, all beseeching our charity, and all bewildering the observer with the speed in which they overtake each other in their dreadfulness. I hope that this book will serve as a reminder that Eastern Europe still harbours dark corners where children need help. 

As Confucius wrote, it is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.


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