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A Conversation with Former Romanian Orphanage Worker Mila Medic

Note: This article contains stories of war and has photos that could be emotionally distressing. Reader and viewer discretion is advised.

Alex Kuch Thank you for taking the time for your interview, would you be able to give a bit of an introduction about yourself?

 

Mila – I’m Born in Croatia, by a town just on the border to Bosnia Hercegovina. I got caught up in the Balkan war as a child.

My hometown was mainly attacked by air. At age of 15 I left my hometown to live with my older sister in Bosnia, whose husband got killed in the war.  She had two small boys to take care of and she was not doing well herself.

While helping my sister, I also directly got involved with the local NGO´s working in the refugee camps.  One of the organizations was Nobody´s Children and that´s how I got evolved with them. (For more information on Nobody´s Children projects in Bosnia please go to www.nobodyschildren.org)

 

Alex – What is your personal involvement with Adoption?

Mila -My involvement with adoption directly is relatively little, I didn’t do any direct adoption work myself, apart from working in orphanages and working closely with Elaine and Nobody´s Children for so many years.  By seeing the kids who got adopted to the USA I witnessed many great success stories.

I saw the direct need for adoptions as a result of the tremendous conditions the institutions in Romania were in the 90s and early 2000. Where I saw this all first hand, engaging in humanitarian work, feeding and taking care of children’s physical and emotional needs, which involved in interacting and engaging in fun actives with older children. 

In addition, I helped to fundraise money and took a hands-on-approach by refurnishing toddler rooms and playrooms each of the times I was there.

Alex – You mentioned earlier that you had been involved in Medical missions of Nobodys Children in Romania, can you explain a bit how that was and provide some context?

Mila – Nobody´s Children started with medical evacuations in Bosnia during the Balkan war, where children with serious and life-threatening conditions were air lifted to America, Australia and Ireland to get lifesaving medical care.

I provided hands on support for different project and missions, which involved:  meeting the children and local doctors, clearances for travel to accompanying the children to the hospital staying through the rehabilitation time and back with them to Bosnia again.

Nobody´s Children did medical evacuations for children from Romania as well, here I was only able to help with personal donation to help out. A baby , Maria was born blind that needed surgeries that were not available in Romania.

Alex– What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced?

Mila – As any humanitarian will tell you, limited resources provide a challenge as to how much the ground work can be done, and the second challenge is getting support and understanding from local/regional authorities.

In regards to the adoptions in Romania, it was a challenge to get the authorities to understand the urgency that was required.

A child left alone in its crib at all times except when changing dippers

Poor conditions, the growing number of children and under staffed orphanages make it extremely difficult to provide children with proper care

 

Alex-What motivated you the most?

Mila- Children in need, people in need. I love children and I love helping people in any way that I can. I have been doing humanitarian work since I was 15 years old. I´ve done so many different projects in Bosnia, Croatia, Romania, and United States.  Where I lived for tree years while getting my college degree.  As my life took different turn I moved to Sweden and became a mom my prioritizing naturally changed.  

But I never stopped giving. I continued to support Nobody´s Children and various other organizations with donations such as; UNICEF, Children’s Diabetes Fond, and Amnesty International. I also extend my time to volunteer for local Red Cross with supervising the covid-19 vaccines sites.

 

Alex-Based on these experiences what are yore’s thoughts on International Adoptions?

Mila– I think international adoptions is crucial and very needed indeed. Children are suffering, the need to have adoptive parents that show them love, and provide for them, to give them a future they deserve.  As during my time at the orphanage, I quickly learned that children who had no stimulation and no human contact became apathetic even though they were born healthy. It is very important for children to get this human contact as early on as possible in their development why making adoptions easier to go through play huge and significant role for the children’s development.

A three-year-old child laying completely emotional due to no stimulation and no interaction with others

Alex -What are your hopes for adoption and your medical humanitarian work in the future?

Mila – My hope is to be able to do more of the field work in few years ahead and in the places where my services are needed the most rather it be here in Sweden or abroad.

 

Alex- Do you have any other points you would like to raise?

Mila – As I did a lot of my humanitarian work together with my best friend Katarina Brdjanovic I would like you to include her in this story.

Katarina worked very hard every day with me in Bosnia and then traveled with me on medical evacuation to US and two times to Romania to work at the orphanages.

She sadly died in the car accident just few weeks after out last trip to Romania. That was also the last project we did together. I also want to dedicate this story/interview to her.

Katarina and I holding babies at the orphanage in Romania

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Romanian-NZ Adoptee, NZ Ambassador & Board of Directors

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