We are very sad to share that another one of our original House kids, Valentina, passed away this past week. Because she was of legal age and living on her own, we weren’t aware of her declining health. We learned the news from our friend Mirela, who is a nurse at the hospital where Valentina died.
Valentina was one of the initial children from Post Cura 3. She was orphaned by the time she was four years old and had been abandoned at the hospital with significant health problems. Though she was of our higher functioning kids, she was very sick because there was no access to antiretroviral medication. After Chi Rho took over Post Cura 3 and we were able to negotiate for these medications, Valentina’s health improved. While she lived with us, she had “sisters” (Laura, Florentina, and Ancuta), and “mamas” (Dorina and Anisoara). She grew into an independent adolescent and we were able to place her with a local foster family.
We believe that in some ways, our higher functioning kids have greater challenges than those living at the house. Unlike the kids at the house, who have significant mental disabilities, they can think abstractly and they often struggle in forming a sense of identity and self-worth. Now young adults in their twenties, they are making their own life choices. Tragically, the trauma and many losses they suffered in their earliest years have led many down self-destructive paths. This was true for Valentina. After a time, she stopped taking antiretroviral medications, and she was forced to return to the hospital in very weak condition. It was then we learned of her passing.
One of the hardest parts about our work is knowing we can’t save every life we touch. We can only love and care for these children while they choose to be with us. Most importantly, Valentina was known by us and by the Lord, and her life mattered. We were privileged to serve her.