Now Georgi has the love and encouragement he needs to thrive

Georgi with his family, where he belongs.

Petya and Ivan Petrovi spent years longing for another child. But when their second son, Georgi, was born, the medical staff at the hospital behaved as if something terrible had happened.

It was three days before the couple was even allowed to see their new baby. The doctors told them that, because Georgi has Down’s syndrome, they would never be able to care for him themselves and should leave him in an orphanage.

Georgi’s parents were heartbroken but with no other information and nowhere else to turn, they felt they had no choice and did as they were told. But decades of evidence prove that orphanages do not protect children, they harm them. Orphanages subject children to high levels of abuse and neglect that damage their development in ways that can last a lifetime. Put simply: the last thing an orphanage can provide is the first thing every child needs – someone to love them.

Shut away in the institution, Georgi spent long hours alone in a cot, treated as a condition, not a baby. He was fed through a tube in his nose and denied even the comfort and interaction of being held and fed normally. Petya though, would not give up on her son. She visited as often as she could and did her best to maintain her bond with Georgi but could see no way to bring her baby home.

Petya was close to despair when a relative told her about our work to reunite children from institutions with their families. She called our team in Bulgaria straight away. Over the following weeks, Kremi, a skilled and experienced Hope and Homes for Children social worker, was able to give Petya and Ivan the advice, encouragement and support they needed to challenge the authorities and be reunited with their son.

A young Bulgarian boy with down syndrome sits on a bench in a park with his parents on either side and a red scooter. They are all laughing.
Reunited with his family, Georgi has the love and encouragement he needs to thrive

“Georgi will make you smile more than he will make you cry,” Kremi reassured Georgi’s parents and she was right. Today, Georgi is a very happy, sociable little boy who is full of energy and fun. He is the centre of attention in his home and very close to his big brother, Todor. But if Georgi had stayed in the institution, he would have spent almost all day, every day alone in a cot. He would not be able to walk or talk and he would still be fed through a tube. He would almost never have gone outside.

“Georgi will make you smile more than he will make you cry”

Instead today, with his family to love and encourage him, Georgi can walk, talk, and run and he has just learned to ride a scooter. He loves to fish and proudly shows every visitor all the cups and medals he’s won. And, with the ongoing support of our team, Georgi is getting ready to start school, so that he can continue learning and developing, alongside all the other children in his community.

Georgi loves to go fishing and he’s very proud of all the trophies he’s won.
Georgi loves to go fishing and he’s very proud of all the trophies he’s won.