25 July 2019

Children and parents reunited as another Bulgarian orphanage closes

Now the orphanage in Vidin is closed, Ivan is back where he belongs, with a family to love and protect him

Great news! All 29 children who were confined to the Vidin orphanage for babies in Bulgaria have left to join safe and loving families and this institution is now closed for good.

The orphanage, in the northwest of the country, was supposed to only admit babies with severe illness or disability who could not be cared for at home. Instead, children with conditions as routine as eczema were taken from their families and confined to the institution for years.

Our expert local team in Bulgaria has been working with the Government since 2015 to close this orphanage by reuniting children with their families, building new families through fostering and adoption and establishing vital support services to keep vulnerable families together from now on.

“If the poorest region can close its institutions, then poverty can no longer be used as a reason for separating a child from their family in Bulgaria”

The closure of the Vidin orphanage this summer was a breakthrough moment for our work because the institution is located in one of the most deprived areas of the country.

Vidin orphanage Bulgaria, closed July 2019

As Georgi Simeonov, Executive Director of Hope and Homes for Children in Bulgaria, explained,“If the poorest region can close its institutions, then poverty can no longer be used as a reason for separating a child from their family in Bulgaria”

Ivan is one of the children who has been reunited with his family as a result of this latest successful orphanage closure.

“Ivan spent the next two years in the orphanage, heavily medicated and confined to a cot in a darkened room on the top floor of the building”

Ivan was taken from his dad, Stoyan, when he was three years old because he has cerebral palsy and Stoyan is a single father. The authorities did not believe Stoyan could care for Ivan alone.

As a result, Ivan spent the next two years in the orphanage, heavily medicated and confined to a cot in a darkened room on the top floor of the building. His dad was only allowed to visit once a week for 15 minutes. But Stoyan would not give up on his son.

With practical and emotional support from our specialist social worker in Vidin, Elitsa Ivanova, Stoyan fought prejudice and red tape to bring Ivan home. And in June 2018 Ivan and his dad were finally reunited.

“It was the happiest day of my life when I took my boy back”, Stoyan told us.  “Now we do everything together.”

“Ivan likes it when I sing folk songs to him and he likes my prickly chin!” he adds, smiling at his son.

Elitsa and our Bulgaria team will stay in touch with Stoyan and Ivan to make sure they have the support they need to stay together so that Ivan can continue to develop and thrive because he has his dad to love him.

To help reunite more children with their families and make orphanages history, please donate here.