In, 2002, American volunteers from Bridge of Love met Ionut Stratu, a 6-year-old boy who lived in a Romanian orphanage, Elena Farago. Ionut was the youngest child there and was feeling very lonely and misunderstood. Bridge of Love decided to remove him from the orphanage and to find a foster family who could care for the child.
That December, Ionut moved into his new home with the Buta family. The Buta family loved and nurtured Ionut, and Ionut was thrilled to be a member of their family. His new family observed that Ionut was very talented in music and made arrangements for him to learn to play the guitar.
With the financial and moral support from his family and Bridge of Love, Ionut became a member of a rock band from Barlad, Romania named GOT-X. Two of his foster cousins are also members of the band.
Ionut has continued to be a great student while keeping up with his busy band schedule. He finished music high school and is currently a student at George Enescu University of Arts in Iasi, Romania. Ionut wants to share his love for the guitar with other children, and comes to the foundation office when he has time to teach the younger children how to play.
Mihai Postolache was abandoned at birth by his biological mother and was left at the Bârlad Children`s Hospital. In the fall of 2002, when Mihai was 3 months old, Bridge of Love found him a foster mother, Livia Manole. When Livia saw her new little son, she wept and said that she finally had the family she had always desired.
Livia is a single mother who has found it difficult over the years to finance all of Mihai`s needs. She was able to turn to Bridge of Love for help. It was discovered that Mihai had a beautiful voice and he loved to sing. Bridge of Love helped support Mihai in developing his amazing talent. A sponsor for Mihai`s voice lessons was found, and Mihai has now had the opportunity to compete in many music competitions. An amazing opportunity came his way when he was invited to compete on the nationally known television show, "Romania, Next Star." Mihai surprised judges and audiences everywhere with his talent. Mihai became emotional at the end of his winning performance when he won a new bicycle.Mihai is also a great student and is learning to speak English.
Even though Mihai participated and won a lot of music contests, he still had time to study for school and he is one of the best students from his class.
Adrian was abandoned by his parents and grew up in orphanages all his life. The American volunteers from Bridge of Love met him at his orphanage in Barlad and invited him to become part of the foundation’s program, Bridge to Success. Adrian became one of the program’s participants and was able to attend the meetings and activities provided by the foundation. The program’s objective was to help the kids succeed in the world outside the orphanage.
Although Adrain continued to live in an orphanage as a teenager, he received from the foundation’s staff the moral support and guidance that he needed in order to be able to graduate from a good high school in Barlad. He was later accepted to go to Iasi to study at the university.
After graduation, Adrian started living on his own and left Barlad to find a job. Bridge of Love continued to offer Adrian needed support and direction in his quest for a happy life. Adrian now has a good job in Bucharest, is happily married, and has recently become a father to a beautiful baby boy!
Gabriel was born in 2004 without his left hand and also diagnosed with light mental retardation. Bridge of Love managed to find Gabriel a loving foster family where he has the love and attention that he needs.
Both Gabriel and his foster family received all the help that they needed (financial and moral) from Bridge of Love in order for Gabriel to grow up normally. Over the years, Gabriel overcame his diagnosis of mental retardation and is now a great student with very good grades.
Gabriel enjoys his Karate class and participates at all the other activities like a normal child, even if he doesn`t have a left hand.
Sorin was abandoned in the maternity ward of the hospital at birth. He remembers the day that he was transferred from the orphanage where he had lived as a young child to an orphanage for older kids. The little children were all crying as they boarded the bus and headed for a new institution that would become their "home."
Sorin remembers the loneliness, abuse, and neglect that he and the other children faced. They owned nothing but the few articles of clothing they were given to wear. They were assigned bedrooms that were packed with many other children. Their meals consisted mostly of broth and bread.
Sorin met the American volunteers when he was fourteen years old. Each summer they would come to his orphanage and spend time with him.
He was later invited to be in a program called, "Bridge to Success." It was to help teens who still lived in orphanages be able to make the transfer into adulthood with success and hope.
With the help of Podul Dragostei’s staff (Bridge of Love), Sorin received help with homework at the foundation’s office, guidance, and encouragement to pursue his education. He was given clothing, Christmas gifts and the use of computers to do his homework. Sorin passed his high school examination and went on to the university.
In July 2014, Sorin married his sweetheart, Georgiana. His bride had also grown up in an orphanage, but had been assisted with her educational dreams by an American family. Georgiana is currently getting her PHD in social work and Sorin is attending a school for chefs and desires to own his own restaurant. The two live in England.
At his wedding, Sorin said, "I feel like I would not have made it this far in my life if it hadn’t been for Bridge of Love! Thank you for helping me along the way! My life has been changed in so many ways!"