I’m absolutely sure of this – angels exist, are among us and Adelian Toncean (41 years old) is one of them. In 2003, she decided to adopt a child suffering of a severe heart malformation, abandoned in a hospital, without knowing how much time they still had together, but being absolutely sure that every second spent together will be a blessing. Almost 11 years of magical seconds followed, and after Cristi’s death, in 2014, Adelina knew she needed to follow a heartfelt road, although it was not easy at all. She adopted another abandoned child with the same medical problem, who had been miraculously saved and today is almost 6 years old, and founded Blondie Association, to help sick abandoned children from hospitals not to pass through all this alone. Today, more than 10.000 volunteers joined the project, and many more good things for people in need followed. One of them is a caravan for monitoring pregnancies in rural areas, where women do not have access to healthcare.
The story begins in 2003, in September, when Adelina Toncean (41 years old) had seen on the first page of a local newspaper the picture of a blond young boy who needed an urgent surgery. “I knew from that moment that he would be my child”, Adelina says. The article said he was suffering of a severe heart malformation and that he had been abandoned in the hospital. And she already had seen him healed – although had no idea what his disease was about.
She was absolutely convinced that he would be ok. But, one doctor after another, all told her nothing could be done anymore – the boy should’ve been operated when he was just few months old. After the last opinion – some American doctors who came in Romania – she knew their only chance was to value each second spent together. Told her mother, who was extremely supportive, and on May 21, 2004, Cristi came home. “We became mother and son, although we’ve always been much more. He was my mentor, he had a special good care of me. He was 3 years old when I had taken him home, and was small wise boy then big wise boy throughout the whole years we had together”, Adelina says.
Almost 11 years of blessing followed, although it’s not easy at all to have a normal life with such a medical condition. Her wonderful boy did not look at all like a child who was waiting to die – he was very “present”, preoccupied by the things he was interested of, he was just smaller in his hands and feet and had blue lips. They shared wonderful moments together, turned small joys into magic memories, loved, trusted and hoped. “I never thought Cristi would die. I thought there will be hard times, that we will have to stay somewhere, after a surgery, but I never thought he would die”, Adelina says.
In 2014, in autumn, Cristi seemed to get tired much more than usual, so they went to take some medical investigations. “We went to the ultrasound together, we were laughing, making signs, but when the consult was over the doctor told me that was the end”, Adelina says. She couldn’t believe even in that moment – still looking for options, transplant in another country, a solution, somewhere. One week after, in a Saturday morning, Cristi had time to scream he could not breathe anymore – until the ambulance arrived he was not alive anymore. “I was convinced that after resuscitation something will follow, they came to tell me that one hour passed and they will stop, also to leave him a few hours and then bring him some clothes. That was the moment I realized Cristi was dead”, Adelina says. It was 25 october 2014.
Two months before, on 27 august, Cristi, 13 years and a half, had written a poem in his diary, “Share, share for another part”. Right after this poem, his diary ends with “30 seconds up to Heaven, and people beg you to stay”.
And Adelina knew her wonderful, unique boy, she caressed Blondie, had already put her on a road – and was there, with her, to make sure she had all the strength she needed. Two weeks after his death, she found a small boy with the same medical problem as Cristi, in the same place. He was one year old and simply took him home. Everyone told her “Don’t do this, he will die”, but she asked them “If I don’t do this, will he be alive?”. On December 20, two months after Cristi’s death, Adelina left for Italy with Andrei. On Christmas day, being there, got a phone call that her mother died, two months after Cristi.
After a miraculous surgery, on January 3-rd, Adelina and Andrei left for home ok, “like two tourists, without oxygen, with my baby boy into my arms”. “Now he is almost 6 and he is a wonder who tells me I love you so much, you are so cute!”, she says. He simply rebuilt her, and taught her that he fights if she does that, too. “We taught each other that miracles exist and that love is healing, for sure”, she says.
Angel for sick children abandoned in hospitals
After Andrei, she decided to get back to hospitals and help. “It seemed to me that I knew everything, that I was able to find solutions for all the children I would’ve met. But all the children I had met the next period died, Andrei was the only survivor from the children I had met during the next year”, she says.
The first two were Ana and Osman. Ana was 13 and was awfully afraid of death. When she was bleeding, she went to the bathroom to quickly wash her oxygen mask. Osman was 2 years old and 2 kilograms, hydrocephalus, and was waiting for his death. He was moaning, she caressed him, he yawned and fell asleep without moan. She kept on caressing.
She visited Ana every day, watched cartoons together, shared small joys and built a piece of life. When Ana died, she buried her near Cristi.
Madalina was the first child after Andrei she wanted to take home. She had 1 year and a half and 3 kilograms and started to eat little by little, and gave her hope. But Madalina also died – “and I was asking myself where I was to see only the dead and to bury children”, she says.
But the answer was simple and beautiful – “If life is short and hard the love must be overwhelmingly high”. The child can survive or die – but if he dies, up to that moment he has to have as much love as possible and no hard moments. And that was the moment she thought there should be more people to help abandoned sick children from hospitals. “I’ve seen children who have recovered, and children who did not want to live anymore because they were alone”, she says.
Today, Blondie Association is the first in Romania dedicated to this. Since this year in July, when the volunteering program was launched, up to almost three weeks ago, when we’ve talked, more than 10.000 people joined.
Another very important project of the association, recently launched in Constanta county, consists of a caravan for monitoring pregnancies of women in social risk, in rural areas, where they do not have access to healthcare. In 2017, 1366 children under one year died in Romania, and half of them are from completely unmonitored pregnancies. 350 women had never been to a doctor, 200 are from minor mothers and 12 from mothers under 12 years old.
The next project is Blondie House – where children who have difficult surgeries can spend a few months after the surgery, until they are ok. Then the next project will be a hospital – in Constanta also, where there’s no pediatric hospital.
When love and kindness change the world
All these years, Adelina had flown all over the world with children about whom the first thing she hears is that nothing can be done anymore. Most of them are ok, “there are a few people who are alive because we have chosen to fight together”. She is a tutor for a little boy with leukemia. And does so, so many more.
It’s never easy – but when she loses a child she is grateful because she was there and the little one did not have to pass through everything all by himself. “All the volunteers said – I don’t know if I have the strength to stay near a dying child – but when it happened no one left, they wouldn’t have left even if I would have forced them to”, she says.
Cristi is with her all the time, every second, and she is grateful for everything – is a huge privilege to be able to change so much someone’s life. But, as I said, it was never easy. “You wish you could die just not to suffer anymore, you have to choose between going crazy and why me and what have I done to deserve this and to choose to find gratitude where it hurts you most. The answers come – and for me this was the answer”, she says.
PHOTOS FROM PERSONAL ARCHIVE
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