Bridge of Love was created in 2001 after the Scott and Laurie Lundberg family of West Jordan, Utah spent their Christmas holiday in a failure-to-thrive hospital, in Tutova, Romania, with 32 abandoned babies. The living conditions for the children were unlike anything they had ever seen. Babies spent their days in their cribs with no blankets or toys. The rooms were cold from inadequate heating and drafty windows.
Bottles were given to the children ages three and under, four times a day, with none of the children receiving solid food. Many of the babies had huge lumps on the back of their heads from the hours spent rocking back and forth in their cribs, banging their heads on the rails for some kind of stimulation. Diapers were changed a few times a day, on schedule, leaving babies in soiled diapers for many hours until the next change. A few of the babies had fevers, colds, and runny noses. However, they were left alone in their cribs unless volunteers from America showed up to bring some comfort.
The Lundberg family holding babies at the failure-to-thrive orphanage
Podul Dragostei’s first goals were to remove children from not only the failure-to-thrive hospital, but from other orphanages and hospitals in the city of Barlad. The children were placed in loving foster homes with families approved by the Romanian Department of Children’s Protection. Podul Dragostei’s Romanian staff was hired to help find loving homes for the children and then to assist these families in their roles.
The foster program has been a remarkable help to the children. The foster parents have a genuine love and concern for the children. They have helped the children develop in many ways that would not have been possible had they stayed in an institution.
For seventeen years, Bridge of Love has been providing the children with social workers and teachers who have supported the foster parents and helped shape the children’s lives. The foundation also provides financial assistance, clothing, school supplies, medicine, Christmas presents, summer camp, activities, field trips, and classes for the foster children.
Babies in their cage-like cribs at the failure-to-thrive orphanage
After ten days of loving, holding, and playing with these precious children, it was time for the Lundberg family to return home. The family left with aching hearts, yet with determination to see what they could do to change the course of direction for these little ones who seemed to have no hope. They realized that each child was worthwhile. Each was a child of God.
That experience led to the creation of Bridge of Love. Bridge of Love’s mission is to bring comfort and hope to the abandoned, abused, and needy children of Romania. Bridge of Love’s first efforts were to take needed clothing and supplies to the abandoned children who the Lundbergs met on that first trip. While the supplies were helpful to the children, it soon became apparent that new pajamas, blankets, and toys were not enough. The children needed to live in a family where their emotional needs could also be met.
The Lundbergs then created Podul Dragostei. Its translation is "Bridge of Love." Podul Dragostei is the Romanian foundation that works with the children and is supported financially by its sister foundation, Bridge of Love. The two work together to bring the children comfort and hope.
THE ROMANIAN CHILDREN TODAY
In addition, Bridge of Love extends help to the local orphanage, women’s shelter, children’s hospital, and needy families in villages surrounding Barlad. Blankets, diapers, wipes, clothing, toys, Christmas gifts, school supplies, and other necessities are taken to those in need.
Many lives have been changed for the better through the efforts of Bridge of Love. Bridge of Love is funded through the donations of kind people who care about making a difference. Our invitation to get involved with helping save these children is extended to all.