Romania Ana’s House
Raul (Roni) Stepan was born in 1968 in Lipova, a small town near Arad. He was raised by his grandmother on his mother’s side for seven years. He never met his father. When he was seven years old, his mother decided to care for him and together they moved to Arad.
His grandparents were Hungarian and, until he went to live with his mother, he spoke only Hungarian, but he began to learn Romanian and was registered in a school in the neighborhood Checheci, an area heavily populated by Gypsies. When Roni was 10 years old, his mother’s husband decided to adopt him and he took the name of Stepan. During his second year of high school, Roni became and Christian and was baptized at Biserica Speranta (Hope) where he is still a member today.
In 1990 he married Rodi, and in 1993 they had their first child, Oana Carla. They lived as meterologists on the top of a mountain called Mt. Tarcu for 11 years. In 2001, as Oana Carla prepared to enter school and Roni and Rodi prepared for their second child, they decided to come down from the mountain top to be near friends and parents.
In February of 2001, Rodi was hired at our first childrens home, the House of Hope. She worked there until October of 2001 when Roni and Rodi were hired together to be houseparents at our second home, Ana’s House. They have been known as Tata Roni and Mama Rodi ever since.
In October of 2001, in addition to Oana, their family grew by five children: Rodica, Sanda, Simona, Radu and Oana became the first children to be placed in Ana’s House. In November, their daughter Paula was born and became number seven. Robi, number eight, arrived in December. In April 2002, they welcomed Teodora and Mircea to their home- topping off the list as numbers nine and ten!
In 2006, Rodica, the oldest child at Casa Ana, finished her primary school education at 18 years of age and decided to venture out on her own. A year later Ana’s House received Lisa, and the number of children in the home was back to 10. Yet in 2008, due to a financial shortfall, another Global Hope home was closed, and Cristina and Marian were placed with Roni and Rodi, bringing their number to 12.
In order to understand the children better, Roni and Rodi decided to further their educations. Roni went back to school to become a certified social worker with numerous specializations in management and child abandonment. Rodi is now a qualified elementary school teacher with a specialization in special education.
Roni is also the President of Federatiei Plus, a group of local non-government, evangelical organizations that fights for the rights of underprivileged Romanians.
Rodi concludes, “Daily we live by faith and in dependence on the Lord for his protection, and for the financial support necessary to continue the work He’s called us to do.”