From left: Bill, Mihaela, Susan (seated), Ionel, Ramona, Loredana, and Aidan Belfiore. (Photo: EGPAF)
In the fall of 1989, my wife Susan and I were watching a Primetime special about children in Romania living in orphanages; they were all HIV-positive after receiving tainted transfusions. At the end of the show, viewers were invited to go to Romania as volunteers for six months to nurture these children with love and affection. At that point, Susan and I had been married 20 years and had no children of our own. Immediately, we knew this was right for us.
Susan arrived in Romania in January 1990 and was assigned to five babies between the ages of one and two. She was given a two-room area where they all lived together. During my first visit, I saw that although none of the children had any illnesses or symptoms of HIV, they were in great need. They lived in steel cribs; they had no diapers or hot water; the food was unappealing; and although the people who worked there were doing the best they could, the environment was really abominable.
After my first visit, I remember thinking, "I wonder what life will be like for us when this six months is over?" It wasn't long before I knew that our lives would never be the same. One day, I got an excited phone call from my wife. "What do you think about adopting one of these children?" she asked. Without even thinking, I heard myself saying, "Why don't we adopt all of them?" And we did.
We became the proud parents of Ramona, Ionel, Mihaela, and Loredana, and three years later, Susan gave birth to a baby boy, Aidan.
Since then, I have seen what the concrete power of our love, combined with EGPAF's critical work, can achieve. Best of all, my children are all very healthy.
Through it all, EGPAF has been there on many levels. The medicine that our children need was made possible because of EGPAF's work. By educating people and raising awareness, EGPAF also has made our family's daily life much easier and more comfortable. We are not afraid to talk about HIV and AIDS. We want to help other families and we are grateful that there is an organization like EGPAF that can show us the way.
Blog posts featuring the Belfiore family:
Other features about the Belfiore family:
- In October 2010, longtime Foundation friend and current Board member Bill Belfiore and his wife Susan were profiled in The Wall Street Journal’s popular “Donor of the Day” column. Read the blog post here. (NOTE: WSJ subscription required to read full article)
- Read an article about the Belfiore family in the Star-Ledger (New Jersey).