Roxana Castro sits in an orange chair in the waiting room at Mary's Center in Washington, D.C. She's 17, and expecting a baby boy next month. The pregnancy was a surprise, she says, mostly for her parents, but also for the baby's father.
Even with her mother's help, Castro admits she's nervous. The father of the baby says he'll be there, but she knows this is a big responsibility, and says she's not ready to start a family just yet.
"A baby is so fragile," she says. "I don't know how to take care of it or anything."
A disabled and orphaned Romanian child in his bed at the Targu Jiu orphanage in southwestern Romania in 2009. Romania has, in general, improved conditions in orphanages that provoked outrage when they were exposed internationally nearly a quarter-century ago. However, some 70,000 kids are still in the care of the state.
Credit Thomas Coex / AFP/Getty Images
Under Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, handicapped and orphaned children were neglected, unbathed and malnourished in orphanages throughout the country. This photo shows orphans at a state institution in Grandinari, Romania in 1989, the year Ceaucescu was overthrown and killed.
Credit Isabel Ellsen / Corbis
Romanian orphanages were routinely overcrowded and children often lacked toys, as was the case at Bucharest's Number One Orphanage in 1991. A new law should make adoptions a bit easier. However, adoptions remain relatively rare.
Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 5:14 pm
First of two stories
The 1989 overthrow and execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu provided the first glimpse of a country that had been mostly closed to the outside world — and many of the scenes were appalling.
Among the most disturbing were images of tens of thousands of abandoned children suffering abuse and neglect in Romania's orphanages. Many were confined to cribs, wallowing in their own filth and facing mental health issues.
As a living history museum, Strawbery Banke allows visitors to tour historic buildings constructed between 1695 and 1954.
Credit Amanda Loder / for NPR
Re-enactor Alena Shellenbean plays Mrs. Shapiro, a Jewish-Ukranian immigrant from the early 1900's and one of the historic characters populating Strawbery Banke.
Credit Amanda Loder / New Hampshire Public Radio
Tom Richter moved to Strawbery Banke so that he could concentrate on creating a new album of folk songs based on imagery of historic Portsmouth, N.H.
Credit Amanda Loder / New Hampshire Public Radio
Eva Boice moved to Strawbery Banke from New York to be closer to her family. A retired social studies teacher, she appreciates the nuances of her new home, like the mismatched paint on her door panel. During renovations, contractors uncovered paint layers dating to the early 1800s.
All it takes to enter a time warp in New Hampshire is $15 and a summer afternoon. Spanning more than 250 years of American history, Strawbery Banke is the oldest neighborhood in the state's oldest city, Portsmouth.
It's kind of like Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg — lite. Stationed inside many of the 37 homes are re-enactors in different period garb. Inside a hulking white house, it's 1872.
Mike Stuart of Dynamic Aviation speaks to the media this week about the type of plane used for aerial spraying in Dallas. The city and county are conducting aerial spraying to combat the nation's worst outbreak of West Nile virus, which has killed at least 10 people and sickened about 200.
The recent outbreak of West Nile virus in the Dallas area has led to a new round of large-scale spraying for mosquitoes — a method of treating outbreaks that has generations of success, and even nostalgia, behind it.
Although the overall mosquito-killing strategy has changed little since the days when it was pioneered during construction of the Panama Canal a century ago, the chemicals used have become much safer for everything and everyone involved, save the mosquitoes, experts say.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 4:35 pm
With running mate Paul Ryan's tax returns released on a Friday night — a good week and a half ahead of the Republican convention — the presidential campaign can finally move off the subject of tax returns.
Or so Mitt Romney can hope.
In reality, the numbers in the Wisconsin congressman's filings provide new data points, for those inclined to see things this way, about how far Romney's financial situation is from that of ordinary voters.
Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 1:44 pm
Julian Assange stepped onto a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London Sunday to demand that the U.S. end its persecution of WikiLeaks. It was his first public appearance since taking refuge inside the embassy in June.
"I ask President Obama to do the right thing," he said. "The United States must renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks."
Greeks used to take their yogurt for granted. This year, at anti-austerity protests, they even threw it at their politicians. But Greeks are finally realizing yogurt might actually help the country during its worst recession in half a century.
In Athens, dozens of entrepreneurs have opened yogurt bars. The first one, called Fresko, opened last year on a pedestrian street near the Acropolis. It features four types of rich, strained yogurt kept cool in traditional ceramic pots.
In New England, more women are breaking through the glass gangway. That's the ramp you use to walk down onto a dock to hop onboard your own fishing boat. For generations lobstermen in Maine have been predominantly, well, men — but that's starting to change.
At a small gas dock in a rock-lined cove on Deer Isle, Maine, there's a new captain fueling up. Genevieve Kurilec, 29, wears a tank-top, orange fishing overalls and lobster buoy earrings.
Although considered one of the most dangerous places in the country, past budget cuts in Camden, N.J., have forced police layoffs. Now the city is considering even more dramatic steps: replacing the city's police force with one operated by the county.
Camden is on pace to break a record for homicides and shootings this year, and many in the crime-ravaged city say something has to change.