Friday, April 16, 2010
The title of this blog is one of the first questions many people have asked when we talk about adopting internationally. Well, in the age of Google and Wikipedia, we figure none of us should remain in the dark. So, for those so inclined, I would recommend the following sites to learn as much as you so desire:
However, if you want the Cliffs Notes version, here are some highlights about this far away (and yet, now so much closer) land...
Where is Moldova? Moldova is located between Romania and Ukraine.
Has there always been a Moldova? (Hint: You're probably older than the current iteration). It has been a long road for Moldova to get where it is today.
Antiquity - What is now Moldova was part of Dacia before coming under Roman control.
Middle ages - The territory is part of the Principality of Moldavia.
1812 - Eastern part of the territory is annexed by the Russian Empire and becomes Bessarabia.
1859 - Moldavia unites with Wallachia to form modern Romania.
1917 - Russian Empire dissolved and an independent Moldavian Democratic Republic is formed.
1918 - MDR joins Greater Romania.
1940 - Bessarabia occupied by the Soviet Union and is split between the Ukrainian SSR and the Moldavian SSR.
1944 - Subsumed into the Soviet Union.
August 27, 1991 - Moldova gains its independence.
March, 1992 - Moldova becomes one of the first former Soviet republics to be admitted to the United Nations.
How big is Moldova? Moldova is slightly larger than the state of Maryland and has approximately 4.3 million people. Compare this to the actual state of Maryland, which has approximately 5.7 million people. The capital city of Chisinau (pronounced kee-shee-now) has a population of 630,000 in the metro area and 809,000 when considering its suburbs, making it similar to Memphis.
How is Moldova governed? Moldova is governed as a unitary parliamentary representative democratic republic (as opposed to the United States, which is governed as a federal constitutional presidential republic). From 1998-August, 2009, Moldova was one of only three countries with democratically elected Communist leaders. However, on August 8, 2009, four Moldovan parties agreed to form a governing coalition and rendered the Communist party the opposition party (Coalition [Alliance for European Integration] - 53 seats; Party of Communists - 48 seats).
What language is spoken in Moldova? The vast majority of the population speaks Romanian (we picked up a Romanian language/phrase book... results have been mixed so far) =) with significant minority populations who speak Russian or Ukrainian.
What religion prevails in Moldova? Officially, 93.3% claim to be Eastern Orthodox Christians, 2% claim Protestantism, 1.2% belong to other religions, 0.9% is non-religious, and 0.4% claim to be Atheist.
How wealthy is Moldova? Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe with a per capita GDP between $2,000-$3,000 (whereas the U.S. is $47,000) while more than 25% of the population lives off of less than $2/day. In fact, many of the Moldovan citizens have to leave their home country to find work abroad, which is one reason why so many children end up in state-run institutions.
Obviously, entire volumes could be filled talking about the nation and people of Moldova, but I hope these have been a few useful highlights. I encourage you to take the time to learn more about this fascinating country and its people.
Posted by Austin & Brittany at 8:00 AM