My inquiries regarding abandoned children in Romania began years before it evolved into a dissertation topic. The first exposure I had to Romanian orphans was in 1994 when, as a public health specialist at the State Health Department in Texas, I began corresponding with a director of a private orphanage in Cluj. The correspondence entailed an exchange of information about the early childhood intervention program in Texas and a program having similar objectives being implemented in the Cluj orphanage. In spring 1996 I went to Romania for the first time and briefly visited this orphanage. In 1997, as a doctoral student in the demography program at the University of Texas, I returned to Romania under the auspices of a Mellon Summer Award that enabled me to travel extensively throughout the country studying the culture and language. Based on insights gained from the trip I began to formulate a research question using children living in orphan institutions as the focus of study. This population was ideal from a demographic perspective because it was large, well defined, and had a dynamic flow of children into and out of institutions. In communicating with national and international stakeholders in Romania’s child protection system I was reasonably assured that local sources of archival data existed for these children. Although I attempted to determine the nature of these data beforehand, the exact type and quality of data remained unknown to me until I actually started field research.