Abandoned by parents too miserable to care for them only to live in unbearable conditions, the world took pity on them then. However, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips, the world has since moved on.
The kids -Â– at least those who survived -- are still in RomaniaÂ's capital. But now, in their late teens and early twenties, they are living in the streets -- or even beneath the streets in the sewer and steam tunnels.
It's estimated there are 4,000 of them, most addicted to the glue sniffing that alleviates hunger.
Â"They just were put out in the street and they stood there and said Â'well, what do we do now,Â'Â" said Susan Booth, an American from Connecticut who has adopted the kids' cause.
Adding to the sense of desperation, now the orphans are having children of their own.
Along with Irishman Steven Doyle, who shares her passion for these kids living at the bottom of the human food chain, Booth has been delving to the depths of the world of the Romanian street kids.
Some have formed gangs with a loose social structure, leaders and providers.
Others have formed extended families -- growing families headed by teenage moms that sometimes already have multiple children.
Â"They have children because they have no access to birth control, or because they don't even know about it,Â" says Booth. Â"Or they have children, to give purpose to their otherwise purposeless lives.Â"
Look in just about any junkyard or public place in Bucharest and you will likely find them. How any of them survive given where they live and what they eat seems to defy medical science.
The orphans form a society of children who have never really had a childhood but who at the same time have never really grown up -- a society of children who have never really had parents who are now becoming parents themselves.
Reported by Mark Phillips
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