romani (gypsy)



The following is just a sample of the information and resources available to FRUA INC members.  Please consider becoming a member at


Information and photos from FRUA INC activities and Wikipedia public domain unless otherwise noted. Click on blue links for more information and other works cited.


 Romany flag & kids of Roma heritage at FRUA INC Pacific Northwest Heritage Camp


Interesting Facts about the roma

  • Eastern Europe is home to millions of Romani, primarily in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Slovakia.  There are also Romany people in Russia.
  • EtymologyThe Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the name "Gypsies" (or "Gipsies"), a holdover from the time when these people were thought to have come from Egypt, and a term considered to be mildly derogatory. The more accepted terms are "Romani", "Rom" or "Roma" (sometimes spelled with two "r"s - "Rroma"). The Roma are called "Sigani" in many Slavic countries (which is also considered derogatory), "Ashakli" in Kosovo, "Egyptians" in Albania, "Beyash" in Croatia and "Lom" in Armenia. 
  • Origins. The Roma people originally migrated to Europe from India. They came through the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), arriving in the Balkan Peninsula in the 1300s.

  • Oral Traditon. Historically, as a nomadic people, the Romani didn’t write books or attend school to learn to read and write. Instead, like the ancient Greeks, they’ve long maintained an oral tradition where poets and singers tell stories about the Romani and their culture. 

  • Ethnicity. The Roma tend to be a darker-skinned people. However, in the course of their wanderings, some Roma have intermarried with gadjé (non-Romani), so there are even blond-haired and light-skinned Romani. 
  • Homes. Some Roma people are still nomadic and travel in caravans. Some of the Romani live in the poorer parts of towns, often in abandoned apartments. Other Roma have attempted to integrate with their neighbors. Some European nations have attempted to force the Roma to end their nomadic way of life by requiring them to register and to go to school and learn trades.
  • Language. The Roma speak Romany (or Rromanës, a language related to a northern Indian dialect, particularly Punjab). It is spoken by about 5-6 million Roma people throughtout Europe and the USA. Some people consider Romany to be a group of dialects while others think there are several, closely-related Romany languages. 
  • Music. The Romani have a rich musical heritage. Their music has influenced jazz (swing), bolero, flamenco music, hip hop, and many classical composers including Franz Liszt.  Romany dance is also well known for improvization and self-expression, and  there have been well known Romany flamenco dancers.

  • The "Decade of Roma Inclusion" is taking place in eight Eastern European counties to address the needs of their Roma citizens.  The World Bank has backed this ten-year program intended to improve the Gypsies' socioeconomic status.

  • Religion. Although the Roma people generally adopt the religions of the countries where they live, describing themselves as “many stars scattered in the sight of God”, they do have common rules related to cleanliness and behaviors regarding what is "Rromano" (to behave with dignity and respect as a Roma person) and what can be seen as part of "Rromanipé" (the “Romani world view”).

  • Occupations. Roma groups often have occupations that are related to their nomadic heritage, such as peddling, horse training and trading, metal work, pot mending, recycling and collection of scrap metal, wood carving, storytelling, singing and music, dancing, and herbology. 

  • Oppression. Despite being enslaved when they arrived in Europe, being experimented upon and murdered by the nazis, having no single religion or holy book, no promised land to return to - these people have endured and survived.

  • Kumpanias. The Roma live according to their own rules. Traditionally, groups of extended families formed kumpanias (bands) which traveled together in caravans. Each kumpania is headed by a voivode (chieftain) who makes decisions after consultation with a council of elders and the phuri dai (senior woman). 

  • Traditons. The display of wealth, lavish household decoration, and show of generosity are important elements of Roma culture. Many Roma women wear bracelets and necklaces made of gold, and headresses are decorated with coins.  The display of prosperity and generosity towards others are considered very honorable. 

  • Marriage. Most Romany girls are expected to get married between the ages of 16 and 18. According to tradition, a girl shouldn't have more than four boyfriends before getting married, and if a boy asks a girl out, she should refuse at least twice before finally saying yes. Marriages are often arranged by the groom's family.
  • Family. The Roma place great value on extended family
  • United Nations. Romanies are represented in the United Nations with a voting seat.


FRUA INC Pacific Northwest Heritage Camp art project - Roma Flag bandana






Total population

Uncertain; estimates range from 2 million to more than 12 million. (est. 2011)


Romania 619,007
Bulgaria 370,908
Hungary 205,720
Slovakia 189,920
Russia 182,766
Serbia 147,604
Macedonia 53,879
Ukraine 47,587


Life expectancy at birth:


male: was 55.3 years in 1980 
female: was 59.5 years in 1980

Total fertility rate:


6 children born/woman in 1980


The ancestors of modern day Romani people were previously Hindu but adopted Christianity or Islam depending on their respective countries due to missionary activities.



worldwide: 62% (2007)

in Bulgaria: 82% (2012)



 "Flag Wrap" activity at FRUA INC Pacific Northwest Heritage Camp - Roma Flag



ADOPTION FACTS ABOUT romani children


The "Social Homes" in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Ukraine have a disportionately high number of Romani children being raised within their walls.  Most adoptive families in these countries traditionally want to adopt only healthy, white, fair-haired children. There is a long-standing negative attitude towards the Roma in much of Eastern Europe. Those families who do adopt Romani children frequently experience predjufice, and themselves express the misguided anxiety that genetics will "predispose" the child to grow up to be lazy, unintelligent and/or dishonest.


Many Roma families live in poverty in these countries. They tend to start having children at a very young age, have a high birth rate, and are apt to have unplanned pregancies. Because of these tendencies, these families are often encouraged to let the state care for their children in the "Social Homes". Romani families often plan to leave their babies only for a brief period of time, but that temporary time period often becomes permanent. The result is that the overwhelming majority of "healthy as possible" children in these institutions are of Romani heritage.


Romanian officials are concerned with the large number of abandoned orphans and pre-teen homeless children who live in sewers and canal systems. The estimates are that there are between 1000 and 10,000 or more (depending on which sources you believe) street children in Bucharest alone. Roma children account for about 80% of all children abandoned in Romania.


The Czech government opened up inter-country adoption of Romani children from their orphanages in 2008 after a study showed that "Gypsy children are never adopted by Czech citizens".


All of this has led to a high percentage of inter-country adopiton of Romani children from these countries.







We strongly urge you to comply with the requirements established by the government of the country you are adopting from and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process and/or provide you with more specific guidelines.  


If your agency is unable to help you with this, or no longer has an active program, it is suggested that you enlist the assistance of another agency that is able to help you complete the post-placement reports.  If all else fails, filing the report directly with the embassy or Minister of Education of the country adopted from may be acceptable.


In Fall 2006, the following advice was obtained by Karen's Adopiton Links for all families who needed to file their own Post Placement Reports:

  1. Use a Licensed Social Worker to do the Post Placement Report 
  2. Translate report with a Certified Translator. 
  3. Get the Post Placement Report apostilled.
  4. Include 5 pictures
  5. Suggested Sample form 
  6. Send directly by DHL or FedEx to the Minister of Education in the country or region of adoption. 

click here for more Information on Post-Placement Reports in general 






Ranger and the Re-Arrangers play Romany music at Pacific Northwest FRUA INC Heritage Camp


Helpful Links


Resources below are presented for information purposes only. Unless noted specifically as a FRUA INC group, FRUA INC does not endorse, nor have any connection with the following.


Gypsy Lore Society

Patrin Web Journal: Romani Culture

Voice of Roma 

Romani People (Wikipedia)

Factsheets on Roma

Romani Roots

The Roma (Balkanarama)

Roma Beyond Stereotypes

Les Roms de Roumanie (photographic essay)

Cross Cultural Adoption

Notes for Americans Who Have Adopted Gypsy Babies 

FRUA INC Facebook Page

Karen's Adoption Links

InterCountry Adoption Service Provider Search

International Adoptive Medical Clinics & Physicians

Child Welfare Gateway

North American Council on Adoptable Children

Hague Accreditation and Approval

Post Adoption (US Department of State)

Intercountry Adoption (US Department of State)

PEAR (Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform)




 There may also be other online parent support groups, lists and forums related to adoption from this country on Yahoo GroupsFacebook, the EEACAdoptive FamilesAdoption Services Support Groups, and



Romany Celebration Soup "Stone Soup Style" at FRUA INC Pacific Northwest Heritage Camp



Member Center