Lateweic Inspires Students Telling Story of Abandonment in Romanian Orphanage
Michael Lataweic was a Romanian orphan. Thirty years ago he sat in a cold crib in the middle of Romania wasting away. Untouched by human hands for nearly three years, Michael survived a culture of abortion, sustained life in a world where he wasn't wanted, and is now speaking out for life.
Michael is the son of a gypsy. His father pleaded for an abortion, but Micahel's mother refused. His dad walked out on his mom, and Michael was placed in a Romanian orphanage after his birth.
Micahel's ethnicity pushed his crib to the back of the orphanage. Children were held during feeding, as bottled were propped-up in his crib. The lack of human touch stunted Michael's brain development. At three years old, Michael was deemed obsolete by the orphanage.
A world away, Jennifer Lataweic sat on her couch flipping channels. The 1990 news series 20/20 started reporting on orphanages in Romania. Jennifer was captivated. She watched the entire program. Her heart broke, stirring a passion inside her. She resolved to start an organization to make an impact. The Eastern European Children's Fund is saving lives today, and started because someone flipping channels turned a news story human.
Jennifer's sister, Judy, brought food, diapers, clothes, and toys to Romanian orphanages in the following years. She found Michael wasting away in an iron crib. She tried to rehabilitate the children in the orphanage. Her work brought many small children from the brink of death to meet benchmarks for adoption.
Judy periodically moved crib-to-crib to awaken new life in the rows of neglected children. She walked the final row of cribs, small mouths agape with eyes staring into the distance. That's where she met Michael.
Judy bent over the iron crib to wrap her fingers around Michael's lifeless body. She was the only person to hold Michael in three years.
Judy worked with the orphanage to rescue Michael, realizing his stunted development pushed him closer to an asylum. Asylums in Romania are places for children with special needs who are left to die after their third birthday. Judy took action.
Judy traveled home for Christmas. Lights blinked on the Christmas tree as Judy and Jennifer sorted through pictures from Judy's trip. Jennifer stopped to hold Michael's picture, unaware of his tory and his sentence to death in an asylum. Jennifer determined that Christmas that Michael was her son. She was going to adopt him and save his life.
A long battle ensued, one that Jennifer walked eight times. The Lataweics have twelve children, eight adopted from situations similar to Michael's. The cold crib grew to a distant memory as Michael started a new life in Minnesota. Treatments and continual love opened doors for Michael. Violin lessons provided an expressive opportunity. After the lessons Michael would trade Vivaldi for folded hands, praying outside a nearby abortion clinic to stand for children who can't stand for themselves.
Michael's consistent protest directed a resolve to oppose what happens behind the walls of abortion clinics. Hours standing for live caused Michael to question why he was saved from the Romanian orphanage. Sensing God calling him to something bigger than protesting, Michael started counseling families considering abortion. He has been used to save twelve babies in his five years of sidewalk counseling.
Michael now travels to abortion clinics regularly. His mission is peaceful protest in speaking for life in communities where abortion numbers rival kindergarten enrollment. Michael's story shows that even the most unwanted people in the remotest areas can do amazing things if they're given the chance.