Lacrimioara Sava Cross, an 18-year-old junior at Decatur High School, is realizing her dream to become a midwife who with help from the school’s career academy.
Lacree, as she is called, was born in Romania to a single mother—she was the sixth child. For two years her family struggled to care for her, until the government placed her in an orphanage.
“I was only 13 pounds, which is very malnourished for a 2 year old, so the government came and took me,” Cross said.
Several months later Lacree’s sister Andrea was born. She was immediately adopted by a Norwegian family.
Lacree was adopted three years later at age 5 by a family who lived in Decatur. Her adoptive mother Stephany Cross later received paperwork from the adoption agency in Romania with information about Lacree’s past.
“They accidentally gave her all of my birth family information, including information about my sister, so we’ve always been in contact,” Lacree said.
Last summer, Lacree traveled to Romania to visit her birth family for the first time. She spent two days in Bobata, the small village where she was born, and the rest of her two-week trip in Zaulo, a town several miles away. Her sister from Norway also came on the trip and it was the first time they had met each other, and their birth-family.
Lacree said it was this trip to Romania that made her want to become a midwife and then move back to that country to start her own practice.
“When we went on our trip it was so life changing. I planned what my career was going to be around that,” Lacree said. “I wanted to go to school—I wanted to do well so I could go back and help my family. They have no water…they barely make enough money to get breakfast every morning and the family lives in mud houses,” Lacree said.
When Lacree got back from her trip, she said she enrolled in the Decatur Career Academy, an extension of Decatur High School that enables students to take college-level courses while still in high school.
“It’s amazing that almost 10 years later the dream I had, to do something with medicine, is coming true. A lot of it has to do with this program I’m in; without it a lot of stuff wouldn’t be possible. It’s given me a huge leg up in everything,” Lacree said.
When she graduates from Decatur High School, Lacree will have a two-year associate’s degree in health sciences from Devry University. She said she plans to enroll in nursing school at Kennesaw State University, then train to become a midwife.
Additionally, part of Devry’s program requires health science students to complete an internship, which Lacree said would be an added benefit to her resume.
“The greatest part about it—even though it’s also hands-on—is that it’s completely free. [I] even calculated that it would be $45,000 for four years of Devry. So, the fact that [I] did two years of that for free is amazing,” Lacree said.
Lacree said she is grateful to make a career in something she really loves and that she had the opportunity to accomplish it by attending the career academy. She said after traveling to Romania it wasn’t a difficult decision.
“If you find that one thing you love and you want it to be your career, go for it, even if it’s hard at times and you want to quit. Trust me, I’ve had that feeling but it gets better at the end,” Lacree said.
Lacree also said she is planning to write a book about her and her family’s experiences.
“The even chapters are going to be my life from adoption and up; the odd chapters are going to be Andrea in Norway from adoption and up; and the last few chapters are going to be how all the little bits and pieces came together. It’s going to be a panorama of all the families and the title is either going to be jigsaw or puzzle pieces,” Lacree said.