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Ruckel attends Romanian premiere of ‘The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman’ – and heads back to the U.S.

Ruckel ends two years' service with successful event

On January 10th, Izidor Ruckel attended the Romanian premiere of The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman in Bucharest. The event, held in Cinema Pro’s largest theater, drew over 400 people, including journalists, social workers, NGO representatives, and Romanian adoptive parents.

Attendees flocked to watch the mini-series’ third episode, called “The Power of Love.”  Subtitled in Romanian, the show featured Morgan Freeman interviewing Ruckel about his life as a Romanian orphan and his subsequent adoption by an American family. Freeman also interviewed Ruckel’s parents, Danny and Marlys Ruckel, who shared about trying to reach into Izidor’s broken heart.

Alexandra Cadar-Lumei traveled all the way from Sighetu Marmației, the northern city where Ruckel’s orphanage was located, to attend the premiere. Cadar-Lumei is the superior councilor at the Department of Social Services and said the evening was “beautiful.”

Ruckel and Cadar-Lumei
Ruckel and Cadar-Lumei

“I once again had the certainty that the power of love would never make you feel small… incapable... Ugly.... weak.... worthless,” Cadar-Lumei posted on Facebook.

Ruckel conducted a press conference after the viewing. Many Journalists and other audience members asked about Romania’s current state of orphan care. Ruckel invited several child welfare specialists onto the stage to assist in answering questions.

The panel noted that although Romania is closing large orphanages, smaller orphanages are replacing them where children are still cared for by a rotating staff.

“This approach misses the point as it fails to provide families for these children,” said Liviu Mihăileanu, president of Romania Without Orphans Alliance.

Mihăileanu discussed ongoing legislative initiatives that could help speed up the in-country adoption process: lowering the number of relatives sought from the 4th degree, which includes great-great-grandparents, introducing sanctions for not respecting the deadlines in declaring a child adoptable, lowering the number of migrations within the system, and allowing accredited private organizations be more involved.

Ruckel was pleased at the audience’s engagement.

“They seemed to truly be interested in improving the current child welfare system,” Ruckel said. “They were asking what they could do to help. That was encouraging because stepping out and getting involved it what makes the changes happen.”

Photo by Mihai Popa
Photo by Mihai Popa

Several media outlets attended the premiere, including Antenna 3, DIGI 24 and A7 TV. In addition, staff from the La Măruță show came to show their support to Ruckel. Ruckel worked with the La Măruță show for two years, facilitating adoptee reunions with their birth families. The next day, Ruckel made a final appearance on the La Măruță show.

Ruckel now heads home to Denver, Colorado, after spending twenty-two months serving in Romania at Love Light Romania, a non-profit dedicated to providing support services to children, teenagers & families affected by HIV/AIDS. Ruckel worked as a teen mentor.

“I’m grateful for the two years I got to spend in my home country. Serving the last two years in Romania changed me. My Romanian language skills are now much better, and I am more motivated than ever to help orphans get the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Ruckel said he will now focus on getting his autobiography turned into a mini-series. Through the project, called Izidor, Ruckel said he hopes to educate and inspire the world about the power of taking a risk on behalf of others.

“To whom much is given, much is expected,” Ruckel said. “We all have something to give.”

Morgan Freeman interviews Izidor Ruckel for new mini series


Morgan Freeman interviews Izidor Ruckel for new mini series
The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman highlights the power of love with Ruckel’s story

LOS ANGELES, Calif., October 2, 2017 – Morgan Freeman interviewed Izidor Ruckel for the six-part docuseries The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman, premiering on National Geographic in the U.S. on October 11 at 9/8c, and globally in 171 countries and 45 languages in early 2018. An episode entitled “The Power of Love” includes Ruckel’s life story and will air as the third installment in the series on October 25, 2017.

Los Angeles - Host Morgan Freeman meets with Izidor Ruckel who discusses his horrific experience living in a Romanian orphanage as a child. (National Geographic/Justin Lubin)

The series follows Freeman as he travels the world investigating ideas that unite mankind. In June, Freeman met with Ruckel at a park in Los Angeles to explore how the lack of familial love during early childhood shaped him. Ruckel spent the first eleven years of his life in a cruel Romanian orphanage for the “unsalvageables,” where lack of food and routine beatings stunted his growth physically and emotionally.

Freeman also interviewed Ruckel’s American adoptive parents, Danny and Marlys Ruckel, on their attempts to reach such a broken boy with the meaning of love.

“Morgan Freeman was truly curious to see how love has impacted someone who was locked away for so many years,” Ruckel said. “During the interview, I could sense that the stories he heard about the orphanage were truly shocking and eye opening for him.”

National Geographic/Justin Lubin

Watch The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman: The Power of Love on October 25th to see the impact of just one person showing love to Ruckel in the midst of his horrifying childhood. To find the National Geographic Channel in your country, visit:


Izidor Ruckel is an orphan advocate who seeks to bring hope and dignity to children still suffering all over the world. Learn more at IzidorRuckel.com.


Media Contact: Sarah Padbury
Email: Sarah@IzidorRuckel.com