My Real Parents This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   "Do you ever want to search for your real parents?" When people ask me this, I say, "Real? What do you mean?" Then I tell them a story.

My life began when I was five months old. A stewardess carried me off the plane at Logan Airport in Boston. Within seconds an excited hand grabbed at my infant wrist, peering anxiously at my name tag. "She's mine! I knew it."

Whoosh! I was whisked away into the arms of a dark-haired stranger, who for the rest of my life, I would call my mom. She cuddled me in her arms, as my four-year-old sister jumped up and down, desperately trying to catch a glimpse of her new baby sister. My dad stood by, grinning uncontrollably at the sight of me. The smile grew as I stretched out my tiny paws toward him. He wrapped me in his big arms and kissed my tiny head. My sister, now squirming worse than if she had to use the bathroom, was begging in her squeaky voice, "Can I please hold my baby sister? I'm the big one now."

Since my sister was only four, my parents forced her to sit down and hold me on her lap. I lay, sprawled out, resembling one of her limp and helpless Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. However, I was a real live baby. I was finally rescued when the photographer, my father, grew tired and hungry.

My new family and I journeyed to none other than the ideological American restaurant, IHOP, International House of Pancakes. My entrance to the United States would not have been complete if we had eaten anywhere else. My parents, the smart folks that they are, knew the importance of this breakfast.

They, however, were not so smart when it came to the foods they ordered. Thinking that I was only five-months-old and perhaps airsick, they neglected to get me a breakfast. Well, I showed them. As soon as my sister's steaming stack of pancakes came, I grabbed the spoon out of my mom's hand and dug in. I delivered my first two lessons to my family at this point. Number one: Sisters must share. Number two: I love to eat.

My arrival day progressed with more memorable events. Cooing waitresses carried me off into the IHOP kitchen. I met my grandmother at her hair salon, where she was setting a woman's hair. At the sight of me, she abandoned the woman. Ironically, the abandoned lady's son married my grandmother's daughter. Thankfully, by the time of their marriage, she had forgiven my grandmother for ruining her hair that day. I also met my grandfather a few hours later. I immediately reached my arms out to him. My gesture of instant warmth caused him to squeeze me close against his cheek and say, "That will be worth millions to you someday," which meant that he would spoil me. And he did for thirteen years by singing me songs and letting me use his special deck of cards to play solitaire. He died three years ago and each moment we shared,

beginning with that arrival day, keeps him close in my heart.

This special day marked the beginning of my life and its memories of it have become family favorites.These events epitomize the fulfilling life I have had. While others may feel that finding their biological parents is essential, I have never felt such a desire. My life is full and complete with the love my family gives me and I do not need anything else. I could never imagine my life without watching the country line dancing channel with my dad, arguing with my sister about who has bathroom priority, or picking the first May flowers in my yard to press them for my mom. My parents are the only people who can recount to me the time I insisted on a proper burial for my first cat, Shadow. The entire family said a prayer for her in cat heaven and I went to visit her nearly every day. What more could I want for a family.

Sometimes we are certainly not a perfect unit. We cry. We scream. We fight. But we share. We share memories, pain, love and laughter which belong to us alone. Sure, I may always wonder which biological parent I resemble more. I may wonder if somewhere I have another sister or brother who looks like me, but I also wonder what it is like to breath water or fly like a bird. Yet, I'll never have to wonder about the identity of my real parents. My real parents are the ones who raised me. c

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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