Ali This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Goodnight Ali, sweet dreams, I love you!" As I hugged my sister and shut the door of her room, my mind began to wander back to the first day she came into our lives. It was a brisk night in April; my parents, my sister, and I paced the floors anxiously waiting for the doorbell to ring. One question circled throughout our minds: What would she be like? Shortly, the social worker came with a small bundle in her arms. My heart pounded, waiting to see the baby who would forever change our lives.

She was extremely tiny, with dark curly hair and a precious little face. I remember being afraid to hold her because of her small size. I had no experience taking care of a little baby. Suddenly, a sick feeling came over me. I realized that Ali could be taken away at any moment if her birth mother was found. Although I desperately wanted to love her like a real sister, I would not allow myself to get close to her because of my fears. I didn't want to experience the heartbreak of losing another child to the state.

My family had been foster parents in years past, but we always knew that the children were only staying with us temporarily. With Ali, we were told that there was an excellent chance for adoption. I always enjoyed helping the kids by giving them a sense of the family and the love they had never received. Being with them and hearing their heart-wrenching accounts of abuse and neglect made me realize how fortunate I was to have two devoted and caring parents. Each night, while they were with us, I would lie in bed and cry myself to sleep; I felt horrible for them. They were only four and five, and yet they were forced to live in a world of emotional and physical pain and suffering. I didn't know how to help them; they were young children whose innocence had been robbed from them. When the state placed them back with their birth mother, I felt like a knife had pierced my heart. All the rage, compassion and pity I had endured came rushing back to me all at once. I never wanted to feel that way again. I felt as if I was robbed of having the chance to make a difference in their lives, and to provide them with all they desperately needed and wanted. After this experience I promised myself that I would never allow myself to become so emotionally attached; I didn't want to get hurt again.

Selfishly, I kept my distance from Ali. It was extremely hard not to fall in love with her; she was precious and innocent, anyone could love her just by looking at her. One day, my mother asked me to take care of her for the afternoon; reluctantly I accepted. As I sat there, watching her, she began to smile at me, as if she recognized me. Her warm and gentle smile, in a sense, assured me that it was safe to love and care for her. For the first time in a long time, I felt secure in allowing my emotions to be revealed. From that moment on, Ali and I have shared a wonderful and loving relationship. She is one of the most important people in my life; without her, my life would be incomplete. Despite her young age, she taught me valuable lessons of overcoming my fears, and how to give and receive love after a significant loss. My family and I are fortunate to have been given the opportunity to adopt Ali. Today, she is truly my sister. 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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