Forever Changed

December 15, 2010
My life on Earth began on April 17th, 1992 in St. Petersburg, Russia. I survived with my biological mom on a playground in my hometown for five years living on a loaf of bread she would buy every week. I can't say I remember much of what she looks like, I don't have any photos to examine, so I might never know. In my mind, she's a beautiful woman with a loving heart who took care of me the best way she could for those five years and I'll always love her for it. There was never a "father" figure or "dad" in the picture so I grew up thinking I only had one parent. Winters were always hard for us to live through. The low temperatures, snow, and freezing rain would make it unbearable to survive sometimes, but somehow we always made it okay. I remember one night my mom had gone off across the street to buy our bread and told me to stay in the yellow slide until she came back like she always did. I crouched in the swirling tunnel, watching with hungry eyes for her to return. As she was on her way back some officers started walking towards her and stopped her before she even crossed the street.

I sat in the slide, curiosity and fear surging through my body. I knew she couldn't see me, but that didn't stop her from signaling me not to come when the officers weren't watching. As I continued to watch, I noticed the policemen were trying to get her to come with them. At that moment, the fear within me ceased to exist and the curiosity finally reached its peak. I crawled down the remaining part of the slide, jumped out and started running towards the one person I had left on this Earth. When I finally reached my mom, the fear that was there before started creeping slowly back into my mind as I peaked around her arm at the officers. There was no getting out of this now. We cooperated with the men, got in the back of the car and were on our way. Little did I know this would be the last car ride I would take with her. The last thing I remember, I was in the back of the car but mom wasn't there with me. The officers took me to what looked like a big house. There were little kids running around, but no one I had ever met or knew. The shock of not knowing why my mom wasn't with me rushed through my body like one tidal wave after the other. After the adults had talked to the policemen and seen them off, they showed me around the house and where I would be sleeping. I lived at that orphanage, or "Detskydom" as i knew it in Russia, for the next two years. Life wasn't bad, but it just wasn't the same. At the time, there were some families that were looking to adopt me, and next thing I knew, the family had been chosen and an adoption date set. Part of me longed for my mothers' touch, to just see her again and explain to me what was going on.
Another part, however, was excited for the new adventure ahead of me.

My life was rushing by and before I could even comprehend the big change coming up, I was walking down the airport hallways with my two translators looking for my flight. The plane trip was long and I don't remember much of it, but that might be because I fell asleep for most of it. On August 16th, 1999, I took my first steps in an American airport after flying in from Prague, Czechoslovakia to meet my new family. I honestly couldn't describe the feelings I experienced at that moment let alone the feelings and thoughts of my new family. There were hugs, kisses, and tears....lots of tears! That was the start of my life here in America, the start to a new beginning.

I still often think of my mom and what she's doing, if she still thinks about me, or if she's even still on this Earth. If I got the chance to say one things to her right now, I would tell her I don't blame her for anything and love her with all my heart. I've gone through a lot in my life, had ups and downs, but the one thing that has changed and shaped my life forever would be my adoption. I love the parents I have now and always will. Being adopted and coming to America has opened up my life and the opportunities I could have for my future in so many ways. As I get older, I'm really starting to realize how lucky I am and that I should be taking advantage of my situation as much as I can. I could be on the streets right now, but I'm not. I give all my thanks to my adoptive parents. You never know what your life will be like in the future so make the most of it while you can.

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