Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Biological Child's Perspective on Adoption: Julia (part 1)

Julia's Story, part 1 We wanted to share some of the stories of adoption from the point of view of the children, both biological and adopted. It has been fascinating and faith-building to hear them tell their own stories of life from their perspective. The first in this series is from our daughter Julia, who is now a lovely 18 year old senior in high school. 




I remember how it felt to be the youngest....                                                                                             I was 8 years old when my family decided to adopt. I was 8 and my world was about to change. I don’t really remember the moment my parents sat my 2 sisters and me down to tell us that we were going to adopt; I don’t remember what I first thought of the idea, and I don’t remember the process of adoption. What I do remember is my life before hand and my life afterward. I remember how it felt to be the youngest, the baby. I wasn’t spoiled but it was nice to be the baby of the family. I got attention and love. It was just my 2 sisters and my mom and dad-- that was my family. Then all of a sudden my family, my world as I knew it, was significantly altered. 

I remember embracing and accepting my new family
Julia with her 2nd grade teacher
I don't think I fully understood what we were doing until my parents showed me a picture of my future brother and sister. I brought it to school and showed my 2nd grade teacher and class. I was so proud. We ended up not adopting them because their grandmother took them, but that was the first moment I remember embracing and accepting my new family. I remember when my mom went to Russia to visit orphanages. She called us and said that she had found two kids, a brother and a sister, that she thought were the ones. From that moment on all the talk was about Kristina and Pasha.
   
A life-changing event
After months of paperwork and waiting, which I do not remember at all (I do remember moving from our old house to a bigger house in preparation for our bigger family), we finally prepared a trip for our whole family to take so that we could adopt our future family. I remember the trip so well it was a life-changing event. I was half excited and half nervous. I remember the plane ride there, everything being so foreign and weird to me. I remember when we got there it was like a whole other world. I could barely keep my eyes open because I was so tired, yet I couldn’t close them for fear that I would miss all the different sights and atmosphere.


A shocking place
The children of Kalinina Orphanage playing with
the balloons we brought.
The outside of the orphanage.
 The whole trip consisted of staying at different houses and apartments, and some sight seeing, but the most impactful was the visit to see my new brother and sister. I remember driving up in front of the orphanage, and seeing that it was dirty and falling apart. I remember being a little scared to enter into such a different and shocking place. The director came out and welcomed us and brought us inside. All the kids were running around and looking at us. I could see that they weren’t very well dressed and that they looked different from me, yet they also looked similar to me, after all they were kids just like me.  


In the orphanage
Julia embraces her new brother, Pasha. Stickers
were the language of the moment!
We played with the kids for a while, taking Polaroid pictures of them, which they absolutely loved, and gave them gifts that we had brought. Then the director brought us into a room where we were to wait to meet Kristina and Pasha. They served us tea and cookies and brought in our new family. I remember putting Pasha on my lap and playing with him. I remember we had a lot of stickers that we put all over our faces and played with some toys and looked at some books with pictures that told a story. We were a family; we were playing together and communicating in the broken language that we had fashioned together and we were smiling and laughing and getting to know each other.   
Julia,  front left, with her new family of 7.


Stay tuned for the rest of Julia's story. If you would like to ask her questions about her experience, leave a comment and she will be happy to respond.                                                             

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