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My daughter sleeps soundly tonight.
She will wake up tomorrow and I will wash her face, dress her in clean clothing, and give her a full meal. Before I take her to daycare and begin my work, we will play for a while and maybe read a book or two. We will talk about the birthday party we went to just a few days ago and she will remind me of the colors of all the balloons. We will practice numbers, colors and maybe even sing a few of songs.
While driving to daycare, we will play “I Spy” in the car – and she will tell me what she sees out of the car window. Once at daycare, she will be surrounded by wonderful women who will throw their arms around her upon our arrival. She will play– and sometimes argue– with the other children in her group.
Later in the week, she will be at her grandparent’s house where she will be spoiled with love, toys and adventures. She will hug her great grandmother. She will blow bubbles outside.
At dinner, I will come up with some creative tactic to get her to eat a little bit more than she prefers. Before bedtime, when I put her in the bathtub, she will fight with me slightly; because she would much rather watch Wonder Pets on television. But, once she is all clean and shiny, she will say to me, “I smell good Mama!”
This weekend, she will see her cousins and she will not be able to contain her excitement when they play with her on the floor. We will go next door to the park, and she will smile with exuberant pride as she soars down the slide.
This, all because of a wonderful thing called “adoption”.
This, because Russia allowed me the privilege to adopt my daughter.
This, because the United States allowed me the right to immigrate my girl and be able to call her an American Citizen.
This, because every child has the fundamental right to a family.
My story is not unique for those who know about international adoption. It was painstakingly long. It was extraordinarily expensive. It was emotional. It was hard. Sometimes, it was agonizing. But all throughout the process, I was fueled by knowing what would be at the end of the long journey. And when one day I received an email from my adoption agency, telling me that a “match” had been made, along with a photo of my sweet girl, everything was worth it. What would end up being 5 trips in 13 months to Russia would finally pay off for me – but more importantly… for my daughter.
On September 1, 2008, I woke up in a small hotel room in Tver, Russia, and got ready to go to the Teremok Orphanage to pick up my girl. The women who had been my daughter’s caretakers for her first 14 months of life had dressed her in the clothing I had given them the night before. They walked us to the front door of the orphanage. I had to turn my head away from my daughter’s caretakers. They were crying and I could not bear to look at the pain in their eyes. My girl had been well cared for.
I was grateful.
I was relieved.
And suddenly, I was a mother. But more important than that – far more important than that… Juliana became a daughter. She became a citizen of a country where her possibilities are boundless. And magically, she became a member of a family that immediately welcomed her and effortlessly shower her with unconditional love that she will never go without.
She will always have a pillow on which to rest her head. She will never be without food. She will have healthcare. She will go to school. She will have choices. She will be able to drive a car. She will be able to vote. One day, she will go to college and learn that she can be anything she wants and pursue whatever it is in which she is interested. She will be an integral part of a society that will value her.
My daughter sleeps soundly tonight.
This was The Answer for Juliana, Be The Answer for another child by visiting the Both End Burning Website– watch the video, read the petition and sign it today!
P.S. we don’t choose the winner of the $50 gift card to Target for yesterday’s task until next week Wednesday so keep sending your “I am the Answer” pictures! For more info (read the bottom of the post).