I started my life as an orphan in Kazakhstan but now I am part of a family in America. I was only with my birth mother for two months. The only thing that I know about her is that she named me D. I was put into a baby orphanage when I was two months old. I imagine the orphanage as a room full of cribs with babies in them crying, asking to be fed and needing their diapers changed.
When I was two years old I got adopted by a family from Kazakhstan. I don’t remember anything about them. They renamed me F. I was only with them for three years when they abandoned me at a train station. I don’t remember what happened. I think of the train station as a dark place with people walking past and not wanting to help me. A policeman picked me up and took me to a shelter. From the shelter a woman from the government took me to an Orphanage. I remember that she has blond curly hair. That is my earliest memory.
There were two buildings that were part of the orphanage. One building was for the younger children and the other one was for the older children. When we arrived at the orphanage we went into the building for older children. I was very scared from all of the moving around from place to place. I was five years old when all of this happened to me. The orphanage was a scary place. There were some children and teachers that were very cruel. Some children were skinny and sick. I was skinny and sick too.
Three years later I was part of a Summer Hosting Program. It was for orphans from Kazakhstan. We went to America and stayed with American families for four weeks. I stayed with a nice family. I felt so happy to be with a family. I thought that I finally had a family that I could stay with. After the four weeks I got on an airplane to go back to Kazakhstan. I started to cry because it felt like I was being abandoned again.
One day my teacher got a call from the orphanage director. The teacher told me that I needed to change into my nice clothes and go to the other building where the director’s office was. When I entered the director’s office I saw two people sitting in front of her desk facing me. They were my American family! Joy beyond compare filled my heart.
They kept visiting me in the orphanage. One time I decided to shine my shoes before they came for their visit. I asked my teacher, “Can I polish my shoes?” She said yes. I got black polish all over my hands and arms. I showed up to see my family with my hands all dirty. The person that was going to be my mother tried very hard to get the polish off of my hands. This showed me the kind of care I was going to be getting in their family.
They adopted me and renamed me J. They named me after my grandfather on my mother’s side of the family. They kept the name F but also gave me my birth name back. My full name is now J F D. My family is nice to me. We do a lot of fun things together like go to the movies and camping. They help me with the things that I have trouble with. I have pets and three siblings. I know that my family loves me. I love them too. I am glad that I don’t have to worry about moving from one family to another.
When I was in the orphanage I didn’t know that my life could become better. When I was in Kazakhstan my life was very hard. I never imagined that my life could be so happy.