On June 19th, 2002, I was placed into the hands of my adoptive parents. Being only about 9 months old, I had a forever family. I never knew my biological family or my real birth date growing up. I was found on the steps of a hospital in Gaozhou City, China, on September 5, 2001, and was then taken to an orphanage. I was assigned September 4th as my birthday. Now I celebrate September 4th as my official birthday. June 19th is the day that my adoptive parents got to physically hold me for the first time. They had flown from the United States to Hong Kong and then traveled by bus with other families to Guangzhou, in Guangdong Province. It was here that my parents and 12 other families crowded into a small room to wait for the little girls and babies to arrive. The American moms were given a number to pin onto their clothing. We orphans also had a matching number attached. One by one, numbers were called. My mom held me first and then my dad. This day we celebrate as my “Gotcha Day” because my parents finally got to hold me, and I was now their baby girl. After meetings, medical exams, and lots of sightseeing, we flew to the United States, arriving on June 28th. We celebrate this day as the day I got to really become part of my whole family. I have two brothers, seven cousins, and of course, my grandparents. While most kids just get to have one birthday each year, I get to celebrate three. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know my real birthday; each of the dates hold a special meaning for me!

This international adoptee tells her story and why she believes that adoption is important and should be considered.

While in China, my parents have told me that many people would stop them on the streets and say in English, “Lucky baby!” These Chinese people knew what fate I would probably endure if I stayed in China, growing up in an orphanage. I do feel lucky because I believe that my life would have been very different if I hadn’t been adopted. I am now almost 18 years old and will be attending college next year. I have been given an education, proper health care, opportunities to expand my interests and grow in my abilities. I have been given a family that I know love me no matter what.

You may be thinking that you couldn’t possibly adopt. Maybe you are worried about finances or maybe you have other children and wonder if they will feel less loved. My parents weren’t rich and already had two sons. It wasn’t always easy for them as one of my brothers has multiple disabilities. Even so, they really wanted me, and it was easy to make room for one more in their heart and home. I have wondered why my biological parents gave me up, or possibly even abandoned me. My mom likes to believe that my Chinese mother laid me down carefully on those hospital steps back in 2001, but who knows, I could have been abandoned in a bus station or in a park. Maybe I was in a box, maybe a bag. Someone else may have found me and taken me to those hospital steps. We have no information about my biological family. In all honesty, it hurts! But what I do know is that the parents that have adopted me are MY parents and I have a family. It doesn’t matter that we may look different. A family is not made from blood but made from love.

In an ancient East Asian myth, there is something called the Red Thread of Fate. According to legend, a red thread is tied around an ankle or a finger upon someone’s birth. “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.” By just considering adoption, know that you have taken the first steps in making a decision that will positively affect your life and more importantly, the life of a child. A red thread has been tied to you, and if you follow it, you will be led to a miracle at the other end. Someone else may have given birth to this child, but YOU are the one who will give this child a life.