The memories made in the first 12 years of my life were painted with shades of poverty, loss, and a dim hope for a better life.
A hope that acted as my only survival method.
A hope that got me where I am today - 5,500 miles across the world.
5,500 miles of separation between myself and the life I was destined to live; or the lack thereof.
I said goodbye to my birth mother at the age of 12, not realizing that I would never see her again.
I never met my father.
I don’t have many memories from attending school, but I learned early on what alcoholism is, what starvation feels like, and what sacrifice means.
For me, it took leaving the place I called home, to find a better life in America. It took saying goodbye to my mother, sister, relatives and friends, and saying hello a new set of family and friends.
At 12 years old I was adopted from an orphanage in Chebarkul’, Russia to a family in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Adoption changed my life.
Adoption opened a door into a new world; and forced me to close the door to everything I had ever known.