I was born in Braila, Romania.
I only have one memory from the orphanage.
I remember when I was being forced to drink tea. The orphanage was too poor to afford milk, so we had watered down tea.
There was tons of abuse and neglect in Romanian orphanages.
At 15 months old, a couple from Michigan adopted me.
At the time of the adoption, I had rickets and anemia. Both were difficult conditions to deal with.
My adoptive parents and I had our problems, but what family doesn’t.
Despite all of the struggles, I knew that I was loved and taken care of.
To this day, I hate the taste and smell of tea.
Since being adopted, there were a lot of challenges I had to overcome. Many of them were due to the things I experienced in the orphanage.
In the orphanage, I developed a rock, which is a self-stimulating action due to being left alone too long.
When we were fed in the orphanage we were slapped if we touched our food, so my parents had to get me used to touching my food. I'd hold my hands up as if I was surrendering to the police. I used to store food in my cheeks overnight because in the orphanage I didn't know when my next meal was.
When asked what adoption means to me, I respond with, “mixed emotions.”
I was a baby. In Romania, an out of wedlock child was a shame to the whole family.
So, me being adopted meant the family would be able to live a normal life.