I was born on June 8, 1999 in Magnitogorsk, Russia. I was adopted on May 26, 2000 by a Cuban couple. Before my adoption, I used to live in an orphanage in a small town near the Ural Mountains.
Though not related by blood, I have spent most of my life surrounded by these people. I never questioned whether they were my family or not; I simply was. When my parents decided to adopt, they contacted an agency that facilitated adoptions from other countries. By sheer chance, I was the first child the saw. After being enamored with me, they spent the next 10 months toiling to finalize the adoption.
I always knew I was adopted. It was never a secret kept from me. When I was a child on my way to school, I asked my mom if I was ever “in her belly.” It didn’t take her long to explain that I was not “in her belly,” but I was “in another woman’s belly.” That woman couldn’t take care of me, so she decided to care for me. Even as a child, I understood what she meant, even though she never used the word ‘adoption’ or the word ‘abandoned.’
To me, being adopted doesn’t mean being abandoned or lost. I may not look like my mom or my dad. I may do things differently than the rest of the family, but they have never told me that they were not my family.
A lot of people have asked me about my “real” parents. Let’s get this straight, my mom and dad are my real parents. They took care of me, bathed me and nurtured me. I’m not going to degrade their parental status just because of some stupid DNA test. My “biological” parents, however, are a different story.
I don’t know a lot about them. I know that my biological mom was young and couldn’t take care of me, so she decided to give me up for adoption before I was born. My biological dad was never in the picture. That’s okay. I’m not upset about it and I don’t hate them for it. My mom always told me that it wasn’t easy for my biological mom to give me up and to not be mad at her for it.
I love being adopted. I love hearing the story of how my parents had to go through all this stuff just to get me. I’m not ashamed that I’m not blood related to my family. The bonds of love are much stronger than that.