Anastasia, who now goes by Annie, was adopted at age nine by her forever family. At age nine, there was very little hope that she would be adopted and she most likely would have faced a grim future. Now 16, she is a sophomore in high school, just passed her driver’s test, and has grown up to be a beautiful young woman! Annie was gracious enough to answer some questions for us to share with you.
How did you feel being adopted by an American family? “I was kind of scared because I was told that the American’s would cut out my body parts and sell them… I didn’t know what to think. But I was mostly scared because I didn’t know the couple that were going to be my parents very well.”
What was the hardest adjustment for you after arriving home? “Besides reading and spelling, knowing I had to obey my parents and follow their rules instead of my own. Also, adjusting to the place where I was sleeping.”
What do you wish people knew about older children who are still waiting for their forever family? “That their future is most likely gone if they are never adopted. It is very hard to find a job after you get out of the orphanage, for there are few opportunities. Many girls who age out of the orphanage will turn to prostitution or other illegal activities. Many of the boys will turn to drugs and other crimes and find themselves in prison.”
What is your favorite holiday or family tradition? “My favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our Christmas traditions include putting up the Christmas decorations during Thanksgiving weekend, watching “Elf” and “Christmas Vacation” and singing holiday songs! Especially singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” over and over until I drive my parents insane!”
What do you want to be when you grow up? “A child psychologist, because I think I can understand some of the pain and suffering many children experienced, and I believe that I can help them through their situations.”
Do you have any special memories with your family that you would like to share? “My special memories are spending New Year’s Eve with my family and friends, especially my friends that came over to the United States with me because they were adopted, too!”
*Annie often gets together to spend time with other children that were adopted from the same orphanage as her, including Katelyn and Payton who are pictured in the photo to the right. Annie and many other once-orphans have remained friends with the children they grew up with and find comfort in the support of their friendships. You can read more about Katelyn and Payton’s stories here.
It is often the older child who is left behind, as many adoptive families hope to adopt a young, healthy infant – but these older children want and need a family to love them, too. The love and care that a permanent home provides these children allows them to grow and thrive, giving them hope for a better future rather than a life a violence and crime. Learn more about adopting an older child here.
Photos used with permission.