Rebecca Peart is a freshman at Clarkston Junior High School and in her Advanced Language Arts class has a service learning project. “I chose to do mine about orphans because I am adopted from China and I want to help people get the chance that I got,” Peart said.
Have you ever thought about orphans, like adopting them? Have you ever thought about orphans’ lives in orphanages? I’m pretty confident I can tell you a fairly decent answer to those questions because there was a time I was an orphan.
That’s right, I was an orphan and it never really leaves you. No matter how young you were when you got adopted, but I was fortunate enough to get adopted.
I am participating in The Orphan Foundation’s Awareness Project, which is where I tell a story about a family who adopted somebody from a different country, and so I thought, what better story to tell than my own?
I was supposedly born on March 28, 2001, in Guangzhou, China. However, my birthday is uncertain and it’s believed to be at the end of March. The people at the orphanage guessed on it and my parents got the final say. Not many parents can say that they got to pick their child’s birthday, but mine did.
My birthday was either March 28 or March 29, and my brother’s birthday was March 29. So, I was left with March 28. Anyway, a couple days after I was born, I was abandoned and left on a street corner in a cardboard box. Let me tell you, it hurts to get rejected when you’re only two days old, even if you don’t remember it the feeling is still there and it lasts.
However, I was very lucky to be found by a police officer and was taken to an orphanage. Little did I know I would spend a little over a year there. During that year, I was bathed in cold water, I was fed powdered milk, and did not know what real food tasted like until I was adopted. I did get cared and nurtured for, perhaps, way better than some orphanages, but no matter how many times the caretakers fed you, or bathed you, or held you, it would never compare to your mother or father’s loving touch.
On April 11, 2002, a couple walked into my orphanage and I didn’t know at the time who they were when I first saw them, but soon I would know them as my mom and dad. Out of all of the orphanages and all of the children there, they went to my orphanage and they chose me. At the orphanage, the orphanage staff told my parents that I was a ball of energy and my parents found that out soon enough. I was always energetic and easily fired up and still am, somewhat, to this day.
My first time eating genuine food was soon after I had left the orphanage with my parents, it was egg drop soup, I think. I ate it so fast and the powdered milk was dead to me, I never wanted to go back to it ever again. Then, there was the day that I left for my new found home. I couldn’t imagine what my 13 month old brain was thinking. Here I was, leaving what seemed like my home, at the time, away from the people who cared for me, who were the only kind of parentlike figure that I had back then, with two strangers that I had met only a fews days beforehand. The orphanage was all I had ever known and my main caretakers were like family to me, and I was ripped away from all I had ever known. However, they can take you out of the orphanage, but they can never take the orphanage out of you.
Although, at the end of the day, I’m very thankful all of this has happened to me. I’m one of the lucky ones who got adopted. I’m far better off here in Clarkston with my friends and my family I am so very thankful for.
My family saved me from a life of poverty and I’m ever so grateful for it. I cannot imagine my life without my family, or my best friends, or my marching band who are like my second family. I love all of these people and if I hadn’t been left on that street corner on that day, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this at all. I would’ve never found my passion for writing, mainly poetry. I would’ve never fallen in love with Piglet from Winnie the Pooh and it breaks my heart just thinking about that. I also may have never fallen in love with playing the flute, which I would never trade anything in the world for. I probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to fall in love with color guard and loving everything about spinning, and tossing, a flag and rifle.
However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to meet my biological mother. There are numerous questions I want to ask. Some are as simple as when’s my birthday? Or what did you name me? Who are my birth parents? Most people don’t get how much an answer to those questions would mean to me and all orphans in my place. Others have always known that basic information about them, I don’t even know my time of birth. It’s frustrating to not know things that all of your other friends and family do know, but it’s even more frustrating when you don’t know things about yourself that everyone else close to you actually does know about themselves.
People don’t realize that stuff as simple as your real name will always be a mystery to some and they’ll never realize how much it hurts inside when everybody else around them knows every fact about them because they never will and kills them inside. I may know my story, but I don’t know all of it and every single detail counts like in an essay for school, and just like school, if details are left out, that counts against you. For example, I don’t know everything about myself and I question the things that I, and every other orphan, want to know about themselves. Surely enough, I question it maybe everyday, whenever I hear the word, “orphan,” “adopted,” or “abandoned.”
Now, almost every orphan asks themselves questions like, why did my birth parents ever give me up? Why did they not want me? I want you to try and picture what that’s like. If you are a parent, picture you abandoning your newborn son or daughter, no matter how much you wanted to or not because sometimes children are abandoned because the family is not wealthy enough to be able to take care of that child, how would you feel? If you are a child, picture your parents leaving you and you would never find out why this was done, how would you feel? Also, most of the time questions like those above are not and may never be answered. However, that’s why these children need your help. They need loving and caring families to finally give them a rightful home. Everyone deserves a family and it breaks my heart that not everyone gets to have one.
Blood relation doesn’t make a family, a bond of love makes a family and that is all that should matter in one, and you can give someone a chance at that. You can even help just by donating money, no matter how much because every penny counts and makes a difference. Now, if you’re already considering adoption, then I can honestly tell you that that child wants a family just as much as you want a child.
Now, look, I don’t know if my story will impact many. Although, if I have helped some children, even just one, find a loving family and home, then writing this was a total success and was completely 100% worth it. What happened to me when I was a mere 13 months old was a miracle and if I had one wish, I would wish that every child, who has no proper home or family, could get the same miracle that I once got almost 14 years ago.
Time, paperwork for adoption
It took more than a year for Janet and Bill Peart of Clarkston to complete the adoption process for their daughter Rebecca.
A couple of years after their son Kevin was born, the Pearts started the process through an adoption agency focusing on Chinese adoptions.
“Even before Kevin was born, Bill was talking about adopting a little girl from China,” Janet said. “He had watched a documentary about the abandoned girls and it really touched him, since his mother died when he was four.”
The process included months of paper work, document collection, and home study with a social worker. After their dossier went to China, it took over a year for them to match them with Rebecca.
“We received a couple of pictures early in 2002 and traveled in April of that year. Our group had about a dozen families and we went to Beijing for a few days of touring before we met the babies,” Janet said.
After Beijing, they traveled to Guangzhou and met the babies, who ranged from 9-20 months. Rebecca was 12.5 months old.
“Rebecca was one of the few babies who was already crawling. She took her first steps in the airport on the way home,” Janet said.
They stayed in Guangzhou for about a week for more paperwork, and traveled by bus to some of the spots, including Rebecca’s, where the girls were abandoned.
“The process has changed a lot since we went through it,” Janet said. “We are very blessed to have Rebecca as part of our family. She brings joy to us every day.”