Hi, my name is Milena. I was adopted from Russia when I was nine. My parents divorced when I was born so I never met my father. My mom started drinking and smoking and was unable to care for me. I had to take care of myself. I have a brother and a sister that were much older than me and they were never around to pay attention to me. I felt unloved, unwanted and unprotected. My childhood was very scary.
When I was six I was taken away from my mom by child care services. It was the last time I saw her, and I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. For the next few years I lived in an orphanage that felt like a prison to me. I went to school but they weren’t the same as United States. I met group of girls that I got close to. I had to follow certain rules such as wearing dresses on freezing wintery days and we had no heaters in the classrooms. I had to eat meals according to the age group that each kid was put into. Just like any child, I wanted a family that would love me, protect me and raise me to be the best I could be.
When Kidsave found me I was almost 9, I traveled to the US and stayed with my host family, a couple named Debbie and Frank that I now proudly call my mom and dad.
I fell in love with them instantly. They showed me how a real parent is supposed to love their child. When my visit ended, I had to go back to Russia. I was afraid I wasn’t what they were looking for, but I was proven wrong. When Debbie and Frank came to Russia to get me, I yelled Papa and ran into Frank’s arms and hugged him very tight, and cried in his arms. I never felt so happy in my life. They were there to take me home. We went to court to sign adoption papers, and I became a daughter.
I am now 17. I love high school and my friends. I’m truly grateful for everything my parents went through to get me, and for the hard work that Kidsave does to make a child’s dreams come true.