My Adoption Story (by Khloe, Age 13)

In the orphanage

I grew up in an orphanage and I lived there until I was 8 years old.

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Sometimes I would be sad because my old parents left me in the hospital the day I was born. If I could, I would ask them why. I never felt unwanted, but just sad to not be part of a real family. The hardest part about living in the orphanage was not having any freedom. They did not let us go outside that much and we were stuck in that building for life. It was boring and the same day after day. I shared my bedroom with about 15 other kids.

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Living in such a large group had fun times though. We had pillow fights at night and we would tell stories. In the mornings we would eat fruit and soup, and in the evenings we would eat potatoes and pierogis.

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A young girl with blonde hair took care of us. She spent lots of time braiding my hair.

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During the day I went to school in the orphanage. I liked math and recess. At recess we would pick apples and eat them even though they were not ripe.

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At around 6 I realized that kids were disappearing. They were being taken away. I wondered where they were going. I saw families coming and going and a friend told me that she had a friend who disappeared and had been taken by a family. We thought it was a little scary like kidnapping. But at the same time maybe it was a good thing because it could lead to a better life. When a family would visit the orphanage there would be lots of talking about it. I came to the point where I wanted to have a family too because I wanted to have freedom and to be loved by somebody. One day I got in trouble for not listening when I was told to stand facing the corner and not look back. I had been yelling at a kid for grabbing my doll. Well I looked back and ended up locked in the bedroom. I stood there crying and prayed to God. I said ‘God please give me a family’. I wanted to get out of there. About 6 months later the principal came to get me and told me I was going to meet a family. I was so happy to meet a real family but I did not know they were for me. I thought they were just visiting. I had never been visited by anyone before. Not once in 8 long years. I slowly entered the room and saw a man and a woman waiting for me. We played games on their iPad and also played in a sticker book. It was fun. It was weird though because they could not speak Ukrainian, but they could speak broken Russian. The visit ended and they left. I was happy because I got to play with a family. I was sad when they left. The headmaster of the school told me that the family was going to come back to get to know me. A few weeks later they were back. They came to the orphanage every day to visit me and to play with me. After a few visits the headmaster told me the family was going to adopt me. I was so scared. I did not know these people and I didn’t know if they were good or if they were bad. I was also maybe a little happy because I could have someone to love and have a real family of my own. I still remember my adoption day. I was terrified and I did not want to go. I stood in the corner and screamed.

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They told me that the man was going to take me out for a while and bring me back but I knew they were lying. I knew this was forever. I was not really thinking, but I knew I was never coming back here. I had no idea where I was going. My caregiver walked me out of the orphanage forever and my new dad carried me to the car.

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I was angry and scared. It was a cold day. We drove to Kiev and I spent the next couple of days in an apartment with my new dad. I got to know him by playing tricks on him and shaking up the soda bottles. I also did a lot of screaming. I was totally freaked out because I was going to a whole different country. I traveled to America in my first plane ride. It was pretty cool. They had TVs and the chairs leaned back.

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Then we arrived in America and I saw my brother and sister for the first time but I was in too much shock to care or even look at them. I was exhausted and my entire life was gone.

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Then I began my long journey adjusting to American life.

In America

I still remember my first night in America. I went to bed in the top bunk with my new sister and brother in the same room. I rocked myself to sleep. I missed the orphanage. That night I was thirsty so I got out of bed. I started drinking out of my sleeping sister’s cup. It was milk so I moved on to my brother’s cup. He had milk too. Climbing back up to the bunkbed I fell on the floor with a crash and started to cry. Dad came in and got me and we watched a Ukrainian kid’s show DVD. After I calmed down he put me back to bed. It was a rough first night. There were lots of things to get used to in America like money. I earned my first dollar sweeping the floor for my mom.

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In the orphanage I never touched money so having my own money made me feel powerful. My first sport was learning to ride a scooter and after that a bike. Learning to ride a bike was hard and finding my balance was hard.

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I also learned to swim. I had never swum before and it was scary. I thought I was going to drown, but I liked it because the water was fun.

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Having parents is hard because they are bosses who are always around. Sometimes I do not like the choices that they make. I was also very mean to my parents because I was very angry about many things and adjusting to a new environment. I feel bad about that sometimes. The good part about having parents is having someone to talk to and share my feelings with.

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They are also someone to love. Love comes hard for me though because the thought of being rejected scares me. Sometimes when I am with my dad in the store and he sends me off to shop for something I make sure he is still going to be there when I get back. I say ‘Dad, you are still going to be here right?’ The very best thing about being in America is not being stuck in the orphanage. I am free. Having a brother and sister is sometimes annoying because they are not mature sometimes. I do like having a brother and sister though because I always have someone to play with. America has brought lots of new experiences to me. Many of these are scary like my first time riding an escalator, to my first roller coaster, to skiing, to swimming with the sting-rays. My dad calls me his first-timer. Back in Ukraine I never thought I would do things like that.

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Note from mom and dad. It is great to see Khloe come full circle and make her own blog post in her words. Khloe is definitely a work in progress and has been 2 steps forward and 1 step back for many years. On any given day or hour you can be amazed at how far she has come, and painfully aware of how far she still needs to go. For the full day by day story of her adoption including how we almost missed her, the early hard (and sometimes hilarious) days ,and the growth since then you can read here.

Khloe is now a complex combination. She is not the same fractured little girl that we adopted 5 years ago.

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She is also not the fully Americanized teenager she sometimes appears to be. She is a mix of the two on any given day and still finding her way.

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Khloe: All in all, my crazy adoption experience was magical because having a great family changed everything for me. I am still a work in progress because I am still learning many things, but I know I’m on the right track. My advice to any kid being adopted is that it will change your life for the better. If anyone has questions about my journey respond in the comments and I will be glad to answer them!

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35 thoughts on “My Adoption Story (by Khloe, Age 13)

  1. Pingback: My Thoughts on Infertility, Adoption, and a Mysterious Miracle (that hasn’t happened)(Plus a PS: for infertile women) – Permission 2 Speak Freely

  2. DeLois Kerr

    I read your story sweetie and want you to know I know the pain and fear u had personally myself. My mother and father were gone in one day and I was whisked away to another state. I lived in a foster home for 6 and the woman was not nice to me. My grandfather adopted me when I was 12. You are with the best parents u could have. They will always love you. I think u r very. brave young lady.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: My Adoption Story (by Khloe, Age 13) – Permission 2 Speak Freely

  4. Anonymous

    So proud of you Khloe…it takes a lot of courage to acknowledge personal fears and doubts whether in the past or those you still may face…and there will be many for that’s just the way life is. God answered your childhood prayer as He will your future prayers as long as you have faith and believe in Him. You already know He believes in you!!! Love you…Aunt Aija

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  5. Khloe,
    You are such a beautiful young lady. It has been SO FUN watching you grow up and seeing the amazing things God is doing in your life. I have had to work through some challenging times in my life. I know how it feels to feel fear and uncertainty. You are very brave. I would have cried too leaving the orphanage that day. I also would have felt scared, angry, and insecure. You are a lovely girl with very normal feelings. Yet, God knows all of our fears and comforts us in every single one of them! Keep pressing forward. His plans for you are amazing! Love you girlie!
    Love,
    Mrs. Simmons

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  6. Dear Khloe,

    I really enjoyed seeing your adoption story from your eyes. It takes great courage to go to a new home, land, and family. God has done a good work, in bringing you to your mom and dad, and your family! I pray that as you continue to grow and take risks, knowing that God rewards you with faith to overcome fear…. and joy overshadowing your sadness.

    God bless you richly, Khloe!

    Mrs. Eitel

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Khloe, I know you have been through a lot of transition but God’s grace is working in and through you!!!! You might not know it but your adoption has inspired 3 more adoptions!! I am honored to know you. Just rememer, the direction you go in life is much more important than the speed. You might have much more to learn but love deeply and allow others to love you too. It’s scary, I know. The best news God loves you immensly.
    Love,
    Mrs Byers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather

      Hey Laura, it’s Heather, thanks so much for sending this to Khloe. I will make sure she gets it! And thanks for sharing her story on FB. Love you!!!!

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  8. Denise

    Wow! Great read Khole, You are so very brave and beautiful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts thru this journey its nice to get ur perspective on the process, I have prayed hard for you through the years and am so glad you are adjusting, life is good and God has a special plan for you, I hope to meet you in person one day… And you have the best parents a girl for ask for!!!! ((((hugs))))

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sandie

    Khloe when the think about your first days with Heather & Erik. What are 3 things that stand out in your mind about each of them? What do you temper thinking about your dad or your mom? Also can you describe for me your first times. Like first time seeing 🐬, or first time in an airplane. For a later idea I’d love to hear a blog of your first times. I’m very proud of you & your growth. God picked YOU Khloe. He heard your prayer in that orphanage years ago. When you think you are set aside and forgotten. He was really setting you apart. He was seeing a bigger picture of where he wanted to place you. Your time just hasn’t come yet. He has a plan for your life and your beginnings in an orphanage are an important piece of your story. Hugs to you! Sandie Brown (Payton & Taylors mom)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Khloe- that was so well- written! I really believe that your story will help a lot of families walking through the process of all you have been walking through. On this side of things, it makes sense how you felt both apprehensive, happy and terrified at the same time, and that you could feel like you just lost everything and also gained all you hoped for- at the same time! What a difficult mix of emotions to sort out! Im so proud of you and was so happy to read your story and perspective. I know your mom and dad are SO thankful that God brought you all together and I pray that all of your days you will see His hand of mercy and love and care on your life! Love you, little lady!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beth

    Khloe-
    You are a really good writer! What a story. I enjoyed seeing some of the photos again that your mom and dad sent us during the days when they were first meeting you. (I especially remember the picture of all the shoes! I don’t know why 🙂 I can hardly believe it was just 5 years ago! I cried though, as I read about your adoption from your perspective. I’m so glad you were brave and said “yes” to the challenge of becoming part of a family. You inspire me to be brave and to seek what is good every time I see you at church. I’m so glad you are here!
    Love,
    Mrs. Lunt

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rachael Boer

    What a beautiful story, Khloe! Thank you for sharing it with us! As the mother of an adopted child, I was personally helped by hearing your perspective; it gave me some insight into how I can love my daughter better. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Corinne

    Khloe, you’re a brave girl! Me and the boys look up to you and the way you always seem so kind and strong.
    We are so happy you are our neighbor and in our lives! Always know we are here for you and have a lot of love for you. We dont always chose our circumstance in life, but we do chose how we show up and react to them and you should be very proud of yourself! Great blog!
    I love a brave girl!
    xoxo, Corinne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Corinne! Khloe read your comments with gladness and a little bit of shyness mixed together 😃. We love being next door to you guys! Thanks for adopting my son as your fourth child 👶🏻. Lol

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  14. Connie Capone

    Khloe, thank you for sharing your adoption story! It was so interesting to read and I am grateful for your honesty about the process. God must have a very special plan for your life by bringing you to be a part of this family! Can’t wait to see the amazing things He will accomplish through you! Keep posting as you grow; people can learn many things from you sharing your experiences. Enjoy the family God has placed you in- bloom where you are planted! 🌻

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  15. Khloe – thank you so much for sharing your adoption story! You probably don’t remember me but I used to carpool with your mom during the time when you first came to America. You are such a beautiful girl with a bright future ahead of you! I hope you continue to write about your story! You will inspire many children that are adopted! God put you in a wonderful family that he felt was perfect for you! May God bless you!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pingback: My Adoption Story (by Khloe, Age 13) | Erik and Heather's Ukrainian Adoption

  17. Pingback: My Adoption Story (by Khloe, Age 13) – Permission 2 Speak Freely

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