This I Believe

Autumn - Canton, Georgia
Entered on July 27, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Aspen Grace

It was an unusually cool afternoon for July as my brothers and I anxiously waited for my parents to arrive from China with our new little sister. I have to admit, we were skeptical of this new addition to our family and almost fearful of how she might change things in our comfortable world. My parents finally arrived and introduced us to Aspen Grace Dong-Hua; an adorable little two year old with bright, attentive eyes and an amazingly contagious smile. As we greeted each other with hugs and tears, little Aspen began to dance.

In an amazing display of Chinese grace (especially for a two and a half year old), she performed a traditional dance that she must have learned at her previous home, an orphanage. I will never forget that moment. She was welcoming our family, embracing us in the best way she knew how. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. It was then that I realized how selfish my initial concerns were. This little miracle of a girl deserved a loving home, and my family desperately needed the joy she brought with her, more than I needed to maintain the boundaries of my comfort zone. As she danced, I knew that she was already changing my world in a profound way. This is why I believe in adoption.

There are families around the world that desperately want children but face physiological roadblocks like age or infertility. There are millions of orphaned children in the world today, given up because of parental disinclination, youth, or poverty. This seems like a relatively simple equation. Biological reproduction feels like an imperative for many families but, in certain situations, comes with serious risks and expense, or may never happen at all. According to WebMD, the average cost for a round of in vetro fertilization is $12,400, and has only a one-in-three chance of success. Adoption can also be pricy, but no medical miracle can help those existing children in need of good homes.

I try to avoid imagining the life that Aspen, my beautiful little sister, would be living if she had not been adopted, but the stories of others in her situation often end in tragedy. She would probably spend her young life living in a dirty, crowded orphanage. Once she became a teenager, she would be left to fend for herself. Struggling to survive with little education, she might be forced to turn to prostitution. Fortunately, this is not her fate; she is one of the lucky few to find a good home. I believe in adoption not only because of my own personal experiences but also because taking care of the world’s abandoned children is the right thing to do. These children could be the future leaders of the world if only given the opportunity.