Dee Thompson wrote about learning to live with her adopted Russian teenager in her contribution to Call Me Okaasan. In her new book, Adopting Alesia, she writes about how she came to adopt her daughter.
In Dee’s words:
I never dreamed I would find my child on the other side of the world.
A few years ago, I was single and childless, and 40 years old. I had spent 20 years searching for Mr. Right and he was nowhere to be found.
Longing for a change of pace and some adventure, I went to Russia to sing Handel’s Messiah, in a remote town on the edge of Siberia. There I met a little girl in an orphanage and I knew she was my daughter. I had seen her in a dream the night before. I had never even considered adopting an older Russian child, but from the moment I first saw her, I knew in my heart that Alesia was my daughter, and no matter what it took, I was going to bring her home.
When I returned to the US, my adoption dream hit brick wall after brick wall. My company laid me off. I had to break up with a boyfriend who didn’t want children. I found out the orphanage director didn’t like Americans and wouldn’t even talk to the adoption agency. Alesia wasn’t even available to adopt. The agency told me over and over to choose a different child. I didn’t have the money I needed to complete the adoption. I started another romance that failed. At times I thought I was going crazy.
Many people told me I was crazy to adopt – the child I had thought was about 8, because she was so emaciated – turned out to be 11. I persevered. When I finally got her home, she was 13 years old.
Through it all, I read everything I could about adoption, learned to speak rudimentary Russian, cried a lot, and wrote in my journal. I later spent many late nights turning that journal into a book.
Adopting Alesia is a book about a dream, a miracle, and two people who were meant to be a family, despite everything. Adopting Alesia is not merely an adoption story. It’s a story for anyone who has ever had to learn to be brave, fought to follow a dream, or found faith in the darkest of times. It’s a story of a little girl who didn’t even know the word “adoption.” It’s a story about love.