- Aleona Lund
My Adoption Story
Updated: Aug 7, 2021
I am not is huge on sentimentalism or history. I know this may not be the most well written adoption story you’ve ever come across, but I thought I’d try my best to write out my adoption story on my blog as most of us know adoption isn’t easy for those on both ends of spectrum whether you’re the adoptee or the adopter. In my opinion, it’s not the making of child that makes you a parent, it’s the courage to stick to the commitment of raising one.
My adoption story begins at 2 1/2 years with 18 lbs of energy zooming from one place to the next. To this day, I never stopped being on the run to new adventures, I mean, hello, I went to Ireland by myself and wanted to continue more adventures like that ever since! However, August 29, 2000 is when my real adventure began. But before we get to that point, allow me to let you in on the little history I could gather leading up to that point.
I was born into a family poor in resources, but in rich in love who wanted children. This I can be certain as I had two sisters born a couple years before me who went to be with the lord soon after their birth. I’m as I never had the opportunity to meet them, nor they the opportunity to meet me. (Just as life goes sometimes.) But I still await the day when I can meet them and finally know their names. Anyway, The year 1998 rolled around and I enter the world at only 3lbs. Some might think I was born prematurely. Truth is my biological family was just small and petite. I was born into one of those families who didn’t have enough resources to care for their children as much as they wanted to.
Before being placed at the Russian orphanage in Kaluga, my primary way of care was a back & forth battle between my biological family and the Russian government. Neither of those options worked so orphanage for me it was.
About a year or so later, a family from small town Grove City Minnesota comes looking for a child to adopt. When they arrived at the orphanage, it turns out, my photo happened to be the first photo the orphanage director showed my adoptive parents and right away the mom and dad stated, “Thats the one, that’s our daughter.” Going from a photo and not much knowledge of my background, they knew I was meant to be a part of their family.
A couple years of filling out the paper work, plane flights to Russia, and other legal processes, the long awaited year 2000 unfolds and by Gods grace I’m still alive! With heart racing like drum, it’s soon time for a girl with broken past to meet the family that would heal it.
Little did they know another family from Minnesota was on their way to adopt a little girl as well.
Pictured below in the middle are Mike, Julie, and their daughter Noelle along with Milena on the far left who also helped in their adoption process.
Noelle and I graduated the same year in 2017; So I decided to go to her graduation party to catch up.
Our families still stay in touch every now and then and Noelle and I got to finally hangout a couple summers ago and go to a beach at Eagle Lake in Minnesota.
Ya so we tried to get as many pictures together as we could. (I’m not posting them all.)
As most may know, when a family adopts a child, they take the baggage and trauma that comes with that child knowing the journey won’t be a smooth road, as did my adoptive family.
Ok, I WASN’T actually traumatized in this photo, I was just an adventurous kid who wanted to run around. I just found this photo to be a good example of my above statement. What’s unique to me about this photo is they didn’t seem to care whether I had baggage or just wanted to run around, they still took me smiling anyways.
Finally on August 29, 2000, I unite with my new family and head home to America. I wish I could remember all what went on after that from the airplane to arriving in my small hometown in Grove City, but I was only 2 1/2 years old. (I’ll do my best to share memories later on.) I was pretty stoked though🤗
It seems the one thing I failed to learn at the orphanage was how to change out of my clothes accordingly.
Another memory that comes to mind is when I arrived at my forever home, my favorite animal didn’t seem to be kittens or cats
Fun fact: My first English word was monkey. Exhibit A
In the picture below, where I sit at the orphanage I am playing with the barrel of red monkeys without their barrel. (eh who needs the barrel?)
I would dump them out, then put them back in the bag, then dump them out again, put them back and bag and so on.
Like I said, who needs the barrel?
I also wasn't fond of sharing books. Mom would try to read the storys but I never let her past showing me a picture. I yelled “Otday!”-“Give back“ in Russian
(Sorry mom.) 😬
When I finally arrived home, the first gift I got was a monkey!
My cousin Asha got me this monkey when I arrived and I must say she made a good first impression that day! Thanks Asha! I also recognized my brother Dima (who was adopted from Russia in 98) right away from other photos I had been shown previous to coming to America. I however, couldn’t get his name right. To my so called creativity I just called him Muh.
Sweet moments of large ice cream helpings my brother Levi (who was also adopted from Russia) and I would help ourselves too, is also a memory that comes to mind. I’m talking giant servings of ice cream! We would eat ice cream like it was the end of the world! Those days I’ll never forget! Levi, Dima, And I were always told we helped ourselves to large servings because we didn’t get that kind food or very large servings of food when we were in the orphanage.
Psalm 23:5 my cup overflows with blessings. Amen to that 🙏🏻
So we really loved ice cream.
My fondest memories were the days Levi and I shared bathtimes when we were just little. (Yes, I’m guilty of those days!) Whether in a swim trunks or fully dressed he would shout, “Mom, Aley wants me to join her in the bathtub!” Mom would shout back “what?” Then he’d shout, “I’m getting in!” (Also, for the record, I never told him to get in the bathtub with me.) Levi just used me as an excuse to get wet. I swear most of the time he would position himself into a divers pose and hop in.
(Dimitri on the other hand rarely shared bath time with me, so there’s no photos of us together sharing bath-time.)
The Bible states in Psalms 23:5 he anoints my head with oil. Well, I figured to take the lead on this one since Levi didn’t do such a good job last time. The immediate look on his face says it all. “You’re gonna regret that sis.” (Ya guess what mom, bathtime has been extended an extra 30 minutes.)
Those who may not know Levi very well, will soon learn he’s a swimmer and he loves to swim whenever he has the chance. To him the bath-time was the equivalent to pool time- granted space becomes very little when two kids are in the bathtub. However, that didn’t stop him from thinking otherwise and splashing like crazy.
On the bright side, it made Moms chore of washing my hair easier as Levi would do it instead(sometimes.) So…sorta a win win, although mom still had to help Levi bathe after I was done. But he really did love to get wet.
It seems to me on the other hand, swimming was a choice I quickly regretted. (I think Dima did too.)
I swear although Dimitri loves me just as much, and we we had our fair share of crazy moments, Levi followed me everywhere.
Thanks for swinging by! Yep that’s Levi on top of me. Don’t know why he thought two of us on one swing would work,( it did not.)
maybe don‘t try this at home.
He would even stick with me in the rainy days
Just like Levi and the rest of my brothers, I learned to go for it and just dive right in not worrying whether my flip flops were going with me or not. (This time they went with me and I didn’t have a care in the world, I just wanted to enjoy life.)
Dimitri on the other hand didn‘t enjoy water as much ( He enjoys water now.)
I miss those days when I wasn’t affected about being adopted or feeing different from my classmates or family and just livin life in the moments like my brothers. Some situations I still hesitate to dive in without knowing what’s beneath the water, but as long as my faith stays firm and believe strongly my father in heaven (and on earth) will catch me is what matters most.
Being adopted didn’t truly affect me until my high-school years (who knew right?)
High school years were always the hardest for me; I got teased for being from a different country and being adopted. Not only did it affect me, it also affected my family. Some hard days made me wish I could go back to Russia thinking that fix my problems. Moments where I, (and like a lot of adopted kids,) I would tell my parents “You’re not my real parents, why should I listen to you, why would you love me if my other parents couldn’t? “Am I just a replacement?, or even the “I wish I was never adopted or never here, were also hard.” Instead of cutting myself, I would rip up all my art I had made and toss it in the trash- that hurt mom the most. Shredding my art enough no tape or glue could fix it was just as bad as cutting myself because my art was a a part of me and we both knew that.
There were days were abandonment and envy would control my feelings. I envied that my sisters got to be with the lord right away and I would ask god, why didn’t he take me instead of them or even with them? Was I not as worthy to go heaven like my sisters? I’m sure a lot of adoptive or even non adoptive children who have a loved ones in heaven experience(d) and felt the same. It’s on the really hard days I wish of nothing more than for the Lord to just take me and reunite me with my sisters.
During my teen years I had some suicidal thoughts along the way wishing to disappear as I felt I wasn’t loved or anyone was on my side. These days however, it’s not my feelings of suicide that come to play, it’s just a feeling of replacing the pain with thoughts and feelings I know would fill me and make me feel better. Even if it’s just for a minute, the feeling of reuniting with a part of me I never got the chance to know and connect with- my biological sisters, I just know would fill me in ways I couldn’t imagine. Those are days I feel reuniting with them is the only medicine I need.
Ever since then, I’ve grown and matured and am now only thankful to God for my family. I still long to be with my sisters whenever a hard day rolls around, but the negative feelings have lessened and I’ve changed my mindset. While I envy my sisters and wish to be with them, I also wish they could be here with me and be a part of the amazing Lund family. I’m sad they couldn’t meet my loving and caring sister Emilie or my 5 loving and caring brothers.
Emilie, Reid, Isaac, Dimitri, and Andrew (not pictured Levi. This was prior to his adoption.)
Also, you know how there’s always that one sibling who’s doesn‘t cooperate for photos? That would be me. Exhibit A
And Exhibit B
They were all total posers when it came to my photos except me 😬
don’t mind me, I think I’ll just continue doing my own thing.
The poser in me did eventually kick in.
I’ve occasionally asked mom if my sisters were alive, would she adopt them, and could she handle two more girls like me. Without hesitation she’d reply “Two more girls dark haired, dark eyed girls like you? “That would be amazing!” Hearing that makes me miss them wishing they could be part of my family. Trauma would triple no doubt, but one thing I know is that it wouldn’t compare to the joy each of us would have to be in each-other lives.
To this day I’ve grown more in my faith and more thankful to be alive and still a part of the amazing family God gave me. I’m very thankful to the orphanage care takers and to the orphanage director Dr. Ana who showed my picture to my forever family. I’m even thankful to the Russian government. They may have taken me away from my biological parents; however, without them placing me in the orphanage, I never would have had the chance to meet the family I am proud to call mine today. And I would not be here. I am also very thankful to Melina- A hero in my book who helped my adoptive parents through the whole process of finding and adopting me. I also would not be here today without you. You were a true Russian connection In my story.
Milena at my graduation
It has been and will continue to be a journey of sweat, tears, and me testing their commitment like final exams. I do that only because they are the only ones who truly know me, know my answers even when I don’t, and can handle my episodes of trauma. I know I can’t take back all the anger and words I’ve said to them, nor can I ever repay them for everything they’ve done for me, but I am lucky and truly blessed God gave me a place to call home, and a family who has set me up for a successful future. It’s true when they say adopting one child may not change the world, but it will change the world for that child. I’m proud of where I came from, where I am now, and I couldn’t be happier to see where I am going.
I’m excited for the day my sisters in heaven can meet the, devoted, caring, fierce, (silly,) and most importantly, faith filled and God loving family I am proud to call mine. (Not pictured: Andrew and Isaac. Not sure where they were.)
Milena, Levi, Dimitri and I
Orphanage director Dr. Ana featuring Dimitri’s photo on the far right.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!