In celebration of National Adoption month, USCIS held a special adoption ceremony at the State Capitol on November 18th to honor the citizenship of 14 adopted children from Connecticut. The children, aged 2 to 12, come from countries as far away as China, Brazil, Haiti, India, Ghana and Russia. Guests were are entertained before the ceremony by a delightful clown, Valentine, who blew balloon animals for everyone. Even Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman joined in on the fun, playing limbo with a balloon stick and later, donning colorful patriotic balloon butterfly wings. She later congratulated the small crowd, telling the new young citizens, “You’re going to make this place the best place to live.” After hearing a stunning rendition of The National Anthem, U.S. Magistrate Donna Martinez, a mother of an adopted child (now grown) from Colombia, told her own story of her adoption journey. Today we celebrate another step in their journey. She commented that people often think that it is the children that are the lucky ones because they have been chosen, and though this is true she applauded the parents, reminded them that they  too “are the lucky ones.”

Full disclosure. I’m an adopted child. I came to this country from Taiwan when I was only a month old. I became a citizen when Jimmy Carter was President of the United States. I remember my parents brought me to a court house in Washington D.C. (we lived in Virginia at the time.) I remember the room filled with many people. My parents allowed me to stand on the chair, when the Pledge of Allegiance was said. I knew the Pledge because we said it in school. After that, I was told I was citizen, but I didn’t know what that meant. I told the story to a few children I saw at the ceremony. I told them how lucky they were, and I congratulated the parents. It is always rewarding to see Naturalization ceremonies, but to see a ceremony for adopted children is particularly special and meaningful for me. Not only do these special children continue the diversity that makes up the fabric of this nation, they validate reasons for which we decide to come to this country- for freedom, hope, and opportunity. Where would I be if I had not been adopted? Where would these little children be? Still in the orphanages for which they had been found? Celebrate National Adoption month and honor all the mothers and fathers for their strength and courage to follow their hearts and bring another child into their lives.