Did the weekend really fly by that fast? I had fun weekend doing a little something I can’t wait to share with you soon!!! As promised every for every Sunday, I am pumped to share this story because this story is all in first person and told by this special person. To keep up with this week’s theme of international adoption, it makes no other sense than to give you a story about international adoption. Everyone I present Julianna Lee’s story. ;)

My name is Julianna Lee and this is my story. I was left and abandoned at a temple in Karad City, India. At a year old I was only 9lbs, 70oz- this is because I was a failure to thrive. After I was born I was very weak and malnourished. Many of the orphanages in India were filled with up to 500+ babies, and there were very few caretakers. Since there were so many children, caretakers didn’t have time to feed every baby the amount they needed. So, we were spoon fed. To put it in simplest terms, I was not fed very often; and when I was, it was not a lot. Many of the children were not fed the general amount of formula all babies need. Also, because the orphanage was in such a small area in India and not a very wealthy and clean part of India, caretakers didn’t have enough money to buy baby bottles to fed all the children- so all of us would share bottles. When we all would share bottles, many of us would get sick. During the Summer of 2003, Several babies, myself included, had IVs and countless tubes running liquids through our bodies. We were all very very sick- plus it didn’t help that many of us, including myself were already a failure to thrive.

Unfortunately, I have never been able to reconnect with my birth parents. My adopted

mom has told me that when she was in the process of adopting me, there was no paperwork on my biological mother. (I have never heard anything about my father. I’m guessing he left). I am assuming my birth mother was very young and didn’t know what to do with me when she had me, so she just left me- luckily it was in a public place where she knew people someone would find me. Fun Fact: My biological name is Pakali. It means the ‘petal of a flower.’

Sometimes it can be hard growing up in a society that defines beauty or to be beautiful is Another one is that since I was so malnourished at a young age, my body and my brain

to have lighter skin. Or to look any certain way. Especially having darker skin. I have always known from a young age that I was adopted. But it wasn’t until my fifth grade year that I really started to understand and really question my adoption. When I was younger I used to get bullied for having darker skin than everyone else. Kids in my class would say things like, ‘your skin looks like poop,’ ‘you should bleach your skin,’ & ‘you look weird.’ Etc. Then I started to become very insecure for having brown skin & being Indian. I remember thinking to myself ‘you should bleach your skin. People would like you better. You’ll be beautiful again.’ It breaks my heart to look back on what I thought of myself. And how I was letting others define me and tell me what I should do to look beautiful. That’s something I’ve definitely struggled with being adopted.

were behind in developing at the correct time. I missed out on big milestones most babies make because of my failure to thrive. When I started school, everything seems fine the first few years. But until my fifth grade year my grades started to dramatically drop. I would always tell myself and eventually convince myself that I was dumb. I wasn't getting the grades I used to get, and school was now very overwhelming and no longer fun anymore- and I loved school. My mom took notice of my bad grades and decided to homeschool me. That didn’t really improve much- I was homeschooled for three years and my eighth grade year I went back to public school.

After a year in public school of continued struggling with grades, my English teacher,

Mrs. Darras, took notice of this and brought to my moms attention that maybe I should be tested for A.D.D. When I tested for A.D.D., I was relieved to find out that I wasn't really dumb- it was because of all the missed brain connections from when I was young from not receiving a lot of food. And now I can say that I very much enjoy school again and my grades are better than ever!! (My lowest grade is a B+!!)

I currently live in Celina, OH. I am a freshman at Celina High School. Adoption has definitely

given me my ups and downs, but looking back on those hard

times, I am definitely grateful for them because they have made me into the person I am today. I want other adopted children to know that they are special. When their parents first saw them, they chose you. They looked at your picture and hand picked you- that should make you feel very special and loved. It makes me feel that way :)

Well there you have it my friends! How amazing was that story? Jay is SO accomplished already and join me in thanking her for sharing her story. Be sure to follow her Instagram @julianna.lee ! Have a great weekend and thank you all for reading this!