This is in response to the proposed Dima Yakovlev Law working it's way through Russian legislature.
I met my daughter for the first time on February 28, 2005 in Blagoveschensk, Russia. She was 19 months old but no bigger than a year-old baby. She had beautiful blue eyes and had been sick with a cold, I think, for her whole life. The first year of her life she spent in hospital because there was no room for her in an orphanage. When there was room in the orphanage, she moved there.
I don't know much about the orphanage. We were only ever invited into particular rooms when we visited her in the orphanage. So I don't know if she shared a crib, if she had friends. She wasn't very strong. She was always sick. She never had enough to eat, she never got enough love.
But I know people cared about her. And I know that the people in that orphanage looked out for her, wanted the best for her, and were so happy to see her get her own family. I know the wonderful people who helped us with her adoption cared about Laney and wanted our family to be put together almost as much as my husband and I did.
I ask you to think about your own children. I ask you to imagine them spending a year in a hospital because there was no room for them in an orphanage. I ask you to imagine them sick and hungry for almost two years. Think of that before you play politics with the lives of the children in those orphanages.
My daughter is now nine years old. She is strong and tall and smart and beautiful. She almost never gets sick. She laughs all the time. And she is very proud of being Russian. She knows who she is. She knows where she's from. She is Russian and American. And she is my daughter, she is my whole world.
Russia gave me my child. In return, I give her all my love, I focus my life towards her, I make her my most important priority. This is a good deal. This is the way the world should work.