by Ellie Berry | 17 years old
I stared out the window at the sea of people walking by, all topped with black hair of various lengths. To say I was in a foreign culture would be an understatement. The food, the smells, the sights, the language, all of which I had only read about, I now experienced as reality. Even more than the common traveler, I was about to connect this foreign world with my world forever.
My mind traveled back one year and one month. I remembered walking outside the school building and seeing my mom, her face full of both joy and panic. I was totally clueless as to what was going on. Instead of asking how my day was or if I had a lot of homework, she explained she had something to talk to me about. This sent my mind racing. What possibly could I have done wrong? I was nervous. She then went into detail to explain the huge decision we had to make in less than 3 hours. I remembered thinking it would be nearly impossible to make a decision like this, one that would change the life of my family forever, in 3 hours. But then again, I thought that this decision wasn’t even one that had to be made; there was absolutely no question. The little girl in the photo was supposed to be part of our family.
My flashback was interrupted by a loud honk honk of the taxi. My dad turned around and said, “Almost there.” “Ready kids?” my mom then exclaimed. No one answered. We were all too caught up with emotion. My sister turned to me and whispered, “Our lives are about to change big time.” I couldn’t wrap my brain around what was about to happen, but I knew whether I was ready or not there was no turning back now. I had to be ready.
A few minutes later, the taxi driver pulled onto a rundown side road, then came to a dramatic stop. This was it. Thoughts raced through my head. What if we weren’t ready? This couldn’t be a mistake could it?
I opened the door to the van and stepped out. Though it had only been 45 minutes, I felt as if I had been in that taxi car for hours. I stretched, then looked up at the building I was about to enter. It looked almost out of place. A nice building like this didn’t belong in this kind of area. I continued staring at the building. This building held part of my family. Walking into this building symbolized a new phase of life for both my family and for me personally. This building held part of my future. I wanted to run in, but I knew I should savor a time like this. I knew I would remember this day for the rest of my life. As I took a deep breath, I felt a squeeze of my hand. I looked down to see my little brother. “I’m so excited,” he stated with no fear or nervousness in his tone.
It was in this moment, I forced myself to be ready. If he could be ready to step into the future without any fear, I could too. Still clutching my brothers hand, I took another deep breath and made my way to the doors of the building.
Once inside, a short, kind-looking woman directed the kids to a seating area, while handing my parents a stack of papers to sign. After what felt like forever, they finished the paperwork and handed it back to the woman. She then led us to the elevator. I was anxious to get upstairs. What was nervousness was now excitement.
We stepped out of the elevator and walked down a long hallway. At the end of the hallway we walked through a large glass door that led to a small room. In the small room, I spotted the cutest little girl I had ever seen. My mom bent down and picked her up. My life was changed forever in that moment. I was in a daze.
Thirty minutes later we stepped back on to the elevator, a family of 8. All full of emotion, it was unusually quiet, but we were all thinking the same thing. Perfect. She, my new Chinese sister, was perfect.