Natasha is a senior in high school. She plays volleyball, has a part-time job, and takes early-study classes at the local university. She is an active member of her youth group, sings in the choir, and is an older sister to three siblings. In June of 2009, Natasha packed her bags and traveled with Hand in Hand to Belarus, to live with and work among orphans.
Only this wasn’t her first trip to Belarus; in fact, she was returning to Belarus after having been away for several years.
You see, Natasha was born in Belarus.
In fact, she was adopted and came to the States in 2005.
Here is her story, in her own words:
” It is a miracle that I got adopted, actually. It was the last day of camp and Tolik (Hand in Hand’s director), had one picture left.
‘Let’s take a picture, Natasha,’ he said to me. He took a photograph of me, and then he left to go back home; back to America.
But what I didn’t know was that he was showing people all of his photographs from his trip to Belarus. My picture was in that pile, and a couple of weeks later, his cousin saw the photograph that Tolik had taken of me.
‘That’s her,’ she said, looking at my picture, ‘that’s my daughter.‘
She and her husband came to Belarus soon after that, and they had my picture with them. ‘Who are these people and why do they have my picture?’ I wondered.
And then I found out that they wanted to take me home with them. They wanted me to become their daughter. I didn’t know it, but I was looking at my parents.
And if that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.”