American Girl

Here I am with one of my favorite girls - her name is Cara, and she's eight (going on 18!) years old. Cara loves her cat Sweetpea, really wants to get a dog, knows all the songs and dances from High School Musical, is reading the latest Harry Potter book, takes tennis lessons, and is going to horseback riding camp next month. Her favorite foods are pizza, pancakes, and bacon. She like to paint her nails with sparkly nail polish and loves having "spa days" at home with her mom. She is an all America girl. Last week, Cara was with us in Walt Disney World for three days and nights of wonderful, park hopping fun. But about eight years ago, Cara was abandoned outside a hospital in a small town in the Hunan Province of China. She was two weeks old. She spent the next nine months in a Chinese orphanage, until her parents, our dear friends Stuart and Donna, traveled to China to bring her home. Cara is very aware of her history, and is also very proud of her heritage. She meets regularly with the other Chinese girls who were adopted from the orphange with her, goes to Chinese school once a week, and will undoubtedly travel to China quite soon, since her father goes there each summer to teach English in an exchange program affiliated with Ohio State University.

I have loved being with Cara from the minute I met her, right after she got to America. Although we don't get to see each all that often, we always pick up right we left off. I find her pretty irresistable, and she can usually convince me to do things I would never have imagined I'd do (like riding Splash Mountain three times in a row at 10:30 pm!). But whenever we're together, it's never far from my mind that she could have been growing up in that little Chinese town we saw in pictures, where the streets were paved in red clay and the largest homes were only a little bigger than my two car garage. It's also never far from my mind that living in that town is the Chinese woman who gave birth to her and couldn't keep her, and who most likely thinks about her day and night. I wish that she could somehow know how happy, safe, beautiful, and loved her daughter is. She is truly one lucky little American girl.