My mom has shared with me many times my story of adoption and how she immediately knew that I was the one meant to be her daughter. She came to this decision after she finished watching a video of me from my orphanage in Bulgaria. I was adopted at 19 months by my mom, who had flown with my grandma to come and get me. My mom has been a single parent ever since, and so it has always been the two of us living together, which we consider to be pretty unique. I also grew up having many “four-legged furry friends” as my mom would say, otherwise known as dogs.
My mom has a very big heart and has sacrificed a lot in her life in order for me to have a happy and healthy life. I’ve learned from her what it means to demonstrate hard work and never settle for anything less than the best. I was raised Catholic and baptized into the Catholic faith at a very young age. I grew up attending church on most Sundays with my mom, and I attended a Catholic elementary school and all girls’ private and Catholic high school.
During my first year of high school, I had a hard time adjusting, especially when it came to making new friends and becoming more involved. I wondered why this was happening to me, and thought back to my elementary school days, where I had a great group of friends, was on the basketball team and was known by my teachers as a hardworking, and outgoing student. One day during my freshman year of high school, I decided to try out for the basketball team. I had played it since 3rd grade all the way through 8th grade and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I did not make the team and this made me feel like a failure.
At that time, I was completely blinded by my own emotions and feelings that I was unworthy and undeserving. Throughout my high school career I also experienced some pressure from the academic competition. These factors of personal unworthiness led me to seek God’s truth and His love for me in a more personal and intimate way. I love Psalm 139 verse 14 which says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” because it reminds me that God created me in His own image and in a unique way. His word encourages me to value myself and appreciate myself for whom I am today and not worry what others think about me.
During the summer of my sophomore year I joined the Cross Country team and later that winter I joined the Track team. Although both sports were very competitive, I still loved it because my team was very closely knit and we considered ourselves to be one big family. Before every race we would pray together. I quickly learned to depend on God more through this new and challenging sport. Another experience that drew me closer to my relationship with God was during the summer before my senior year, where I went on a spiritual and life changing retreat with some of my classmates. On this retreat many of classmates shared how they developed their relationship with God. This allowed me to reflect on my own relationship with Him through prayer on a deeper level. I have learned that I can have a more intimate relationship with God by getting to know Jesus through His Word.
Currently, I am a senior in college, and God has given me many special people in my life who have helped me grow in my faith. And although I may make many mistakes and continue to fail at some things, I am so thankful for an awesome God and Jesus who loves me and see me as worthy and valuable.