Essay

January 7, 2020

Anna Masciantonio

My life journey began in Nanchang, China where I was born into a family I would never come to know. A few days after I was brought into this world, I was placed on the steps of a local orphanage with only a piece of paper stating my birth name, Li Li, and the date I was born. I spent the first ten months of my life among numerous other children, many of whom arrived at the orphanage under circumstances similar to my own.

Although I have no recollection of this time, I sometimes wonder about my birth mother/parents and what led them to give me up. I like to think it was a decision made with my best interests at heart. Whatever my parents' motivation, their decision set in motion a course of events that would reshape my life in ways that I can only now begin to appreciate. Thanks to a stroke of fate and one amazing woman, I would become Anna Li Masciantonio, American millennial and college-bound student.

The amazing women is my adoptive mother who had always dreamt of starting a family of her own. The prospect of being a single parent and the challenges it might present did not deter her from fulfilling her dream, so she took it upon herself to create the family she longed for. After considerable research and careful contemplation, my mom made the decision to adopt a child from China. Working with an adoption agency, she commenced the long process of daunting paperwork and patient waiting.

Finally, nearly two years after she set out on her mission, my mom received a picture of me, her soon-to-be daughter, marking the event that would forever change both of our lives. A few months later, my mom and my aunt traveled across the world to China for the day that would unite mother and daughter for a lifetime. I can only imagine how special this moment must have been for my mom. After all this time, her dream of a family had finally become reality. It was not an easy journey, but the child she so deeply desired was in her arms.

Several years after my adoption, my mom knew that she wanted another daughter to make our family complete. She once again endured the extensive adoption process and flew to China, returning home with my three-year-old sister, Elizabeth. Like all siblings, we have our share of arguments, but I'm truly grateful for my best friend. Although I'm not biologically related to my mom, sister, or extended family, my love for them is no different. Family is not defined solely by blood or common ancestry, but rather by the people who give you unconditional love and support.

My adoption will always be a defining influence on my life. Who knows what my fate would have been if I was raised in the Chinese orphanage. As I grow to adulthood, I realize how blessed I am in the life I have.

After high school I plan on attending a respected college and continuing my academic career. My academic standards in college will continue to be high, as I hope to maintain an excellent GPA. In addition to excelling in classes, I would like to heavily participate in research to gain experience and learn about cutting edge technology in the field of engineering. During my time at Garnet Valley I was involved in various clubs and activities, so my goal is to join clubs and other school organizations. Beyond college, I hope to get a good job at a major engineering company. In my field, I dream of being extremely successful and making various advancements. I would also like to attend graduate school and obtain a master's and maybe even a doctorate degree. My dreams for the future are big, and I couldn't be more excited to see what I am able to accomplish.

I have had quite a bit of work experience thus far in my life. For about two years I was a part time cashier at Wegmans. My duties consisted of checking out groceries and serving the needs of the customers. From this experience, I have developed efficient teamwork and communication skills. Overall, Wegmans was a great first job. I obtained a great deal of valuable experience. Additionally, I have been babysitting for approximately five years. Currently, I consistently babysit for a family about two to three days after school. I am in charge of caring for three boys of ages eight, eleven, and thirteen. In the past I have also babysat for families in my neighborhood. Babysitting has greatly improved my leadership and communication skills. The skills I have learned from previous work experiences will greatly help me in my future endeavors.

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