This is not a fairy tale – it’s the true story of everything that has happened to me in my short life. It will help you to know why I’m a happy seven-year-old although my life didn’t start very well.
I was my mum and dad’s only child and I was very tiny when I was born. When I was still a tiny baby, my dad went to work in another country and I was left with my mum, grandma and great grandma. My mum was only 16 when I was born and it was hard for her to look after me.
Things got harder because, when I was two and I still couldn’t walk, we discovered I had a serious problem. I went to stay in the home for medical and social care and my mum took me at weekends. I don’t remember this time really but the social workers say that my mum tried very hard and showed me lots and lots of love.
But eventually she went to join my dad in another country. The specialists had said that the big home was the best place for me. I was four and I couldn’t speak and I still couldn’t walk. I couldn’t go the toilet by myself.
Then, when I was five something amazing happened. Grandma Iva and Grandpa Bob came into my life. I visited their home and people told me that I could go to live with them because they are foster parents. They were so lovely to me and I was given hugs and attention – things that never happened in the home.
I had a foster sister and there was a great big gentle dog to play with. I learned to use a potty when I was four and a half. It was a big achievement. Then I started to use the proper toilet. I learned to eat by myself and to do lots of other things.
My grandparents and the social workers helped me to understand that I have cerebral palsy. I needed to be brave because I had four operations in hospital so that I could use my legs and feet better. It was frightening in hospital but Grandma Iva cam with me.
As well as the operations, I did special exercises to learn to walk and to hold pencils and crayons. I also made friends and went regularly to the playground.
Every day Grandma Iva encouraged me try to talk. I learned the alphabet, counting, drawing, singing children’s songs and rhymes and to tell stories. It was wonderful in my foster home and it was great to join the other children at the big complex – playgroups and parties.
I know that Grandma and Grandpa love me, but the people at the complex told me a big surprise that soon was going to become a big adventure. People from America called Catherine and Timothy wanted to be my mum and dad. I wasn’t scared when I met them for the first time. They were so nice. Catherine had even learned some Bulgarian words so she could talk to me. I was going to have three older brothers and to live in a place I could hardly imagine.
It was strange when Catherine and Timothy went home. They had left photos in an album and I could look at them with Grandma. We could talk using Skype and Grandma and I started to lean words in English and we’d practice when we met David at the complex.
Then the big day came. I was going to my new home with my mum and dad. And, here I am with three big brothers who all want to tell me things I don’t yet understand but they’re funny.
I will always love Grandma Iva and Grandpa Bob because they helped me become who I am. I can talk and sing and walk and draw. I will remember the people from the big complex who helped me to walk and helped me feel happy and not lonely and sad.