She told me to count, for every 3 seconds, a child was adopted. She then said that if I kept counting, I would be adopted as well.
I looked around at all of the kids jumping around, talking to the adults, playing with their toys.
Having fun. Fun. That was the word. The word that I could only describe with actions, emotions, with others but myself.
None of the other kids talked to me, they would glance and laugh as they ran off. The adults kind of just brushed past me, not sure why, but it hurt me.
I was in a bad car accident when I was younger, maybe around 7 years old, due to the accident, I’ve had a hard time hearing ever since, lost my legs, and my parents. I can hear still that’s the thing, but not well like everyone else. I was living with my grandparents for a while, until I turned 11, then, they sent me to an orphanage.
I learned sign language from one of the teachers. She was an older lady, her hair was always in a bun and you can see her gray strands coming undone, her clothes were very monotone, her back slouched and her glasses were always down on the bridge of her nose. Her eyes were icy blue, and the wrinkles on her face always were accentuated when she smiled.
She told me one time, “We all are special in some way, you’ll find someone to adopt you, trust me.”
I asked her if she wanted to adopt me, she smiled and shook her head.
“If I could, I would adopt all of you. I’m too old to be taking care of kids.” She softly said to me.
I remember crying that day, she took me back to my bed and when I layed down, I wept quietly. So quiet that an angel in Heaven couldn’t even hear me.
I never talked to any of the parents that walked in, I was scared, scared that they would talk to me like how everyone else did. Different adults walked in everyday, some came once and would never come back, some kept coming back.
This one man always kept coming, almost every day. He talked to Ms. Davis, some of the other workers, and he talked to each different kid. He never adopted anyone, it’s like he just visited, talked to almost everyone, but me.
Ms. Davis sat with me and said, “He’s looking to adopt soon, maybe try and talk to him Ada.” I looked at her and signed “What?” She then signed what she told me and my eyes widened.
“No! Everyone hates me here...why should I? He’ll say no anyways.”
Sometimes, I had dreams of walking again. I dreamt of holding hands with my mom and dad while we walked across town, I skipped, ran, I might have even waltzed.
Ms. Davis signed while she talked to me, “You never know until you try, I know you’re scared but Mr. Carter is a really nice guy.” I said nothing and Ms. Davis made a sad face and her shoulders dropped a bit. She left me in the room and I looked out the window.
What if I do talk to him? Ms. Davis might be right, maybe I should say something. I’m letting my negative thoughts get to the best of me.
I heard walking behind me and I turned my head.
It was Ms. Davis and the man.
His height towered over both me and Ms. Davis. He had a beard and long hair, he carried a notebook and a bag with him, he was dressed very professional.
“Mr. Carter, this is Ada, she’s 15 years old, and has been here since she was 11.”
I looked up at Mr. Carter and he smiled, placed his things down, and signed.
“Hello! Nice to meet you Ada, I’m Elliott Carter.”
I didn’t want to say anything.
“Mr. Carter get to know Ada! She’s a lovely child.” She patted his arm and left.
Mr. Carter sat down on the bed in front of me, I was very shy so I looked away from him and kind of just sat back.
“Ada, what a lovely name. Do you know that it stands for nobility?” He kept his distance with me and I still did not want to respond, “I remember when I named my daughter, her name was Farrah, an Arabic word for ‘joy’. I named her that because she was the best thing that happened to me, she was only 5 before she got sick.”
I could barely hear him but yet I heard every word he said, my eyes looked up and he had a tear rolling down. He wiped his tear and I saw him gulp to keep his tears back.
“She died.” Mr. Carter signed, but he did not say it.
“I’m sorry.” I signed back. Then he smiled once again and shrugged.
“It’s fine, it happens.”
All I said was sorry, nothing else, I was nervous. Mr. Carter stayed quiet with me. When I looked out the window to watch the kids I heard him say, “Why not go and join them?”
“They don’t like me.” He said something but I couldn’t make it out.
“I don’t have legs, I can’t do anything besides sit here. For four years, I haven’t talked to anyone besides Ms. Davis and a few other people.” I started to stutter and became frustrated, I hated signing but I would rather do it than speak.
Mr. Carter signed, “Hey, you never know that. I’m sure they all would like to be your friend.”
Now tears started rolling down my face.
“They bully me everyday! They tell me awful things and even adults walk in here and act like they don’t see me!” I signed back with frustration, “I sit in this room everyday, crying every night hoping someone will adopt me. Praying that God will give me strength to walk again! But no, I sit here and wither in my own pain, alone, and sad, Mr. Carter excuse me, but I have to go to the restroom.”
I called for one of the workers and they got me into my wheelchair and pushed me towards the bathroom. Mr. Carter left and I didn’t see Ms. Davis for the rest of the night.
A month passed by and it was now May 20th, during the month Mr. Carter didn’t show up, not once.
Everyday, I counted again, and every second, I lost my dignity.
I’ll never walk again, I’ll never have a family, I’ll never be able to feel loved once again.
But then, Ms. Davis sat next to me on my bed with a smile and told me she had a surprise. Then there he was, Mr. Carter. He held a big case and papers. I became shocked and confused.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. He placed the case on my bed and opened it, there I saw four different things. Two hearing aids, two prosthetic legs.
I became speechless at what I saw, he wasn’t done yet, he then placed papers in front of me and signed a sentence that I will never forget.
“You’re officially adopted.”
I cried so much. If Niagara Falls was a person, they would be jealous of how much tears fell from my face. Ms. Davis left, but before she did, she hugged me and left a kiss on my head.
Mr. Carter helped put the hearing aids on me, my God, it was music to my ears when he spoke.
“Do they work good?”
“They work great!” That’s when he took out one of the legs from the case, I grew quiet and stared at it.
“Don’t be scared Ada, it will be different at first but you will get used to it, do you trust me?” I continued to study the leg then I slowly nodded. He helped me towards the edge of the bed and strapped the leg on. Then the next one and both felt a bit heavy.
“Ada, it’ll be okay.”
“What if they don’t work?”
“They will, I promise.” Mr. Carter held my hand and helped me onto the legs.
This feeling, to stand felt as if I was born again. I didn’t walk, I just stood up and smiled at him.
“Thank you. Thank you so much Mr. Carter.” I reached in to hug him and he chuckled.
“You don’t have to call me that, you can call me Elliott or even, Dad.”
A word I thought I would never say again.
I used to cry every night thinking I was going to be in the orphanage forever, thinking that even when I died I was also going to not walk in Heaven. I became this child that was depressed everyday, a child that didn’t want to hear jokes, who didn’t want to talk to anyone because I was scared. But now I’m not.
Dad took me to my new home. I cried that whole week, I got to experience a new life, I was happy again. I figured out that he was a journalist, and he was writing about our orphanage. He helped me throughout the days with walking, and made sure I was never sad. Two years later and I was now 18 years old, and I became inspired to write by Dad.
I decided to write about me, and my story started off like this,