Today our country celebrates Independence day. A day when freedom reigns and we look forward to a future full of dreams and possibilities. Yet, each year millions of orphans waste away in orphanages and institutions waiting for their chance to be free. Waiting for a family to make them their own, and offering them a hope and a future.

Today, as our family celebrates Independence day, we are reminded of the miracle we have in our daughter, Nina.

Abandoned at birth and battling Cerebral Palsy, her future was a dark hole waiting to engulf her and leave her in darkness. Children with special needs in Eastern Europe are transferred to mental institutions between the ages of four and five. These children waste away with little interaction with adults, many only surviving a few years. Because for some people a disability means worthlessness, or a life with little to no value.

Yet this child of mine has more courage than anyone else I know.

Last year, we celebrated July 4th along with her best friend from the orphanage who also shares a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, and who is now thriving with the love of a family.

And Nina began to take her first steps a year ago that day:

May this 4th of July be a reminder of the blessing of living in a country where we are free to pursue our dreams and fulfill our potential regardless of a disability, color of skin, race, religion, or sex.

Happy Independence day!

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