US Paralympic swimmer Jessica “Tatiana” Long recently met her biological mother, Natalya Valtysheva, in Siberia. They had not seen each other since Jessica was adopted in 1993 by Beth and Steve Long of the United States:
Jessica Long was born Tatiana Kirillova in Bratsk and was adopted at 13 months old. Shortly thereafter, due to a medical condition called fibular hemimelia, Jessica’s lower legs were amputated. Jessica has become a true overcomer, learning to walk and swim with prostheses, and holds world records in 13 Paralympic events.
Jessica also traveled to Irkutsk where she visited the orphanage she lived in before her adoption to the Longs. Jessica said, “To me, a negative attitude is a disability. And even though I’m missing my legs, I don’t see it as a handicap. I see it as an advantage to inspire people”:
Russia’s abortion rate has been extremely high for decades (the country’s Minister of Health and Social Development has stated that Russia’s “abortion statistics are basically comparable to birth statistics”), so it’s encouraging to read a story of life and hope from there.
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[HT: ABC7, Chicago]