Sometimes in life, there are babies born to parents who are unable to take care of the child. Each mother has her own reason for choosing to put her child up for adoption, hoping that the child is eventually taken home by a loving family who could provide better.
Do you think the mothers ever wonder what happened to the babies they had to leave behind? For one woman in Russia, she was shocked to learn that the baby she had given up for adoption over 20 years ago grew up to be a famous athlete.
In a strange series of events, 12-time gold medal winning Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long was curious to find out who her real parents were. She had been under the impression they had passed away but when she dug a little deeper she found her birth mom was in fact still alive. Check out this adorable story on how the two eventually came to meet again.
When Natalya Valtysheva gave birth to a baby girl named Tatiana in a small village in Russia, she decided to put her up for adoption possibly due to the fact that she was born with fibular hemimelia.
This is a birth defect where parts of the bone are missing. For Tatiana, it was in her lower legs. After being put up for adoption at the age of 13 months, Tatiana was eventually adopted after spending time in an underprivileged orphanage in Russia.
A couple from the US named Beth and Steve fell in love with and eventually brought Tatiana home, renaming her Jessica. Her lower legs were amputated and she learned to walk on prosthetics.
At a young age, Jessica took to the water and often pretended that she was a mermaid. As she continued to grow, the love for the water stuck and she was well on her way to becoming the Paralympic champ she is today.
Jessica has known from a young age that she was born in Siberia, Russia and put up for adoption but she has never let that slow her down. When she was first adopted she was immediately up on prosthetics, learning how to walk at the age of 18 months.
Jessica has always been very determined to do things on her own and didn’t need anyone else’s help.
In the Paralympics, Jessica competes in the S8 category, so she’s going up against competitors that are just like her. ‘They make it as fair as they can in the Paralympic world,’ she told Mode.
When Jessica is in the water, she doesn’t use prosthetics and instead kicks with her upper legs and uses her arm muscles. She’s constantly training with her coach and working on ways to better her strategies.
One thing that bothers her is the preconception that she isn’t an elite athlete when in reality she’s training just as hard, just as long, and has just as much passion. She just happens to be missing the bottom of her legs.
And that doesn’t stop her either! She has multiple pairs of prosthetics. A pair for using at the gym, high heels, and a pair she calls ‘fancy legs’ that has a tattoo on the foot.
Despite being fully satisfied and happy with her life, Jessica had one thing that she had always been curious about: where she came from. When Beth and Steve first adopted her, they were told that her birth parents had died.
However, after doing some research, Jessica found that her birth mother was still alive and she immediately knew she wanted to meet her to thank her for bringing her into the world. Arrangements were made and in 2013 Jessica and her birth mother finally came face to face.
Natalya was in shock to learn what had become of the baby she gave up for adoption and her eyes welled with tears when they met for the first time.
In an interview with Ruptly TV, Jessica explained that she feels nothing but love for her birth mother and is simply happy to have had the opportunity to meet her. She described the moments as amazing and special.
She described it as a moment she would remember forever, and that she would be leaving Russia with a smile on her face. ‘I have no regrets,’ she said. ‘I believe it was all part of God’s plan, I have only love for my mother for what she did.’
During her trip to Russia, Jessica also took a moment to visit the orphanage in which she stayed. She met with staff who she probably didn’t remember and met some of the children staying there now, visiting the small pool they have at the facility.