I am a fond reader of the Chicago Now blog Portrait of an Adoption. Written by Chicagoan and adoptive mom Carrie Goldman it is a tender and honest look into the world of adoption and the many ways it alters and honors traditional family dynamics. I first became aware of the blog after Carrie posted about her daughter Katie, who had been bullied for displaying her love of all things Star Wars at school. Geeks around the globe came together in an outpouring of support to restore Katie's confidence. A geek myself, and a fellow adoptee, I have been wanting to offer Katie a message of support for quite some time, but never really knew how to do it. This past Thursday was the second annual "Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars" day in support of Katie. Here, a few days late, is the message of support from me I feel this little girl deserves.
Hi! My name is Michelle, but my friends call me Misha. You can too, if you want. I've gotten to read all about you on your mommy's blog, and I wanted to write you a letter, telling you just how special I think you are, and maybe share a little bit of my story with you.
I'm 22 years old, but I was adopted when I was little just like you were. I have Cerebral Palsy, a disability that makes it hard for me to walk. Instead, I use a wheelchair. When I was five I had a surgery that made me have to be in a big cast, from under my arms, all the way down to my toes. While I was waiting to get better, my daddy and I watched the original Star Wars trilogy. I loved it, especially Princess Leia. And I was so happy when I found out she was adopted like I was.
But when I went back to school, I started being bullied for being different. People thought I was weird because I had trouble walking, and even weirder for liking the same things boys did. By the time I was ten, I was ready to give up, and be a typical girl. I didn't want to go to school anymore either and I liked school.
I'm really glad I didn't give up. As I got even older I found plenty of friends who liked the same things I did, and saw me for me. Unfortunately, my mommy and daddy weren't as loving and supportive as yours and they became my bullies. I moved out though, and things got a lot better.
I want you to remember that people all over the world care about you, and, like me, think you're pretty awesome. Your determination to train in the ways of the Jedi are an inspiration to me, Katie. I am a martial artist, and I recently tested for my orange belt (third belt). There aren't very many girls who study at the school where I train, but I am proud to be one of them. Martial artists, like the Jedi, protect people from bad guys and help keep the world safe. The school where I train is local, and if you'd ever like to check it out, we would love to have you!
Keep rocking your Star Wars pride and remember there is no one in this world who can tell you who to be or how to act or what to like. That's for you to decide. And whatever you decide to like, I know it will be pretty awesome.
PS: Here are some pictures of my Sensei (teacher) and I.