12/09/2014 11:26 am ET Updated Feb 08, 2015

The Decision My Mom Made That Changed My Life

In honor of National Adoption Month, we're sharing the stories of adopted teens. Do you have a story to tell? Email

Can you imagine ever making a decision that had to do with bringing a child to a loving home? Well, Millie and her 14-year-old daughter had to make a tough choice; it had to do with whether to adopt a new child into their home. Her judgment changed her life and all those around her.

One day Millie and her daughter felt like there was something missing in their family. They questioned what they could do to fill in what was missing. One day, it hit them: They thought, of what better way to make their family whole than to adopt a young and lonely child into their hearts?

Millie and her daughter were excited to begin the process. First Millie started by exploring different agencies and this is when she found out that adoption was a long process, but as she did her research she came across a trustworthy agency called Los Nino's International. Millie filled out the application. She chose China not only because they allowed single parents, but also because it was the least expensive. After passing the agencies approval, Millie received magazines and read more about people who were accepted to adopt from China. Millie was devastated, since families in China were only allowed to have one child and had to abandon the others. For this reason, she felt it was the right choice. Millie and her daughter asked for a girl between the ages 1 and 3.

Then came the endless paperwork that Millie had to fill out as well as visits from the social worker that helped with the process of the adoption procedures. Lastly, after all the paperwork was done, they had one thing left to do... wait.

Millie and her daughter waited for two long years, but what they had been anticipating finally arrived. They received three pictures and a profile of their future family member. Her name was Dong Lixian, she was 14 months old and she needed a new home.

Once again they had to wait for the message that they could travel to China to pick up their new household member. Meanwhile, Millie and her daughter went out and bought all the things a baby desired. A few weeks later, Millie got the OK to travel to Guangdong, Hong Kong, where her child was living in an orphanage. Millie didn't want to leave her daughter, Iris, but had to for health and safety purposes. When Millie got to China she called her daughter Iris at home to confirm that she had arrived securely and spoke every night at 10 p.m. because of the time difference. The next day when they chatted, Millie already had the baby in the room with her and Iris heard the baby breathing and whining on the other end. She knew this baby was perfect.

Millie had to stay in China for 10 days before she could go back to New York. She also had to nurse the baby to health with a doctor's assistance, since the baby was sick and malnourished. The mother made the adoption legal and changed the baby's name to Dawn Lixian Lugo. They became very close, went everywhere and soon, the baby refused to sleep alone and only wanted to sleep on her mom's chest, to feel the coziness of a loving mother.

Finally, after the 10 days, they were able to go home and even though they had to fly for over 27 hours to New York, Millie was excited she was coming home with a new family member. As soon as they arrived, Iris, Millie's niece and niece's husband were all waiting to meet the new addition at the airport. That night Millie's daughter couldn't fall asleep because of the thrill of having a little sister, so she just stared at the baby most of the night.

This choice my mom and sister made was a tough one, but I'm happy it was the right one for my family and myself. It transformed their lives and mine. If my mother and sister didn't accomplish what they decided on in the year 2003, I wouldn't be here in New York or in this school. Life with a caring family is a dream come true for this baby from China. My sister got her wish and grew up with a sibling who loves her dearly and looks up to her as a role model.

The decision Millie and her daughter decided to make, gave a home to a sick baby who had no parents and no established home life in her county.