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It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed since we brought Juliana home from Russia. Then, just a few weeks short of her third birthday, Juliana weighed a mere 22 pounds. She had difficulty digesting proteins, falling asleep, and walking without bumping into walls. Time and a full pantry took care of the food issues. Music and a night light made falling asleep a bit better. And thick glasses kept her from bumping into things. That was the easy stuff.
When she came home to the United States, Juliana also had to break the language barrier, navigate a huge number of new relationships, and learn how to make simple choices with her new found freedom. Looking back, that stuff was relatively easy too.
Suffice it to say that Juliana's life in Russia didn't prepare her very well for life in an American family. It did, however, make it impossible for her to travel without numerous--but unseen--extra bags. In those first few months, however, it became clear that what Juliana carried wasn't because the orphanage where we met her was bad, but because the reasons she ended up in one were. There is no substitute for family.