The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

Ours in the USA: as a disabled girl from a Russian orphanage became a Paralympic champion

She, a 13-month-old girl with congenital deformity of the legs, was adopted by an American family from an orphanage in Irkutsk. Today the name of this girl is known all over the world. The story of Jessica Long, a thirteen-time Paralympic swimming champion, is told “Voice of America".

Photo: Voice of America frame video

Her story is truly unique. She was born in Irkutsk. Mother was only 16 years old, and she could not support a disabled child, so she gave her to an orphanage, and from there for adoption. Jessica was born with fibular hemophilia - the practical absence of both lower limbs. Instead, there was a foot with three fingers.

Photos from personal archive

At this time in Baltimore, Maryland, there was an American couple who dreamed of a family replenishment. They already had two children and they could not have any more. Then they began to look for information on how the adoption was going on, to ask at church events whether anyone knew about the adoption.

Photos from personal archive

“I think it was at that moment that my parents decided to accept me and another boy from Russia, who later became my brother,” says Jessica. “My dad went to Irkutsk and took us from the orphanage.”

Photos from personal archive

When they flew home, there was the famous 1993 snowstorm of the year, so the plane was landed in Montreal. They had to stay there overnight, and this was their first trip with a new family. In the US, they flew in March 1993.

Photos from personal archive

“My grandparents came to meet us at the Baltimore airport and then brought us to our parents' house. My mom left the house - right into her arms. Josh immediately started playing with us, so we were immediately accepted into a new family, ”Jessica recalls with a smile.

After the arrival, the new parents decided to change the name from Tatiana to Jessica, Jessica Long. Incredibly, four years after adoption, the family gave birth to another girl, and then another. In total, the family grew six children.

Photos from personal archive

Parents have never concealed that Jessica and Joshua are not their own children, but they chose and love them. At an early age, Jessica found it difficult to understand, but her parents were always open to conversation.

“When we had questions about our parents in Russia and why they gave us up for adoption, my parents were very patient and they just talked to us,” says Jessica. - I never felt like an adopted child. I have always felt like a part of this family. "

Photos from personal archive

Jessica's parents gave a lot of strength and energy to raise all their children, especially considering that they adopted children with physical disabilities: Jessica did not have both legs, and Joshua had a cleft lip and cleft palate.

After adoption, the Jesskies performed several operations. She was first made at the age of 18 months. In general, she underwent about 12 various operations on each leg. Then it was very difficult for a little girl to understand everything, but her parents gave her so much warmth that they all withstood it.

Photos from personal archive

“I think this purposeful girl in me began to form from that very moment [the moment of operations - ed. ForumDaily] ", the athlete thinks.

Photos from personal archive

American parents always instilled in children a love for the sport, and each child had his own sport. Jessica found herself swimming.

“I could spend hours in the pool in my grandparents’s yard,” she says. - It was my favorite place. In the water I forget that I have no legs. I have always enjoyed swimming very much. I tried to hold my breath as long as possible, imagined myself as a mermaid. I could just play and not feel my disability. "

Photos from personal archive

Grandma accidentally saw in the local newspaper an article about recruiting a swimming team, and then Jessica decided to try herself in this sport. She liked it, and very soon she began to overtake girls without disabilities. They treated her like a friend and a competitor. All this influenced her future.

In 2004, Jessica first participated in the Paralympic Games, which were held in Athens, Greece. Then she was 12 years, and she overtook the world record holder, becoming the first in the race. At the Paralympic Games, Jessica won three gold medals, and this was the beginning of her sporting career.

In the 16 years she competed in the Paralympic Games in Beijing, and won the 4 gold, silver and bronze medal. In the 20 years at the Paralympic Games in London, Jessica won the 5 gold, 2 silver and a bronze medal. At the last Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (in 24), she won gold, three silver and two bronze medals. Now she is preparing for games in Tokyo, which will be held in 2020 year.

Photos from personal archive

Jessica's day starts at 6 in the morning. She goes to the swimming pool for a workout, which usually lasts an hour for 2.

“What is the price of victory and gold ?! I can’t say anything concretely. You sacrifice time with your family. You get up early - and everything repeats itself day after day. You are actually repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a better result. Anyone can say that they want to win a gold medal, but not everyone can do it, - Jessica is sure. - For me, swimming is what I love. Even when something doesn't work out for me, I still don't want anything else. You are putting your life on hold, but it’s worth it. ”

After a workout with Jessica, a hearty protein breakfast is a must. Then she goes to strength training.

Photos from personal archive

After the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, Jessica wants to end her sport swimming career. Tokyo will be the fifth Paralympic Games, and the athlete believes that she has nothing to prove in sports.

After that, she is going to become a swimming coach. She is already coaching a team of girls from St. Paul and is delighted with everything that is happening.

In June, 2018, the book about Jessica Long will be released. This is what the girl thought about since childhood. The book is about her travels, about the struggle, about far from the simple days of her life. The book was written by her younger sister Hannah.

“I always wanted to share my story, but then I didn't know how it would turn out,” says Jessica.

Once, before the 2012 Paralympics in London, Jessica talked with a Russian reporter and suggested that she would like to meet her biological parents someday. Then she could not have imagined that a Russian reporter would find her parents. Jessica went to Russia with her sister Hannah.

Photos from personal archive

When she arrived, she learned that her mother had married a biological father after years, and they had three more children. Among them, Jessica was the eldest.

Photos from personal archive

"This was hard. My first meeting, when I first hugged my mom, it was amazing ... You don't even know what to think. We met, and my mother Natalya told how they were going to come back and pick me up when I was three years old, but I don't know how true all this is ... we communicated through an interpreter, and it was all hard to hear, ”Jessica recalls. - The reason I came to Russia is for my mother to know that I am not angry with her. I'm even grateful for that. This gave me the opportunity to be adopted by an American family. "

Read also on ForumDaily:

Ours in the USA: as a Russian, in 40 years, he left everything and moved to the USA to grow grapes

Our US: Ukrainian about the first year of life in the country

Our people in the USA: Meeting an American with an American airplane changed the life of a Russian journalist

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