Sparks fly: A first-hand account of A Home for the Holidays by a mother and daughter

Posted on December 12, 2011

Sparks fly
By Dana Dornburgh, soccer mom

It’s a late night Friday night. After a long day at work as a guidance counselor in a high school, and a hectic week of running around with my three  daughters, you would think the last thing I’d want to do is a 9 p.m. soccer game. But Taylor Swift is blaring, and I hear the sweet words coming from my back seat in the dark as we head home, “Cause I see the sparks fly whenever you smile …” Those words resonate into the night, and pretty much explain how I feel about her, my adopted daughter.

I think it was part accident, part destiny that I arrived where I am, soccer mom extraordinaire. It was 2003 and my husband was at work. By the glow of the Christmas tree I was channel surfing looking for something to watch. Then I saw the preview for “A Home for the Holidays” and I was intrigued. This is my kind of show! I grew up with a family close to me that were foster parents and I was always amazed by what they did. They had kids of their own, but they were willing to take on more. I thought they were the most unselfish people I knew, and I looked up to them.

By the end of the show I was sobbing. How could 160,000 perfectly good kids be waiting for homes? They told some of their stories and I was heartbroken. And here I was trying to have another baby when there were kids out there that needed a family. We were a family that needed another child. I had to look into this.

I logged into the adoption album that night to look at the waiting kids and get more information. I read dozens of stories and my heart continued to break. I made up my mind then and there that we would have a place in our home and our heart for foster to adoption. How could we not?

By the year’s end I had called our county at the time, Schenectady County. By the end of January we began the parenting classes. By that spring, we were declared fit to board kids! We had a couple of placements that were short-term, and that was neat to be a part of. We were fostering “at risk kids.” Kids that were at risk of not being returned to their natural families. We waited daily for those calls, and I won’t kid you, it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t long. My phone rang in December, one year after I had watched “A Home for the Holidays.” There was a little girl, not yet 2 years old. Her biological mom had been trying to visit, to parent, to keep herself together, but it wasn’t working out. The current foster mom had already adopted a few children and couldn’t adopt any more, would we like to meet her?

Would we? Of course we jumped at the chance and went to meet her. Her little smile through the pacifier was so cute! Were those dimples? Look at her beautiful brown eyes. Sparks indeed! We began a series of short-term visits before she officially moved into our home. The big day was to be her second birthday in January. We had a cake, presents, and I’m not sure what we were celebrating most, her second birthday or her coming home. It took a year to finalize her adoption, and on May 15, 2005, we sealed the deal!

I have to say we were blessed. This little toddler grew into such a smart, athletic, loving, little girl. Her report cards are a sea of perfect scores. To watch her on the soccer fields is a thrill! At 9 she is 5 foot 3. Her long powerful stride carries her across the field. She is keeping up with two teams, and has a side passion for basketball. Having never played a sport in my life, this is an interesting journey to be on. My oldest daughter is into fine arts and dance, my youngest, gymnastics, but with Annastasha, sports are the thing! If anyone tells you that foster kids are trouble, that they will never succeed, and could be a handful, please come to my house. I am so proud of her. She is a hard worker and wants to please people. As a guidance counselor, I see her potential, and it is vast. As a mom, I sit at those games now, imagining how much fun it will be when she’s on varsity, or when she is studying in college.

How lucky am I? I get to be her mom forever and ever, and if you’re looking for me, I’m the one grinning and cheering on the sidelines, and occasionally belting out Taylor Swift late at night. “Cause I see the sparks fly, whenever you smile … ”


Sparks fly
By Annastasha Dornburgh, daughter and soccer player, 9 years old

It was in December when I, Annastasha, met my parents. I was sucking on my pacifier watching television at Raydean’s house. I was smiling but I was shy because I didn’t know what was going on, until they started taking me to their house and loving me like any parent loves their child. From that day on I couldn’t wait to see my loving parents. The official adoption date was on May 15, 2005.

It was my second birthday when I started living with my parents. On that day I had cake and presents waiting for me. I got a present that I still cherish today. It was my stuffed polar bear, who I named Polabeey. When I got that, I decided that polar bears are my favorite animals.

Today I’m 9 years old. I will be 10 in January. Being in this family is just like I’m a normal kid in the family. Just because I was adopted doesn’t mean I’m different. I’m the same as all the people in my family. My favorite sport is soccer. My mom takes me to most of my soccer game. Besides that I like basketball. I play basketball as much as I can. Although I like sports I also like to read. My favorite books are the Box Car Children because they’re fun mysteries. My mom treats me like my sister. I like how she doesn’t treat me different just because I’m adopted. I look up to my older      sister, Miranda, she likes dance. She has been dancing since she was three. I have a younger sister too. Her name is Ava. She is into gymnastics. She looks up to me. I love my family very much!!!!!!!!!

In the future I hope to adopt like when I was adopted. It really doesn’t matter if I adopt a boy or a girl. I hope to raise a wonderful family in the future. I also hope to have a safe place to live if I have children when I get older. I really want to get a dachshund puppy when I get older because right know I have dog and a cat. I hope my mom and my message makes you want to adopt and if it does, that’s awesome!



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