From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul


They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world. Someone to love, something to do and something to hope for.

Tom Bodett

When I was three years old, I slept on a very small bed in a large room with twenty-five other boys and girls in an orphanage in Hungary. Being the youngest boy in the building, I got picked on often because I was the smallest. My sister, Kristin, protected me when she could, but the older boys were really mean to me. Kristin and I had been taken from our birth mother when we were only babies because she couldn’t take care of us.

When I was about one year old, Kristin and I were taken in by a lady who became our foster mom. We thought we’d found a home and had really grown to love her, when about a year and a half later, she decided she couldn’t afford to keep us any longer. She told us that she was taking us to the orphanage for a visit, but she never came back to pick us up.

We had lived in the orphanage again for about six months by the time Christmas came. None of us got any presents at all. I had only a few clothes of my own and no toys. We got two meals a day but the bread was hard and the food was terrible. I had one good friend at the orphanage named Attila, and we used to talk a lot about what it would be like to have somebody come and take us away from there. Our dream was to have a real family and do things that most other kids did. I had never even gone swimming or seen a movie in my life. Sometimes Attila, Kristin and I watched the only show they had on television, which was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Two or three times, people came to the orphanage and talked to my sister Kristin and me, but they never came back to see us again.

One day, this pretty lady with big hair and a big man with glasses came to see Kristin and me. We couldn’t understand what they were saying, but the Hungarian girl who was with them told us that they had come from a faraway place called America. We spent a lot of time with them that day, and I told Attila what a good time I had.

They came back to see us every day for a week and took us for ice cream and long walks. The Hungarian girl told us that the man and lady wanted to adopt us and take us back with them to America. We were so excited and happy.

When I told Attila what was going to happen, he was very sad and didn’t want us to leave him there. I told him he should ask the big man if he would take him so that he could come to America and be my brother. The next time the man and lady came, he jumped up into the man’s lap and asked him if he could come with us. But, since the man didn’t speak Hungarian, he didn’t know what Attila wanted and just smiled at him.

Kristin and I flew on a great big jet plane to America. Things look very different but wonderful here. All the food tastes great, and I have my own room with a big bed and lots of clothes. I got a stuffed animal of my very own: my first toy.

Everyone was really nice, and our neighbors even gave each of us something called a bicycle. It didn’t take long for me to learn to ride. Christmas came and there were lots of boxes under the tree for Kristin and me. America is a great place and I am very happy here.

After a year, we went with a group of kids to a special ceremony where we were made citizens of the United States! After the ceremony, two men with a TV camera came and asked us questions about what life was like in Hungary. That night we were on television like the Ninja Turtles!

I hope that Attila got to see us and I wonder if he knows that dreams really can come true.

Ryan Kelly, ten

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