In 1999, Monitor readers met Hannah, a 3-year-old Russian girl who was adopted by American parents. Photographer Melanie Stetson Freeman chronicled Hannah's journey from the stark orphanage in which she lived outside Moscow to her new life in Massachusetts.
The transition wasn't easy as Hannah adjusted to a new family, new home, and a world in which she had her own clothes, a big sister, and much more personal attention than ever before.
Today, Marjorie Coeyman and Ms. Freeman update us on what's happening in Hannah's life: She has a baby brother and a Boston terrier. She attends school and takes music lessons. Hers is a story marked by resilience, determination, and a lot of love.
Today what seems normal to Hannah Faith Rocklein is riding in her family's shiny SUV, gliding through the school day among a pack of well-fed, Baby Gap-clad first-grade classmates, and settling down for the night in the perfectly appointed pink bedroom she shares with her big sister, Abby.
She rushes off to school in the morning with an HFR-monogrammed backpack poised on her small shoulders and chunky sneakers with flashing lights emphasizing each step. She loves watching a video of "The Wizard of Oz," plunking her way through a piano lesson, and taking a family vacation at Disney World.
But it was only three years ago that this little girl was hungry almost all the time and didn't have as much as a pair of shoes to call her own.
Her name then was Anna Sinyaeva. She was the occupant of bed No. 15 in a state-run orphanage two hours outside Moscow. A mother struggling with alcoholism had deserted her. Her father's identity was unknown.
The transformation of Hannah's life and prospects through adoption by an American family is in many respects truly a Cinderella story come true. The child who once seemed all alone in the world now has loving parents, a sister and a brother, a home in an affluent suburb, and even a chubby Boston terrier named Sadie with whom to romp.
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