I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. I was actually supposed to die the day I was born. I wasn’t well fed. I didn’t have parents that could afford the food to make sure I was taken care of. I was put in different orphanages. They just fed me a little bit of stuff. I don’t remember what it was. I had to have open heart surgery. They were going to do it when I was born, but my [birth] parents wouldn’t do it because it was so expensive. I was unable to walk until I was six years old.
God sent two loving parents from Cleveland, TN, at the age of almost six. They were told I was really small, that I had a heart condition, and that my growth had been so impaired I looked like a two-year-old. Their answer was, “[We] think God wants us to take him.”
I became the third child in the family. I was the new brother to Robbie, and sister, Stacy. One night they sat in a room together to take a vote. After seeing my video the whole family picked me. My dad boarded a plane in Atlanta and flew all the way to Bulgaria to pick me up. He brought two different sizes of shoes. One fit and the other didn’t. So, he said, “Why don’t you give these to somebody else.” I took the other pair to one of the girls that I took care of. Her name was Tia Dora. As I gave her the shoes I cried and told her, “I’ll miss you.” God had a plan for me to take care of kids, the same way I took care of the girl at that orphanage.
Michael Durham, from my church, asked me to go to Orphanage Emmanuel in Guaimaca, Honduras, Central America. I was kinda worried because it was out of my comfort zone. I actually led someone to the Lord the first day I was there.
The kids would recognize me when I came back. I already had a nickname. It’s something about skinny people. The kids there love anybody that coming on the property. They’ll get attached to you very quickly. They’ll hug you. The older ones will ask, “How long are you going to be here?” If your answer is, “A week” they won’t get attached to you because they know you’re going to forget them. If you answer, “A month or so” they will. From my visits there a couple of the kids have told me, “Dian, I pray for you every night when I go to bed.” It broke my heart. I was, like, “That’s sweet of you, but I pray for you every night; all of you guys.”