Are you a princess? That’s a question I hear a lot when I have on my crown. My name is Lydia Martin, and I was adopted from China at 13 months old. Having a family to love and support me has allowed me to do things in my life that wouldn’t have been possible including getting to talk about my pageant platform 1More1Less. That means one more family with a child to love and one less orphan in the world.
I was born in Guangdong, Province, China. At six days old I was left by my birthmother in a paper box with one blanket. The police found me and I was brought to an orphanage. The orphanage I was brought to was called Qingcheng. I lived in the orphanage for about a year. I slept on a plywood bed with one sheet, and was only fed liquids. Then I was adopted by my parents, Sondra and Charlie Martin, and my brother, Will. I was really sick when my family got me and I had a rash all over me. I was really small weighing only 15 pounds, and I had never eaten a solid food before. I couldn’t crawl, walk, or pull myself up.
My brother was a big help in teaching me how to crawl, walk, and pull myself up. I was cruising all around by the time we were getting ready to leave China. My parents were helping me get over my illnesses and giving me the right medicine and foods to help me get better. I gained two pounds and was getting healthier. Just a little love and care can go a long way, but my parents have gone far beyond just a little.
My family and I got home to the United States and my life has had so many blessings in it and still continues to have more. I celebrate holidays and birthdays, I dance, participate in Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen, and have become your all-American girl. When I was younger I cheered, did Community Theater, and was on my school’s dance team. I used to do a lot of pageants when I was younger, but now I compete in Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen. That is a scholarship program and is part of the Miss America Organization.
The Miss America Organization has different parts to the program. A big part of this organization is scholarship, and they are the largest scholarship provider in the nation. I have received $24,000 in college scholarships and $1,000 in dance scholarships. Another part of this organization is service. My service platform is 1More1Less, which I use to advocate for adoption, to encourage more families to adopt.
Wearing this sash and crown has enabled me to go places and raise awareness that would never have been possible without them. I have been able to get proclamations signed by my governor, create “Bags for Babes”, which is something I put together that gives backpacks with care items and fun activities to children who are in foster care and orphanages. I created a brochure called “Lydia’s Story” that tells a little bit about me and where you can go if you want to adopt. I have partnered with Lifeline Children’s Services to hopefully further my platform to a national level.
While lots of kids ask me if I’m a princess, I love to be able to tell them no. I’m just an ordinary girl who gets to change my world with a crown on my head.