This ballerina inherited a love of dance from her mom, even though she's adopted.

When you adopt a child, there’s no telling what kind of person they will be.

Their talents, their personality, their likes and dislikes — everything about them will be a surprise. So when Alison Stroming, originally from Brazil, was adopted into a family of dancers, it was anybody's guess whether she, too, would take to the stage.

All photos courtesy of Minute Maid.


Her mother, Jackie, let her try everything from horseback riding to gymnastics. But as it turned out, it was indeed dance that stuck — something she was pretty amazing at. With her mom's help, she trained extensively throughout her childhood and has gone on to dance at Juilliard, the Guggenheim, and the Metropolitan Opera.

The only drawback is that today, Allison lives and dances in Manhattan and rarely gets to see her mom, who lives in Los Angeles.

Luckily, they recently had a chance to sit down and talk, and Alison took the opportunity to thank Jackie — with a care package made of memories especially for her.  

Watch:

"What was it like the first time you saw me?" A conversation between a mother and her adopted daughter.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, July 3, 2017

It was clear from the beginning that what Alison wanted was to dance.

But though she was clearly born with the same natural talent for dance as her siblings, there was one way in which they differed — Alison was much more shy than her four older siblings.

It was Jackie who guided her, time and again, back to what she loved. "When you would go on stage, you lost all fear," Jackie says.

Now, Alison isn't just a dancer — she's an impressive one who can even name Misty Copeland as a mentor.

She's toured across Europe with the American Ballet Theatre and currently trains at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, one of the most prestigious dance schools in the country.

Dance also would continue to unite Alison and her mom — through cross-country moves, international tours, and all of life’s obstacles — for years to come.

Throughout her life, Alison's mom was there to help guide her toward achieving her dreams.

It was Jackie who taught her to overcome her hesitations. "You go after what you want, and don't worry if it doesn't work out," she would tell Alison.

As a mom and a supportive resource for her dancing children, Jackie has clearly done an amazing job. Alison is quick to acknowledge how much her mom's help contributed to her ability to achieve her dreams. "I wouldn't be where I am today without her love and support," she said.

It can be hard to find a way to thank our parents for all they've done.

It sometimes feels like there are no words that are sufficient to express our appreciation for all that our parents do.

But Alison's story reminds us that sometimes, all it takes is a treasured memory to show them we care — and that it's not just genetics that determine what runs in a family.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

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Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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