Rani as a child

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One woman has turned a traumatic childhood into a life full of hope. For the first seven years of her life, Rani lived a poor, but happy, life in Southern India. At age 7, a village leader offered Rani a more comfortable life after her sick father could no longer provide for his large family. The woman said Rani's mother could visit, and the family agreed.

Shortly after being turned over to the village leaders, Rani was sold into child slavery. "I cried and cried for my mom and she didn't come," Rani says. "I remember those feelings of pain and isolation and just loneliness."

Rani stayed with her owner for about nine months. She was traumatized by daily beatings, torture and starvation and has blocked memories of the most violent episodes. "I felt like I did want to die," she says. "What is there to live for? Why would you want to live in a life of beatings?"

Because Rani says she looked like she was physically and mentally ill, her owner couldn't make a profit. He sold her in an illegal international adoption—a blessing in disguise. Rani was adopted in America. "My adoptive mom was the best person. This woman just gave me everything she had," she says.
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FROM: Oprah's Favorite Giveaway Ever!
Published on October 30, 2006

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