New Sister

17 Jun

I don’t claim to provide an accurate perspective here, but I’ll share what I heard in our family once we made the decision to adopt. From Guatemala.  My stepdaughter, then-13, and before we’d even tried on “step” as a title… or a name… or a position we maybe held (hold) in one another’s lives, had understandably mixed feelings about our decision – not so much, I think, because she’d been an only child her entire life, but because we planned to bring a brown child into our family with two white parents. 

Another blog, another day, I may (or may not) share what went into our decision, but for now, I will share – true or not – what I believe I heard in our house at the time:



Mama said

we were naming her Bea,

but we’re pronouncing it

Bee, like the bumblebee,

not two syllables

like she would at home

in her birth country,

not two syllables

like we would

in Ecuador,

like my dad would

pronounce it, like my Abuelita

(my step-Abuelita), like my friends,

like any Latina would.


I asked her why.

She says because

we are American.

I am not American,

not completely.

She says because her first name

is her birthmother’s

and her middle name,

Bea, crosses cultures.

She can pronounce it

both ways when she’s older.


I don’t want


to have to

cross cultures.

I want her to be


Latina, like me.

From the beginning.




Real questions. Real concerns. Like everything else in my parenting life, there are probably 25 different ways to raise children with a strong cultural identity. Sometimes, I’m good at it, and sometimes I’m not. If you’ve reached the end of this post, I imagine you have ideas (and stories) of your own. I invite you to share your thoughts below.

And if you read my earlier post, you may know that dear Grace is a poet and creator, too – and so, to hear her tell her own story, Ecuador: Travel Through Time, please click here.


Thank you.



2 Responses to “New Sister”

  1. amisha June 25, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    grace’s poem made me cry. thanks for writing this post and sharing your words and hers.

    • rrp69 June 26, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      Thank you, Amisha.

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