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Adoption Blog: Familia Means Family

Juggling Three Cultures

transracial adoption family

We are that family. You know, the one you see around town and you recognize immediately—well, if you live in a small town, that is. I suppose in a big city our family could pass inconspicuously through the checkout lanes of the nearest supermarket. But here, in our small world, we are famous.

I don’t mean everyone knows our names and our story, but there are probably few people here that have not at least seen us. You see, we live in a small town in the Southeast, and we look like a committee of the United Nations. I, Ecuadorian by birth, have the dark eyes and hair and the olive complexion of an average Hispanic woman. My husband, my beloved gringo, is Caucasian, pale as snow, with green eyes and brown hair. (Well, it used to be brown. It’s now in competition with his skin tone. He will tell you this has happened over the last 10 years. Ironically, this is the length of time we have been married.) Our children are both African-American. They are 5 and 3, a girl and a boy, drama and mischief, in that particular order. And we are bilingual—or at least my children and I are. My husband defends himself in Spanish pretty well. He says he knows enough to “get himself in trouble.”

So, when you see us coming, you will see many shades of skin color and hear a couple of languages. While I try to spark in my children a love for my Ecuadorian ancestry, a pride in their Black ethnicity, and a working understanding and appreciation for my husband’s Southern white culture, I’m also working to teach them to speak two languages fluently. The way we juggle three cultures tends to confuse the daylights out of some of our small-town neighbors, which can be entertaining.

Sound exhausting? It can be. But it is so much fun, and we look forward to sharing more about our family’s story in the weeks and months ahead.

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle


I’m a gringa and the hubby is Peruvian…I know how you feel! We aren’t asking for any certain race for our adopted child so we will most likely be very similar to you and yours. Even though I still don’t know “enough” Spanish, I do hope our children will be bilingual. I’d love to know how you are teaching them both languages…message me!

By blakesnewface on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 at 9:53 pm.

I message you back! Basically your husband needs to speak to the kids in Spanish only and let you do the English. It works. It has its frustrating moments (I’ll share some in this blog) but it is soooo rewarding. Thanks for stopping by!

By Gaby on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 at 10:15 pm.

Hello Gaby,
I too have a home of shades of color…I am Dutch/English, my sons are Irish/English, and my daughters are 16 days apart and African- American and the other is Peruvian/French….the baby is African- American. 

I know the feeling of adventuring out and people in the grocery store, mall and park know our family…It doesn’t help that my 2 six- year- old daughters enjoy explaining the family dynamics and how the adopting infant came to us…Its all in a days worth of advocating for foster and adoption for us….I use to cringe at there disclosures…but now I embrace it as a way to encourage others to become foster or adoptive parents…and at least i know when they have the story straight!

This summer we are starting our adventure of learning a new language- Spanish…my 16 year old son will take it in school next year so we are going to emerse our selves and begin having dinner conversation and work up to the entire day…We have hired a babysitter to help us out and give us pointers along the way…hopefully the baby will be bilingual!

Looking forward to hearing more of your story!

By BeMommyFor4 on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 at 10:43 pm.

Hey, BeMommy!

How great that you are all learning together! Immersion is definitely the best way. If you all have friends that speak the language include them. Music, books, even Spanish captions while you watch movies in English can help develop your ear for the language.

I know what you mean about the stares and odd conversations. I’m sure you’ve had your share! I’m going to be sharing some here. Your family, like mine, is a walking billboard to educate people about adoption. We can’t hide, can we? smile

Thank you for stopping by!

By Gaby on Thursday, June 02, 2011 at 3:33 am.

Welcome Gaby!

While not as diverse as your family, we also seem to be THAT family around here. Most of the time it’s great, but it can also be tiring too, always being on display.

I look forward to reading more about you guys.

By Jeff on Thursday, June 02, 2011 at 2:03 pm.

Thank you, Jeff! You have a beautiful family.

I find the most annoying thing about being so clearly an adopttive family is that people feel free to ask personal questions that you would never ask otherwise. Do you find that to be true?

But, one of the things that come with being a transracial family is the opportunity to educate!

Thank you for your warm welcome.

By Gaby on Thursday, June 02, 2011 at 2:13 pm.

Welcome, Gaby!

By Sharon Van Epps on Friday, June 03, 2011 at 6:38 am.

Thank you, Sharon!

By Gaby on Friday, June 03, 2011 at 3:56 pm.

Welcome Gaby,

We too are a multi-cultural family.  My husband was born and raised in Greece.  My parents are both Dutch - one grew up in the Netherlands and the other in Indonesia.  And our daughter is Ethiopian . . .so we are a but if “that family” too.  Look forward to hearing more of your experience.  Best,


By Ellenore Angelidis on Sunday, June 05, 2011 at 12:05 am.

Thank you, Ellenore!

So do you all also speak a second language? Did your husband keep his Greek? Your daughter is beautiful!

By Gaby on Sunday, June 05, 2011 at 3:30 am.
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