My international family comes from three continents, yet we share one heart!
A few years ago, I was a single American mom, raising a teenage daughter all alone. Another daughter had grown up and left home, traveling the world with the U.S. Navy. Both of my girls had been born in Peru, and I had adopted them from there at ages 10 months (the younger one) and 7 years (the older one).
The younger daughter, Abby, was still at home with me, and I was busy homeschooling her. This was challenging for me due to her special needs. She is blind and has autism. She is also a gifted musician, and especially interested in percussion.
One day I noticed an announcement about a West African drumming class that was starting in our city. This seemed interesting, so I signed my daughter and we went to check it out.
It was at this class that I eventually fell in love with the instructor, a kind and gentle man from Guinea in West Africa. We became friends, fell in love and got married a little over a year after we met.
Shortly after our relationship moved from friends to more-than-friends, he told me that his youngest daughter had special needs and that he hoped he could bring her to the U.S. She was still in Guinea, living with relatives. Her mother was not involved in her life. He didn’t get to see her very often and was worrying about her all the time.
Two years ago we traveled to Guinea and I met his (and now our) daughter, Fanny, for the first time. She was having regular seizures and was not able to talk. The relatives who had been caring for her did not know how to manage her behaviors, and so she was kind of allowed to run wild without limits. She was not receiving medical care or an education.
We realized we could not leave her behind, but she needed an immigration visa to enter the U.S. So, we came back to the U.S., collected my daughter, Abby, who had been staying with friends, and then went back to Africa to take care of Fanny while we waited for her visa.
Our family stayed in Dakar, Senegal with both of our girls for nearly five months last year. We were overjoyed when she finally got her visa and we could bring her home!
Now we are all back home together in Louisville, Kentucky. Fanny is going to school for the first time in her life, and she is finally getting the medical care she needs.
With two special needs teenagers and a cross-cultural marriage, our life is never boring! We have lots of adventures, at home and away. We are very happy, loving and learning together!
So, now you have met my international family! Please tell me about your family in the comments below. Do you have a multicultural or international family as well? Do you have family members with special needs? We look forward to getting to know you!