We are at this point of our story, where an introduction has been made by both parties and we are all trying to fit in our minds this very bizarre change in our family format. It isn’t easy (especially for the younger ones) to adapt to something like this that quickly. So during all the time we were getting things set within our home (making sure bedrooms were all set, buying appropriate clothing and basic needs) we also had to take care of things outside of or home:
- Medical checkup or treatment
- Government papers taken care of
- Buying everything they would possibly need (from clothes, to books, to a bicycle)
I have to admit (and I was told this a bit older) that we weren’t in the greatest financial situation at the time. We never had money issues but we weren’t wealthy either. Middle class would be the best description of our livelihoods. Even so, we never let anyone know about this as we always trusted God in our lives and knew he would take care of us.
What is worth mentioning though is the tremendous help and support by family, friends and even people that didn’t know us but learned our story. People would offer to give us clothes they had in excellent shape that they didn’t want, note books that included notes from classes the girls would absolutely need for their school (they didn’t speak very well English), even food! I feel an obligation to mention the name of a very close family friend that was extremely helpful throughout this whole transition process. Our friend Daniel who owns a limousine company in Columbia, SC ( limorentalcolumbia.com ) would visit us very often to help us take care of things around the house (manual work and building in the new bedrooms or moving in the new beds), he had many clothes that weren’t being used by his now grown up daughters that were in excellent shape, he even offered to help us out financially. Something we denied. Daniel has a very special place in our hearts to this day, and we always remember the kind offering of help back in the day.
But as I said earlier besides friends and people we knew helping us out, whoever heard our story would always ask us “what can we do for you?” To be honest, at some point we were overwhelmed by the number of people trying to help us out or make sure my sisters get into a good school. Even the teachers at the school my sisters ended up in, made sure they were feeling as comfortable as possible, learning as much as possible and being the greatest students they could become.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, at the time I was eight years old and the older sister was ten. So as you can understand, my sisters were fellow students in the same school. What really amazed me was the fact that the students didn’t dare make fun of them. Not even of their lack of English skills (broken English.) We would gather around in the noon breaks and play games or do whatever we felt was fun. But we would always make sure we surrounded ourselves around my sisters. I know many times people can be rough and there are many social issues yet to be solved in our great country. But I do have to say with all honesty, that we had very minimal issues. Everyone was so supportive. And not to show off or anything: they really cared.
Years in school flew by like days. The more time went by, the more I was feeling comfortable with this transition and I can say that I got to a point of really feeling like my black adopted sisters were always within my family. As if they never entered it in a strange and quick way.
We very soon started developing good family relationships and for the younger members of the family, these new sisters meant new company. And we always were people very social – always wanting to have some company and other kids in our age to play with. My sisters even started picking up cooking! Especially the oldest one. She started learning next to my mother her way around the kitchen. She reached a point that our whole family’s diets was dependable on her cooking. Which is why I made sure I befriended her and got on her good side, so that I get some extra privileges and food preferences (or even escape dinner I didn’t like here and there.)
My mother’s dream of a large and “odd” family was becoming truer and truer. I’m not going to pretend that there weren’t tough times or issues we had to deal with or even inside family problems. I would be lying through my teeth if I did that and be the very least, hypocritical. I will be getting in some detail during upcoming posts. In the meantime, you can always refresh your memory on the background story of everything being talked about throughout this website.