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"These people are white. How am I going to fit in?"

“Although I was not brought up by my own family, I think being raised by 21st century parents is hard because everyone seems to be more focused on what they do and their own happiness, without caring more for their children or family. I lost my family during the genocide war. I was taken to an orphanage in Zambia led by nuns. And then I came to the United States.

Coming to the United States was like going to heaven. I used to dream about life out of the orphanage. Although the orphanage received volunteers every year from all over the world to teach us, I never seemed to learn enough about life in other countries because of language problems. These volunteers spoke different languages and I only understood local Zambian language. However, my greatest dream was to travel far and see everything I would never imagine. Then my dream came true. I flew to the United States.

I moved in with a new white family, something I never expected to do. Most of the time, I look at myself and I feel I don’t belong anywhere. However, I think people that have been part of my life have been a family to me. It is sad to lose the people I love: most ironically, the people that remain have become precious to me. And that’s how I feel. Even when I don’t feel fully connected with my new family I feel beloved and cared about in many different aspects of my life.

It was in the summer when I met my American “family.” The first time I lay my eyes on them, I felt like I was in another orphanage. I said to myself, “these people are white, and how am I going to fit in their family?” My heart trembled! I became so afraid because I did not know how to interact with my new family or how to talk to them. Despite such thoughts creeping in my mind, I have come to like living with them and accepting them as parents.

Over the last years, they have been acting as parents to me by showing great interest in my daily life. For instance, everyday after school they both talked with me to find out how my day at school was. They gave me good advice such as to accept myself and believe in what I can do. Sometimes when I am in a bad mood and I don’t want to talk to anyone, they understand. They find interesting things to do with me. One time we went to my favorite restaurant even if my new dad didn’t like the food. Mainly, they just understand. In so many ways they have become my parents.”

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