Cross-Cultural Baby Raising

Raising a child is raising a child, no matter the global location.  There are certain constants - eating, sleeping, diaper-changing.     There are certain distinctions - what type of formula and diapers are available, where a baby sleeps, cultural norms and beliefs about babying, etc.

With my other 4 kiddos and other babies we've loved, we had all of the fun bells and whistles and all of the latest-&-greatest gadgets for babies.  We had the cool toys, the baby bed, the nursery, etc.  They all grew and thrived.

With Cumi Joy, we have lotsa love and very little else.   She is growing and thriving.

For weeks, we had no bed for Cumi Joy.  This is normal here;  most babies sleep on the floor.   So, Cumi Joy slept on a palette on the floor or in a little bouncy seat until a Miskito friend gave us a pack-n-play.      She seems no worse for wear.

She has a few very special toys - a first baby doll from my mom that she tries to grab at and wraps tightly in the crook of her arm when she gets her close;   a Minnie Mouse stuffed animal from Collette and Clay that she loves to pull so close to her that Minnie's nose is in her mouth;   a Nuby teething rattle from a special Texas visitor;  and a few other little items.     Oh, and she has 4 built-in 'toys' in her siblings who dote on her constantly!

We were blessed by the House of Hope with baby clothes right off the bat.  Without the House of Hope, she would have been living in diapers alone and being carried around in a homemade sheet-sling.

Yesterday, we received a sweet package of baby clothes from Alabama.    She will have to wear a few outfits a day to get through all of these darling clothes.     

One interesting side-note...  the Miskito women are extremely observant of everything I do with Cumi Joy.   With my gringo kids, they just smile and laugh at them and never comment or critique.  With Cumi Joy, they ask why I do this or why I don't do that...  like why Cumi Joy doesn't wear socks or a hat or why I let her have a pacifier, or why I don't put medicine on her crazy hair so it won't stick up,  etc.   You get the idea.  I'm raising one of 'their girls' and, honestly, I want to do it respectfully.     She is 1/2 Miskito and 1/2 Hispanic.    My job is to listen to the suggestions and do what I can to honor Cumi Joy's culture(s) while giving her a taste of her North American family at the same time.    She will be a beautiful blend of 3 cultures...  what a lucky girl!

All-in-all, I'm realizing that love is truly enough.  Cumi Joy is as happy or happier than any of our other kids were at 5 months.  She is clueless that any other world exists where she might have a stroller, carseat, crib and high chair.


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