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Adoption gave me a new life, with great parents and sisters

Kidsday reporter Maria Lettieri and her parents, Nina

Kidsday reporter Maria Lettieri and her parents, Nina and Robert Lettieri. Photo Credit: Lettieri family

I slowly opened my eyes as I was in my birth mother’s arms. My birth mother knew that I would have a better life if I lived in the United States.

At the Vietnamese orphanage, I was taken care of by a 9-year-old girl named Ut while I waited to be adopted. I was only a few months old, but I got very close to my friend Ut. Ut made sure I was always cared for and was careful that none of the other kids picked on me. At the age of 13 months, I met my forever mom and dad. I got very lucky because my new parents adopted my best friend Ut, too. When we came to the United States, my mom and dad gave us new names that honored people in our family.

My name was changed from Tuyet to Maria, and Ut’s name was changed to Rosa. Rosa started school, and I got to stay home with my mom every day. My parents tell me that I knew only two Vietnamese words so learning English was pretty easy. My sister Rosa had it much harder than I did because she spoke only Vietnamese.

Two years later my mom and dad adopted a 6-year-old girl from China, Yun Lan. My sister Rosa and I stayed with our grandparents when my parents traveled to adopt my new sister. When Yun Lan came home, my parents changed her name to Anna to honor another family member.

Anna and Rosa went to the same school and learned English together. Rosa watched after Anna, especially on the bus, and protected her from bullies. My sisters worked very hard in school and learned English quickly. We were encouraged to work hard and we are rewarded when we do well.

I am very proud of my sisters because they are good students and great tennis players. My sisters help me with everything I do and want me to be successful like them. I am happy to be part of my amazing family.


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