Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

Who Are We? – Another Diverse Family Story

Who Are We? Series:  Becketwood Members are part of a diverse range of families and communities. In this ongoing series, we will get a deeper look into the lives of the Members who are willing to share their personal stories and experiences. 

This episode by Joy Nelson, Becketwood Member


By the time I was 40, I’d gone on two immersion trips to Mexico and Central America. They changed the trajectory of my life! Ever since, I have been on a quest for justice to that area where so much injustice had been done.  It occurred to me that one thing we could do as a family would be to adopt a child from Latin America. When I learned that Mexican agencies didn’t deal with parents who were fertile, and that Central American adoptions would be legally challenging, we decided on Colombia. (Years later I would travel with a local Colombian Support Group to advocate there for a Sister Community). We studied Spanish and consulted with a local Colombian M.D.

Our daughter Sandra arrived at age five (according to her birth certificate) or age six-seven (according to our dentist and the University of Minnesota’s adoption clinic).  With the help of friends, therapist, good teachers and a Colombian Culture Camp, we (Sandy, our 14-year-old son, our ten-year old daughter, Randy and I) adjusted to each other. In her adolescence, we hit a spate of various self-identity crises, but that period ended with her decision to attend art school in a “warm” place--Atlanta. We grew through our experiences visiting her there and meeting her African-American boyfriend and his family. Three years later we were happy to have them move here, with their two-year-old daughter.

In the 18 years since, Sandra has changed her name to Soleil, has survived a divorce and raised her daughter as a working mom, with support from us. She also finished her undergraduate degree. Her daughter has trained for and performed at various theaters for children, including The Children’s Theater.

Fortunately, Soleil re-met a male friend from Art School, also African-American, and they’ve had two children. She accompanied her partner at several of his Art Shows around the Twin Cities. They’ve faced and met the challenges of the COVID pandemic in a mature way.

Soleil’s partner has shared with us a few negative experiences he’s had working in the western suburbs here, that he said he wouldn’t have had in the South: jokes that made him as a Black man uncomfortable.  This knowledge adds to our mission to end microaggressions against people of color here!

Their little ones, now six and four, thoroughly enjoy visiting at Becketwood; many of you have befriended them. They love to ride their trike to help pass internal mail on 4th floor.  They carefully feel of the animals by the doors, and of course delight at the candy at doors.  Thank you Becketwood for the welcome!


Leave a Reply

  • Carol Masters February 9, 2021, 5:39 pm

    Beautiful people and photos!

  • Anonymous February 9, 2021, 6:40 pm

    Thanks for the story. It is heartening to hear what people like you have done and are doing

  • Nancie Hamlett March 17, 2021, 6:01 pm

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for giving us this window into your lives.