My dear Nadia,

It’s hard to believe that you are 20 years old today, it feels like you were 2 years old just yesterday. Last week, our little nephews ran from the living room to the front door to hug me. That reminded me of you when you were their age. You use run across the room to hug me when I would get home from school. You probably don’t remember that. We were much younger then. I was a teenager and you were a toddler.

You and I are so close I sometimes forget that I was far away from you once.You were 3 months old when mom introduced you to me at the airport. I knew about you when I was in Ghana, but I didn’t know much. Mom called me from Montreal to tell me that she was pregnant with you. She was excited that she was finally having a daughter. I was excited that in Canada, mom, Ronny, and my sister awaited me. You didn’t have a name at the time. I only knew you as my mother’s daughter.

That bothered me for a while, Nadia. I was half the world away from you when you were born. I was sad to learn that you were not my full-sister, but my half-sister. I learned your name at the airport, Nadia, not a hospital. I thought your father was my father. I didn’t understand that he was only my step-father. I didn’t understand why you and Ronny shared the same last name, but I didn’t. But the summers we spent apart made me understand. You were with your father. I was with our mother. You are your father’s daughter.

You are so much like me anyway that doesn’t bother me anymore. You like me so much anyway that doesn’t matter anymore. I like you a lot, Nadia. I like that you are comfortable in your own skin. I like that you are unafraid to be your natural self. I like that you wear your beautiful Afro out. I like that you do not conform to social expectations. I like that you are just as happy singing along to MumFord and Sons as you are singing along to Emeli Sandé.

I was so proud of you when I finally visited your church in Ottawa for your baptism. I was proud to see that you were the only young Black girl at your tiny church, and you didn’t seem to notice. I don’t think I’ve ever told you this, but one of the things I appreciate most about your testimony of how God saved you is that I was right there when God made you born-again. I wasn’t there when our mother gave birth to you. But I was there when our Father made you born-again.

You are my half-sister through mom. But you are my full-sister though Christ. You are my Father’s daughter.

Happy birthday, Nadia.
I love you, Sammy.