The Ramos family | Photo by Jiaying Grygiel
The Ramos family from El Salvador
Who lives here? Jessika Ramos, 29, and her daughter, Valeria Acevedo-Ramos, 2. Jessika left El Salvador after gang members entered her house with pistols in hand. Valeria was just 8 months old. Jessika’s 8-year-old daughter, Adriana Acevedo-Ramos, is still in El Salvador with Jessika’s parents. In El Salvador, Jessika studied judicial law in college. Now, she works as a house cleaner. “It doesn’t bother me,” she says. “It’s a job. It’s dignified.”
Where? White Center
When did you move here? March 2016
Jessika: I had to leave because of violence. It’s a country the government can’t control. All the power is with the gangs. The laws are not just.
What, if anything, did you know about Seattle before you moved here?
Jessika: Nothing. Only that it’s very peaceful and near family.
Do you plan to stay?
Jessika: Yes. I love Seattle. It’s very quiet; a safe place to live. I was in Los Angeles for 15 days — I didn’t like it. So much traffic, it was craziness.
What has been the biggest challenge in moving to Seattle?
Jessika: I have an open case with [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services]. I hope to God everything will turn out well and I will be able to bring my other daughter. Then, the three of us can have a stable and secure life together. I’d like to have my own cleaning company one day. First, I have to learn English. I’m going to Highline College to learn.
What one parenting practice sets you apart from other families?
Jessika: Parents in El Salvador are more likely to talk more loudly and directly to the children. Now, with Valeria, I’m trying to first talk to her. If she keeps doing something she’s not supposed to, I will use a stronger voice and be more direct.
A lot of kids don’t play with toys. It’s all about tablets, screens. I want to make sure Valeria plays with toys and games, and other kids.