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Hānai is a term used in the Hawaiian culture that refers to the informal adoption of one person by another, regardless of the age involved. It can be used as an adjective, such as "hānai child", or as a verb "to hānai" someone into the family.
When Winona Beamer spoke about the issue of hānai and its relevance to admission at Kamehameha Schools, she had first-hand knowledge of the practice in her immediate family. Kaliko Beamer-Trapp was born in England, but emigrated to the United States with his biological mother. When Beamer decided to hānai Kaliko into her family, it was with a special hānai ceremony.