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The Cestari Family’s Adoption Story: Two Generations of Cradle Babies

Alice and her two brothers were all adopted from The Cradle. When she decided to build her family, she knew The Cradle was where she needed to return.

Alice Cestari originally shared this story in 2016. She passed away on January 29, 2020.

The Cradle was only five years old when Alice Cestari was placed with her family in 1928. More than 30 years later, she returned with her husband to adopt their first Cradle baby. 

Alice’s parents, George F. Piper Jr., and Nina Sturgis Lawler, married in 1910. While living in Wayzata, Minnesota, a “bedroom community” of Minneapolis on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, they adopted and raised three children from The Cradle: George III, Edmund and Alice. The Piper children remember fondly the years at the lake house prior to moving to Pasadena, California. Their father was president of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Stock Exchange and his family founded Piper Jaffray (now Piper Sandler), an investment banking firm. George Jr. died in 1965 and Nina in 1969.

Growing Up

Edmund went to Yale Medical School, became a dermatologist and married a nurse. The couple lived in Honolulu for several years on naval duty and had two children, then settled in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and had three more children. George III, a graduate of Stanford University, was Alice’s lifelong best friend. He moved back to Wayzata and was an avid historian and antique collector. Both brothers are deceased and Alice remains in contact with her nieces and nephews. George passed away just three months after Alice’s dear husband in 1996.

After completing college in 1950, Alice went abroad with three other girls. In Venice, she met Vincenzo Cestari, who was an officer in the Italian Navy. “Vince was a dream,” Alice said wistfully. When she returned to the United States, the two continued to correspond and fell in love. Alice returned to Italy with her parents so that they could meet the Cestari family, and she and Vince became engaged soon after. They married in Pasadena in 1953 and Vince received a Master’s degree in electrical engineering at California Institute of Technology. The couple then moved to Boston where Vince got another Master’s degree in finance from Harvard Business School. Alice was briefly a teacher before becoming a secretary in Harvard’s alumni office.

Returning to The Cradle to Build Her Family

“It was my 30th birthday,” Alice recalled, “and I decided to give myself a present and call The Cradle. We had applied many months prior. The woman I talked to asked if we had a permanent address, since we had moved several times when Vince was in school. I assured her we would have a permanent address very soon. We went out and found a house in Wellesley, Massachusetts, right away, and not long after, we got our first of two Cradle babies, Peter. Luisa came along a few years later.”

The Cestaris raised their children in Wellesley, where Alice [spent the rest of her life]. Peter, who works in trucking, lives in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, with his wife and child. Luisa lives near Wellesley in Sherborn, Massachusetts, and is an investment real estate agent with three children, including 17-year-old twin boys.

“Were it not for The Cradle, I would not have had my brothers, my parents or my children,” Alice affirmed. “The Cradle is a big part of my life story and I am forever grateful!”

For 100 years and counting, The Cradle has built nurturing families and provided lifelong support to people whose lives have been touched by adoption. Faces of The Cradle is a celebration of their stories. Meet more of the people who make what we do possible and all the more meaningful.


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