Posts Tagged ‘adoption reunions’

August 2018 visit

Saturday, September 1st, 2018


In August, we met with Olivia’s birth family in Panajachel. As usual, we began our visit with prayers in the Catholic church. Olivia’s mother brings candles and blesses each of us. This year, she said special prayers for my father, who had died in July.
(I post photos of my children’s families “from the back” to protect their privacy.)


An adoptive mom who is adopted reviews Mamalita and writes about searching

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

I encounter many people involved in adoption, but rarely do I meet an adoptive mother who is herself adopted. Meika Rouda writes from that unique perspective. Her review of Mamalita appeared this week on Here’s a short excerpt:

I usually don’t relate to adoption books because the narrators come off as whiny or like victims or the point of view is from some doctor or professor who studies adoption but has no first-hand experience. I rarely find someone I am rooting for. But I am happy to say Jessica’s book is of a different breed. The book is moving and smart and reads more like a thriller than a memoir.

Meika loved the book, and I’m grateful for the review. But I’m also posting the link because I enjoy Meika’s incredibly engaging writing style, and think you will, too.

Scroll through all of Meika’s postings for insight into her experience as an adoptive mom and adoptee. My favorite is dated May 31, 2011, where she discusses finding her birth mother through Google. As Meika writes, the process of searching for birth family has become simple, but the emotional impact of reunion remains.

I found my birthmom on Google the other day. It was not the first time I had Googled her but it was the first time anything came up. It was her wedding announcement published in a Pittsburgh paper 35 years ago, a few years after I had been born and given up for adoption.

The more I looked the more I discovered, including the names of her four children – my half siblings. So I Googled them and found their profiles on Facebook, their smiling faces posing with friends, their eyes the same as mine. I realized I could “friend” them and wondered what it would feel like to get an invitation from someone you don’t know but who looks like you. I was pretty sure I was a secret to them.


I had just exposed the majority of her life in one 10-minute Google binge. It was the first time in my life that she became a very real person with a job, a family, a home –and not some romantic character whose narrative I had composed in my mind. She became someone I could know.

Read the entire post to discover Meika’s response to her discovery. It may surprise you.



Monday, August 16th, 2010

Other adoptive parents and I talk a lot about all the reasons why a trip back to Guatemala benefits our children. But as I visit places in-country with my friend and fellow adoptive mom, Kallie, I see how much other people benefit as well.

Us, as adoptive parents, for one. Nothing allows someone to process an experience like going back to where it happened. Our children’s caregivers, for another. To see that the babies they cared for and loved have grown up to become healthy, happy children is a powerful and moving experience for each of them.

One of the first things Kallie did with Maya when they arrived in Antigua was visit the hogar where Maya lived as an infant. Like the Guatemala City hotel lobby is for me, the hogar playroom is for Kallie: the first place she held her daughter in her arms. That specific location is a place no mother, or father, is ever likely to forget.

When Olivia and I lived in Antigua, we had a wonderful ninera, or babysitter, who took care of Olivia when I went into the capital to investigate our adoption. After we left, Yoli moved on to take care of Maya during the hours when Kallie worked. Yoli and her kids were like family. They have never forgotten us or our children.

A few days ago, we experienced a marvelous reunion with Yoli and her children, who, six years ago, were around the age Olivia is now. Kallie and I hardly recognized them: One of Yoli’s daughters is married with children, studying to become a chef. Another hopes to become a teacher.  Her son, our girls’ playmate, plans to become an architect. (He is the handsome boy in the photos above and below, now the handsome young man.)

Yoli’s eldest daughter, engaged to be married, brought along nail polish. As we drank coffee and ate cake, she gave manicures to the little girls and to Kallie and me (rainbow with flowers and gold sparkles, respectively).  

Before we said goodbye to our old friends and ended our memorable reunion, Yoli showed us the photos she still carries with her everywhere: pictures of our babies.