I found this book on one of my mailing lists recently and immediately recognized the name Nia Vardalos. If you don't know the name, you probably remember her film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Having laughed myself silly at how familiar the Greek culture was to me, since I knew a lot of Greek-Americans in Boston, I impulse-bought her memoir.
The book chronicles her efforts to become a parent, whether going through IVF or suffering a miscarriage or finding out that her surrogate had been unable to get pregnant. Then things turn as she finds herself able to adopt a young girl and she learns to cope with life as a parent.
Adoption stories are near to my heart. I have a sister who is a year and twenty days older than me, but since she's been part of our family since she was three days old, I never knew life without her. I remember having a conversation with her son about how he feels towards his step-brother. He said something along the lines of "We're not brothers if we're not blood-related" and I immediately lamented that I couldn't be Aunt Kaki if that's all that counted. As soon as he remembered that I'm his aunt without a blood relation, he conceded that it counted. I also have a 7-year-old in Lowell who calls me Auntie Kaki (his brother isn't that articulate yet) and three Filipino-Cambodian children who do the same. So I'm well aware of how close a family adoption, formal or otherwise, can create.
Nia never makes light of the subject, even some of her experiences border on the hilarious. There are sacred moments in the book, such as when she has a dream about holding her hand out to a little girl with blond streaks in her hair and when, months later, the blond-streaked little girl she just met calls her Mommy. As expected, her huge Greek family has things to say about her adoption of an American child.
The best part of this is that it's non-fiction. I found myself crying in understanding of her pain after only thirty-two pages and getting just as emotional when the adoption was finalized.