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From “Greek Wedding” to “Instant Mom”

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2013 | Book Reviews |

“Instant Mom” Shares the Foster Adoption Journey of “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” Star


Nia Vardalos is best known for writing and starring in the hit film, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”  In her new book, “Instant Mom,” she shares the journey she and her husband, actor Ian Gomez, took when they decided to pursue adopting a child from the foster care system.  

Vardalos leads up to the life-changing decision to adopt by beginning her story with the importance of her Greek heritage, her lifelong love of acting, and her early attempts to break into the profession.  She shares about the low points she faced in her career when she and Gomez moved to Los Angeles.  It was years of rejection and no work that ended up serving as the catalyst that caused her to write her one-woman stage show, which was the precursor to her hit film. 

As is to be expected, her accounts are humorous, but despite her embarrassing anecdotes and self-deprecating one-liners, her tenacious spirit, sense of optimism, and deep love of family shine through.

In fact, it is these things that seemed to guide her through the long and difficult years she and Gomez spent trying to start a family.  Despite a skyrocketing career, she and her husband experienced continual disappointment as Vardalos underwent many unsuccessful rounds of in vitro fertilization.  She shares how both the physical and emotional toll of trying to start a family overshadowed much of the success she was experiencing in her career.

While Vardalos finally accepted she would not be able to have a child naturally, her deep resolve that she was meant to be a mother remained unwavering.  After looking into other adoption avenues, she and Gomez began researching the process of adopting a child through the foster care system in 2007.  Within a year, they welcomed a daughter into their family. 

The adoption process was not without its own set of emotional ups and downs.  However, Vardalos is adamant about three things: the steps in the process were purposeful, the people who helped navigate the system were invaluable, and meeting her daughter – and bringing her home – was worth every high and low along the way.

Her humor never waning, Vardalos is honest and candid as she shares about the transition she and Gomez faced when they welcomed home their little girl.  While the connection they felt with her was instantaneous, all three of them still had to get to know each other – and adopting a toddler gave them a steep learning curve. 

But, as is often the case with challenging transitions, personal desire and resolve, as well as the support of family and friends, helped the couple and their new daughter grow into the tight-knit family unit Vardalos always desired to have.   

“Instant Mom” is both an entertaining and informative read.  Vardalos is a fund of knowledge, and her book is both a personal and unintimidating way to learn more about foster adoption.  Her personal story is peppered with definitions, explanations, and actual nitty-gritty details of the adoption process; the book even includes a “How-to-Adopt Appendix” with questions and answers.  

Additionally, “Instant Mom” highlights the positives of foster adoption.  As Vardalos herself points out, we often associate foster care, foster parents, and foster kids with things we’ve learned from negative news stories or bad television movies that aren’t a true reflection of the system as a whole – or the thousands of children in need of forever homes.  “Instant Mom” is not only a helpful resource, but also a delightful example of the joy that can result in adopting a child through the foster care system.   

Her own daughter now eight, Vardalos continues to speak for adoption advocacy, and works with National Adoption Day.  She also spoke at the annual conference of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys held in San Diego this April. 

If you have further questions regarding foster adoption in Virginia, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation.