A Heartfelt Journey to Motherhood: Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos

Insant_MomWhen I saw the call-out for parent bloggers to review Nia Vardalos’s book, Instant Mom, I jumped at the chance. Sure, I am a fan of her writing her way to Hollywood. And yes, I love that she is a Canadian girl. The real reason I wanted to read her book on finding her daughter was because her and husband, Ian, adopted through the US Foster Care system. As a former foster kid myself, I was intrigued.

Being very tenacious and assertive in all aspects of her life, Nia writes, “ I just never accepted the word “no.” The fact that I’m a working actress and writer is simply because I am incredibly stubborn.”

This memoir about her 10-year path to her daughter is raw and honest with a hint of her genuine humour. Before she was known for her role as the Greek Bride, Nia wanted to be a mom.  While her career soared, at home the treatments to get pregnant and the multiple miscarriages became roadblocks to motherhood. Her search for her child is similar to many moms-to-be around the world. While going through the experience of adopting, Nia pondered whether to be an adoption spokesperson or a blabbermouth. A social worker told her point blank, “We’ve been waiting for a longtime for someone like you.”

Nia reveals so many vivid moments, like finding out about her Oscar nomination for My Big Fat Greek Wedding while on route to the fertility clinic for yet another treatment. Her body was bloated with all the fertility drugs that were needed for the course.  Within the pages, she breaks the wall of infertility silence that many women hide. “Infertility has taken my confidence, drained the joy from me.” She reveals.

After attempting the various ways to have a baby, Nia learned about adopting through Foster Care in the US. By way of a connection through Rosie O’Donnell, she found out that there are as many prospective parents out there as there are adoptable children.  In fact, there are over 500,00 kids in Foster Care in the US., and over 129,000 of them are legally ready to be adopted.  The book gives many answers to tough questions about fos-adopt. The sobering fact is that there are many kids who eventually age out of the foster care system without a family to call their own.

Instant is such a poignant title as you read this book. The decade path to being a mom,then, whammo, she has 14 hours to prepare for her daughter to come home. In the first chapter, titled ‘Birth’, she writes about the moment she felt her heart beating with her daughter’s.

Nia talks about her marriage to Ian Gomez and how the Hollywood life and fatherhood has been for him. Not having family in LA made it challenging for her until she built her Core of friends. As her best friend, Kathy Greenwood, told her on the phone, “Giving birth is not what makes you a mom.” For Ian, after their daughter being home for a few days, had the realization that she is exactly who the two of them would of made.

Nia writes in the present tense, which makes the new mom moments very real and relatable. They are rich in detail, from sleep-deprived days, co-sleeping, weaning bottles and raising a daughter in LA. She does not like the term ‘adoptive mom’ because,  ‘once you’ve wiped a butt, you’re a mom.’ Every child comes with it’s own take on the world and challenges. An innocent child just needs love.

“ The fear of the unknown can be a powerful deterrent from anyone adopting.  Again, I am not suggesting parenthood is for everyone, so if you feel it’s not for you, I agree your life will also be wonderful without kids. But if fear is stopping you, please don’t let it.” Says Nia.

She also includes an informative resource section at the back of the book on how to adopt.

As a former foster kid, I can go on and on about this book. Proceeds from this book will go to charities who help kids get adopted.  It is a fascinating read as a gift to yourself, or anyone, regardless of being a parent or not. Nia does write about that one time John Corbett walks into a bar…


Stay tuned to this blog next week when I share my interview with Nia. We chatted about kids, Hollywood and more!

Daring Myself as an Instant Mom



I lay my hands on my kitchen table and stretch them out in effort to calm the shaking. I stare at my arsenal: a water with a straw, three pens, a pad of writing paper, Index cards with my questions written in Sharpie marker, my recorder aimed at my phone and spare questions written in bold pen sits the farthest away.

I wonder, ‘ How did I get here?’

The time moves fast to 9:18 am. My heart leaps into my throat. I am about to interview one of my favorite writers and actresses, Nia Vardalos. I have been taking more chances in my life since turning 39 last October. My mom did not reach that birthday. I vowed I would do more things that she would have wanted me to do.

So, I saw the tweet from Nia asking for parenting bloggers who may want to review her upcoming book, Instant Mom.

I have pared down my book reviews for my blog to books that are only of interest to me.  This one really peaked my interest – Nia and her husband adopted a young girl from Foster Care.  I immediately contacted her publisher in Canada with hopes to get a book and a potential interview. Never did I imagine my wish would be granted, and a phone interview is about to take place.

Her title alone, Instant Mom, is a phrase I can relate. I was told I could not get pregnant due to medical issues. Two children later, I keep parenting by-the-seat-of-my-heart.

I have a confession. I entered the Canadian Foster Care system when I was sixteen years old. I went through 5 group and private foster homes until my moms’ best friend from university sought out to be my foster mom, permanently.  I never have spoke publicly about it until now. Judy was the best thing that ever happened to me after my mom died.

I saw many unwanted kids in those group homes. I tried my best to show gratitude to the world as I unraveled the dark 6 years after my mom died until Judy saved me.  It means a lot to me that a celebrity couple would be united with their child through foster care.  I could not keep quiet of my yearning to tell Nia how much it meant from this former foster kid.

If I told myself a year ago that I would be here, I would not have believed myself. Today, I am delightfully nervous.

My phone rings and springs me out of my dream bubble. I poise my finger over the record button of the recorder, ready. The Call Display says Blocked. Of course it is.

“Hello. This is Danielle,” I shakily say.

“Hi Danielle. It’s Nia.” Wow, I thought, no ‘people.’ (a team of  assistants, PR people and more)  It is her, calling me.

And we are off and running.

Stay tuned to this blog for the book review and the in-depth interview about Instant Mom and more over the next two weeks.