By: Meika Rouda
With two young children, I rarely have time to read so when I do I want it to be good and when it is great I want to tell people about it. I recently finished the book Mamalita by Jessica O’Dwyer. It is a memoir about her experience adopting her daughter in Guatemala. 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. I genuinely found myself turning each page wanting to know what was going to happen. The difficulties Jessica and her husband faced in the process of adoption, the paperwork, the bureaucracy, the shady notorios and adoption facilitator makes you realize the mountains parents are willing to climb for their children. Jessica ended up living in Guatemala and taking care of her daughter for 6 months until the paperwork was finalized. A triumph for her to be living in a third world country, speaking a foreign language, and caring for a young baby on her own without the help of her husband. Her honesty is refreshing –from admitting her daughter had trouble bonding with her in the beginning, to confessing her own trials as a mother and the helplessness she felt dealing with a broken system in a foreign country. It is a book I would highly recommend to anyone interested in or familiar with adoption, experiencing IVF, or conceiving naturally, same sex parents and surrogates because ultimately a mother’s love is great and vast and not something to be messed with. In the end what makes us a mother are the lengths we go for our children, the depth of our love, and the fact that family is precious and worth fighting for. Thank you Jessica for your book! Your story transcends adoption and is a great read for any parent or parent to be. And best of all, I think I like adoption memoirs so if anyone has a favorite let me know.