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Instant Mom Hardcover – April 2, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 264 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

With her love of family fully on display in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the movie she wrote and starred in, it’s no surprise Vardalos had always wanted to be a mother. After 10 agonizing years undergoing fertility treatment, she and her husband looked into adoption, a process with its own ups and downs. Finally, with only 14 hours’ notice, Vardalos was the mother of a three-year-old girl. The years enduring the well-meaning inquiries of friends, mean-spirited jibes of insensitive women, and probing of Hollywood reporters were over. Now all she had to figure out was how to mother a preschooler with a very well-developed personality and cope with her own early insecurities about the “match.” Vardalos offers candor, humor, and poignancy in her account of adoption and parenthood as she pokes fun at parenting memoirs but delivers on emotional impact. Readers can feel the tension between desire to share her joy and good fortune and wish to maintain her child’s privacy. Vardalos, who has become a spokesperson for adoption, offers helpful information on the process as well as encouragement to prospective adoptive parents. --Vanessa Bush

Review

“Laugh-out-loud and painful-in-the-shins.…The author holds nothing back as she chronicles the years leading up to the adoption.” (Kirkus)

“I expected to laugh. I didn’t expect to cry. And I certainly didn’t expect to laugh and cry on the same page. Instant Mom is for anyone whose life plan didn’t follow the path they anticipated, and shows us that unexpected obstacles can lead to beautiful rewards.” (Rachel Dratch, author of Girl Walks Into a Bar)

“Funny, smart,and full of grounded wisdom that shines much-needed light on adoption I couldn’t stop reading this hilarious and gripping rollercoaster of a story. Nia is an authentic, rocking female role model in so many ways...and being an instant mom is just one of them.” (Jewel)

An instant classic. Refreshingly candid for all parents-plus anyone considering adoption.(I was adopted!) We know Nia is many things: writer, actress, director, musical theaterlover! Here, though, you learn she is a mom first. Pure, beautiful honesty.” (Kristin Chenoweth)

“Readers can feel the tension between desire to share her joy and good fortune and wish to maintain her child’s privacy. Vardalos offers candor, humor, and poignancy in her account of adoption and parenthood as she pokes fun at parenting memoirs but delivers on emotional impact.” (Booklist)

“If you have ever considered bringing a child who isn’t an infant into your family, it’s the book you’ll want to read. And if you just enjoy a good, honest memoir, it’s the book for you, too.” (New York Times’ Motherlode Blog)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062231839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062231833
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Yeager on April 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As the author points out, usually it's the horrific foster and foster/adopt stories that are portrayed in the media. I'm a foster parent who has also adopted from foster care and I wholeheartedly recommend that potential parents look into foster adoption. Her book was funny and interesting and I loved the overall message that adopting from foster care is and should be a viable option for families.

I particularly liked that she talked about her daughter's struggles and behavior problems when she first came home but that over time these behaviors decreased. These behaviors tend to scare prospective parents off, but they almost always get better with patience and loving care. The only thing I disagree with is her statement that love cures every behavior/psychological problem. This is simply not true. Some children will always have severe problems and struggles no matter how much love they get. However, that's rare, and frankly, can happen with biological children or children adopted domestically/internationally.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was honest, funny and true to life. We,too, adopted our children through the US foster system after a long struggle with many different alternative options. It was the right choice for us and made us "instant" and grateful parents to two beautiful children. It is an option that more families should know about and hopefully this book will help to spread the word!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I truly enjoyed this book.....it was written with wry humor, yet shone with the love and awe the author and her husband have for their daughter. I appreciate the honesty, and while the early struggles with attachment may have been too subtle for many to really note unless you have btdt THEY WERE THERE (can you tell I was a little irritated with some press reports of other adoptive moms feeling this was misleading in implying the ease with which the family came together).

I have four children adopted from foster care, and found her story to be very accurate. No child adopted from care comes with no trauma to heal from, just as no child (bio or adopted) comes with guarantees. Nia and her husband did whatever it took to help their child heal (sleeping arrangements, therapy, seeking to understand the pain and fear behind the behaviors, etc). Yes, there ARE some children in care whose trauma is beyond the average one of us to manage, but there are far more that simply DO just need a patient, loving home.

I am grateful to have someone shine a light on the GOOD side of foster care. Thank you, Nia!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Vardalos was so engaging in the beginning of this book. She's describing such a vulnerable time in her life and I was right there with her (sometimes literally as I've gone through a few of the same things). I loved her moments of humor, hope and forgiveness during her "pursuit of motherhood." She's giving a voice to the determined infertile parents trying to stay above water, which is nice.

After their adoption is final, Vardalos gets a bit self-congratulatory about her and her husband's parenting choices. She also describes one too many of the experiences her family and friends have with their new child. It's nice, but it's not exactly compelling reading. Thank goodness for a few Hollywood stories at the end that were too weird to not be true. Funny.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first half of the book is what I expected from the entire book: a look into the struggles of someone who as dealt with infertility, has decided biological children are not in the cards, and begins the process of adoption. It was heartfelt with a sense of serendipity, and something that I can relate to, going through the infertility to fost-adopt route. If the rest of the book had read the same, I would be giving a 5 star-plus review. However, the second half is really choppy, describing her life as a mom, stories of her dogs, and how she doesn't want her daughter to be a spoiled L.A. child. Basically, it is like sitting in a mom's group listening to the same "my child did this silly thing, how precious is she?" story page after page. I wish she had spent more time writing as she did in the first half. The Q and A section in the back reads like an adoption website, with none of the warmth from the rest of the story. In particular, it leaves the time schedule of the process up to the "motivation of the prospective parents", which doesn't really take into consideration some of the stalls that come with adopting from the system. In all, had she spent more time writing about her journey through adopting through the state, and a little less of mommy story time, this book would have been amazing.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished Nia's book. I know Nia, and I've never seen this side of her. She's always been honest, true and funny, but here she opens up her heart and let's it all come out. Warts, zits and all.

The book starts out with Nia telling us about her life with her family, her art, her burgeoning career as an actress. She tells us about her struggles with being accepted for who she is and not who others want her to be. She tells magical stories about getting into The Second City as a resident company member, meeting Ian Gomez, her husband-to-be there, falling in love, finding her way artistically.

Then the dozen attempts at In Vitro Fertilization.

Stuff gets real there. Funny, but real.

It's a quick, compelling and beautiful read.
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