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Nia Vardalos on becoming an 'Instant Mom' through adoption

Take Two host Alex Cohen and actress/author Nia Vardalos.
Take Two host Alex Cohen and actress/author Nia Vardalos.
Alex Cohen/KPCC
Take Two host Alex Cohen and actress/author Nia Vardalos.
Nia Vardalos' new book, "Instant Mom."

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Being a parent is never easy, but for many it can be overwhelming, especially when it happens almost overnight.

Actress Nia Vardalos, star of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," chronicles her path to parenthood in her new book, "Instant Mom." She talked to Alex Cohen from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this past weekend. 

Interview Highlights: 

On her struggle to conceive:
"I was in such a funk. I didn't want to take acting jobs, I didn't want to be on camera, it took something that was an accident happened that was so surprising that it knocked me out of my stupor, that comes with fertility drugs. I'm so grateful that that happened, I'm grateful for everything that didn't work, because it lead me to my real daughter." 

On deciding to adopt:
"I can't explain how when Mother Nature poked me in the eyeball over and over again and said, Nope, nope nope, as I was trying to carry a child to term, I realized, I'm supposed to be talking about adoption. I tried everything, I tried infant domestic adoption, we were on a waiting list for China, we were on a waiting list for Greece, and the phone didn't ring with a match for us. Then I found out about American foster care. There are 129,000 kid living in group homes and in loving, loving foster homes, who are legally emancipated. That made a lot of sense to me." 

On how she and her husband met their daughter:
"How we met our daughter was we got a call, we drove to a parking lot, our daughter was almost three years old, living in a loving foster home, and she was in a social worker's arms. As we walked toward her, there were lots of people in the parking lot, she turned around and looked at me. My only thought in eight, nine years of being a parent, was 'Oh, I found you.'" 

On the challenges welcoming an older child into their home:
"This child is eight years old now, but the transitioning of my daughter into my home was not easy, was really challenging. Again, I make fun of Ian and I in the book because we hadn't even changed a diaper and we were handed an almost three-year-old child. When we got the call that we had been matched with her, she came to live with us. She didn't eat or speak that day either, she walked around a lot, she was very curious.

"That night she didn't sleep, of course, at all. An almost three-year-old little girl and she cried through the night. This poor kid let us know that she was really mad. She didn't understand the situation, she didn't know where she was, she didn't know who we were and she fought and kicked and punched her way through the day, through the weeks. It was fantastic to witness, because she was protecting herself ... Within a year an a half, she tested as being ready a year earlier than the age she should have been for Kindergarten."