How An American Learned to Love the World Cup

Watching the World Cup brings back so many memories of visiting my family and being exposed to new cultures. I was in Central America for the ’98 and ’02 tournaments. Growing up as an American we knew about the World Cup, but experiencing it was something completely different.

In 1998, I was in Panama and every business that you walked into had a game on. The broadcasters were so energetic and would scream GOAL until they ran out of breath, and then do it again. I remember watching the days replays and being blown away with the incredible goals that were scored.

I returned home before the end of the tournament and was shocked to find that the American stations were not showing the games. Thankfully the finals were broadcast, but even then the atmosphere was completely different. I was at Lacrosse camp and watched with all the other American teenagers attending. I felt like we were watching it just because it was the World Cup, not because we loved the game. It would take another four years before I learned how to really watch a soccer game .

In 2002, I was in Costa Rica and they had made it into the World Cup. It seemed like the entire country had World Cup fever. On every conner, street vendors had carts stuffed full of Costa Rican flags, shirts, hats, wrist bands, whistles, horns, and anything else they could print the flag on. That year the Costa Ricans were facing the extremely dangerous Brazil. My sister invited a couple of friends over to watch the game.

The “Ticos” where not favored to win, but you couldn’t tell that from the way they cheered. Every time the ball was on the Brazilian side they screamed at the TV, trying to will the ball into the goal. Brazil went up 3-0 and things didn’t look good. Then out of no where Costa Rica scored two. The country went crazy. You could hear everyone cheering, cars honking in the street and fireworks in the distance. They ended up being eliminated, but seeing how they got so into the game left a lasting impression on me.

Today I have a new appreciation and love for the game. I admire the skill and artistry the world’s best players bring to this tournament. I love the way each country gets so into it. I wish that Americans could experience the game the same way I did. We would be great fans. If we brought the same passion and intensity that we have for American Football to Soccer, we would go far.

Video From My Interview With My Parents About My Adoption: Enjoy!

On Sunday I interviewed my parents about what they went through to adopt me. They shared how they were just beginning the adoption process when a mysterious phone call changed their lives forever.

Please feel free to leave questions or comments. We have already received a few and we will do our best to answer all of them!

Join Our Journey

Its been quiet on the blog recently, but there has been a lot going on behind the scenes. We are making progress with the book. I can’t say anything right now, but we may have some major announcements in the coming months.

As we move closer to publication, we invite you to be part of our journey by joining our monthly newsletter. Every month we will be sharing our thoughts and experiences about our story as well as updating you about news, special events and the book.

Thank you so much for all of your support. It means a lot to us. If you have any questions or problems feel free to email Nelson/Roberto at:

Embracing Ana, monthly email from us to you.
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Our Family Celebrates 12 Years Since We Were Reunited

If you are unable to see the video click here.

Yesterday, 12 years ago our family was reunited for the first time. It was an incredible experience and to celebrate we did an online video and chat. It was a lot of fun and it was great to hear everyone share their experiences.

For those of you who could not stay for the entire show, or were unable to join us, we recorded the whole thing. It is about 2 hours long but I bookmarked each section to make it easier for people to watch in parts.

We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback because we are thinking about doing it again.

Live Chat Celebrating 12 Years

12 Years and Counting!

This Sunday, December 20th it will be 12 years since our family was reunited. To celebrate we are inviting you to join us in a live video chat from Panama. Starting at 6:30pm we will be answering any questions you might have about the story or our experiences. This is a chance for you to meet some of the “characters” from my mother’s upcoming book.

Join us:

You can join the conversation by going to or on our Facebook Page. You can RSVP here. Hope to see you there!

Approaching Your Adoptive Parents About the Search

If you can’t see the video above click here.

I’ve been asked this question a lot recently: “How do I talk to my adoptive parents about looking for my birth parents?”

Obviously this is a sensitive subject and I do my best to give advice based on my experiences. Keep in mind, I never had this talk with my parents. Even though I wasn’t proactive about this, at the time there are things I did that really helped.

1) Treat them the same –  This is probably the easiest thing to do and the most imporant. I think that adoptive parents’ biggest fear is that they are going to lose you; that by finding your birth family, you are going to stop being part of their lives. Everyone who has asked me this question was really aware of this and didn’t want to hurt their adoptive parents. I think by doing the same things as you always do with your adoptive parents they can get over their fear and realize you aren’t going anywhere.

2) Include them – Some parents are more open about this than others, but the more they are a part of the search the easier it might be to deal with. I think a big part of my family getting over its fears was that they went with me and met this new family. As time went on, my adoptive parents got to know them more and it was a lot easier for them.

I also wanted to say something to the adoptive parents out there.

Try to understand this is not about you as parents. You are so important to your adopted child and they don’t want to hurt you. As an adoptee, looking for your birth parents is part of figuring out who you are as a person. I think it’s human nature to resolve unanswered questions, such as where did I come from?

Good luck with your search and if there is anything I can do, or if you have other questions, please feel free to contact me.