Adoption and the 2012 Olympics

The Olympic Games make me cry.

Can I get an amen on that? 

The passion.

The struggle.

The stories.

I was serving as a missionary on Temple Square during the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City–all those memories come rushing back every time I see the Olympic rings.

I have loved learning about the Mormon athletes (represent!) and of course the adoption connections.


Shot putter Reese Hoffa’s adoption story had my heart all tingly.

Reunited with his birth mother while in college, Hoffa is an adoption advocate, a member of a transracial family who was adopted when he was 5 from an orphanage in the South. Read every word of that story because it is beautiful. (photo source.)


Dominique Moceanu’s sister was secretly placed for adoption and the story still lingers in my mind.

Dominique was reunited with her biological sister 4 years ago and learned that Jen was placed because she was born without legs. Amazingly, they both grew up to be gymnasts. Such a sad/amazing story. I can’t stop thinking about it, especially about how it was all figured out.


Was gymnast John Orozco adopted?

I have no idea, but man …the world sure wants to know. (Google it; there is so much speculation based on the different skin tones in his family. People are weird.) I don’t know if he is or if he isn’t, but he sure is a cutie. That smile? Have mercy. (photo source.)



John is also the star of the music videos of one of my favorite songs right now.


Kinda my theme song right now.


Oh the 2012 Olympic Games, you’ve been good to us.

Thank you, London!




I {heart} Michael Phelps.

I am not a great swimmer.

I was on the swim team when I was little and I have a couple medals and trophies (dust my shoulder off), but in all honesty, I am not that great in the water.

Recently however, I have been swimming laps at the gym …with a swim cap. (I spend too much money on all this hair to let the chlorine have its way with it.)

I feel that the silver racing stripe down the middle of the cap makes me swim faster and look more legit.

(Forget that it was a total train wreck trying to get it on for the first time. Thank you Facebook friends for your step-by-step instructions while I was struggling in the locker room. Also, should my ears be covered by the cap? I noticed that some Olympic swimmers have them covered and some don’t …and I want to look the part.) 

It’s awkward though …this huge pool and usually only me and one or two other people in it. I always feel badly for the bored lifeguards and wonder if they are critiquing our swimming form. That said, there is something so awesome about being in an almost empty pool. And those flags? They totally make me feel like I am racing Michael Phelps.

Say what you will about Phelps (“He started out slow in The Games”; “He’s lost his edge”; “Too much hype”; etc.) but I think he is spectacular. After all, he is The Greatest Olympian of All Time. You can’t really get better than that, can you?

My good friend, fellow adoptive mama and disability advocate (soon to be PhD!) Christine Anderson, shared Matt Lauer’s amazing interview with Michael Phelps where he talked about swimming being his outlet for coping with ADHD (totally clears my head too) and the depression he sank into after the last Games.

Watch it. You will fall in love with Phelps all over again.

I actually have totally enjoyed all of Phelps’s interviews–especially the ones with the uncomfortable Andrea Kremer.

One evening she was being especially harassing of Phelps after he swam amazingly in a butterfly qualifying heat. (I could watch him swim fly all the live-long day.)

She basically told him that he was like two different people–one that was hungry for the win and the reserved Phelps we saw at the beginning of The Games. I rolled my eyes. He’s in THE OLYMPICS for crying in the night. She kept badgering him about “which Michael was going to show up” (who really knows how to answer that?) and he said to her,

“My swimming does the talking.”



I dig the Michael Phelps swagger. I love the ego. Yes. Please.

After all, I totally pretend I am him when I am swimmin’ my laps all slow twice a week. Maybe next time I will walk out of the pool, wink at the lifeguard and say, “My swimming does the talking.”

I was totally in the 2002 Olympics.

Little known fact: I totally participated in the 2002 Olympic games.

Not as an athlete, as a missionary for my church on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Check out the Olympic rings lit up behind us on the mountain.


My missionary companion during that time was from Canada …and a COMPLETE doll face. We had the best transfer and some of my most choice mission memories and experiences happened during The Games.

Trying to get warm in the mission kitchen under the South Visitors Center after talking with people all day. Yes, those are our gloves on our toes.

 Roommates. We did everything together this transfer.


Salt Lake City was so alive.

Temple Square was packed.

There were so many miracles.

President Hinckley with the Olympic torch.

Elder Maxwell with the Olympic torch.

Apartment building next to Temple Square with flags from around the world.

View of the nightly fireworks at the medal ceremonies from our apartment.


Truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am humbled I got to be part of. It was non-stop chatting with people from around the world …except during the opening ceremonies. I remember Temple Square (I was assigned to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building that night) was seriously a ghost town, like the calm before the storm of awesomeness.

Showing off my figure skating skillz at the of Conference Center.

East Coast missionaries excited for The Games to begin.

Dead tired at the end of the day, wearing our Olympics mission t-shirt. 


We worked so hard and shared our faith with so many people. I honestly don’t know if I have ever worked harder in my life or been more exhausted.

And you know what? It was worth every minute.


Why do Mormons serve missions?