The birth mother search continues …
Last week I talked about the journey I’ve been on with my son, Jac. Since Jac was about 6 years old, he’s been asking about his birth mother. Now that he’s 15, and after another wonderful adventure in Guatemala this summer, it seems the birth mother search is back on. As I said last week, much of our search has hinged on the advice of a shaman.

You can find the previous blog post/newsletter here in case you didn’t have an opportunity to read it. 

Or read on to hear about our continuing journey …
Before we left for Guatemala, Jac and I both were very anxious about seeing the shaman again. I assured Jac many times that no matter the outcome of our visit with the shaman, I would be there for him. If we decided to look for his birth mother, I promised him I’d do everything in my power to find her, embrace her and do whatever it takes to have a relationship with her, for as long as Jac is willing. If the shaman were to tell us that she’s not ready for that, I committed to listening, being Jac’s rock and supporting the direction he chooses to go, no matter what. 
During these tumultuous times politically, it seems especially important to me to be the mama bear, the rock. Jac feels threatened right now as a citizen of the US (because of all the racism and divisiveness in our country that seems to be unfolding at light speed) and embarking on this serious journey in Guatemala had him feeling very anxious. We discussed all of this on so many occasions – it was just gut wrenching. 

He was fearful of re-entering the country and being turned away. He was fearful of what the shaman would tell him about his birth family. He was fearful of how this next step would impact me. He had a lot going on in his mind and heart so as hard as it is to watch my son agonize over all his thoughts and fears, I knew my job was to listen and support.

So, back to our recent trip … we had yet another amazing adventure in Guatemala where, once again, we enjoyed many fun activities — climbed Pacaya again, spent hours walking around Antigua, fed several destitute folks, practiced our Spanish, ate at Jac’s favorite restaurant (for literally every single meal – well. I got to pick ONCE!), and saw the shaman. But honestly, this time around I tried to keep the trip low key, so Jac and I would have plenty of time to unpack our feelings both before and after the visit with the shaman. 
Before we left the US, we had been in touch with the shaman. She asked us to meditate for 10 days prior to our visit with her and to wear all white to the ceremony. My meditations were mostly about Jac – I wanted him to find peace and a sense of security, regardless of the outcome. I wanted him to know he’s loved and his desires will be honored, no matter the outcome. I wanted Jac have a deep sense of belonging, to his adoptive family as well as to his Mayan heritage. I wanted Jac to be proud of his heritage, as well as the country he lives in, regardless of anything that happened on the trip. 
I also meditated on Jac’s birth mother. I sent her much love and good energy. I hoped that she was healthy, happy and secure. I prayed that she would know that she is loved and welcomed into our lives – whenever the time is right. I sent her love and light and peace, no matter the outcome.
And on August 9, 2019, when Jac was only 4 days away from turning 15 years old, Jac, JJ (our guide) and I traveled to Iximche to be amongst the temples of his ancestors, to reconnect with the energy of those that preceded him in this life, and to once again, participate in a shaman ritual. When we arrived, the shaman remembered us well and greeted us with warm hugs and big smiles. She had already prepared the fire knowing we were still in search of answers.As in years past, we asked questions and tossed candles into the fire. The shaman prayed in her native tongue to the Mayan spirits and Christian deities. She invoked mother earth as well as all the power of the sacred temples of Jac’s Mayan heritage. She stirred the fire, read the signs and told us what she believed the spirits were trying to say. It was a very emotional experience yet every single answer seemed very clear.
When our fire burned out after a couple of hours, the shaman implored us to also consult the red beans and crystals. Of course we would never say no to another ceremony – it’s why we were here. She directed us to a private setting where we could ask more intimate questions about what we wanted out of life. She asked about our beliefs, fears and desires. 
With love, compassion and kindness, she answered all our questions and even explained a dream that Jac had had the night before our visit with her. It was an amazing several hours spent in deep meditation and prayer in search of one thing, Jac’s birth family — and most importantly, his birth mother.
There is no need to get into all the details but we were told now is the time to search for Jac’s birth family, a path is open for us. However, the shaman made it very clear that Jac has some work to do. She explained that he needs to find forgiveness before we reconnect with his birth family. She said he is fearful and has a lot of resentment, understandably so. And until he works out some of the deep feelings he has, the finding will be very difficult.
We have not reached out to a searcher as of this writing but we have continued to talk about when and how to proceed. Jac, although excited that he has an answer, is also reluctant for many reasons that are his to explain if he chooses. 
Thank you all so much for listening, it means the world to me. Leading up to our trip to Guatemala was one of the most emotionally intense few weeks of my life. Watching my beautiful boy worry and fret over possible outcomes with the shaman hurt my heart deeply. And having him worry about re-entry into the US infuriated me. But all went well. Now I’m hoping for continued positive conversations, much healing, and connecting more deeply with my boy. 
Wish us peace in the coming weeks and success on our journey. I’ll keep you posted how it all turns out!
If you have any thoughts, I’d be thrilled to hear them. Feel free to reach out via email, text or comment on any of the blog posts about our journey here! I love what I do in the world of adoption and I love the connection it brings to so many of you who share my fears, challenges and triumphs. I appreciate you all so much!

And when you are ready to explore the world with your family, please schedule a 30-minute Discovery Session with me at I’d LOVE to help you plan a Heritage Journey that connects your family more deeply as well as all of you to your child’s birth country! 
My best to you all,


Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, a writer, a Certified Professional Coach, and the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel began by designing Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of those Heritage Journeys has always been on deepening family connections, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Motherland Travel also uses the philosophies of Transformative Travel for designing family trips with purpose – building rich connections, with each other and the world! Read more about her here >>

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