Senior from Guatemala feels at home at New Trier

Dellamore, adopted at 8 months old by a local family has thrived in the Northshore

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Dellamore

Dellamore (left) poses in a selfie with her adoptive mom, Nancy (right). Dellamore was adopted at 8 months old by a white family of 4

Maria Dellamore, a senior at New Trier Highschool is seemed to be a “typical northshore student,” with friends, who participates in extracurriculars while keeping up her schoolwork, however, unlike most students at New Trier, she is adopted by a family of a different race. 

Dellamore, born in Guatemala, was adopted when she was 8 months old by a white family of 4, Nancy (mother), Jack (father), and their two biological sons John and Steve Dellamore.

“We brought back a number of souvenirs from the country [Guatemala], and I hung several pictures of Guatemalan young girls in her room, so that she would feel at home. We were very proud to have another culture included in our family,” said Mrs. Dellamore        

I’ve always felt comfortable at school. No one has bullied me about my race nor did anyone make fun of it.”

— Dellamore

Dellamore doesn’t specifically remember being told she was adopted since it was never really a conversation, but her parents prepared for months, learning the challenges of bonding with an adopted child, with another set of requirements for adopting from a different ethnic group.

Children adopted during infancy, like Maria, attach to and bond with their primary care-giver. Adjusting to their new family at a young age serves as an advantage since their early development will help them build strong relationships with their parents and possible siblings.

“At the time we told the boys, John was 9 and Steve was 6. They were okay with the news, the only stipulation that Steve had was that, “this girl was not allowed to bring anything pink into their bedroom.” It was ironic, when Maria was about four, she had somewhat moved into their room, she had a pink lamp, pink pajamas, a robe and a whole menagerie of dolls and stuffed animals, all at the foot of Steve’s bed!” said Mrs. Dellamore.

Maria has always had a very strong relationship with her brothers, John and Steve. They have been through a lot with each other and have put in effort since childhood to create a special bond with their sister.

“When John went off to college, I was devastated, he was the sweetest boy ever and I never wanted him to change.  Once John went off to college, Steven was my best friend. He has a very funny personality and a pure heart,” said Maria. 

John said he was very excited when Maria came to live with them, since it felt like a complete family. Just like the rest of the family, he felt very honored and grateful to have such a wonderful new member. 

“I think Maria taught me the importance of family. When Maria came to us, she made the house feel a lot younger and when I left for school, I always felt a special attachment to home when I would ask about her progress in school, music and sports. I am not sure I would have been as invested if it were not for Maria and for that I am very thankful,” said John. 

Maria is just as loved at school as she is at home. Alexis Eng, one of Maria’s friends, loves that whenever they are with each other, there is never a dull moment.

“I have met Maria’s parents and I love them. When I first met them, they were so welcoming and super sweet. They treat her with unconditional love as if she’s their actual birth daughter,” said Eng.

According to the Adoption History Project done by the University of Oregon, statistics on adoption show that more people are choosing adoption more than ever before. The typical worry of whether the bond will be the same as a biological child, is proven to be wrong with the Dellamore family. 

“Jack and I felt the exact same way. The minute we held Maria, there was zero difference between how we felt about John and Steve and Maria. I value the relationship I have with Maria, because she is my daughter. She has been a pure joy,” said Mrs. Dellamore. 

Throughout Maria’s life, she feels as though she is just another student, sibling, daughter, friend, she tries to read about Guatemalan traditions. 

“I wish that people knew that I’m not uncomfortable with being a different race than my family. I feel like being adopted with a different race doesn’t affect me at all. It doesn’t make my life better or worse. I live a very normal life and I’m very happy that I was adopted by a loving family,” said Maria.