When Ali Trampe was a child in North St. Paul, she fell asleep at night looking at her baby book, which her adoptive mother meticulously compiled to tell the story of a girl born in the middle of a Guatemalan earthquake.
She acknowledges her upbringing this way:
“I’m very at peace with how my life began. My parents made sure I never felt that I was anybody but their own child. I know how lucky I am to have the parents and the family I do.”
Now, as 41-year-old Ali Adsit of White Bear Lake, she is board vice chairwoman of EVOLVE Adoption and Family Services, successor to the Stillwater agency her adoptive father helped start a year after her adoption. She will tell her story at EVOLVE’s fundraiser and 40th anniversary celebration in Minneapolis on Oct. 27.
“I think my adoption is a good story,” she said, acknowledging that many don’t turn out as well.
Adsit was rescued on Feb. 4, 1976, from a mountain of rubble after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Guatemala that killed 23,000 people. Rescue workers heard her crying and found her with the umbilical cord and placenta still attached.
She was taken to the home of a Minnesota nurse living in Guatemala, Ramona Nystrom, who knew about a new east metro adoption agency — HOPE International Family Services — co-founded by Ted Trampe, and called it to say an infant girl might be available.
Ted and Carmen Trampe traveled to Guatemala, where they spent five weeks as baby Ali gained weight before bringing her home.
HOPE is now EVOLVE, the metrowide agency Adsit serves.
Looking back, she remembers that her parents never hid her adoption from her. The Trampe family spent so much time with other adoptive families, she said, that “I grew up thinking all kids were adopted.”
A few years after they adopted Ali, the Trampes adopted a Guatemalan boy, Nicholas, now 38. Ali then had a brother from her home country.
By 2008, Guatemala had become the No. 1 country for American adoptions, but that status quickly faded because of concerns over human trafficking. Adoptions from that country now are prohibited, said Jackie Craig, EVOLVE’s chief operating officer.
Carmen Trampe said the baby book she compiled for her daughter helped her understand her roots.
“It was very special in the way she came to us,” Carmen said of Ali. “That book was her beginnings, her heritage of where she came from. I wouldn’t trade Ali and Nick for anything. We are so blessed.”
And Ted Trampe, a retired engineer, said that without them, “There would be a big hole in our life.”
Adsit is patient coordinator for a Vadnais Heights dentist and has been married to Dan Adsit for 20 years. They have two daughters, Kaitlin, 18, who attends the University of Minnesota and MaKenna, 14, a student at St. Croix Lutheran High School.
Her advice to parents thinking of adopting?
“Just love a child unconditionally first and foremost. There’s no judgment that should come with that.”