Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Joe's St. Louis Spotlight: Adopted from Guatemala, Ladue Grad Goes Back Seeking Answers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Joe's St. Louis Spotlight: Adopted from Guatemala, Ladue Grad Goes Back Seeking Answers

Article excerpt

Some high school seniors go to a resort island or Europe when they graduate, or maybe they get a car.

Wendi Medler went to a rural patch of Guatemala and got her history.

"I didn't want to get my hopes up," said Medler, a former Ladue High student who will attend college in California this fall. "But I knew I just had to ask, 'Why?'"

The root to that question goes back most of her 18 years, to when she was 4 years old and living in a foster home in Guatemala.

It was from there that her adoptive parents, John and Tammy Medler, picked her up in 2002 and brought her to St. Louis to join their five other children.

"It was our 13th anniversary, and we were out having dinner ... and we began talking about how so many children still needed homes," said John Medler, a personal injury attorney in Clayton.

And the two were not just talking the talk, for they had already adopted a daughter, Natasha, from Russia a few years before, joining her with their four biological children: Ryan, Kevin, Cody and Sabrina.

"So we decided to adopt another child, but a toddler," he said, then explained. "We had just gotten the last one out of diapers, and we were done with diapers."

After about 18 months of dealing with adoption agencies, the Medlers went to Guatemala to pick up their new addition: Wendi Ester Aju Saguach.

They brought her home right before Christmas 2002, and the bonding didn't take long.

"We were at Eckert's in Belleville to get a Christmas tree, and they played 'Feliz Navidad.' So we all sang along, and we all cried," he said. "It was one of those magical moments."

Following that was 14 more years of moments, magical and otherwise, as Wendi went to school, adapted to her new life and generally lived like any other American student.

When November 2016 rolled around, the family got on Facebook and located their daughter's former foster family, who took her when she was about 2.

"Then we started wondering about finding her birth mother," John Medler said. …

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