All Relative: Defining Diego

All Relative: Defining Diego

Somethin' Else / Sony Music Entertainment

Defining Diego is the story of one Guatemalan adoptee and his mother, a reporter who documented their journey from his earliest steps, as they try to understand how international adoption boomed and busted, and what it all means for families like theirs, with feet in two worlds.

When Laurie Stern set out to adopt a baby from Guatemala in 1999, she thought the process would be pretty straightforward. Lots of people were doing it.

But the adoption was held up just as she went to Guatemala to get her son, Diego. That began a journey of discovery. What unfolds is the story of why international adoption peaked — and then collapsed — in Guatemala. It is also the story of how Diego, now 24, learned to be a Maya man with deep roots both in his birth village and Minnesota, where he still lives.

Now, Diego has questions about his adoption, too — like why tiny Guatemala was such a popular choice for many adoptive parents in the U.S. and Europe in the early 2000s. As one of more than 50,000 Guatemalan adoptees, Diego’s still figuring out what it means to be Guatemalan, American, indigenous Tzutujil, and an adoptee raised by white parents in St. Paul, Minnesota.

At its heart, Defining Diego is a deeply personal narrative: of a mother and son grappling with big questions about identity and health, and the meaning of home and family. Using 20+ years of the family’s archive recordings, we hear Diego grow up — and begin his own journey of self-discovery.

Season 1 of All Relative — known as BioHacked: Family Secrets — focuses on the fertility industry and how the now-adult children of anonymous sperm and egg donors are trying to change the baby business.

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