On Being Adopted

One of my all-time favorite memories is not one memory, persay, but a series of the same brand of memory that ran in my life for many years:

My soon-to-be Dad at 12 years old (and on) never calling me his stepdaughter. 

That’s it, that’s the memory. I guess the flip to that — to him NOT calling me his stepdaughter — is that he proudly called me his daughter even before he made the move to adopt me (which he did a few years later). 

The *proudly* bit being one of the most important bits to this particular story I’m telling today on my Dad’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dad! 

When you feel someone’s decision ~ their devotion ~ it changes everything.

I’m 45, and to this day, can feel what a mark this, his love shown in this particular way, in those pre-teen years, left on me. 

Not just knowing or seeing that you have love or family intellectually or on paper, but *feeling* that you’re a part of something is not just a gift given one time, but it’s where a rebirth or life begins for all of us, no matter if we’re a kid or an adult. 

Each year, this week also always beautifully happens to bring my company/work anni [MGI is 18 years old this week].

As I write this, in honor of my Dad, I must say this about leaving your mark (“branding”, part of my chosen work, as I’ve learned over the last 18 years is so much more, special or better than the word implies) ~ this entire life is about leaving a mark in the way we express values inside the way we communicate with and to others (to baristas, cashiers, other strangers, clients, daughters, sons, fathers or mothers etc), in the way we open and honestly tell the story of humanity (ours in particular, but others’ stories too, especially those with no voice), how consistently we treat or show UP [and UP] for people when others aren’t watching and how in integrity we are with what we think, do and say in both private and public time.

In the business and non-business world, we complicate things, but as I’ve learned from Papo (our name/endearment for him since grandkids arrived), it’s all about relationship…and, as I’ve folded into this business-turned-higher calling over the last six years or so, helping women, not just create a ‘brand identity’ that makes people feel like they’ve known her forever, but helping us get to know ourselves spiritually even more deeply through nature and the (super) natural and via the generosity felt through service, so everything in our lives works or ticks even more smoothly or elegantly, is as vital). 

If we can think of growth in any one part of our lives this way…that it’s about relating and doing the work it takes to get to know both ourselves *and* that special someone in front of us, this thing we call success or happiness or peace will always be ours (it was never not ours).

Though so much has changed in our family, one thing will never change and that’s the love I have for how my identity, expressed and felt spiritually, didn’t begin with a name, but with my Dad’s family love. 

Today, I celebrate his resilient heart, fun/light-hearted ways and how we are continuing to get to know the new people who have emerged in recent years in equally new ways! 

Boy (my original last name) do fathers/dads/papas/papos mean so very much…xo.

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,




Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur

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