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International Adoption - Colombia

For some people it is not as easy as others to adopt. Reaching the decision to adopt was not easy for me; in fact it took me two years to ultimately decide. My husband, Anthony, was much more certain about the adoption decision. From the moment we faced the doctor’s prognosis about having a slim chance of a biological child of our own, Anthony started researching adoption as an alternative. I know many other adoptive families say that they always wanted to adopt or came to the adoption decision quickly and easily. For me, adoption was second best….I wanted to have a child of my “own”. I had not grown up around anyone who had been adopted and had heard the same scary stories other people hear on TV about adoptive families. My mom also kept telling me to keep trying for a biological child and being so close to her made me question my own choices. I found myself moving forward on the adoption process but never completely losing my trepidations and concerns.

This is my story and how I went from feeling sorry for myself and my husband to learning how much love we could give to a beautiful little girl…and how much love she gives us.

 

Last year, we met a family who adopted two children from Colombia. The children were beautiful and loving and I instantly felt an attachment to their story. I also saw a program about Commonwealth Adoptions International (CAI) and Raul Velez, their Colombian adoption program director, on TLC’s Adoption Stories. I began thinking more seriously about adopting from Colombia. Fortunately, CAI just happened to have a seminar close to where we live and we went to find out more. Meeting other adoptive parents and listening to their stories helped me become more enthusiastic about going through the process. A few weeks later we drove to their office in Tampa and had many of our questions answered. We signed the contract with CAI the day after Mother’s Day 2004.

 

Was I totally sure of my decision? How can anyone know for sure that adoption is right for him or her? I only knew that the reality of having a family and raising a child was more important than anything else in the world to me.

Putting the whole dossier together was no easy task but we managed to do it all in less than 3 months, even retrieving documents from other countries. Once complete, we were told that the wait was 1-2 years and so we had no choice but to go on with our lives. But somehow from that day forward the little girl in our future was already part of our present. We named her Olivia…a name I always loved. Throughout that time we found ourselves talking about Olivia as though she were already part of our lives. We were waiting for her arrival just as new parents wait nine months until delivery.

A few months later, on my birthday, a fax arrived telling us that we were approved to adopt from an orphanage in Bogota called Los Pisingos. Then the day after Mother’s Day 2005 we were told we were close to the top of the waiting list and that it was time to update some of our paperwork. Every call that came from our adoption coordinator felt like we were having contractions, and with every call I was more certain that our decision to become adoptive parents was the right one.
On July 7, 2005 the official call finally came. We had a baby! We were told that Olivia’s biological mother named her Isabel and she had been born on April 26th. Before the call I was going through the mundane task of making dinner but after the phone call I was a mommy; we were a family; life would never be the same. We found ourselves unable to move and we simply stared at each other realizing as husband and wife we had traveled a great distance together but the most important journey was still yet to come. We left for Bogotá on July 29th with my mom (who was now the happiest abuela in the world), six suitcases and our hearts filled with joy and excitement.

Bogotá turned out to be a beautiful city and its people warm and welcoming. It is 7,800 feet above sea level so even in summer it is cool. We stayed in Hotel Paris, a hotel where all the other guests were also in the process of adopting or visiting with the Raices program. This is where children who have been adopted in the past come back with their parents to visit and get to know their roots. The staff was very friendly and the rooms were geared toward babies-cribs, bathtubs, a changing station, hot and filtered water. They even sterilized the baby bottles for you! Meals were given 3 times a day and they even laundered your clothes. The whole experience was wonderful because the only thing you had to concentrate on was get to know your baby. Everything else was taken care of; they even had a pediatrician available at a moment’s notice.

Anthony, my mom and I went to pick up Olivia Isabel Monday, August 1, 2005. We were taken to the home of Rosita de Escobar, the Director of Los Pisingos. This is where the babies are introduced to their new families. Rosita has been doing this for over 30 years....imagine all the children she has placed into new parent’s arms!

Even today, the moment she was given to us still seems like a dream. When we look back at the video of that moment it seems surreal. After all those months of waiting and indecision, you leave the hotel in Bogota childless and hours later you come back with a baby in your arms....and she’s yours forever! It is totally amazing. Olivia was so alert and just kept staring at us. The bonding was instantaneous. From the very beginning she has been such an easy baby. She eats well, sleeps all night and loves to be held. When she wakes up she’ll just play in her crib until you get her and when she sees you peeking in........that is the best moment of the day......she will give you a big, toothless grin.


We wound up having to stay in Bogotá four days longer than anticipated courtesy of Hurricane Katrina, but got home August 29th, exactly one month from the date we had left. Saying goodbye to the staff and friends we had made was more difficult than I imagined it would be. Everyone was extraordinarily helpful during our entire stay from the hotel, the orphanage, the agency and the other adoptive parents on site. I am sure we will stay in touch with people we met on our trip, people going through the same experiences as us. The stories and the circumstances were all different but the wonderful thing we all had in common was the happy ending. There were parents and children finding their way to one another in a place far from home.

We have now been home in Florida for 4 weeks and could not be happier. I watch Olivia’s new grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends unite around our little girl. When I see Olivia in her father’s arms I realize that adopting is not second best. For most infertile couples, it may be second choice, but definitely not second best. So many people have come to meet Olivia and most comment on what a lucky little girl she is. We tell them…no…we are the lucky ones.

Feel free to learn more about our new family or contact us at www.devitafamily.com.

For us to have each other is just a dream come true.
We did not give you the gift of life; life gave us the gift of you.

This story has been provided by:

Commonwealth Adoptions International specializes in international adoption to help orphaned children overseas find safe, loving homes, assisting families throughout the world.

Commonwealth Adoptions International, Inc.
www.commonwealthadoption.org
1585 East River Road
STE. 121
Tucson, AZ 85718
Guatemala, Panama, Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, China, Russia, Colombia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Vietnam

 

 


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