February or March 2017
My brother Brandon introduced me to Nicole via social media. She is a fellow Colombian Adoptee.
Nicole and I became friends on FB and she invited me to go on a trip that she organizes to take Colombian adoptees back to Colombia and experience the country and culture. She asked me to go in June of 2017, but I was not ready to face those issues at the time so I passed, but she mentioned that she was hoping to plan another trip for July of 2018 and to keep it in mind. At that time, I still wasn’t sure that I wanted to go back because of course it meant that I would have to deal with more loss/pain. 😩
I was able to get through the 2017 holidays and Nicole started to plan the trip for July 2018. Those layers of fear were being chipped away and I felt the need to finally go back home.
My journey to Colombia is a testimony to how God weaves peoples lives together and He knows what and who you need and exactly when to give them to you.
Nicole had experienced loss, pain, healing and hope and so I felt safe going on the trip with her. I knew this was going to be an emotional trip and I wanted to be surrounded by fellow Colombian adoptees who would be walking this journey with me for the first time as well. So, I truly believe God sent me Aaron, Leticia, Chelsea, Ashley, Kate, Tara, John, Walla, Ernie and Steven.
Aaron and Leticia (fellow adoptees who had already been back) helped prepare us for what was to come. This assuaged my anxiety greatly.
Ashley, Chelsea and Kate, whom I had never met before, but shared the bond of being adopted and going back for the first time. We were all in different places in our respective journeys, but all looking for healing, answers and our culture.
Tara and John, also adoptees who had visited before, but were coming with us as well.
Next is Ernie! A high school friend, who I hadn’t seen in 20 years, was down in Colombia at the same time. We met up and he introduced us to his driver Steven who became our tour guide, translator and friend. Without any pre-arranging he navigated us through Colombia and looked after us.
Then there’s Walla, Nicole’s first family’s church pastor, who became our counselor, tour guide, translator and friend.
Many of you followed along back home as I posted about the trip. I experienced a myriad of emotions when we first arrived and it took a few days for my walls to drop because I was guarding my heart. I had to trust and let go. My emotions ran the gambit from anger (like when I asked La Casa if they do open adoptions and they replied no 😡😤🤬) to those of sadness and joy simultaneously (like when I met Marta who took care of my mom and I when I was being adopted) and to feeling of utter peace and contentment just being back home.
The true sadness/pain didn’t hit until I came back to NY. Again, the Lord was at work and I’m thankful that Leticia, Abby and Scott had checked up on me and warned me to take care of myself.
Sure enough a few days in, the depression/sadness wave came full force. What was such a joyous and fulfilling trip had now turned into sadness.
I have to say thank you to Sal for checking on me and coming over just to sit with me as the tears were flowing. At first that sadness turned into anger and for a short time it was directed at my parents. After experiencing my home country for the first time I kept asking; “Why didn’t they infuse my heritage and culture in my life while growing up?” I felt like I had missed out on so much and I did. I processed this for a while, but concluded, as Abby stated in her post, that our parents didn’t know any better nor did the leading experts on adoption at the time. Gradually that anger turned back into sadness, but also joy. I went back to my home country, which is so indescribably beautiful. I got a glimpse of my culture, my people, my heritage, healed more and made new life-long friends as well. Without a doubt I will be going back soon to mi pais, mis raíces y mi cultura redescubierta.