I have been to Bogota, Colombia three times. I went in February 1990, October 1993, and August 2009 but really, it all began, in 1988, when my husband and I decided to create our family through adoption.
For John and I, the decision to adopt was a fairly straightforward one. After realizing that infertility may be an issue, we sat in the woods of Cooks Forest in Pennsylvania and said, “Let’s get started on adoption.” There were never any visits to a fertility specialist, and I never took my temperature – not once. We both felt strongly that God wanted us to create our family through adoption. And so, we did. In March of 1990, we travelled to Bogota, Colombia to adopt Tim and in October of 1993, we went back to Bogota to adopt Lizzy. I’m making this all sound pretty cut and dried, but, of course, it wasn’t. There were reams of paperwork, social worker visits and, of course, being fingerprinted for background checks.
And then, when all the i’s were dotted and all the t’s crossed, when the last finger was fingerprinted and the last report filed by the social worker, we waited. We waited for the phone to ring telling us that we had a baby. Creating a family through adoption offers little in the way of proof that you will one day become a family. There are no timelines, no bellies getting bigger and no sonograms showing shadowy images. There is just silence. To fill that silence when we were in the process of adopting Tim, I wrote poetry. I wrote a poem appropriately titled “Waiting.” My heart, it seems, was already making the journey to Colombia.
In the world of adoption, our adoption timeline was very quick. Within 2 years, we were on a plane to Bogota to pick up our 2-month-old son Timothy. The day after our arrival we met our crying infant son and when he was placed in my arms, I was crying along with him. We stayed in Bogota for 4 weeks until all the Colombian court’s i’s and t’s were dotted and crossed and then flew back home – a family of three.
Two years later, we did everything all over again as we got on a plane with our toddler son Tim to fly to Bogota to pick up our 4-month-old daughter Elizabeth. When she was placed in my arms, she was very quiet, and I, of course, cried. Six weeks later after more i’s and t’s, we returned home – a family of four.
Our journey continued in a blur of milestones and achievements. Potty training, first steps, & first words became the first day of kindergarten which turned into the first day of middle school and then the first day of high school. Before we could turn around, they were off to college and finally, we watched our chicks walk across the stage for their diplomas and into their own homes, jobs, and lives.
But when did our sacred journey actually begin? It’s hard to pinpoint, but I don’t think it began when we welcomed the social worker into our home, or as we got on the plane to Bogota, or even when our babies were placed in our arms. I believe it began as we waited.
I wonder where you are
Are you born to this earth
Flesh and bone
Or a soul still wandering and waiting
To come into this world
Very far from here
Even now, my heart hears
Your newborn cry
And sees your tiny wrinkled face
I am waiting
And you are already loved
By Lisa B Thomas