“I was adopted at two weeks old from a small city in the country of Colombia called Bucaramanga. My parents have 4 biological children of their own. About 7 years after their youngest was born, my parents both got a prompting by themselves that they needed to adopt. My mom and dad decided to go on a drive, and my dad told my mom, ‘I think we need to adopt.’ My mom was shocked, and she told him, ‘I was going to tell you the same thing.’ My mom then headed down to Colombia and stayed there for a month until she could go to court there and bring me back home to the states.
Growing up, I had two older brothers and two older sisters. I always knew they loved me, but we were so far apart in age, sometimes it was hard because we were on different levels. I am the only Hispanic person in my family. The rest of my family are caucasian. My parents were amazing and still took me on lots of fun trips. I remember going on lots of trips with them since I was younger, and they always did all they could to make it fun. One thing for sure is my parents made it a mission to let me know I was loved by them so much. I never felt anything less from either one of them.
My mom worked part-time, and I remember playing with my friends a lot in the neighborhood I grew up in. There is no doubt there were four of us who played together all the time. There were two others who were also far apart in age from their siblings, so we were the best of friends. I don’t remember a day we didn’t play. They were what I needed growing up, and I am forever grateful for them and the memories we made. All the kids I played with were caucasian as well, but they never made me feel different from them.
Growing up, I remember people always telling me how beautiful my skin was. My mom would get asked a lot, ‘Do you think she will know she is adopted?’ My mom always answered yes since I didn’t look like them. My parents were always very open about my being adopted, and I appreciated that growing up. Looking different from them was always one of the hardest things growing up. I always wondered what it would be like to see people who looked like me. It was hard, but I hoped one day I could get married and have babies of my own, and then I would have people who looked like me.
My parents framed a picture of my birth mom, an older brother, and an older sister, and I kept it in my room. My parents were very open about how my birth mom wanted a better life for me and how she was so wonderful and gave me up for adoption. They would always answer questions for me. They told me I had another older brother who lived with our grandmother at the time. They expressed nothing but love for her and how grateful they were for her every day.
As I grew up, I never really wanted to seek out my birth family. I came from Colombia, and I was scared because when I was born, drugs were so prevalent there. I continued to make friends and be grateful for everything I had.
I met my husband and still never had an interest in seeking out my birth family. I was happy, loved life, and honestly, it scared me to death to even want to try to seek them out.
It started to change as we started to have kids. My firstborn was a beautiful baby girl, and when I held her, I couldn’t believe I had someone with some of my features. As she has gotten older, I now have a miniature version of myself, and it is so crazy yet wonderful to me. I then had my second child, and he was a boy, and it was again so much fun to see he got my same cheek dimples. His smile just melted me. It was a part of my heart that was always missing to see people who looked like me, and it was even crazier that I made them.
When I turned 30, a lot started to change about what I wanted in life. I was not happy with myself. I had an amazing husband who loved me and would do anything for me, but I didn’t love myself or see the girl he saw. I decided to take the reins on my health. I also started to wonder more about my birth family and if it would even be possible to find them because they were in a different country. It was scary. Is my birth mom alive? Does she even want to meet me? What is going to happen? All I wanted to do is thank her from the bottom of my heart for all she has given me.
I started to do Facebook Lives to see if I could get any traction because social media is crazy these days. I started to search for names from people on the papers my parents had saved who were involved with my adoption. My parents helped out with names as well. I searched all over Facebook and found a few, but they were all dead-ends. Everyone told me to hire a private investigator, which I didn’t want to do. I decided to keep making videos. Sure enough, about four videos later, I had a friend from high school reach out to me. She told me she has loved watching my videos and had a friend post who wanted to help someone find their birth family for free. The only thing she stated is they couldn’t be upset with the outcome or how long it would take.
We connected, and she started digging. I would hear from her off-and-on over the next couple of months. My husband started a job just before we had our second child, and the first place he was asked to go was to Colombia. There was no coincidence there. He met a friend who lived there and works with him often. He also helped us dig around, and he found my birth mom was in fact still alive and on their welfare system there. It then was a dead-end and a bit of a standstill.
I remember when I got a message from the searcher saying she thought she had found my birth mom. I was sitting in a movie theater, and the movie had just ended. I was there with my cousin and my husband, and we all couldn’t believe it. The searcher then started to give me names of siblings, and I started to reach out to them over Facebook. They were very skeptical because they had no clue I existed. She never told them. Of course, they wanted proof, and I was able to show them a letter with my birth mom’s signature and her ID number in Colombia, and they couldn’t believe it. There was then contact made to a brother, and he said she wanted to meet me. I was so scared, and it had gone by so fast. I couldn’t believe it took just a few short months to find her.
As I started to tell family and friends, most of them were so supportive, but they were also so cautious. I get it because the unknown is scary and you aren’t sure what people may or may not want from you when you meet them. I think overall, no one wanted me to get hurt or taken advantage of. They all knew it was my choice and decision, and they let me do what I needed to do.
As I found out more about them and started chatting with them, it all became so surreal. Our friend who works with my husband in Colombia said he would call my birth mom and talk to her if I wanted him to. He did and told me how much she loved me. She started to pray for my happiness and health about the same time I started doing my live videos.
I am 1 of 7 children in my birth family. I am smack-dab in the middle of them. I was the only child placed for adoption. When I found this out, more thoughts started to race in my head. Why was I the only one given up for adoption? What is wrong with me? Did she not love me like she loved them? Your mind likes to take you to the worst place when there is the unknown.
My youngest brother speaks English and Spanish, and this is no coincidence. He lives with his godmother, and she has kids who live in the States. They travel back and forth all the time. When they would come home to Colombia, they would only speak English to him. I know for a fact God had a hand in this. He knew.
We then set up a meeting to talk on Father’s Day of 2017. We did a video chat. I wasn’t sure how well my little brother’s English was, so I had my brother here come and help me since he speaks Spanish. They answered and my little brother spoke English so well and asked, ‘Would you like to talk to our mom?’ I said, ‘Of course!’ We then saw each other and started to cry. It was crazy, and the love and emotion we felt for each other just over the phone were like nothing I have ever felt before. I then got to meet the rest of the family. Everyone was in tears, and it was such a happy moment.
I now get to have them in my life. It has been fun building those relationships with them and getting to know them. As I watch them on video, it is still so weird to see people who look like me and have some similar mannerisms.
Adoption has taught me so many things. It doesn’t matter what your family looks like, there is always room for love. You can love more than one family, and that is okay. I love being an adoptee because I have such a wonderful life from all the blessings that come from adoption. I want people to see the unknown is scary, but you will never know unless you put yourself out there. I think it is so important to share adoptee stories and see their perspectives. I know all stories aren’t like mine or as blessed as mine, but I am grateful for it all.
The most important takeaway I have had throughout this whole journey is my belief in God. I never had a solid belief in God until I started on a journey of self-love and putting myself out there to find my birth family. It is never too late if you want to do something that will challenge you and forever change your life.
I say go for it! Open your heart, but also keep it guarded and protected how you see fit. You know what is best for you.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melaina Rogers from Layton, Utah.
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