INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION – A TRAVEL STORY by Gundy Baty
In the first part of this story about international adoption in Colombia, we had travelled from Canada with our 2-year-old adopted son after we had received a letter from an adoption agency. They told us they had a one-year-old black boy. As our Robert was also black they thought we were the right family to adopt him. When we arrived, we found out that the agency had lied to us. The little boy was two-years old, looked more like three, and was severely handicapped. Two pediatric clinics advised us not to adopt this child. They would need several months to find out what was wrong with him at very high costs to us.
We could not stay, and we could not take this boy. The adoption agency reacted angrily, treated us very rudely, and refused to help us find another child.
Back at the pension I cried my heart out and the nice lady who owned the place asked what happened. After hearing the story, she took me in her arms and said not to worry; she would find us another child.
As we were packing the next day to go to the airport, she came to our room and said that one of her friends, a nun, who worked with young pregnant girls in the streets and took them to the hospital, had just talked to a very young girl that had just had a baby boy she could not keep. The friend would bring him by in the next hour. In the meantime, we should just think about a name. This was all too fast, but the nun really came with a beautiful baby boy, just hours old, still with his umbilical cord attached. He was beautiful, with olive-colored skin and almond-shaped eyes. We could not believe what had happened in such a short time.
It would take a long time to do the paperwork, but we could not stay for several more weeks. Our host again had a solution. She knew a private nurse who could take care of the baby until we would come back to take him home. We had decided to call him Vincent and stayed three more days with him at the pension. He was a very quiet child. We took him to a clinic and were told that he was fine. We bought him clothes and diapers. There were no paper diapers, only the old-fashioned cotton ones, which we had to wash by hand as the pension did not own a washing machine. The basement was set up with big washing basins and all those new parents spent time there washing diapers and telling their stories.
We flew home and called the nurse every week for news about little Vincent. Things were fine and some weeks passed. Then one day we got the bad news that Vincent's mother had come to fetch her baby. By Colombian law, a mother has three months to decide if she wants to keep her child or give it up for adoption. Vincent was only four weeks old and so the nurse had to give him back after we had paid for her services, and the cost of the delivery at the hospital. Colombia had no free health service at that time.
But, two weeks later, now late September, we got another phone call from the nun from the hospital in Bogotá. She said a new baby boy had just arrived. We have called him Vincent also, and have started the paperwork at a different agency, and we will let you know when you can pick him up.
We tried not to get too excited, but at the beginning of October we got another call, and everything was ready. So, I flew alone this time back to Bogotá, where I would settle the costs, sign a lot of papers, and wait for the passport to be ready. I took a taxi from the airport to the new agency, but there was no sign of Vincent. Nobody knew anything about a child named Vincent. I spoke no Spanish. I called the nun. She came to the agency in record time and soon found out that the little boy she had brought there two weeks before was actually now in the elegant villa of the manager. We went there together and there he was in a nice little bedroom with a private nurse. We found out that as this Vincent had white skin and reddish hair, the sister-in-law of the manager had decided to adopt him, and that I could have any other child at the agency. But that wasn't what the resolute nun was accepting. She got very angry, and said that she brought the child there for me, and Vincent was going to Canada, and that was it.
So, I got my sweet little angel, all dressed in white. People on my flight back to Canada all thought he was a girl, so pretty, so angel-like. Many women came to congratulate me for such a beautiful baby. He turned out to be an angel too, very loving and caring.
He got married at age twenty-five to his high school love and ten years later they had a sweet little boy of their own, who is now a year old.
Add your comments about this story on the Blog page.