Sunday, June 01, 2014


It has been quite a while since I have posted, but I am so proud of Colombian Cycling I just wanted to share. In the Giro d'Italia, one of cycling's most important races -- behind the Tour de France -- COLOMBIANS TOOK FIRST AND SECOND PLACE! And they won the King of the Mountain. 3 different Colombians! AWESOME!!! ">

Monday, March 04, 2013

The New El Dorado Airport

WOW!!  Forget everything I ever mentioned about traveling into Bogota via the El Dorado Airport.  Everything has changed.  Just a few months ago, there was a grand opening, and in December, our family got to experience it first hand.  New! Sleek ! Modern! and dare I say it -- EFFICIENT!  Your arrival in Bogota will now be easy.  Even immigration -- on Christmas Day -- went smoothly and quickly.  You get off the plane, go to immigration, wait in any number of short lines, check in, get your passport stamp and head to real luggage carrousels.  Amazing!!  Even the ADUANA  (aka customs) was a breeze.  NO more stop light, just hand them your form and you are off.  Finally, WELCOME TO COLOMBIA!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Preparing for Another Visit to Colombia

I reviewed my notes from the blog posts I made 2 1/2 years ago and found them to be very helpful while preparing for this trip.  Here is a link:

Here is another thing that I an remembering to bring this time -- BUG REPELLENT.  I am the flea banquet person, so this year I will be wearing lemon eucalyptus repellent every day in hopes of preventing those painfully itchy bites.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Traditions in Colombia

Don't forget to check out the posts from December for the last three years, you will find a host of ideas for celebrating a Colombian Christmas.  Also, you can look forward to more posts on One Family's Return Trip 2 in the coming month.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Colombia is the "Mover of the Year"

The FIFA announced the final standings for the 2012 soccer season.  Spain is in 1st place, but is a surprise -- COLOMBIA is in 5th!!  They were awarded the " Mover of the Year" status for having gone from 36th last year to 5th.  WAY TO GO GUYS!!!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Battle of Boyaca

Today is a National Holiday in Colombia. It is the day that celebrates the victory of the Battle of Boyacá. This was the battle that brought Independence from Spain to Colombia.

You can read more about the History here:

and here:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Colombia Wins Silver

On Saturday, Colombia won a SILVER medal in CYCLING!!!

I couldn't be more excited for this post. Partly because I am back to posting, partly because Colombia won its first medal, and mostly because I personally know the bicycling coach of the Colombian team. Felicitaciones Jenaro!!! :)

Bicycling in Colombia, and particularly in Boyaca, is a huge sport. You can read more here:

Here is a video of the end of the race. Colombia was so close to the gold medal, but I am happy that he got a medal.

Here is an interview in Spanish with the coach --

Friday, July 20, 2012

Feliz 20 de Julio

Happy Colombian Independence Day!!

Here is a link to a past post that explains the story of Colombian Independence.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Interesting ICBF statistics

The Director of the Protective Custody division of ICBF, Adriana Gonzalez Maxcyclak, recent held a conference for the Family Advocates from 9 departments and Bogota. In her address, she revealed the following statistics:

1 - There are currently more that 60,000 children in protective custody.

2 - 15,054 of them are in protective custody because of abuse

3 - 7,594 are victims of sexual violence

4 - 3,859 are in custody because of substance abuse

5 - 3,031 were homeless

6 - 1,562 were malnourished

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Latest Wait List

There was a new wait list posted April 9, 2011.

Remember, the ICBF Wait List applies to adoptions through ICBF only -- not through CASAS PRIVADAS. It also ONLY APPLIES TO NON-COLOMBIAN FAMILIES. It DOES NOT reflect special needs children. The definition of special needs are children with disabilities, children over 8 years of age, and sibling groups of 3 or more.

The dates that have moved are in BOLD.

Also, this list only reflects that there are no more dossiers at the national office prior to the date shown. Dossiers from before January 2008 in the 0-23 months category, for example, may still need a referral, but they have already been sent to a region and are no longer waiting at the national office.

Age of Child ------- Date of Application Approval by ICBF

Child 0-12 months ------ Feb - 2008
Child 13 - 23 months ---- Feb - 2008

Child 2 - 3 years -------- May - 2007
Child 2 years ----------- NOT LISTED ON NEW FORM

Child 3 years ----------- Feb - 2008
Child 3 - 4 years -------- Feb - 2008
Child 4 years ----------- NOT LISTED ON FORM
Child 4 -5 years -------- Jan - 2009
Child 5 years ----------- Oct - 2009
Child 5 - 6 years ------- Oct - 2009
Child 6 years ----------- NOT LISTED ON FORM
Child 7 years ----------- Oct - 2011

2 Siblings 0 - 4 years --- MAY - 2008
2 Siblings 0 - 5 years --- Feb - 2008
2 Siblings 0 - 6 years --- Sep - 2009
2 Siblings 0 - 7 years --- Apr - 2010
2 Siblings 0 - 8 years --- Mar - 2011

Monday, April 02, 2012

Political Correctness?!?! Or Lack Thereof

A reflection from Colombian Daddy:

As a kid growing up in Colombia, I spent a lot of time playing outside with friends. One of those friends was a blondish kid whose face would turn beet red after a few hours in the sun and therefore responded to the nickname of Tomate (tomato). I was also friends with Largo (Long or Tall) Bayona, Tatoo Pérez (he was short), Enano (Dwarf) Higuera, and Flaco (Skinny) Miguel. At school I also knew, Gordo (Fat) Germán, Cara-de-Mico (Monkey Face), Pajarraco (Bird-looking), and Azteca (A Native American-looking kid). At home, I lived with El Loco or El Viejo (My Dad) who was good friends with El Chulo (The Vulture) down the street.

Receiving a nickname, as a sign of being accepted into a group, may not be a uniquely Colombian thing. I think this is akin to what happens in the military or in other close knit groups anywhere. The difference is that in Colombia, without the constraints of political correctness, people tend to get labeled based on how they look, or worse, based on their noticeable physical defects, or should I say physical challenges?

Thus, a word that describes the physical ailment becomes the describer, the qualifier before the name, the de-facto first name. The amazing thing is that we have single, short words which make this really easy to do. Examples are Gordo if you're a little Chubby, or Flaco if you're blessed with some ribs that show, Tuerto if you're missing an eye, Manco if you're missing a hand, Calvo if you are bald, Chivo (goat) if you wear a goatee, Cojo if you limp or are missing a foot or leg, Ñato or Chato if you have a flat nose, although this could also be applied sarcastically to someone who has a big nose, Mueco if you lost a tooth or two, Muelón or Conejo (Rabbit) if your front teeth are long. The list is long, and also includes descriptors for skin color.

Yet, the unspoken rule seems to be, "no offense intended, no offense taken". I have seen tears in the eyes of many a young American girl when her Colombian friends called her Gordita (you little Chubby you) as a term of endearment. The truth is that no offense was intended, and taking a defensive or hurt stand will just confuse people who thought they were being nice. Just last month, I was happy to report to my very Americanized niece from Colombia that after seeing the photos of her that I had sent, my mother (her grandmother) exclaimed: "She (my niece) looks great, all chubby and pink (gordita y rosadita)".

So keep this in mind: When in Colombia be prepared to hear the most preposterous compliments about your looks. Smile, and remember, you were just told that you are accepted.

Sunday, April 01, 2012


The status of the Ruiz Volcano was updated from yellow to orange yesterday. The orange alert means that the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales (Volcano Observatory in Manizales) feels that there is a significant risk of an eruption in the next few days or weeks. This may impact families travelling to Manizales, Ibague, Armenia, Pereira, and perhaps even flights to and from Bogota (it is down wind and got over 2 inches of ashes in the last big eruption in 1985).

You can read more about that eruption here:


Here is a link to a map of the area.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

SXSW -- Colombia Well Represented - Part 4

The group Mr. Bleat from Medellin Colombia bring more Colombian rock to the stage.

In English,

In Spanish:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SXSW -- Colombia Well Represented - Part 3

Ancestros bring the music of the Pacific coast of Colombia to the festival.

Read more and hear another song by the group here:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SXSW -- Colombia Well Represented - Part 2

Today's SXSW Colombian musical group is Il Abanico. They are an Indie/Experimental band. The two performers are originally from Bogota, but now live in New York. You can read more about them here.

Here is a sample in English:

And in Spanish:

Monday, March 19, 2012

SXSW -- Colombia Well Represented - Part 1

This year Colombian bands were well represented at the SXSW festival. Over the next few days, I will highlight the Colombian bands that were invited to participate.

The first is, Telebit, an alternative rock band from Bogota. You can read about them here:

Here is a sample of their music.

And another one.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

4 Rules for Initial Attachment -- Rule #4

Our social worker, a woman with over 25 years of International Adoption experience, suggested that we keep others away from our then 2 year old and try to settle in for a few months. She called the first 6 months crucial for bonding and attachment. She suggested a few basic rules. Today, I am highlighting her rule # 4.

4- Do not introduce them to extended family too soon. You will know when your child is secure and calm. That is the time to meet new people. For some babies, it will take a few weeks. For toddlers or young children, it can take much, much longer. This can be difficult to explain to excited extended family members. Try reminding them that your child has just lived through a major trauma and that your child does not see his adoption as a joyous, happy, long awaited moment. He has just lost everything he knows -- a home (however sad), food, smells, sounds, friends, schedule, etc. He is trying to make sense of the world. The more that things change, the more difficult it is for them. Having more people coming in and out of his life for a short term does not promote stability. It causes more internal stress and confusion. However hard this is for extended family, they need to know that the best way to show love to this new little one is to wait just a bit longer.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

4 Rules for Initial Attachment -- Rule #3

Our social worker, a woman with over 25 years of International Adoption experience, suggested that we keep others away from our then 2 year old and try to settle in for a few months. She called the first 6 months crucial for bonding and attachment. She suggested a few basic rules. Today, I am highlighting her rule # 3.

3- No one should comfort your child but you. That means NO ONE. Your child will fall, have a bad dream, get angry, get sick, etc. Under no circumstances, I repeat, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, should anyone be allowed to comfort your child but YOU.

I cannot emphasize this enough. Your child does not immediately see you as the kind, loving parents you are and want to be. You are strangers. By allowing other strangers to comfort her, you are sending mixed signals about your own willingness to be the comforter. This can be especially important while in country. Children may seek others who understand them for comfort, or perhaps a helpful maid or interpreter will jump in to assist you. While the interpretation may be helpful, do not allow them to speak the kind words on your behalf. You should, at the very least, learn the language of comfort in your child's native tongue. In English, we say, "It's okay." "You are going to be alright." "You are safe." "Everything is OK, Mommy's here." etc. Be able to say these words, and do not allow others to say them for you.