Showing posts from June, 2009

Older Child Socialization -- More from Jane

Here is Part #3 in our series on older child adoption from Jane -- a mom who has "Been There, Done That!" If you are considering adopting an older child, you will find Jane's posts very informative and insightful. Also, you will find a link to Jane's Foundation at the bottom. For adoptive families, it's easy to integrate a newborn or toddler into your family and friend groups. Parents rely on friendships made in play groups, nursery school, church, preschool or day care. It's up to the parents to help their children create bonds with peers; sometimes lifelong bonds. Having to socially integrate your newly adopted preteen or teen is harder. There may be some behaviors that your new family member will exhibit that may not lead to immediate friendships with kids his/her own age. Some older adopted children will have had the advantage of having been raised in a foster home. So, even though they were subjected to constant uncertainty about their future, they were

Breaks My Heart

On June 19th, 2009, another baby was found abandoned amongst garbage in a vacant lot. This time is was a little girl, just three days old. The child was found wrapped in wet blankets, covered with branches, and suffering from hypothermia. The woman that found the child is a "recicladora" (someone who sorts through garbage to find things to sell, such as metal). The woman saw the tiny bundle under the branches and went to see if it was something useful. When she realized that it was a baby, she called two other people over to witness that the child was covered in ants and turning blue. Quickly, the woman -- Concepcion Arenas -- cleaned up the baby and got on a motorcycle with someone who could take the child to the hospital. The baby is recuprating in an incubator at a local hospital in Santa Fe de Antioquia, where the hospital staff named her Manuela. Unfortunately, Manuela's story is not completely unusal. In Colombia last year, 176 infants were found abandoned in public

Golden Poison Frog

The Golden Poison Frog (Phyllobates terribilis), from the Pacific Coast of Colombia, is one of the over 100 frogs in the poison dart species. It is also one of the most poisonous animals on earth. The venom contained in just one small frog (about 2 inches long) can kill 10 adults. It is the venom of this frog that has been used by the indigenous Embera people to tip their hunting darts. Though they are called the "Golden" frog, not all of them are yellow in color. Some of the frogs are orange or light green. Their bright coloring warns predators to stay away. Interestingly enough, Golden Poison Dart frogs are a common household pets worldwide. When I first read this, I thought --"You have got to be kidding me!" Then, upon further research, I found out that frogs raised in captivity -- out of their natural environment never develop venom. So, scientists believe that it is something in the environment, probably the plants that are eaten by the insects that serve as t

Indigo Winged Parrot

The Indigo Winged Parrot or Loro Coroniazul in Spanish (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi) is a critically endangered species. There are thought to be fewer than 250 left in the wild, and none in captivity. This beautiful parrot is mainly bright green with a blue crown. Here is a link to a copyrighted picture of the bird: It is found only on the Western side of the Andes in the departments of Quindío, Risaralda, and Tolima. They prefer living in the cloud forests at elevations of 2,600-3,600 meters. The species was thought extinct. However, in 2002, it was redicovered by the Colombian foundation "Fundación ProAves". That original find was of 25 birds, with a total population estimation at 60. Then, in July 2002, there was a confirmed sighting in Los Nevados National Park. The group there consisted of 14 indiviuals. Fundación ProAves has helped spearhead conservation efforts and have been succ

Mountain Tapir

The DANTA (name in Colombia) or Mountain Tapir ( Tapirus pinchaque ) is the smallest of all the tapirs (others include Malayan, Brazilian and Baird's). They have a thick fur coat with an insulating undercoat. This thick coat is helpful as they prefer to live in the cold Páramos (Alpine plains) of the Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru (between 6,500-14,400 feet). One of the unique and distinctive features of the tapir is its nose, which is elongated and hangs over the mouth. The animal is a nocturnal plant eater, whose diet includes shoots and stems. The Tapir is a solitary animal, rarely seen in groups. Its predators are jaguars and humans. In the wild, it can live up to 30 years, but rarely lives that long in captivity. One tapir, however, named Anja, lived for a record 27 years at a zoo in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1996, they were listed as an endangered species by the IUCN. The biggest problem for the tapir is encroachment by humans and subsistence hunting. One of Colombia'

Endangered Species in Colombia

Even though Colombia is among the top 12 most biologically diverse countries in the world, the lack of sustainable development and the over exploition of biologically diverse areas threatens both the flora and fauna of the country. According to an article in El Tiempo, Colombia has the most unique species of birds and amphibians in the world. It is second in the world in the numbner of different plant species. It is third in the number of diverse mammals, and fourth in diversity of reptiles. Illegal drug production poses one of the greatest threats to certain species, as it reduces natural habitats and contributes to the free-for-all killing of jaguars and other large mammal species. In addition to the ecological threats posed by illegal drug production, the social conflict and the resulting lack of work opportunities has caused some of Colombia's population to turn to the hunting and trafficking of animals in order to make ends meet. At risk are parrots, turtles, tigrillos, racoon

More Souvenir Ideas

The professional soccer leagues in Colombia are found in most of the major cities. In fact, there are 18 different teams in the A League, 18 in the B League, and 18 in the C League. They also have female leagues, under 20 leagues, under 17 leagues, juvenile leagues, you get the picture. Soccer is very important in the country, and so is knowing which team is "YOUR TEAM"! Everyone has a favorite team. Usually, it is the team in the city where you are from. In cases where there is no team, families can divide their alligences. In the case of my husband's family -- there was no team in Boyacá until recently -- there are fans of América (from Cali) and Millionarios (from Bogotá), and now many are fans of Boyacá-Chicó (from Tunja). Perhaps one of the best SOUVENIR ideas for your Colombian child is to get them a team jersey from the city or department where they were born. Or, if you would rather, get your child a jersey from the Colombian National team. These shirts are availa

Newest ICBF Wait List

I have preempted the original post for today -- You can look forward to souvenir suggestions on Monday. The most recent Wait List was published by ICBF on June 18, 2009 . The ICBF Wait List applies to adoptions through ICBF only -- not through CASAS PRIVADAS. This list 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. There also has been movement in many categories, all dates that have advanced I am putting in BOLD and RED. Also, this list only reflects that there are no more dossiers at the national office prior to the date shown. Dossiers from Nov 2005 in the 0-12 months category, for example, may still need a referral, but they have already been sent to a region and are no longer at the national office. Age of Child ------- Date of Application Approval by ICBF Child 0-12 months ------ Dec-2005 Child 13 - 23 months ---- Dec-2005 Child 2 years ----------- June-2005 Ch

A Glimpse Into Colombian Soccer Fever

I want to thank my Brother in-law, Daniel, for writing this awesome glimpse into the Fútbol Fever of Colombians. This is the real thing, and from the horse's mouth! Fútbol es Pasión I have always celebrated my country's accomplishments even when they seem small and no one else cares about them. I remember very vividly the day that the Colombian National Soccer team played its counterpart from West Germany in the Italy 1990 World Cup. The Colombian team debuted with a great victory against the United Arab Emirates (2-0) but would fall short in their second game against Yugoslavia (1-0). The next game was against West Germany (the 1986 World Cup runner up), the favorite to win the cup. Germany had already destroyed the other two team on their respective matches. (Ger 4 – Yug 1 and Ger 5 - UAE 1). So the group standings where: 1. Germany 2. Yugoslavia 3. Colombia 4. United Arab Emirates (Eliminated) Colombia needed to at least tie the game in order to move on to the next round as


It is said that a child's milestones in Colombia include crawling, walking, learning to dance, and playing soccer. The last two are interchangeable. As in most of the world, soccer (fútbol) enjoys almost religious status. Right now, Colombia is entering the final stages of its National Championship games. My Brother In-law, Daniel, has helped me out by writing today's blog. La Copa Mustang -- the National Championship The Colombian professional soccer championship is called “La Copa Mustang.” I always found it uncomfortable that the nation's sport championship was named after a brand of cigarettes (maybe it was just a coincidence and it was really named after the amazing American horses.) The tournament was created in the late 40’s (with 10 teams), but the league was not recognized by FIFA due to some disagreements and instead it was sanctioned. The penalty: No Colombian team was allowed to play in international games, not even the national team. During the next 2 years, an


Before Tejo was declared the official national sport of Colombia, cycling was the thing. Back in the 1980's, Colombia sent several professional teams to compete in the most important cycling races in the world -- Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and Giro de Italia. Amazingly enough, while they never won the yellow jersey, many times they brought home the polka-dot one -- representing the KING OF THE MOUNTAIN. The press at the time nicknamed them the ESCARABAJOS (the beetles) because they could climb up anything. Most of the team members were from Altiplano Cundiboyacense and trained in the high oxygen deprived peaks of Boyacá. The team itself lacked much of the finese of their European counterparts. At one point, a French journalist wondered why the Colombians were boiling rocks in between stages of the race. It turned out to be -- Boyaco Gatorade (as my husband calls it) -- or Agua de Panela. The big names of the 1980's were: Lucho Herrera and Fabio Parra. Today, there is a ne

National Sport of Colombia -- Do You Know What It Is?

If you were to guess what the national sport of Colombia is, you might guess -- Soccer, Baseball, or Bicycling. However, you would be wrong on all accounts. The National Sport of Colombia is called TEJO (TAY - hoe), declared by an act of Congress. The game is played on a field called a cancha , about the size of one really wide bowling lane (2.5 meters wide x 19.5 meters long). On each end, you'll find the target, called a bocin . The target is angled form top to bottom at a 30 degree angle and filled with clay. There are also triangular pouches of gun powder (called mechas ) in the clay. The object of the game is to throw a tejo (a small metal disc weighing about 1/2 - 1 pound) into the bocin and blow up a mecha -- if you do this you get 9 points. If you throw the tejo and hit the bocin, but there is no gunpowder explosion, then you get 6 points. There are a few other scoring rules, but you get the idea. Now, tejo has become synonymous with beer. Most games are played in a bar


Another unique Andean fruit (native to Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru) is known in Colombia as LULO (in Ecuador--Naranjilla). The lulo plant ( Solanum quitoense ) belongs to the nightshade family. It grows in humid climates where there is a lot a rain. Though the fruit is native to the Andean region, it's delicious juice has inspired farmers in other areas of the world to plant and cultivate the fruit. I was surprised to find out that there are Lulo farmers in Florida. The taste of Lulo is acidic, and has been described as a cross between Rhubarb and Lime. It is high in calcium, phosphorus, niacin and vitamin C. You can request a glass of lulo at most restaurants and it really is something not to miss out on! When I first went to Colombia 15 years ago, I fell in love with Lulo juice. Since bringing home the plant or fruit would have been frowned upon by US officials, I chose to bring home several bags of TANG -- yes, I mean the powdered fruit drink. While in the US we have one flavor

Maracuyá -- Last of the Passion Fruits

My husband calls MARACUYÁ his favorite fruit. His love of the fruit is shared by our little Colombian son. The two of them can finish off an entire pitcher of the juice in a day, and possibly in one sitting. In English, we call Maracuyá -- Passion Fruit ( passiflora edulis ). It is a uniquely acidic fruit most often used to make juices. The fruit itself is not eaten, but rather the seeds in their slimy seed sacks. The juice of these seed sacks is yellow -orange in color. Maracuyá plants are native to South America, and the juice provides vitamin A, C, calcium, iron and even a small amount of protein. You can purchase frozen Maracuyá at latino markets or at the following locations:

Granadilla -- 2nd type of Passion fruit

When a baby starts eating solid foods here in the US, the first fruit is often pureed apples or pears. In Colombia, kids get GRANADILLA . In fact, just a few months ago, I got an e-mail from one of our readers who had just received her referral documents. In them, it stated that the 6 month old baby loved granadilla. My own son, adopted at 21 1/2 months, loved granadilla. Though this fruit is part of the passion fruit family, it is not acidic like other passion fruits. It is mild and sweet. As with all passion fruits, what you eat are the seeds. The seeds come surrounded in a slimy, semi transparent gelatin-like pouch. The juice is prepared by taking all the seed pouches and mashing them in a strainer. The juice comes out the other side and the kids drink it. The juice is high in vitamins A,C, and K. As with other passion fruits, calcium, phosphorus and iron are its main mineral contributions. Remember, granadilla can often be a life saver when your new child is having problems e

Curuba -- 1st of 3 Passionfruits

Curuba (coo ROO bah) is an other fruit of the Andes, though it is grown mainly in Colombia throughout the departments of Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Santander, Nariño, Antioquia and Valle. Curuba, or red banana passion fruit (passiflora antioquiensis), is, despite its name in English, not red, but rather an orange-yellow color. It's color is what makes it high in vitamin A (beta-carotene), but it is also high in vitamins C, B1, B2, and B3. As for minerals, it is a good source of calcium, phosphorus and iron. It is usually used to make a delicious drink. This drink can be made with milk (crema de curuba) or water (jugo de curuba). You should definitely try both! You can also buy curuba jam, curuba ice cream, or curuba sherbet. If you are already home from Colombia, you can purchase frozen curuba pulp -- and make your own juice at home. If you can't find it at your local latino market, try purchasing it here: *Photo by lulugaia

Tomate de Arbol

Native to the Andean region, Tomate de Arbol (Tamarillo) is a fruit that is often used to make juice in Colombia. The juice has a bitter sweet, kind of acidic taste. However, don't be confused by the name, it tastes nothing like a tomato. It is most common in the Eje Cafetero and el Valle. The trees that grow the fruit are usually found between 1500-2500 meters above sea level, in temperatures between 15 and 22 degrees celsius. The fruit itself is high in fiber, and vitamins A, B, C, and K. It is also rich in calcium, iron and phosporus. Make sure to give it a whirl while in Colombia. Or purchase the pulp and make oyur own juice at home. Here is a link: *Photo by ximenacab

Anesthesia Exposure linked to Learning Disabilities

Although many surgeries are necessary, some adoptive families choose to have elective surgeries when their child comes home. In the US, particularly, many families choose to circumcise their sons for purely "cosmetic reasons". Perhaps, the following research might make them reconsider. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that children undergoing multiple surgeries in their first three years of life are at a higher risk of developing learning disabilities according to the April 2009 issue of the journal Anesthesiology . Researchers found that although 1 exposure to anesthesia was not harmful, more than one nearly doubled the risk of a child being diagnosed with a learning disability by the age of 19. What remains unclear is whether or not the disability is caused by the anesthesia, or is a result of the "...physiological stress of surgery; or perhaps the medical problems that made surgery necessary..." In addition to this study, other studies have linked exposu


Do you remember the Colombia/Venezuela/Ecuador crisis that happened not too long ago? During this time of tension, as Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez was sending troops to the border, and Ecuador was withdrawing its ambassador to Colombia, the Colombian Rock star JUANES (which does not mean more than 1 Juan, but rather is the contraction of his first name Juan and the first part of his middle name Esteban) proposed a massive free rock concert called PEACE WITHOUT BOARDERS -- PAZ SIN FRONTERAS. The concert was held on the bridge that connects Cúcuta, Colombia and San Antonio, Venezuela. It featured many famous singers including 2 Spaniards, 1 Dominican, 1 Venezuelan, 1 Ecuadorian and Colombians -- Juanes and Carlos Vives. Juanes paid for most of the event and requested that the political leaders, like President Uribe, not attend. He told the President not to come as this event was not political in nature, but rather an expression of the common musical culture that links all countries. Ju

Most Popular Colombian Names Announced

I know that after my last post on names, many of you were dying to hear what the latest trends are in Colombia with regards to names. According to the Registraduría Nacional , as reported in El Tiempo , here are the most popular names among all living Colombians. Rank..... Name ..... Total # of Colombians Registered with Name Most Popular First Names: #1....... María ................ 2,611,793 #2....... José ..................1,641,274 #3....... Luís ..................1,171,435 #4....... Luz .....................772,048 #5....... Ana .....................730,890 #6....... Carlos ..................646,328 #7....... Juan ....................598,122 Most Popular Middle Names: #1....... María ................ 1,075,700 #2....... Antonio..................985,162 #3....... De Jesus ................849,511 #4....... Alberto .................532,940 #5....... Enrique..................514,740 Most Popular Name Combinations -- Male: #1....... Juan Carlos..............144,449 #2....... Luís Alber


Most people know the highly popular Shakira. You may even know that she is from Colombia, but fewer people are familiar with her rise to stardom, her music from the early years, her work with the children of Colombia, or her work promoting global access to education. Shakira was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and started performing at a young age. By the time she was 14, she had recorded her first album. Actually, her first 2 albums had limited success in Colombia. But, in 1995, she released her first HIT album which was made in Colombia and promoted throughout Latin America. It was called Pies Descalzos (Barefeet). I can highly recommend it for anyone’s collection. You can purchase the whole album or your favorite songs here: If you want to get a flavor for the first album, here are a couple of videos from it –she was a lot more tame back in the mid-nineties. Pies Descalzos video: E

Wonderful Blog for Waiting Families

For the past few months, I have been following a Blog that tends to unite all the news about the waiting list and movements in Europe. It has been in Norwegian until just recently. Now that the author is writing in English, I would like to suggest that those of you waiting for a referral visit it often. Also, you may want to make the author aware of any movement, referrals, or information that you receive so that the news that she gives paints a more complete picture. Visit Camilla's blog: