Showing posts from November, 2010

Gift Guide -- Oro

I know that I have posted two blogs about these guys -- Choc Quib Town -- in the last two months, but I have now listened to the album and can say I really like it! It is a Latin Hip Hop type album, but with overtones of Currulao and other Colombian music genres that make it uniquely Colombian. It also is replete with references to Colombian political and social issues. Overall, a super addition to a Colombia lover's music collection Listen to samples, buy the CD, or MP3's of the songs here:

Holiday Gift Buying Guide

I wanted to call this post the Holiday Gift Guide, but I know that many adoptive families are busily saving money to bring home their child(ren). This may mean that checking your local library might be a valuable replacement. I actually requested that our library buy some of these titles. If you do want a few suggestions for spreading holiday cheer, come back over the next few days to see other titles. The first selection is a collection of Colombian music classics. It is called "Colombia es passion: 100 joyas de nuestra musica por nuestros grandes interpretes" -- translation "Colombia is passion: 100 gems of our music by our best performers." These are classics, not necessarily modern hits. The first song is very famous! It is always on the list of greatest hits ever. On a personal note, when we were first married (16 years ago) my husband put part of the song on our computer -- a Dell Pentium 75 :) -- and every time we would turn it off we would hear, &qu

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm taking a long weekend to enjoy time with my family. I hope all of you here in the States enjoy some turkey and Black Friday shopping. I also hope to see everyone back on Monday, when I will start a series on holiday book and gift suggestions for Colombia lovers. See you Monday..... Clip art found here:

Slow News in Spanish

I know many families that are trying to improve their Spanish. Some are learning in preparation for meeting their child/children, others are struggling now that their kids are at home, and still others are hoping to teach their kids more of a language that has slipped or is slipping away. I have found a resource to help you with your Intermediate Skills. NEWS IN SLOW SPANISH Obviously, this is a listening comprehension program, but there is also a grammar and vocabulary aspect. Just so you know, the accent is most definitely from SPAIN, yet it is very SLOW and easy to follow. There are several expressions that they use that are not what you would use in Colombia. Still, I think that the practice could be helpful for many of you. Also, be aware there is a subscription charge if you want the whole service, however , you can listen to the news for free and access some of their content for free also. You may want to learn more at their website:

Friends of Colombian Orphans -- Auction

Friends of Colombian Orphans Inc. is a grassroots, nonprofit charity dedicated to improving the well-being of young Colombians who are living in orphanages. Established in 2007 by U.S. parents who adopted a Colombian child, the organization focuses on structural improvements to orphanages, and vocational and entrepreneurial training for teens and young women. You can learn more by going to their website, or clicking on the Friends of Colombian Orphans tab to the right. Follow this link to start the bidding:

The Face of the Tragedy -- Omayra Sánchez

There is probably not a Colombian 30 years or older that does not remember the Armero Tragedy. There is also probably not a Colombian that hasn't heard of Omayra Sánchez. Most people know her simply as Omayra. She became the face of the tragedy. She was thirteen years old the night of the eruption. She became stuck in the mud and concrete after having stopped to help others. For three days, she remained in mud and water up to her neck while rescuers tried to save her. She showed grace and dignity despite her condition and was joined by rescue workers in prayer. In the end, however, after 60 hours, she died. Her death became a symbol of the government's inaction. Here is a brief video of her:

New Wait List for November 2010

I got the new wait list today -- gracias Nina :). I thought that you wouldn't mind if I preempted Friday's post for the new Wait List. I am also posting it Thursday night for Friday's post. This most recent Wait List was published by ICBF on November 10, 2010. Once again, there has been a lot of movement. Great news for adoptive parents and for Colombian Children!! 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. Nearly all of the dates have advanced again this time!!! YEAH!!! The dates that have moved are in BLUE. Also, this list only reflects that there are no more dossiers at the national office prior to the date shown. Dossiers from before Feb 2007 in the 0-23 months category, for example, may still need a

Anniversary of the Armero Disaster

Twenty-five years ago, on November 13, 1985, Colombia experienced perhaps its greatest natural disaster -- in terms of loss of life. On that day, the Neavdo del Ruíz in the department of Tolima , came to life after 69 years in dormancy. The eruption caused the glaciers on the mountain to melt, sending massive lahars (volcanically induced mud and landslides) rushing into the valley below. The slide reached speeds of around 40 kilometers an hour. It crashed into the town of Chinchiná and Armero, killing around 23,000 people and burying the landscape in about 30 feet of mud and ash. The composition of the mud, made it impossible to use heavy machinery to help dig out survivors. Failure by the Colombia government to order the evacuation suggested by vulcanologists was cited as the cause for most of the deaths. Information was poorly distributed and the common man was not aware of the danger. The Nevado del Ruiz is still erupting on occasion. In fact, while we were in Colombia thi

Best Cumbia Vallenato Album

In the category of Best Cumbia Vallenato album, the winner of the Latin Grammy was Diomedes Díaz. When I checked my archives, I was stunned that I have never written anything about Diomedes. He is a Colombian icon of Vallenato. He sings, composes, and performs Vallenato. His nickname is the "Cacique de la Junta", a moniker that was given him by Rafael Orozco Maestre, another Vallenato singer. Born in 1957, Díaz was raised on a farm on the outskirts of La Junta, in the department of La Guajira. His family was very poor , but he had an uncle that was a singer. This uncle helped Díaz to train his voice. In the mid 1970's, he got his first recording deal. He has pumped out one or two recordings every year since, with the exception of the years he was on the run or in jail. Which brings me to this ... I think that the reason I haven't written about him is that there is a huge scandal that surrounded him in 1997. I remember the scandal because my husband and I were visiting

The New Miss Colombia

If you missed my husband's editorial about the National Beauty Contest in Colombia. I highly recommend it as a must read. With that homework done, you can now go on to enjoy the new Miss Colombia. Her name is María Catalina Robayo from Valle del Cauca and she is the new Señorita Colombia. As with all beauty queens, the following is the headline: "Catalina Robayo Vargas, caleña de 21 años , es la nueva Señorita Colombia. Ella es estudiande de octavo semestre de derecho en la Universidad Javeriana de la capital del Valle. Sus medidas son 85- 61 - 92." For those that can't read Spanish, let me just say that while there is a nod to US type scholarship idea -- "She is in her 8 th semester as a law student at the Javierana University located in the capital of Valle." There is also the -- what would here be considered politically incorrect -- mention of her

Best Alternative Song

A couple of weeks ago, I highlighted the Colombian musical group CHOCQUIBTOWN. Well, as it turns out, they performed on the Latin Grammy awards program last week. Not only were they asked to perform, but they won for the BEST ALTERNATIVE SONG. A Colombian love fest with the Yellow, Blue, Red flag colors lighting the stage and the group yelling "Colombia" several times. I have to say that my favorite line in the song refers to the fact that all around the Pacific Coast of Colombia everyone rides a motorcycle and that everyone in the world has cars, but the people of the Pacific. My brother-in-law, who works there, once mentioned that he had never seen more motorcycles than there are there. So, this part made me smile. You can see their Grammy performance of "De Dónde Vengo Yo" (Where I Come From) here: Here's the original video with great pictures of Choco and Quibdó: Here is a link to an article about their performance. It points out the importance of this Gramm

Speaking of Abandonment

It just happens than on Monday, there was a report in El Tiempo about the increase in abandonment and therefore in adoptions in the department of Boyacá. It is a sad statement on the state of social affairs to recognize that fewer children are able to stay with their birth families. Yet, in a strange paradox, it marks a positive change for adoptive families who are waiting. On a personal note, I think that the most amazing thing is that social stigmas about adoption within Colombia are clearly changing. Here is a translation/summary, and a link to the article. In the last 10 years, children placed for adoption from Boyacá has increased by 60%. In 2000, only 53 children from the department were placed for adoption. In 2009, there were 85, the majority of whom were placed with adoptive parents in or from Colombia. According to Gloria Esperanza Medina Alba, Defensora de Familia (Family Advocate) for ICBF in Boyacá, the increase in the necessity for adoption has caused a great deal of worr

Abandonment Process Step 4 -- Adoption Paperwork Prepared

When a child is given a valid resolution of adoptability , a whole series of events is set in motion. The child will be reevaluated by a team of professionals. 1. Doctor Visit: Blood tests checking for HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B are administered. There is a final report that will state the health status of the child and declare that they are free of communicable disease. Often, there will also be a dental evaluation if one has not already occurred. 2. Nutritional Evaluation: This report will provide information about the child's height and weight and offer statistics on the child's percentile on Colombian charts. Often, there will be information on the child's eating habits and food likes and dislikes. 3. Psychology and Social Work: A report on the life history and family background of the child is prepared. The report also includes information on the child's personality, talents, habits, behavior, attitudes, aptitudes, significant conduct issues,

Abandonment Process Step 3 -- Legal Proceedings

Within 1-2 working days of the child's entrance into protective custody, the initial evaluation reports are presented to the Family Advocate ( Defensor de Familia ). He/she will then open an investigation with a Resolución (resolution). This is often called the process of Reestablecimiento de Derechos (Reestablishment of Rights). The Investigation assumes that the child's rights have been violated ( Vulneración de Derechos) for _____ reasons (ie. abandonment, neglect, abuse, etc.). The end goal is to ensure that the child's rights, as defined by the Law 1098 of 2006, can be reestablished. These rights include the "right to a family and to not be separated from it," and the child's right to food, education, clothing, protection, etc. The ICBF official I spoke with explained that a social worker is then assigned to the case. There is always a home visit, when the child's parents are known. If the parents need help to improve their parenting, then they are

Abandonment Process Step 2 -- Placement of Child

Once the child has been deemed healthy enough to leave the hospital, temporary placement for the child will be determined. The following guidelines are typically used. For children under 7 years of age the placement should be in a foster home. For children over 7, when no foster home is available, placement is in an orphanage. It is important to note that there are many more orphanages than there are CASAS PRIVADAS DE ADOPCION . Nearly every larger city has orphanages, some run by religious orders, others are secular in nature. In smaller cities or towns, even older children are often placed in foster homes because there are no orphanages. When considering placement, there is an effort to keep sibling groups together, though it is not always possible. Sometimes, boys are sent to one institution while girls are sent to another, or older siblings are sent to an institution while younger siblings are sent to a foster home. Additionally, sometimes even younger children, particul

Abandonment Process Step 1 -- Enter Protective Custody

While I was in Colombia, I was able to interview a director at ICBF. It was great to be able to ask some questions about the process. Over the next couple of days, I'd like to share what I learned. Today I would like to explain the first step that children go through when they enter protective custody with ICBF . Step 1 -- The arrival of the child . Many people have asked me, "Why or How do children end up in the ICBF system?" The answer isn't easy as children come for all of the same reasons that they do here in the States -- abuse, drug use, neglect, etc. But you can add to that poverty and displacement. The ICBF official that I spoke with explained that there are several ways that a child can arrive, for example, there could be a report of child abuse or neglect, or a child could be found abandoned, or arrival may come as a result of a conscious decision on the part of the parents to give up custody. The official was also quick to point out that "Poverty is

Not a Sevensson Anymore

I want to thank a Raising Colombian Kids reader, and fellow adoptive mom for today's blog post idea. A few weeks ago Catherine suggested that I check out a film, Not A Sevensson Anymore . The film was produced in Swedish and Spanish with English subtitles. It is the story of Emilio Sevensson and his father Bengt and their search for Emilio's birth father in Colombia. Before we ever knew who our child would be, I read tons of books about adoption and the lifelong process of family building. I joined a Yahoo Group for Colombian Adoptees Searching for their roots. I was interested in finding out what older adoptees felt about their adoption. What questions plagued them? What did they wish they knew about their birth? I wanted to be better prepared to deal with feelings and issues my own child would have. I think the research I did spurred on my interest in getting my sons birth information -- which if you missed the post about my quest, you can find it here: http://raisingco


I realize this probably should have gone up before today, but I have to admit I don't follow sports. I didn't even know who won the World Series, let alone that a Colombian played for the winning team. This said, I discovered the winner of the MVP award was Edgar Renteria while listening to the radio. While I didn't know what team he played for, I 100% recognized his name. He is the lone Colombian in US Major League Baseball. Édgar Enrique Rentería Herazo was born on August 7, 1975, in Barranquilla, Colombia. In Colombia he is known as El NI~NO. He started his professional US career with the Florida Marlins in 1996 and in 1997 was instrumental in the Marlins 1997 World Series victory. Since 2003, Edgar and his brother Edinson are co owners of the La Liga Colombiana de Béisbol Profesional (LCBP), or Colombian Professional Baseball League. In fatc, the league's website is called www.TEAMRENTERIA.COM, and it is Colombia's only professional baseball league. There are 6

ABC Colombia

I am always on the lookout for new items for this blog. A friend recently suggested this PBS documentary -- I think it must have appeared in March of last year. It is called ABC Colombia. It is a look at a public school and village life for children in an area controlled by paramilitaries. I found it very interesting, and sad. It is just short of an hour long, so make sure to watch it when you have plenty of time. It is in English and Spanish with subtitles in English.

Bike Tours in Bogota

In our continuing "Bogota for Beginners" series, I have a new suggestion for families forced to spend lots of time there. It is a suggestion for families with children of all ages. It's a unique way to get to know the city ....... BOGOTA BIKE TOURS. The idea for this post came from another Colombian Adoptive Family. You can read about their tour here -- thanks Heyar for the great idea: It is a way to see more than just the tourist sites of Bogota in an up close and personal kind of way. The tours can last from a couple of hours to five, and it seems that you can be in control. You will see more than just the Plaza de Bolivar, and the amazing thing is that you can see a side of Bogota you might otherwise never see, including poor areas. From their website: Places we often pass or visit include the Plaza del Chorro, the Botero Museum and the National Museum; Plaza Bolívar, Plaza San Victorino, Parque del Rena


This past weekend, this blog celebrated its second birthday. It's hard for me to believe. In honor of this birthday, I would ask my readers to visit the webpage and find a topic -- from the list of topics on the right -- and read all the blog posts for a topic that interests you. Please leave a comment below. As I ponder the continuation of this blog, I have wondered about its helpfulness. I would love to hear from my readers. Thanks -- COLOMBIAN MOMMY :) Picture: