"Right At Home"

In a personal essay, an international adoptee describes what it meant to him to return to his birth country of Colombia.

Andrew Lasky returned to his birth country

All my life I had wanted to return to my birth country. My family adopted me from Colombia when I was five-and-a-half months old, and decided to go back when I was 18. My sister, adopted from the same orphanage in Colombia, felt that it was not the right time for her, and stayed behind.

I think of myself as a Colombian, and have often wondered what life was like there compared to the life I know here in the United States. The biggest difference is that some young people — particularly from my town of birth — do not have the opportunities that I have.

One of the surprises I discovered about Colombia is that it is filled with beauty. One of the main exports, aside from coffee, is flowers. In Medellín, we saw the annual flower parade and festival called Feria de las Flores (Parade of Flowers).

The people walked down the mountain and through the city, carrying huge flower displays on their backs. While watching them, I realized I come from a wonderful country.

The most memorable part of our trip back to my birth country was going back to my adoption agency. Many things had changed over time — my orphanage, La Casa de Maria y El Niño, has expanded to care for older children now.

While we were there, I saw a little bit of what my parents went through when they adopted me. That day at the orphanage, there was a couple looking to adopt for the first time. I could see in their eyes that they were afraid they’d have to leave without a baby in their arms. At the same time, I saw some happiness — once they learned that I was adopted from this same agency, and saw how well I had grown up.

During a tour of the orphanage, we visited the room where the babies sleep. As I watched them, I began to cry. This was the place where I spent the first months of my life, I realized. The years since then flashed before my eyes.

When our two-week trip came to a close, part of me wanted to go back to the U.S. But part of me would have been happy to stay where I was. I knew that I was finally home.


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