Raised in a Colombian orphanage: Waiting for adoption, this teen shares her story

Having spent her whole life in a Colombian orphanage and foster homes, 15-year-old Vanessa now wants a family more than anything. She and her 12-year-old sister, Bianca, have limited time left to be adopted.

Adopt older child Colombia
Vanessa, far left, and her sister Bianca, next to her, stand with other kids in Medellin waiting for adoptive families. Vanessa grew up in a Colombian orphanage and foster families, and now she’s hoping for a family will adopt her and her sister.

Vanessa doesn’t remember being taken from her mom. She was 17 months old and too little to develop memories. She’s not even sure why child protective services took her, exactly. No one has ever told her, and her mom has only tried to contact her once — late last year, just a bit before her 15th birthday. Vanessa didn’t end up seeing her.

Vanessa keeps tugging at the hem of her T-shirt, pulling the embroidered, floral fabric layers down flat. She tinkers with the ring on her right middle finger, spinning it around nervously. She smooths her black skinny jeans that tuck into a pair of shiny, black lace-up boots. She pulls her long, brown hair behind her shoulders.

She’s nervous.

She’s never really talked about what it means to grow up in Colombia’s child welfare system — what it means to have bounced from Colombian orphanage to foster home to group home — and to watch her five siblings do the same for their entire lives. No one has ever really asked. Continue reading “Raised in a Colombian orphanage: Waiting for adoption, this teen shares her story”