May 31

The Missing Link: The Story of Nicole’s Search for Her Colombian Family

Bogotá
Bogota, Colombia

Colombia is one of the countries with the highest rates in the world for adoption. In 2010, 216 children were adopted to international families from Colombia. While South America doesn’t account for a large percentage of adoptions, Colombia frequently makes the annual lists of most adopted children. There are many factors influencing this alarmingly high statistic, including the internal conflict that ravaged the country during the 1980s to the early 2000s.

Perhaps this could go some way to explaining why See Colombia Travel, an incoming tour-operator based in Bogotá, are finding a growing percentage of their client base are Colombian-born adoptees that wish to connect with their country of birth.

One such client is Nicole Kisala. Nicole had a relatively normal upbringing in the US where, after adapting to her new language, she grew up as a typical American school girl, embraced fully by her new culture. In this sense the story of Nicole is unexceptional. What Nicole always had to contend with, however, was that the only knowledge she has ever had access to of her biological family are the distant but vivid memories of her formative years in Colombia – and the dramatic story of how she was kidnapped.

Nicole as a child
Nicole as a child

Nicole was kidnapped and put up for adoption around the age of 4 or 5 from the small village of La Casa, Colombia. At the time she was living with her two parents and her brother in a small vending booth stand. It was a loving family, supported by the efforts of the father who sold gaseosa to fellow villagers. He had a dimple on his chin that features as one of Nicole’s abiding memories. So distinct in Nicole’s memory is this feature that when she saw John Travolta on screen for the first time she froze, convinced it was her father she was watching. Her mother was a caring woman with hair until the small of her back. Her mother, she remembers, would some days be very protective of her, insisting to Nicole that she would never speak to “the women in black”.

Nicole in her new home (1976)
Nicole in her new home (1976)

One day, after a typical childhood fight with her brother, Nicole left him and sat sulking on a wall. A woman in black approached. She wiped Nicole’s tears and comforted her. The two then walked off, initially to the bus stop and eventually to an adoption house. Her hair was cut as it was flea infested. Nicole was to stay here for a month before she was adopted. Her parents never received any record of where their child had gone.

Kidnapping was an all to common problem in Colombia that has, of late, received some long overdue attention thanks to articles from local newspaper El Tiempo and TV channel RCN. While statistics are obviously hard to come by, one set of data shows that in 2011 Colombia’s number of adopted children was roughly 620% higher than its closest Latin American counterpart, Guatemala. The average in Latin America, excluding Colombia, is below 10 per year. Moreover, Colombia is one of the few countries in the world in which it is legal to be adopted from abroad without the consent of the biological parents.

Nicole in a family photo shoot
Nicole in a family photo shoot

Nicole got in touch with See Colombia Travel because she is one of many adopted children that are now grown up and fully able to grasp the implications of what has happened to them. Nicole says that her desire is to reconnect with a family that does not know what happened to their child and to reconnect with the people that gave her such happy memories of her formative years.

Nicole will be visiting Colombia in July in hopes of finding some traces of her biological family. With her will be a news team from France, and we’ll be supporting her in anyway we can. We wish Nicole the best of luck, and we urge you to share her story in the hopes that it can reach someone who can help.

The Colombia Travel Blog team

 

11 thoughts on “The Missing Link: The Story of Nicole’s Search for Her Colombian Family

  1. Dax on

    Good luck with your search. I have been adopted also from Colombia. I wish I could find my biological parents and just to see what they look like. I have never been to Colombia and I do plan on visiting some day. I was born in Bogota, Colombia in 1973. I do not know if anyone could help me also, but I will keep trying to search myself. Again, good luck.

    Reply

      Nicole on

      DAX, Never give up. Many of us adoptees are leaning on each other and sharing resources. Find us on the Facebook Group page called Adopted from Colombia. We would love to learn your story and share resources and encouragement. Lots of love.

      Reply
  2. mrz on

    Nicole, if you need help in your search, we will be happy to assist. email us, I am sure you can get our email from the blog guys. There are ways to find information where there seems to be none. We have been doing this for over 10 years now. happy travels!

    Reply

      Monica Godwin on

      It’s strange to read your story as my adopted name was Nicola and I was apparently adopted in early 1976, age unknown from the orphanage (madre). They have never heard of me or My English adoptive parents who have changed the story of my adoption many times, and I was told I was probably born about a month before Christmas of 1975. My name may have been Maria(!) Rosaria Del Adon(y)a. Or not. I may have a twin. Or not. My mother may have been an illiterate prostitute. Or not. And so it goes on. I don’t care about anything except the truth. Any ideas please? I couldn’t find you on Facebook. Thanks in advance. 🙂

      Reply

        Paul Fowler on

        Hey, we’d recommend you check out this Facebook group as many people find good help: http://www.facebook.com/groups/adoptedfromcolombia/?fref=ts

        Reply

          Monica Godwin on

          Thanks Paul, I have just found the group, and submitted a request to join. I couldn’t find it before. Take care, Monica 🙂

          Reply
  3. Nicole on

    Thank you so much!! I pray this will inspire Colombian families to begin searching for their children and find us. If nothing else it is such a good feeling as an Adoptee raised abroad to be embraced by the Colombian culture. I am so grateful and look forward to seeing you all in July-August.

    Reply

      Paul on

      We hope so too Nicole. Thanks for the comment and we´ll be in touch of course!

      Reply

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