My Return: Colombia 1995

By Marc L. Nash

Marc Langdon Nash is my given name since 1980 when I was adopted from the Los Pisingos Foundation by a single female American parent. I'm proud of my anglicized name, of my new country and culture. After 16 years in that vast country in the north, a dream "la-la land" for many Colombians, I've come to consider myself "gringonized" in both language and culture, and yet, deep down I'm fond and proud of my Colombian roots.

To this day I'm truly thankful to Los Pisingos for my new family in the U.S. The United States has treated me well and has given me the opportunity to become a successful and resourceful young man. My life in "gringolandia” has been a breeze—one easy transition from one thing to the next. There, if one has the will, the power and the determination, then a piece of the American dream (the opportunity) can become a reality. In the land of opportunity, you set yourself the limits and obstacles. After some struggles about what I would dedicate the rest of my life to, I’ve decided on being a Spanish teacher, focusing on its people, literature and exotic culture. This was, of course, the most logical choice since it was in my heritage. You may ask, why did I come back if everything was so wonderful there?

The response, feelings I share with many Hispanics in the U.S., is to reacquaint myself with my roots, to judge Colombia for itself despite the biased propaganda my new country has given it, and gain experience in the field I've chosen. Believe it or not, once you've been exposed to it, you never stop thinking about it, you always want to return and make it a part of you again (la añoranza).

Since Colombia is a part of me again, I'll tell you how I managed the return. In the Spring of '95, two Colombian women went to Michigan to recruit teachers to teach English in a private bilingual school in Bogota. I took advantage of the opportunity and had an interview with them. As destiny would have it, I signed a year's contract to start on August first 1995.

On my arrival to Bogota, it was raining hard, something that without choice, I had to get used to. The traffic jams, the holes in the streets, the trash, the reckless driving and the barred windows, are also things I've become accustomed to. Having lived in other Latin American countries recently, the culture, architecture and language were of no surprise.

Within the first week, I tried to relive my past by visiting known places. Most of the places from my infancy have been replaced by tall apartment complexes, including Los Pisingos’ previous location in Santa Ana. I made it a quest to find its new location. In my search, I made an attempt to look up its founder, Rosita de Escobar, in the phone guide. To my surprise and disappointment, there were pages and pages of Escobars and too many Rosas de Escobar. My only option in finding her was to look for the new location of Los Pisingos. The Yellow Pages was my salvation. Without hesitating, I phoned and explained to some friendly lady that I was a returned Pisingo. Fortunately Rosita was also there. We spoke briefly and made an appointment to catch up on things the next day at the Foundation.

August '95, I was back after 16 years at the place responsible for me having a somewhat normal family and life. This is the proof that I had once lived in this country because listening to my spoken Spanish, it's hard to believe it. Rosita seemed ageless, the new foundation was huge and gorgeous, and to my surprise, some of the staff remained the same—Tereza, Eva, Gloria, Nora and Rosita. They all recognized me and gave me such a special welcome. Eva was clueless on who I was, but I helped trigger memories when I reminded her how I used to make her daughter Monica cry. I was just as surprised to find a goofy picture of me with bunny teeth on the wall sent by my adoptive mother when I was 11 years old. They showed me my adoption folder and photo album. It was an emotional moment down memory lane.

Since then, I've made new acquaintances at Los Pisingos, and have kept in touch through periodic visits in the past year because this place and people were my home and family back then in 1980. Perhaps in a special sort of way they still are. They have made my return a very special one!

Later I was informed of the controversies surrounding adoptions from Colombia to the USA. It seems many people are ill informed of the careful, professional and meticulous work an adoption requires, especially at Los Pisingos, where there is a home-study before, during and after for a whole year to assure the best family and home for the child. Some believe adoptions are contraband children. Others believe, from unreliable sources, that many of the adopted children are used in scientific experiments. This absurdity, of course, surprised me. This paranoia and ignorance is common where the system is weak in informing and educating its people.

Since March 1996, I have been helping Los Pisingos shed some light on the facts of why people adopt and why some mothers give their kids up for adoption. By taking advantage of the media, we have been informing the people of the professionalism and hard work behind an adoption.

Up to now, I have spoken twice, and will be speaking again at the Mother’s Home. This is a home for pregnant mothers sponsored by Los Pisingos Foundation. The purpose of this home, with its 40 person capacity, is to guide, give medical support, moral and psychological care, economical support and education to poor pregnant mothers as to guarantee the well-being of the child they are carrying.

This home is an alternative for single mothers in dire straits and distress who might otherwise be forced to take the tragic decision of aborting the child and endangering her own life. Many mothers realize this support is temporary and that in the long run, they are unable to provide for and take care of the new born. They can freely decide to give the baby up for adoption to Los Pisingos Program of Adoption.

When the single mothers make this tough choice, they go through a great deal of distress, sadness and future concerns for the child they have given up for adoption. Some of the concerns and preoccupations of these biological mothers reflect in some of the questions they asked me, such as: "What will God think of them? If the kid is going to hate or judge them; if the adopted child grows up unstable due to the fact it's adopted; what do I think of Los Pisingos; if I would consider adopting, or giving one up for adoption under similar conditions; if I would consider working for a place where they adopt children, etc..."

I have also appeared on talk radio twice, and three times on informative television programs. In all of these programs, I had the honor to talk about my adoptive mother, my life, my feelings on adoption and why I returned to Colombia.

To me, adoption is a mere act love, both, by the parents adopting and the mothers giving their children up for adoption. Adoption is an alternative to the drastic abortion. Adoption is an honorable and admirable deed. Adoption is giving the child the opportunity to become a productive element of society. Adoption is finding a loving family and home for a child who does not have one. Adoption is making many families in Colombia and abroad very happy and complete. Because of all these noble acts, I encourage anyone who reads this, especially adoptive parents from Los Pisingos Foundation, to help us in this struggle against the ignorance of adoption by speaking out on its benefits, and sending letters of support to Los Pisingos in this just cause of completing families.