Prepping for Colombia
In six days my family gets on a plane headed for Colombia to finally meet and adopt our little girl. I’ve done my share of international travel, but never with my family. So this one is different. Julie is doing an awesome job of packing, nesting, and logistics. I am taking care of travel arrangements, financial issues, and the adoption hoops we will be jumping through. But beyond all of this…we are going to be hanging out in….COLOMBIA. So this is really an adventure!
I don’t know what you think of when you hear the word Colombia but I can tell you that lots of folks think of drugs, kidnapping, and basically a really dangerous place. Some have even expressed as much to us. My wife recently ran into someone she had not seen in several years who had heard about our adoption. Her first words to her were, “Colombia, huh? Eeeww….” Not exactly an uplifting sentiment as we prepare to welcome a child into our family!
While most of what you may have heard has elements of truth in Colombia’s history, the Colombia of today is quite different. I was in Colombia on a mission trip back in November of last year. I traveled to the Amazon basin and spent several nights in infamous FARC territory, boated passed two cocaine fields, and in general was “off the trail.” Not once did I feel unsafe or threatened. One must be careful and smart, of course, but my experience overall was fantastic. Colombia is a beautiful and exotic country. The government has done much since the 80s and 90s to clean up the issues of violence that turned so many away from this incredible corner of God’s creation. The people are warm and friendly and the food is muy bueno! Bogota and Medellin are thriving metropolitan cities with populations in the millions. While passing through Bogota on my way back from the Amazon I stayed in truly the nicest, most luxurious hotel that I have stayed in my life – nicer than anything I have encountered in the United States (and it cost me less than $100).
And so I am ready to go back, and this time with my family. This adventure will include a new beginning for us as well. We will welcome an eight-year-old beauty into our family. We can’t wait. I will be coming home with my oldest daughter after two weeks, but Julie and the other kids are going to stay an additional two to three weeks to finalize the adoption. This adventure is going to be just awesome. So how do you prep to be gone for two weeks for me and over a month for the rest of us? Good question. We’ve never exactly done this before – any of it, from adoption to international, extended family travel – but its definitely coming…in six days.
Excuse me for now…I’m feeling compelled to go find something to pack…