Thursday, August 31, 2006

Don't Kill Me...

We didn’t book the trip.

Now before you get your panties in a bunch about it (no need to rush back to smack me Elle, sheesh such violence, no wonder your house got egged) it wasn’t because of the adoption. We were ---> <---- this close to booking, but then we all decided (all but my brother who is now less than happy with us) that it was too much of a hassle for what to amounted to only three days of whirlwind sightseeing. We would have been spending almost as much time in airplanes as on the ground, and all that running around (in the freezing cold) would not have been much of a vacation. And besides, it was over Thanksgiving weekend. And everyone knows that Thanksgiving is all about sitting inside a warm house eating too much food and listening to the same old corny jokes and stories told by your crazy aunts and uncles. Especially for us Italian Americans. It is an EVENT people. And if the baby is home by then…oh man I can’t even think about all the commotion that will be going on.

But I REALLY appreciate you all encouraging me to go. I was pretty surprised that most of you didn’t tell me I was nuts. Although maybe it was like watching one of those “Outrageous Videos” shows…you know while you’re watching the guy falling out of the plane that he’s going to go splat, but you just can’t drag your eyes away from the tv. You wanted to see what would happen if I went…didntcha…admit it. You wanted a human guinea pig for Murphy’s Law. I know, it’s okay. I may plan a shorter, more local, warmer beachier getaway soon. I’ll let you know.

So it’s really soggy here on the east coast thanks to Senor Ernesto. The Labor Day weekend looks like it’s going to be a complete washout. Oh well, we didn’t have anything grand planned anyway (My husband said “It’s going to be crappy, you can knit” YAY!). I would like to buy a crib though. We went looking around a bit this weekend and definitely figured out what we didn’t like, that’s for sure. I like the ones that are stationary, without the drop down gate in the front. Is that crazy? Am I going to be sorry about that? Like this one for example. We looked at the cribs and then went to look at strollers and carseats, freaked out and left. Too many choices. But at least I was able to go into the stores without hyperventilating which is a major accomplishment for me. Oh, and theme of the week is Mermaids if it’s a girl. I’ve been dreaming about them.

Happy Labor Day Peeps. I know it will be grand for one Miss Elle who is the final stages of bringing that Pickle boy home! Woo Hoo!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Which do you want first?

The good news or the bad news?

Ok good news first:
We don't have to re-do our prints, so we are just waiting for official approval from the orphanage.

Now the bad news:
We were told we have to go BACK to Dr. Evil and pay him MORE money to confirm that when we get home, we are still not insane and that our in depth clinical review is still valid. I can't believe I have to give him more money. It kills me.

Thanks so much for your comments on my last post. I re-read it and had to laugh out loud. I think I must have been smoking some pretty strong crack. Register twice?? What was I thinking?? I liked the suggestion of just registering for everything and then deleting stuff on-line when we know the gender. However I think the more likely scenario will be that we won't really register until we get THE CALL. I neglected to remember that I have won medals in endurance in the sport of shopping. I'm sure I can run through a baby store in no time flat, especially when I'm fueled by the excitement of our assignment. Thanks for smiling and nodding at the crazy lady and letting me rant on incoherently. It's why I love you guys.

On the gender neutral thing...nah, can't do it. It's like asking Picasso to create his next work only using a beige crayon. Well, not exactly, as I am not Picasso, but you get the idea. Being known for my creativity, there are big expectations for this room, and I intend to deliver! Blue greens in an ocean theme if it's a boy and pink/brown touille if it's a girl. Don't even try to dissuade me, I'm just ridiculous when I get an idea in my head. I'm sure all your gender neutral rooms are totally adorable. I am just a nut case. (registering twice! ha!)

So question for you. We have been asked to go on a family vacation over the Thanksgiving holiday. It would be from like Wednesday to Sunday (4 nights), and we'd be going to Europe. The price is a bargain. There is a chance that we may get THE CALL prior to Thanksgiving, although we have no idea how likely or unlikely that is. Do we go? Do we book it and buy travel insurance in case we have to cancel? Do we book it and if we have the baby, by a baby bjorn and take the baby? Do we not go because what are you crazy you don't have enough going on in your life right now? Part of me says no, but part of me says, Girl, this is the last time you will go anywhere in a long while without a little person attached to you. We've put off so much of our lives in the last 3 years because we were sure we'd be pregnant. Now I want to say screw it. Oh and wait, don't they say that the quickest way to get a referral is to book a trip, and Murphy's Law says it will come during that exact time?


Monday, August 21, 2006

Out of Touch

Boy, internet service was down on Friday, and we were busy all weekend so I feel like I have been so out of touch with all of you! I have to really get caught up on all my commenting.

Saturday was a day of running around doing errands. Saturday night we hung out with our neighbors which is something we don't do often enough. One couple has a baby who must be around 9 or 10 months old. She was excited to hear about the adoption because now her son will have someone to play with. Most of the kids around are older. She had the coolest monitor. It was like the size of a cordless phone and had a small video screen on it. So we were sitting in another neighbors yard and she was able to keep tabs on the baby sleeping next door. Very cool. Gots to get me one of those thingies.

Yesterday we went to the last of our required education sessions. It seems that two other couples have their documents down in Colombia also. Not sure what this means in terms of us getting a referral. Same status as before I assume...could come in a few months, or may have to wait until next year. Surprisingly I am okay with whatever it is. We've waited this long, a few more months certainly won't kill me.

The session was held at the house of a woman who adopted two beautiful children from Colombia several years ago. She showed us the video of the presentation of her son. Holy cow I couldn't even watch was so emotional. I think I was the only person who reacted that way, everyone must have thought I was nuts. I'm getting choked up just thinking about it!

Of course I am the only crazy person who doesn't have a nursery ready either. I don't know what it is, but I just can't do it. I think maybe next weekend we are going to register (I guess at Breeders R Us, UGH) for some of the major necessities. We'll also pick out some boy and girl things so that once we find out we don't have to scramble around. I wonder if I can do two separate registries, boy and girl and then just ask them to delete one once we know. Anyone ever do that? I know I am totally obsessing over girl vs. boy, but being a crafty type, I am very particular about color and theme. I can't even concede to painting the room a neutral color. Or knitting anything for the baby! How crazy is that?? Yes, every day that goes by a few more brain cells jump ship.

That's it for today...nothing exciting...mostly just letting you all know I am still alive. See you in the comments...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wow that was quick!

It's there and on it's way. I thought it would stop in a bunch of interesting places along the way, but I guess the direct route is best! Dont you wish this tracking had ALL the activity related to the package? Like "Read with enthusiasm by orphanage director" and "Happily stamped APPROVED" and "Matched the perfect child" and "Scheduled date to make THE CALL"???

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

To those who like to play along at home....

The package has left the agency and is on the way to Bogota. Let's watch the damn thing fly around the planet shall we?

We have a slight problem with the way we submitted our FBI cleared prints, so we will probably have to redo those which really sucks, but I guess in the scheme of things it's not too bad so I won't complain (much). At least the documents have been sent.

Also, two pieces of good news to share:

Hanazono got her I171H! Yes Finally!! One more milestone down!!

Kaiya (mama k) gave birth to a healthy baby boy! Please go wish her congratulations, even though she is one of those breeders, she has been a wonderful support and she really "gets it".

Monday, August 14, 2006

Everything & Nothing

I think I've finally put my finger on what my problem is. A part of me is definitely excited, more excited than ever really, but right now I’m mostly feeling anxious and agitated and I think I can articulate why.

Because everything has changed and nothing has changed.

Everything has changed because our paperwork is finally finished and has been mailed off. But it's been mailed off to a faceless stranger that I have only exchanged a handful of emails with, each of them rarely more than a dozen words or so. This process is so impersonal. If I don't email someone with a question, no one contacts me. So while technically we are on to the next phase, it feels like nothing has changed. It doesn't feel real yet. Yes, there's more lists of things to do and get, but it's all still just more paperwork. I think that's why I got frustrated over reading the materials from our agency. I think that's why I really can't do any major shopping yet. I think that's why I looked at my MIL like she was crazy when she said she wanted to throw a shower soon. It's not really real yet. And it won't be real until I get the call. Whoa momma am I going to be one sloppy sodden weepy mess on that day. (Oh and for those of you that asked, we certainly do plan to bring a laptop to Colombia. I dragged you this far, you've got to see this whole mess til the end).

Anyway, just wanted to let that particular swirling crazy out of my head. One down, eleventy million to go. On to fun stuff...

DH and I went to the bookstore this weekend...something we do quite often. This time we decided to venture into the Parenting section. We started to look at “What to Expect the First Year” and “Parenting for Dummies” and all those kinds of things…then we both quickly got turned off by all the pregnancy stuff in them (sorry breeders, it’s still touchy for me) and ditched that idea for the baby name books. After laughing at that a while (why can’t they make a book called “101 Names you would actually consider naming your child”) we decided we’ll borrow some books from relatives and learn the rest on our own. Then I got up the guts to enter the children's area, averting making eye contact with anyone lest they realize I am a fraud with no children and shouldn't be in there (ha just kidding)...and we bought these:
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I read them to DH in the car on the way home. I was cracking up. Of course the Monster book is my favorite, and the Very Bad Day book is DH's favorite. Although it will be a long time before our little one can read, it was nice to know we had them. Also in my travels this weekend I bought a very pretty baby picture frame. Slowly but surely I guess. Oh and I've been browsing this site...check out the prices on this stuff!! Crazy or what? I sent it to my mom and told her that's where I'm going to register. I won't tell you what she said in response.

On Saturday I got hornswaggled into going with my husband's fsurf fishing club to a "family barbecue". Although my husband was told that wives and kids would be going, when we got to the parking lot to meet everyone it was me and 5 other guys. That's it. O-Kay!! And I didn't even bring my knitting because I didn't want DH to get mad at me for being all anti-social. But it ended up being was the maiden voyage of driving our new truck on the beach. Thankfully everything went well or DH would have been putting a big ass FOR SALE sign on it the next morning. It was very cool to pull the truck up close to the shore and hang out. We barbecued a little and the guys did some fishing (fish count = zero), we saw a great sunset and an even cooler moonrise (huge red moon).
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting That's me in the pink.
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On Sunday we visited the in-laws. My SIL was there recovering from shoulder surgery. Dont even get me started.....

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More babble from my frazzled mind

Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. It's overwhelming, really. Some of the comments I really appreciated:

From Julie: "if you are taking any kind of meds (tylenol, benedryl etc) find out the baby's weight right before you leave and check w/your pediatrician about dosages. (Great advice! Do you have a blog Julie?)

From Amy: "'listen'--all human beings have rhythms, have communication sounds...simply listen to silences, to grumbles, to squeals...they all tell you something..." (Yes! But if only my heart would stop pounding in my ears!)

From Jill: "Wouldn't it be awesome if her/she ends up enrolling at columbia in 17 years? " (Yes, but can you say scholarship??) (...and I notice you typed her/she by think that means I'll get a girl??)

From Jenny: Man, you better start getting ready sista. (Amen, can I get a witness.)

Sonya had some questions:
Will you have a referral before you travel?
Yes, we will be told the gender, age and medical condition of the child. We will be able to speak to the nurse about the child upon receipt of the referral and whenever we want during our wait to travel. We will be emailed with a picture and then the entire referral packet will be mailed to us.
What age are most of the children at adoption?
Colombia typically places younger children with younger parents. Couples under 38 can adopt a 2 year old or younger. The older you are, the older the child you are allowed to adopt. We have asked for a newborn which I am assuming is on average 3-6 months old. We are told that the orphanage has a high placement of babies so there aren't many toddlers available.
Do you travel with a group from your agency or on your own?
We travel on our own, but there could be one or two other couples traveling at about the same time we are.The place where we will stay is just for adoptive parents so there will be couples from all over the place with us.
Is there an equal chance of adopting a boy or girl?
Yes, I think so. The orphanage asks that you do not choose a gender for your first child. So we don't know what we will get. I wish we knew, but it's okay that it will be a surprise.

I'd like to tell you that I am a little calmer now, but well, then I would be lying. I did reread the education materials (what I call the Big Book of Scary Lists) and did manage to break it down to things I will have to worry about first (getting a visa) second (packing) and third (what to do when we're there). I appreciate the offer of packing lists, but I think that would send me over the edge (except for you Erin, you, I need). I am the type of person that ALWAYS packs at the last minute. It forces me to focus and make decisions. I assume this time will be no different, except I will probably have purchased most baby things ahead of time. I also need to go shopping for clothes for me, which luckily is therapeutic.

The document packet was sent off today. DH practically had to pry it out of my hands. And though I know he is a responsible adult, I still found the need to tell him to be careful with it and to guard it with his childless little life. Now of course I have dreams of cargo planes crashing or the agency lady's kid spilling grape juice all over it or something. I'll let you know if we need to start tracking the package.

Now I know why you guys blog so often as you get close to the end. You need an outlet for all the swirling crazies in your head. I think you'll be hearing alot more from me now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Okay, Deep Breaths Now...

I totally freaked out. Yes, I did the happy dance after I took the mail out of the mailbox and *thought* I saw the Dept of HomeLand Security address in the pile of papers, calmly placed the pile on the counter and slowly went through each piece telling myself not to be disappointed if I was wrong. The happy dance did involve a little jumping and woo hooing for sure (Not red shirt kind of dancing but still a decent effort). Then I snapped a picture for posterity and skipped downstairs to the office to post the good news. It all went down hill from there.

First, blogger is RIDICULOUS. I know free is free but yeesh, it is so frustrating not to be able to post pictures (or anything for that matter) when you have something important to show! So all aggravated I decided to skip that and instead read over the materials for our next education session which goes over the next stage of this process. I started to totally. freaking. panic. How on earth was I supposed to remember all of this? There are lists upon lists!!! Things to bring, things to buy there, contact names, fees to pay, gifts to give, court dates, forms to sign..aaahhhh!!! Is it not stressful enough that I am going to be given ownership of a live human being as soon as I get there??? I got really REALLY cranky. Just ask my husband, oh wait you can't because I snapped his head clean off (unfortunately for him his response to my crankiness is always to get mad at me...not exactly good for his'da think he'da learnt by now).

The thing about Colombia is, when you get there, your baby is presented to you fairly quickly. From that point on, for all intents and purposes, you are the official parents. Therefore, care of said child is now YOUR reponsibility. Now while that is a very good thing for many obvious reasons, it is also overwhelming because you basically have to bring (or buy when you get there) everything to take care of a brand new baby for several weeks.

Cause the other "thing" about Colombia is that there is a long in-country waiting period. Because you must be seen before the courts, and because the assignment of your court is by lottery, you could wait several weeks. Some people have waited 2 weeks, some 6 weeks. It's a crapshoot. This does not bother us, because a) our jobs are cool with it; b) we have no other children to worry about c) no matter how long the wait we are pretty much guaranteed a kid at the end and d) we could use an extended vacation in a country that has a rainforest.

But, having never taken care of anyone but myself for 30 odd years, I am more than a little frightened. No running to mom(note to self: ask mom how she feels about traveling to South America). Granted, those adoption people know all of this, and will have lots of experienced baby people on hand to help, but it does not for one second alleviate the hyperventilating that starts when I think about it. I am going to seriously drag one of my cousins out to help me do some of this baby survival kit shopping. Gah.

Okay so what are the next steps here? To be honest I am not totally sure. Now that we have the I171H, our dossier (they call it the "document packet") will be overnighted to our agency either tomorrow or Thursday. Assuming everything is in order (note to self: go to church and light a candle), they will overnight it to the orphanage. From there we wait for a referral or "assignment". I have no idea how long this takes. I am assuming (hoping!) that it will come within one to three months, but who knows. Once we get THE CALL we will know the name, gender, age and health info of our child and soon thereafter we are emailed a picture. Then we start packing and running around like lunatics. We will travel within one to two weeks of THE CALL. That's when we start learning REAL QUICK LIKE how to keep a baby alive and in good health. We wait around, knitting, sight seeing, smiling at spanish speaking government officials, signing papers and eventually GO HOME WITH THE BABY (assuming of course we were successful in the maintainance of good health thing).

Thank you all so much for your words of congratulations. And thanks for your comments on why you chose the program you did. It was truly fascinating to read. It's amazing how we are all led down this path in different ways. And as usual, thanks for all the support, it is so unbelievably critical to my sanity.

Lastly, thanks to Erin, who reminded me that the SUPER HUNKY John Leguizamo is from Colombia. I should have my application rejected for not knowing that. Heh..just kidding.


I think I need to start shopping....

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cramming the Summer in

So first I want to apologize if my previous post was too obnoxious. I read it over and I thought that it sounded like I was calling people stupid for not knowing the difference between Colombia and Columbia. I didn't know the difference in the beginning either. I hope you knew I was just trying to be funny...although if anyone knows a frat boy looking for a home.... Oh and the stroller thing...I am not snobby and I will be grateful for any stroller we get. However, if you are just tuning in, my SIL is the cheapest of all cheapy cheaps and would never in a bazillion years pay any more than my husband's suggested $13 for a gift for anyone other than herself. Me, I think $169 is a little pricey for a stroller, hey, if you would like to go out and purchase one for me, knock yourself right out!

Still waiting around for the I171H. It's been 5 weeks since we were fingerprinted. I am hopeful that it will come this week. Is that stupid? There are ALOT of people making their way through immigration here in metro New York, I have no idea how long this is supposed to take. Like many of you, I just want that document binder OUT of my house!!!

This weekend was jam packed with summery fun. I didn't even mind the crazy heat too much. Except of course for the time spent on NYC subway platforms. Not fun. On Friday we went to the Counting Crows/Goo Goo Dolls concert at the Jones Beach Theatre. Best place to see a concert ever. Outside, right on the water (I'll update with a pic if blogger ever decides to cooperate ever again). My bro got us the tickets through a connection at work, so we weren't even sure where our seats would be. When we picked them up they said VIP on them (wow, cool!) so we went through the VIP gate where they sell food and beer and you can walk around near the water. We couldn't figure out where our seats were though. I go and ask the usher and he says, as he is pointing practically skyward...."Uh're in the luxury box up there". OH heh, I knew that! What do I look like? A COMMONER?? Of course! Begone with you! So although I had seen a million shows at this theatre, this was my first time in a luxury box. It was very cool and I was sorry I didn't bring my camera to show you. The box itself has a little kitchen area and our own bathroom (the best feature) and a big tv where you can watch the concert. There are sliding glass doors that lead out to the stadium seats. The seats themselves aren't that great because you are really high up, but you have a great view of the bay and the whole theatre, and it was air conditioned in the little room, so it was pretty cool. The concert itself was pretty good too. CC is my favorite band so I am never disappointed in anything they do.

Then yesterday DH and I went to do some much needed food shopping and decided to try a new store near where my cousin lived. I called her from the car to ask her exactly where it was and she told me not to go there because it was disgusting. I guess I couldn't argue with her because as I was on the phone with her, an employee passed me rolling something around in her mouth that was either a yellow tooth or a piece of corn (let's go with corn, shall we?). So on our way to a different store we decided to stop by her house to say hello. Well that was the end of that. Her husband convinced mine that what he really wanted to do on a beautiful summer Sunday was go clamming on his boat. While they did that, us girls hung out and had a great time playing with yarn, snacking and redecorating the living room. We stayed for dinner..guess what we had. The boys had brought back over 200 clams. We called some other cousins to join us and had a big feast. Don't you just love those spur of the moment things that turn into such great times?

We did end up going food shopping at 9:30 that night. Now I'm back at work. Blech. I leave you with a very cool meme that I stole from my new friend Hanazono. Feel free to play too.

I am.... strong willed.
I be a mom
I wish.... we were finished with the adoption process and had our child home.
I hate.... ignorance and stupidity
I miss.... my friend
I hear..... music. Always. Either from a radio or in my head.
I wonder.... who is responsible for baby distribution. I need to talk to them. Now.
I regret..... having wasted 3 years on IVF
I am not..... a wimp
I dance.... when the beat is really good. I can’t help it.
I sing.... like I can. I really can’t, but I don’t care too much about that.
I cry..... to heal.
I am not always..... obnoxious
I make..... things. All kinds of things. Mostly with yarn, sometimes with paint.
I write..... to communicate. It doesn’t come easy to me.
I confuse..... dates. Don’t ask me what day a week from Tuesday is, I can’t figure it out
I need..... a vacation!
I should..... lose weight
I start..... projects too late and then rush like crazy.
I finish.... most things that I start (shut up wiseguy husband, I do too).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Proof that I171H waiting damages your brain

We are adopting from Colombia not Columbia
Although a cute little frat boy might not be a bad way to waste time (just kidding honey!)

Email volley between me and DH regarding the aforementioned Jeep Stroller:

I think your sister meant this
Why because it's $29?
PRICEY........I don't think that was it. This is it. Or this


A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Colombia; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

¿Por qué estoy solo aquí?

I can’t help but notice that I am pretty much the only person out in blogland currently adopting from Colombia. I have no idea why that is. From what we can tell so far, the paperwork is no more difficult than in other countries, and in fact, seems easier in a lot of ways. The waiting time and costs are no more than Russia, Chin, Vietna, Guatemala or Korea (depending on your agency of course). The children are beautiful (just ask Erin) and have comparatively lower instances of health issues.

We came to choose Colombia through connections of very close friends. The way things unfolded, we could only believe that God meant for us to adopt from this particular orphanage. Because of this, we never considered any other country. It was only when I started blogging that I realized I was alone out here!

Sometimes people find their way here by searching “adoption, Colombia” and I’m not sure what ever happens to them. So maybe I need to spread the word a little here… I know I’m not totally finished with the process, but so far so good. I think in the next few posts I’ll include some information about adopting from Colombia.

Here’s a start based on my experiences and info from various websites, including the US Embassy in Bogota, the State Department, and ICBF. If anyone out there has any questions, or has a correction to what I’ve written, please let me know. This information is for those who are not Colombian, and who reside in the USA. The rules are slightly different if you are Colombian.

To adopt from Colombia, you must go through:

The Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar, also known as “Bienestar” or “ICBF” for short), through one of its 28 Regional Offices and 5 additional Department (State) Agencies. This organization processes the government adoptions and oversees the licensing of private orphanages.


One of the 8 adoption houses authorized by the ICBF:
- Ayúdame, (Bogota)
- Casa de la Madre y el Niño (Bogota)
- CRAN (Bogota)
- FANA (Bogota)
- Pisingos (Bogota)
- Casa de María y el Niño (Medellín)
- Casita de Nicolás(Medellín)
- Chiquitines (Cali)

If you live in the US, both the U.S. agency that is contracted by the prospective adoptive parents and the Colombian agency facilitating the Colombian part of the process must be approved by the Colombian government. There aren’t that many US Agencies, and the closest one to me is over 400 miles away. But so far, we have worked with this agency through emails and fedex, and it is working out just fine.

Who may adopt?
1. Married couples, or a couple formed by a man and a woman who can prove uninterrupted union for at least three years.
2. Single men and women are eligible to adopt children over the age of seven years only and on a case-by-case basis
3. In practice, newborns are assigned to younger couples, and older children are assigned to older couples.

What qualities are required of those who wish to adopt a child in Colombia?
1. Be legally capable
2. Be 25 years old or older
3. Be at least 15 years older than the adoptee
4. Guarantee physical, mental, moral and social competence and prove that you are capable of providing an adequate home for the child.

Documentation Requirements: (from our agency & Colombia)
Birth Certificates
Marriage License
Passport copies
Letters of Employment
Physician Letters
Fingerprints for FBI Clearance
Affidavit of Identification
Home Study; including:
Financial Form
Medical Form
More fingerprints
Psychological Evaluation
State Central Database Check Form
Application to Orphanage
Letter to orphanage stating reasons for adoption
Pictures of yourself and your home
I171H; to get this you need to have submitted to USCIS:
Home Study Report
Electronic Fingerprints

So I’m curious as to how you all came to decide on the country you chose. Was Colombia ever an option? If so, what were your thoughts on it? Did you hear negative things about Colombia or were you unaware they had a program? Of course I ask this totally out of curiosity. I have absolutely no judgments about any country and would never question anyone’s right to choose the program they were drawn to. Just wondering what people think when they hear “Colombia” (besides Pablo Escobar and cocaine of course). I'd be interested in your honest thoughts.