by Rachel Vogt
My story began when I was only 2 months old.
At that time, my name was Mariana Lopez. My adoptive parents found out after my brother, Jesse, was born that they were unable to have any more children. They discussed adoption, specifically international adoption. I was adopted through a foundation in Colombia called FANA (a Spanish acronym for Foundation for the Assistance of Abandoned Children). After the application process, all my parents were left to do was wait.
Nine months later, they were notified that there was a baby girl ready to be adopted.
That’s when I come in to the story.
It was a dream come true for them to have another child. The foundation sent them a picture of me, which they admired with love everyday despite not meeting me yet. Yet, a few days before they were due to leave, my parents found out that my mother was pregnant. Needless to say, they were shocked because the doctor had told them that there was a 0% chance that my mother could get pregnant again.
In July of that year, my new family boarded a plane to travel to Colombia to pick me up. My brother and father spent two weeks there, but had to go back home, leaving my mother (who spoke no Spanish) alone with me for an additional two weeks. After my parents met with the lawyer, they had to wait for the paperwork to go through the courts.
My mother waited anxiously for the next two weeks.
In August, I was brought to the United States. By September, I had become a United States citizen under my new name: Rachel Mariana Vogt.
My parents gave me an incredible life with many opportunities, for which I am forever grateful for, but growing up in a culture different from my own was confusing.
I felt connected to my Colombian roots, but knew very little about the culture. Still, I want to reconnect with the place I come from, and also learn about my family’s culture. I’m Colombian by birth, but German and Irish by association. This allowed me to develop both sides of my unique background.
It was not until sophomore year of college that I traveled back to Colombia for the first time since being adopted. It’s hard to describe what I felt, but I did feel like I was “home.”
I traveled with a non-profit organization called the Rise and Walk Foundation, which was founded by Hernan Bohorquez.
I remember meeting him for the first time during my interview.