The Girl from Bogotá

We Shared More Than Just a Hometown

Waiting (once again) on the primitive printer in our office, I stared out into space and thought idly about what I was going to eat for lunch. Times Square doesn’t offer much in the means of good food, so I wasn’t off in hungry never-never land for very long.

When I snapped out of it, an unfamiliar face was walking towards me. I work in a very small office where everyone knows one another, so this was an event. I didn’t know this mystery woman, but something about her seemed so familiar. As she got closer I realized that she looked a lot like this timid Colombian girl I knew in college. Hmm, I wonder…

Mystery woman
She smiled sheepishly as she approached and made to walk on past. I stopped her, “Excuse me, I know this is a little weird, but do you have a sister? I knew a girl in college who looked just like you.” She thought for a second and said, “No…well, at least not that I know of.” She kind of shrugged, smiled shyly again, and walked away.

I’m very random this way, so this wasn’t a strange encounter for me, but something was different about this meeting. It was the way she answered my question.

Just then, she walked past again, going the opposite direction. One little butterfly started to fly around inside me. I stopped her again. “Um, hey, it’s interesting, uh, the way you answered my question because…I would have answered it the same way. I’m adopted.” A warmer smile spread across her face and she said, “So am I.”

The girl from Bogotá
Her name is Abby, but I didn’t find that out until we had chatted a good ten minutes during which we found that we shared much more than we ever expected. Not only was she adopted, but she was also from Bogotá, Colombia, just like me. The bonding began immediately.

As if we didn’t already have enough to talk about, about the time we met a big human interest story appeared in The New York Times about twin girls from Mexico separated at birth when they were adopted by two different families in the United States. We discussed the story of their reunion a way that neither of us had imagined we could, unearthing questions that we had only asked ourselves before, sharing our thoughts and theories about what we ourselves might have left behind in Colombia, and what it would be like to go back someday.

Sister serendipity
There’s no doubt in my mind that something special sent Abby my way; our paths crossed at the perfect time. The closer we become, the more we realize how empowering, how validating it is to finally have someone who understands.

We both have amazing support systems—family and friends who love and encourage us. But now each of us has someone extraordinary in her life who can relate to so many seemingly unique things that the other has experienced—the fear of not fitting in, dealing with unruly curly hair, the incredible and even magical connection that comes from being “chosen” by your parents.

Our friendship is truly a blessing. Just when I thought my family was complete, a special new sister entered my life.