#NAAM 2018 ADOPTION STORIES: Michael Libberton, born in Colombia, adopted to the United States



“My name is Michael Libberton.

I was born William Ortiz Niño n 1976 In Bucaramanga Colombia.

Now, my adoption story like many from Colombia is full of holes and questions.

Is my name William? Is my birthday in February? Why was I put up for adoption? Should I be grateful I was brought to the United States? Should I be angry? Sad?

The story goes like this. My adoptive parents came to Bogota to get me from FANA. What was the price of a child back then? Well for them it was $1000 for the lawyer and 3 suitcases of clothes and diapers. They spent about a week there waiting to take me home. I came in through Miami then to Illinois.

My childhood, from what I remember, was not horrible. Did I have problems? Yes, I did. But I got to experience living on a big land. I had a best friend who lived close to me. I remember more about my life at home there than I do about school. Then we moved to Florida in 1987. Here I have stronger memories of school and than home. I was taken care of. Had food in my belly and a roof over my head. But what was missing?

Well, when we moved to Florida I found the paperwork for my “adoption “, explain later why the quotation marks. I saw I came from Colombia, I saw that my name was William. I saw a baby picture of myself. Of course, I knew I had to be from somewhere else when my whole family was white and I wasn’t. Now I had more questions than answers. From that day forward I wanted to know who my mother was. My birth family. Did I have siblings? I asked questions but they were all went unanswered. Maybe because I was supposed to be grateful that I had a home. I was taken from bad conditions. That, I remember being said to me. Be grateful I was brought here.

Well, I did not think about it more till later in life. Why? Well, I was a teenager, just wanted to like girls and sports at the time. It wasn’t till I had my son that the thoughts kept creeping into my head again. But let me be clear the thought of a birth mother always was in my head. But know I wanted to know where I was from. Movies showed Colombia as a jungle and nothing more. The. New questions arose. Was I born in the jungle? Was my birth family alive? I had to know. I needed to meet her before she passed away.

Fast forward 17 years. After two failed relationships and two wonderful kids, I met my beautiful wife. With her compassion and understanding starting to find answers started to become easier.

I put adopted in quotes because I found out over the last two years my adoption was not completed. Now this made me very disappointed and a bit angry.  For 40 years I was in America and thinking I was a citizen and belonged here. As a kid you always belong but when you become an adult and as time changes you see the anger in people towards humans that weren’t born here. Now before I go on I need to say that I am not angry about being in America. Now after my adoptive mother admitted that things were not finished I now have to go through a process like I was never even here. But I never even was in Colombia either.

So where did I belong? In my heart even to today, I belong in America. But to the rest of society and everything going on, there are people who think I don’t belong here and I’m not sure how I would fit into Colombia. But I consider America my home. I consider Colombia my birth home.

It has been a long journey thinking about who my mom is. If I had any siblings. Well, there is a possibility that I might have found them. Or I should say they found me. Pending DNA results but I will tell you that when they found me and the story is very close to mine, that meeting 4 out of 5 sisters and the mother has made me feel on a high. Other than my wife and kids they accepted me. They have embraced me and made me feel truly part of their family. I know a lot of adoptees have not found what they are looking for and I felt that way for years. But no matter what the results turn out to be, now for the first time in my life I know what having a connection in Colombia feels like.

My story still has so many chapters in it and they will surely be good and some bad but now my book of adoption has more pages filled in.

My adoption to me was not the worse thing in the world. Because I am alive today to tell you all this. My path, if I was never adopted will never be known because it never happened. As adoptees, we can never change the past. But we can surely learn and share from it. ”


Written by

Michael Libberton,

Born in Colombia

Adopted to the U.S.

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