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25 Factors to Consider When Adopting from Colombia

Also available in a printable version.

Current as of September 2011, however, all information is subject to change so check with an agency that places from this country for the most current information.  

According to a June 3, 2013 Alert"A temporary moratorium on the acceptance of new intercountry adoption applications is expected from Colombia," the U.S. State Department expects that nation to announce "a temporary moratorium on the acceptance of new intercountry adoption applications from non-Colombian citizens interested in adopting a child aged 0–6 years old, unless that child has been characterized as 'difficult to adopt.'" Currently, the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) maintains a five- to seven-year waiting list of over 3,000 foreign families wanting to adopt children up to 6 years old. ICBF wants to encourage prospective parents to consider adopting some of the 8,000 waiting children older than 6, in a sibling group of three or more, or who have chronic health or developmental needs. The State Department anticipates that adoption processing for families who have already applied "will continue to operate normally." In 2012, Americans adopted 194 children from Colombia (which ratified the Hague Convention in 1998), down from 344 in 2006.

 

Parental Age

Both parents are required to be at least 25. Unless parents request an older child, the following guidelines usually apply:
25-38 - children referred are usually under the age of 2
39-45 - children referred are usually between the ages of 3-6
45+ - children referred are usually 7+ years. There is no upper limit for waiting children.

Length of Marriage

Colombian law allows adoptions by a married couples and common law spouses of more than three years. Colombia accepts the time that a couple has been living together as counting towards the time married. I would suggest asking your agency specifically if they have seen placements in the last year for a couple with your marriage history.

Divorce

1 prior divorce each

Children in Family

Priority is given to childless couples or those with only 1 child. No more than two young children in the home if the family wants to adopt a child 0-4 years.

Single Applicant

Single men may adopt boys who are over 8+ years. Single women may adopt boys or girls who are 7+ years or who have special medical or developmental needs.

Sexual Orientation

The US State Department says: Gay or Lesbian individual or couple prospective adoptive parents are advised that they should consult with the ICBF regarding Colombias legal requirements prior to pursuing an adoption there.

Children Available

Children as young as 3 months are available for adoption, although a child is considered an infant until 35 months and most children are at least 6 months. Older children, sibling groups and special need children are common. Special needs are defined as:

  • Sibling groups of 3 or more.
  • Sibling groups of 2, when one is older than 8 years of age.
  • A single, healthy child, if older than 8 years of age.
  • A single child of any age that has a mental or physical disability.
  • A single child of any age with a permanent disease such as (HIV, heart disease, renal disease, etc.)

Race/Ethnicity

Hispanic; Indian; black; mixed race

Gender

Boys and girls; families must be open to either a boy or a girl, although they can state their preference to be taken into consideration by ICBF.

Adopting more than one unrelated child at same time

Strong preference to place sibling groups.

Travel in Country

  • Both parents must travel for at least part of the trip.
  • The trip is usually 4-8 weeks. The first 10 days are mandatory period to bond with the child, after which one parent may return home while the other stays to finalize the adoption.
  • The paperwork to finalize the adoption will take approximately 3 - 7 weeks to complete depending on the city in Colombia where the adoption takes place. Ask your agency how long for the orphanage or city you are adopting from.
  • Parents do not travel in groups.

Referral Method

Standard. Families are placed on a waiting list in chronological order based on when they are approved by the ICBF. Once a referral is made, medical, social, psychological, and nutritional assessments are provided to the prospective adoptive parents, as well as photographs of the child. Prospective adoptive parents are given two months to make a decision as to whether to adopt that particular child.

Wait for referral (after dossier received)

Non Special Needs: 2+ years (6-18 months for parents of Colombian decent)
Special Needs/Waiting Children: 3-12 months

Wait after referral

5-9 weeks

Approximate Cost

  • $22,000  $26,000 + travel
  • Reduced fees for Colombian-American families

Adequacy of medical reports

Not enough placements to get a consensus from IA doctors interviewed, but agencies report that private orphanages and group homes give detailed medical reports.

Youngest Age Upon Arrival Home

3 months, but average is 6-12 months

Orphanage/Foster Care

Orphanage, group homes, and foster care

How children enter government care

Relinquishment or abandonment by birth mothers due to poverty or stigma against unwed motherhood. Removal by government for abuse, neglect or incarceration.

Prevalence of FAS

Not enough placements to get a consensus from IA doctors interviewed.

Number of children placed in the US from 1999-2010

3,352

Program

Stability

Stable

Growing/Declining

About even, although there was a slight decline in the past two years.

Post Adoption Reports

Most orphanages require four post placement reports written by a social worker at 3, 9, 15, and 21 months after arrival home

Hague Treaty

Yes

Additional Information

  • Adoption finalized in Colombia, but Colombian government requires proof of readoption in the US.
  • The US State Department periodically issues travel warnings for travel to Colombia. Go to www.travel.state.gov to check the current status.
  • Colombian adoption law states that prospective adoptive parents must be physically and emotionally capable. This standard is rather vague, so let your agency know before you apply if you have mental or physical health issues. Specifically ask if they have placed children from Colombia where parents have had similar issues.
  • Applicants cannot have a criminal background, including any arrests or convictions. Minor legal infractions in the distant past will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Useful Links

Great Blogs

Creating a Family Sponsors

Bethany Christian Services

Carolina Adoption Services

Children's House International Adoptions

Dillon International

Nightlight® Christian Adoptions

© Creating a Family

Available from www.CreatingaFamily.org, a nonprofit providing education and resources for adoption and infertility. Please do not reprint without giving credit to Creating a Family and a link to the website.

 
 
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