Colombia is a perfect program to families seeking to adopt children that Colombia considers "special characteristics": Older children, sibling groups of three children and over and infant to older special needs children. This category of children are considered "children with special characteristics" by the Colombian government. These include healthy older children over 9 years of age, sibling groups with a child 9 or older and a younger child, siblings in groups of 3 or more, and special needs children.
Estimated Wait Time for Special Characteristics Children
- From Dossier to referral: up to 4 months (could be more depending on specifications of referral request)
- From referral acceptance to travel: 3-5 months
What makes this program special?
- Colombia focuses on healthy older children, and sibling groups. They want these children placed urgently.
- Sibling groups are available of all ages
- Colombia is a Hague Adoption Program
- Shorter waiting time for special characteristics children
- Well established adoption program in country with knowledgeable staff and attorneys.
- Well run national child welfare program
- Children are prepared for their family
- Families stay in a safe adoption-friendly environment
- One trip for bonding and adoption, Travel: 1 trip, 3-7 weeks
- Fabulous cultural journey
- Lowered fees for HIV+ children
ADOPTIVE PARENT CRITERIA
- Adoptive Parents should be 25 to 55 years of age
- Married couples and single women and men.
- Single women may adopt boys or girls who are over 7 years of age or who have a special medical or developmental needs (special characteristics children)
- Single men may adopt boys who are over 8 years of age, accepted on a case by case basis
- If you have Colombian heritage you are given preference to adopt an infant or older and a reduction in fees.
- No history of physical or mental health diagnosis
- The family must meet United States Immigration requirements as well as provide a complete dossier of paperwork to Colombian officials.
- Couples should be married a minimum of 1 year at home-study approval
- No criminal history
Referrals will come with a complete medical, social and psychological profile and photos. The information is comprehensive and will provide the family a very good overview of the child. For families wanting to adopt an older child, larger sibling group or special needs child, this program can move much faster. Adoptive families are allowed to identify the age and gender of the child they wish to adopt, however we are at this time working with special characteristics children primarily.
If you have demonstrated Colombian heritage, you may request to be matched with an infant or toddler. Upon acceptance of a child, the necessary immigration forms will be filed with the USCIS and wait for approval, which typically takes 1 month.
Wait time for referral after dossier is submitted:
- For a child 1 - 4 the wait is approximately 36+ months
- For a child 5 - 6, the wait is approximately 24+ months
- For a child 8 and up, the wait is approximately 3 months and up
- For a sibling group where one child is 8 or older, the wait is approximately 3 months and up
PROCESS AND TRAVEL
Once families are "paper ready" with their dossier, all documents will be translated and submitted to The Colombian Central Adoption Authority, ICBF. The process of translating, submitting, registering and approving the dossier can take 2-3 months. Families may be asked for additional documentation at this time which can slow the process.
Families will be well prepared with a travel preparation session geared to teach you all you will need to pack, cultural information, information about the process and how to proceed with travel. This is a comprehensive teleconference all families attend.
The family stay in Colombia will depend on the region in which your child resides. Bogota requires a 5-7 week stay.
Once families receive their travel date, they are met at the airport and escorted to all adoption related procedures. The child will join the family on the first day of meeting. Families arrive to the country a few days before meeting the child. There will be a 7-10 day period of bonding for the family, then the ICBF will interview the family, and recommend the judicial process to begin. One spouse may leave after approximately 10 days in country, once ICBF recommends the adoption to proceed.
All families will have an attorney representing their adoption case in court. Depending on the region you will be adopting in your case could take anywhere from 3-7 weeks for the issuance of the adoption decree. The birth certificate will be obtained and the Colombian passport will be issued. The final step is to go to the required visa medical exam then on to the interview with the US Embassy. Once the embassy issues the child’s visa, you may return home as a family!
Once families arrive back home, there are four post adoption reports required by Colombia. They will take place at 3, 9, 15, and 21 month intervals, and be done by a social worker in the family home.
Fees schedules are set to where Parents pay in increments, so all fees are not due at once. Application, Registration, Agency and Commitment Fees are non-refundable. There is a written refund policy for all fees. There is a reduced fee schedule for families that can show Colombian descent.
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THE COUNTRY AND PEOPLE OF COLOMBIA
Colombia is the third-most populous country in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. Sixty-one cities have a population of 100,000 or more; five cities have a population of more than 1 million.
Ethnic and cultural diversity in Colombia reflects the indigenous, European (mainly Spanish), and African heritages of its inhabitants. Today, only about 3% of the people identify themselves as indigenous. Afro-Colombians and indigenous groups have faced challenges related to integration into mainstream Colombian society.
Around 37% of Colombians live below the poverty line, and the country continues to face large income disparities and inadequate social services. The history of the country, including decades of violence involving outlawed armed groups and drug cartels coupled with human rights violations, has complicated the advancement of government social programs to address these problems. Colombia continues to make progress in improving citizen security, which is an essential building block for stability and democracy.
Daily 1,000 young women become single mothers. 0 out of every 100 children of pre-school age attend school and only 60 out of every 100 children who begin primary school finish it. The main cause for children leaving schools in poor and marginalized areas is hunger. The children have to work to assist the family income, thus leaving education.
Only 47% of children between 12 and 17 years of age go on to secondary education. Of those, only 30% finish their secondary education.