25 Factors to Consider When Adopting from Colombia

adopting from Colombia

25 factors to consider when adopting from colombia

Click on each factor to learn more. Current as of April, 2016. This information is subject to change; therefore, check with an agency that places from this country for the most current information.
Parental Age
Parents must be at least 25 years old and the oldest parent must be between 15 and 45 years older than the youngest child being adopted. Up to a 50-year age difference between parent and child and parents older than 55 years old may be approved on a case-by-case basis.
Length of Marriage
3 years; cohabitation before date of legal marriage may be counted toward this requirement on a case-by-case basis.
3 divorces per spouse
Children in Family
No country requirement. Parents are required to provide documentation of sufficient resources to support another child. Larger families are considered on a case-by-case basis. Check with an adoption agency about your specific situation.
Medical Restrictions
Parents should be in good physical and mental health. A psychological study prepared by a psychologist or psychiatrist is required. Families with medical or mental issues are considered on a case-by-case basis. Diagnosis of psychiatric disorders is not accepted. Let your agency know about any potential complications and specifically ask if they have placed children from Colombia where parents have had similar issues.
Single Applicant
Single women are allowed to adopt boys and girls with special needs, sibling groups and healthy children older than 10 years old. Single men are allowed to adopt boys older than 10 years old.
Sexual Orientation
In November of 2015, the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex adoption, saying that preventing gay people from adopting unreasonably deprived children of the right to be raised by families. The court specifically instructed adoption agencies not to discriminate during the adoption process. The Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) guideline’s state that LGBT parents may adopt, but also state that under Colombian law, both marriages and civil unions are only recognized between one man and one woman. It is expected that ICBF will begin to receive and decide on applications from LBGT applicants in 2016. Check with an adoption agency that works in Colombia for more up-to-date information.
Children Available
Healthy children 9 to 15 years olds, children with special needs of all ages, larger sibling groups (3+ children) and older siblings groups (2+ children with 1 child older than 9 years old). Healthy children younger than 9 years old are not currently available for international adoption except to Colombian Heritage Families.
Hispanic, Native/Indigenous, Afro Colombian, or mixed ethnicities
Boys and girls; parents may request a gender. Colombian Heritage Families must be open to either gender if requesting a healthy child younger than 7 years old.
Referral Method
The Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) or one of the licensed IAPAs (private agencies) reviews the dossier and matches the parents with a child. A background study of the child is provided and parents can request additional information about the child before making a final decision.
Travel in Country
1 trip, approximately 5 to 8 weeks long. Both parents are required to travel for the first part of the trip, but only 1 parent is required to stay the entire time. Parents spend the first 10 days living with their child. After the bonding period, the parents have an interview with the ICBF and if they approve the placement, the legal adoption process begins and 1 parent may return to the US, leaving the other parent with a power of attorney letter. The second parent must stay in Colombia throughout the adoption procedure, approximately 3 to 7 weeks. After the adoption is finalized, parents apply for new legal documents, a medical exam and an immigration visa prior to escorting their child home.
Wait After Referral
4-7 months; parents can expect to travel 2-5 months after accepting the referral.
Approximate Cost
$22,000 – $26,000 + travel
Youngest Age Upon Arrival Home
6-12 months (Colombian Heritage families only)
Orphanage/Foster Care
Public and private orphanage, group homes and foster care
How Children Enter Government Care
Relinquishment or abandonment due to poverty or social stigma and lack of support for single mothers; removal for abuse, neglect or incarceration.
Prevalence of FASD
Not enough placements to get a consensus from IA doctors interviewed.
Adequacy of Medical Reports
Not enough placements to get a consensus from IA doctors interviewed, but agencies report that private orphanages and group homes provide detailed medical reports.
Post Adoption Reports
Required at 3, 9, 15 and 21 months. 
Additional Information
  • The US State Department periodically issues travel warnings for travel to Colombia. Check with the State Department for the current status.
  • 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.
  • Families of Colombian heritage between the ages of 25-45 have the option of adopting a healthy child 0-4 years old, or 2 siblings up to 7 years old. Families of Colombian heritage between the ages of 46-50 have the option of adopting 1 or 2 healthy children between the ages of 5-10 years. There are also reduced program fees and wait times. To qualify as a Colombian Heritage Family, at least one parent must have been born in Colombia or have at least one parent who was born in Colombia. Check with your adoption agency for more information.
  • Colombia requires perspective parents to submit a family photo album. ICBF staff uses this album during the matching process to get a more complete sense of the family and living situation, and to help prepare the child to meet his or her new family and the transition to their new home.
  • In practice, younger children will be matched with younger couples.
© Creating a Family
Available from www.CreatingaFamily.org, the national adoption and infertility education and support non-profit. Please do not reprint without giving credit to Creating a Family and a link to the website.

Image credit: mckaysavage