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Colombia Adoption Program

COLOMBIA
ADOPTION

Adoption by Shepherd Care has been an approved agency through the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) since 1993.  Some agencies have many international programs to choose from, but our philosophy is to work with the country in which doors have been wide open to us, and to focus on doing it very well.

We know the regulations in Colombia, we work closely with ICBF, and we travel there often to visit orphanages and foster homes.  We know ICBF staff and foster parents by name. International adoption can be unpredictable, but rest assured that we stay informed, connected, and will walk you through each part of this process.

Adoption by Shepherd Care has been an approved agency through the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) since 1993, and we were among the first group of agencies in the United States to become Hague accredited in 2008.  We have been honored to assist numerous families in adopting from Colombia.

ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

Our experience includes both American and Colombian individuals adopting younger children, older children, relatives, and children with special needs.

With staff members at ASC who fluently speak Spanish and some who are Colombian themselves, we are able to easily collaborate with our representative in Colombia as well as with ICBF officials.

Our program has a strong foundation, staff who are dedicated to advocating for children and families, and a core of passion for building families.  Read on to find out whether this program might be a good fit for your family.

Why adopt from Colombia?

The need for adoption in Colombia is great as there are currently over 9,000 children legally free for adoption and awaiting homes. Children are available for adoption for a variety of reasons—some were placed in orphanages at birth due to the mother’s living situation, some were brought into care as a result of abandonment, and some were removed from their homes because of the parents’ inability to care for them properly.

Adoptions in Colombia take place through ICBF, and when a child comes into the care of ICBF, all attempts are made to reunify the child with their birth family or with other family members prior to the child becoming available for adoption.

In light of this, you can feel confident that for the child you adopt from Colombia, adoption is the best option for their future.

Who is eligible to adopt from Colombia?

Applicants hoping to adopt from Colombia should be over 25 years of age and couples must be married for a minimum of one year. Colombia currently does not have an upper age limit. Single female applicants are also eligible. At this time, non-Colombian couples and singles are eligible to adopt a child 7 years or older.

How long is the process?

The first part of the process involves completing a home study, immigration approval, and an adoption dossier. When this has been submitted to ICBF and approved, the family is placed on a waiting list awaiting the referral of a child.

The waiting time varies depending on the age of the child the family is hoping to adopt, with current wait times ranging from four months to three years. The wait time is shorter for a child eight years or older, siblings groups of three or more, special needs children, or if one parent was born in Colombia or has dual Colombian/U.S. citizenship.

What information will we receive on the child?

ICBF matches children with families based on the history and needs of the child as well as the eligibility and desires of the family. When a child has been matched to a family by ICBF, the family receives a referral which includes photographs of the child, medical information, social history information, and any available evaluations on the child.

How long will our trip to Colombia be?

The average required length of stay in Colombia is 4-6 weeks. During that time ASC’s representative in Colombia assists the family with travel and hotel arrangements, as well as with other needs during their stay. The family can feel confident that they will not be on their own during their stay in Colombia.

How does the legal process work?

The adoption will be finalized in Colombia prior to the family’s return to the United States. The child is then issued a new Colombian birth certificate, and ASC’s representative assists the family in completing the various pre-travel requirements including obtaining the child’s Colombian passport and U.S. visa.

Upon completion of that process, the family can return to the United States. The child will become a United States citizen automatically upon their arrival to the United States, and the family will receive the child’s Certificate of Citizenship soon thereafter.

What are the requirements after returning home?

Upon the family’s return to the United States, they are responsible for completing four post adoption reports as required by ICBF. ASC is available to support families when they return home or even months or years after, as any questions or issues arise. ASC believes in coming alongside you throughout the entire journey of adoption. We truly are available for you even after your supervisory period is over.

How can I find answers to my other questions?

This one’s easy, just get in touch! Call us or request our free Colombia information packet today.

What are the next steps?

If you’d like to get started in the process, the first step is to schedule a one-on-one consultation, which will provide you with an overview of the process personalized to your situation. We look forward to sharing with you more about adopting from Colombia!

ADOPTION
SERVICES

Adoption by Shepherd Care works with many families in situations that fall outside of our traditional domestic and Colombia programs. Some families only need a home study, others are seeking to adopt a relative in another country, and some are in need of services after adopting a child.

ASC is a licensed child-placing agency by the state of Florida and is fully accredited to work internationally within the guidelines set forth by the Hague Convention.

Home Study

A home study is a comprehensive written report of your family prepared by a caseworker, and it is often one of the first requirements in any adoption whether domestic or international. The process involves three to four meetings with your caseworker, a visit to your home, and assistance in the compilation of various documents such as medical reports, income verifications, police clearances, references, and more.  During the home study process, you will receive education on adoption and raising adopted children.  This is a time when you and your caseworker can explore the unique issues surrounding adoption and how it affects you and your child.

While home studies are usually a requirement in any adoption, many families come to view them as beneficial as well.  They provide you the opportunity to sit down with an adoption professional and voice your questions about things like preparing to adopt, handling questions from friends and family, how to talk to your child about adoption, and many other topics.  ASC caseworkers are ready to provide the services you need for your adoption as well as the personalized support you need for your family.

Waiting Children Profiles

Coming in early 2017

Adoption Financing

We know that adoption can seem costly, and that is why we are thrilled about our partnership with Your Adoption Finance Coach!

Your Adoption Finance Coach is a proven, ground-breaking system helping our families with alternative ways to finance their dreams!

We offer this service to our families free of cost, and it includes the following resources:

  • A full library of instructional videos, resources and coaching
  • On-line gift registry service to receive money for your adoption expenses
  • Access to a dedicated finance coach to help you create a comprehensive plan for how you will pay for your adoption

Don’t allow finances to hold you back from fulfilling your dream of adopting. Call our office for more information or ideas about funding your adoption!

Click here for more information

Immigration/Dossier Services

ASC has over thirty years of experience helping families with immigration and dossier preparation in many different countries.  We will do our best to make what can often be a confusing and frustrating  process a smooth one as you work through the final steps of completing your family.

Immigration:

Adoption by Shepherd Care can help families navigate the requirements of USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to adopt a child. These services include:

  • preparing and submitting the 1800A for Hague Convention countries and the 1600A for non-Hague convention countries which approves you as an adoptive parent
  • preparing and submitting the I800 and I600 forms once you have accepted a referral from your respective country
  • preparing and submitting the DS260 which is required for you to apply for a visa for your child before you travel so that when you and your adopted child or children enter the U.S., your child or children will enter as U.S. citizens

Dossier Preparation:

ASC  can also assist families in assembling the required dossier for the country from which they are adopting. A dossier is a set of appropriately authenticated and translated legal documents that are required in the international adoption process to meet the legal requirements to adopt a child or children in a foreign country and bring that child or children back to the U.S.

Post Adoption Services

Adoption by Shepherd Care provides post-placement and post-adoption services to families in Florida who have adopted both domestically and internationally.  We will work closely with your placing agency to ensure that the requirements of the state or country from which you are adopting will be met.  To request more information on these services and the associated fees, request information or call us today.

Post adoption reporting is required in all domestic and most international adoptions, and the purpose is to document the family and child’s adjustment and well-being at various intervals after the child is placed with the adoptive family. Families meet with their assigned caseworker either in the family’s home or in the agency office, and the caseworker writes a report detailing the child’s developmental milestones, socialization, attachment, and more.  The information included in the report as well as the number and frequency of visits are guided by the requirements of the agency, state, or country from which the family adopted.

While post adoption reporting is usually required in an adoption, many families come to view the visits as being helpful as they adjust to the child’s placement in their home.  The visits provide you the opportunity to sit down with an adoption professional and voice your questions about things like re-adoption, attachment, immigration documents, support services, and many other topics.  ASC caseworkers are ready to provide the services you need for your adoption as well as the personalized support you need for your family.

HOSTING PROGRAM

Hosting is an incredible way to invest in the life of an orphan.  Read below to learn more about how it works, and contact us if you're interested in being notified about future hosting opportunities!

For orphaned children cared for by the Colombian child welfare system (ICBF), each year that passes means a sharp decline in their chances of being adopted. For many children who are 10 years old and older, their chances of finding a permanent home in a loving family are slim to none.

We've noticed that many people did not seriously considering adopting an older child until they actually got to know one, and this is the main reason why hosting programs can be very successful.  These programs bring families from the United States in contact with older orphans from Colombia who are available for adoption, thus creating opportunities for these children to be brought into a forever family.   Host families play an influential role in either considering adoption themselves as they host the child or in bringing that child into contact with other people in their lives who may be interested in adoption.

A host family’s role is to include the child in their day-to-day family life and introduce the child to their neighbors, coworkers, friends, and people from their place of worship.  Our hope is that by the end of the child’s stay, a family interested in adopting them will be identified.  ASC has seen great success in programs like this securing stable adoptive placements for older children, and we are thrilled to have had the chance to see many families formed through these programs.

Read through these questions and answers from our 2015 summer hosting program to learn more about the practical details of how hosting works...

Who are the children?

The children to be hosted are orphans in government care in Colombia between the ages of 12 and 14 years (sometimes with a younger sibling). The children apply to be part of the hosting program by submitting a personal statement outlining why they want to be adopted and the type of family they hope to be placed with. When a child and a host family are matched, the family receives background and medical information on the child as well as a photo.

How are the children prepared for their trip to America?

All children matched to a host family will gather at a Colombian orphanage for a two-week “vacation” before their trip to America. During this time, the children are prepared for their journey by: meeting with a social worker and psychologist, orienting them to some aspects of American culture, and helping them learn about their host family through photos and potentially a video chat.

What are the requirements to be a host family?

In order to host, you must be interested in adopting or in helping a child find a forever family. At least one parent must be over 25 years of age, and it is preferred that one parent can stay at home with the child during the hosting period. Further, the home assessment will include background checks and a visit to your home.

What kind of support will we receive?

An ASC staff member will be available to you 24 hours per day during the hosting period, should any questions or issues arise. Further, a bilingual psychologist from Colombia with experience in hosting situations will make a visit to your home to provide support during the child's stay. ASC will also host two social events during the hosting period to allow the children and host families to spend time together and with staff members from ASC and Colombia.

How much does it cost?

The total cost for a family to host a child is $2,500.  This fee includes the home assessment, translations, training, and ongoing support. You are responsible for all day to day expenses while the child is in your care.

I'm interested in hosting. What's my next step?

Complete our simple contact form online.  We look forward to speaking with you about this unique opportunity!

GIVING
BACK

While our main work in Colombia involves completing adoptions, we also care deeply for the children who are not likely to be adopted and will remain in the ICBF system.  Colombia already places great value on their children and cares for them well, and we are honored to join them in their efforts.

Since 2008, ASC has been involved in serving children in Colombia in several ways.  When it comes to the orphanages there, we have cleaned, painted, repaired, and served.  When it comes to the people there, we have listened, encouraged, played, laughed, and hugged.  Of all the things we have been a part of, our favorite endeavors have been bringing two brothers from Colombia to Florida to visit their two siblings who had been adopted five years earlier, and sponsoring medical evaluations for children whose availability for adoption is on hold awaiting further tests.  Reuniting families and giving children a chance to be adopted is rewarding beyond words, and we are thankful for the monetary donations that have made these daydreams turn into reality.

We are always dreaming of more ways to help and bring hope to children in Colombia.  If you are interested in donating financial gifts, services, or tangible goods to our efforts, please give us a call or click “Donate Today” to give directly through our website.  ASC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and your contributions are tax-deductible.

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