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Colombian Adoption - All you need to know

February 18, 2023

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Colombian Adoption - All you need to know

Any Colombian national or foreigner can adopt children and/or adolescents declared adoptable through a legal process before the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, ICBF, in order to create a family.

The Political Constitution of Colombia contemplates a family as the fundamental nucleus of society, by the responsible will of a man and a woman to form it. In this sense, every child has the right to grow or be welcomed into of a family in an environment of love, happiness, and understanding where their human dignity and integral development prevail.

In our law firm, our specialized lawyers have experience in the Colombian adoption process. If you need legal representation or guidance, do not hesitate to contact us through the following WhatsApp number: +57 310 5706331.

    Many children in Colombia are waiting for a forever family, you could be the one they need.

What is an adoption in Colombia?

Adoption in Colombia is a legal figure in which, by voluntary decision of a person or couple, a family link is created with the adopter. As a result, it creates a relationship of paternity and/or maternity between them that produces all legal effects.

This figure is conceived under the s vigilance of the Colombian State, whose purpose is to guarantee a forever family and a stable home to those minors who are in a situation of abandonment. In this sense, the state apparatus has the task of watching over the rights of minors, which prevail over those of others.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Colombian adoption?

In accordance with article 68 of Law 1098 of 2006, those interested in adopting a child or adolescent must be over 25 years old, at least 15 years older than the adoptable child and have full legal capacity. Likewise, they must guarantee sufficient physical, mental, moral and social suitability to provide an adequate and stable forever family for the child or adolescent.

Who may adopt in Colombia?

In that sense, once the above-mentioned basic requirements have been met, the following people may adopt:

  • Single people.
  • The spouses jointly.
  • The permanent partners, who demonstrate an uninterrupted cohabitation of at least 2 years. If any of the spouses had been married or with a previous marriage bond, the term will be counted since the divorce sentence.
  • The guardian of the ward or former ward once the accounts of his or her administration have been approved.
  • The spouse or permanent partner, to the child of the spouse or partner, who demonstrates an uninterrupted cohabitation of at least 2 years.
  • Colombian nationals and foreigners.
  • LGBTQ+ couples.

Additionally, in Colombia, there is the adoption process of an adult. For this, the consent of both the adopter and the adopted must be obtained, and it will be carried out before a family judge. In this case, the adopter must prove that the adolescent was under his personal care and lived under his roof for at least two years before he turned 18.

How is the Colombian adoption process?

The Colombian adoption process evaluates the moral, mental, physical and social suitability of the people interested in adopting a child. The Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF), carries out this process through three stages: The administrative, judicial, and the follow-up stage.

1. Administrative Stage

At this stage, the interested family must formally present their Colombian adoption application together with the requested documents before the ICBF, or before an accredited organization in Colombia abroad. Interested parties must take into account that only minors under 18 years of age previously declared adoptable or those who have the consent of their parents may be adopted.

Once the application is submitted, the family defender (a Colombian public servant) proceeds to analyze the documents submitted by the interested parties in order to accept or deny the start of the Colombian adoption process. Subsequently, the preparation of the applicants begins, in which workshops, home visits and interviews are conducted. The results of these procedures are evaluated by the Adoption Committee, which evaluates and decides whether to grant the suitability of the adoptive parents.

Once the whole process described above has been completed, the meeting of the adopting family with the child or adolescent is scheduled.

2. Judicial Stage

This is the stage of the Colombian adoption process, a family judge declares the adoption of the child or adolescent. That is to say, the adopted child acquires the quality of child of his adoptive parents in all the terms of the law.

To initiate this stage, the prospective adoptive parents must file an adoption petition through a legal attorney before the family judge of their domicile or, in the case of an international adoption, before any family judge in the country.

According to article 124 of Law 1098 of 2006, the following documents must be attached to the complaint:

  • The consent for the adoption.
  • The copy of the declaration of adoptability or of the authorization for the adoption, as the case may be.
  • The civil registry of birth of the adopters and that of the child or adolescent.
  • The civil registry of marriage or the proof of the extra-marital cohabitation of the adoptive parents.
  • Certification of the ICBF, or of an entity authorized for the effect, on the physical, mental, social and moral suitability of the adopters. This document must be issued with no more than 6 months in advance.
  • Proof from the respective entity on the personal integration of the child or adolescent with the adopter or adopters.
  • Current certificate of criminal or police records from the adopters.
  • Certification on the validity of the operating license of the institution where the child or adolescent is housed, issued by the ICBF.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the case of an international adoption in Colombia, foreign adopters, in addition to submitting the documents described above, must attach:

  1. Authorization from the Government of the country of residence of the adopters for the entry of the adoptable child or adolescent.
  2. The favorable concept to the adoption in Colombia issued by the family defender based on the interview to the adopters and the examination of documentation.
  3. Certification issued by the authorized governmental or private entity, stating the commitment to follow up the adoptable child or adolescent until his nationalization in the country of residence of the adopters.

3. Follow-up Stage

This is the final stage in which professionals in psychology or social work from the ICBF follow up each adopting family in order to verify the welfare and emotional health of the adopted child. Additionally, the relationship they have with their adoptive parents and other family members will be revised.

After this verification, the professionals will prepare a report on the child's living environment in order to be validated by the Regional Adoption Committee.

What are the legal effects of a Colombian adoption?

Once the family judge declares the adoption of a child or adolescent, both the adopted and the adoptive parent(s) acquire all the rights and duties of a parent and child. Likewise, when a civil bond arises, it extends to all lines and degrees of family. That is to say, the adopted child will also have a link with the family of the adopting parents, therefore, they will have uncles, cousins, grandparents as any other biological child.

Among the rights of adopted children, is the right to bear the surnames of their adoptive parents and the right to know their biological family. The adopted children will have the opportunity to meet their biological family when their adoptive parents establish the appropriate time to do so, as stipulated in Article 76 of Law 1098 of 2006.

Therefore, the adoptive parents acquire the obligations of the paternal or maternal-filial relationship, such as guaranteeing food, medical assistance, education, recreation, and other means for the physical and psychological development of the children. In no case may the exercise of parental responsibility involve physical or psychological violence or acts that impede the exercise of their rights.

Can Foreign Residents adopt in Colombia?

Colombian nationals or foreigners residing abroad may also advance the Colombian adoption process of a child or adolescent. In this case, those foreigners who want to adopt a minor in Colombia must comply with all the requirements mentioned above.

To proceed with the adoption in Colombia, it is recommended to check if the country where the adoptive parents reside is a party to The Hague Convention. When this information is confirmed, the Central Authority or the accredited body in the country should be contacted so that they can indicate the procedure to follow for the intended adoptive parents. If the State is not a party to The Hague Convention, aspiring parents should contact the body responsible for international adoption in Colombia.

The adoption in Colombia for foreign residents has two (2) major differences in relation to the process for Colombian nationals residing in the country. These differences are the following:

Difference # 1

Difference # 2 

Adoptions in Colombia for international parents are open to couples or families who want to adopt children or adolescents with special characteristics and needs. 

Colombian children of all ages are in need of a forever family, especially children from ages 8 and older, sibling groups, and those living with identified needs.

In the post-adoption stage, these additional follow-ups will be carried out:

For boys and girls under 7 years and 11 months, four (4) follow-ups will be performed, with an interval of six (6) months between each one of them. 

For children older than 8 years old or sibling groups, six (6) follow-ups will be conducted, with an interval of six (6) months between them.  

Regarding the priority of applications, those submitted by Colombian nationals will be given preference, under equal conditions, over foreign residents and non-nationals. As a result, in the case of international adoption, priority will be given to adoptive parents who are nationals of a country that has signed The Hague Convention or any other bilateral or multilateral adoption agreement.

    A loving forever family is what every child wants and deserves.

Are you searching for legal advice to start your Colombian adoption process?

At AGT Attorneys, we offer legal accompaniment in the Colombian adoption processes. Our specialized lawyers carry out a previous study of the viability of the process in each specific case, in order to exercise legal representation in the judicial process before a Family Judge. As adoption attorneys in Colombia, our services are provided with the purpose of seeking a satisfactory and effective result.

Our lawyers are in charge of providing all the relevant evidence and gathering all the documentation required for Colombians and foreigners who wish to adopt a child in the country. Consequently, we advise them in such a way that the workshops and evaluations are carried out correctly before the ICBF.

Write to us on our Contact Form, schedule your legal appointment with our lawyers through the following link or contact us at +57 310 5706331.

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