Colombia Adoption

The Process of Adopting a Child in Colombia

ASC – The Colombia Experts

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 is one of the few agencies approved to facilitate the placement of children of all ages from Colombia. Adoption By Shepherd Care was 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

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 more about adopting from Colombia with you!

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.


For general contact, please complete the form below, and a member of our staff will get back to you to discuss further details.


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