Adoption is a life-changing process and can be daunting when a family is just getting started. We reached out to La Casa de la Madre y el Niño in Colombia for some information to help families inquiring about Colombian adoptions have a better whole-picture view and to help them see the process from start to finish. Several steps have links which will take you to more information as well!
Choose adoption agency
For hosting we always recommend to choose the agency you would like to do the adoption through.
Family submits application to agency
Agency submits Letter of Intent (LOI) to La Casa
Hosting families can submit the LOI without a homestudy. They have 8 months after the LOI to submit the dossier according to the Colombia guidelines.
Family chooses homestudy agency
This may be the same as your adoption agency if they have an office in your state, but it may be a different agency that coordinates with your “placing” (adoption) agency.
See link for more information on Homestudies: https://143millionreasons.org/adoption-lingo-what-is-a-homestudy/
I800A is filed with USCIS
This application is seeking approval from the United States government for the adoptive parents to adopt internationally.
See link for more information on Dossiers: https://143millionreasons.org/adoption-lingo-what-is-a-dossier/
This is the certification of the documents in your dossier. It is done by the secretary of state - fees and timelines vary by state.
Dossier is submitted to La Casa de la Madre y el Niño
Dossiers from host families are presented to the Adoption Committee for approval. This meeting happens on the Monday after the dossier is received, and the decision letter is send to the adoption agency on Tuesday/Wednesday.
Referral is sent to family
ICBF sends the referral to the adoption agency, who then sends it to the family. This can take from 2 days to approximately a month to be completed and sent.
The adoption agency is responsible for the translation of all documents, so the timeline of that varies by agency.
Family applies for I800 for child/ren
This is another application to USCIS that is child-specific. It seeks approval for the adoptive parents to adopt this specific child/ren and clears the path for the child/ren to gain their citizenship.
Article 5 submitted by U.S Embassy
This letter states that you are suitable adoptive parents and that the child/ren are able to enter and permanently reside in the United States.
This is done by your adoption agency.
Travel to Colombia
Currently you are COVID-19 tested upon arrival, but you may also get your test done in the US prior to travel.
The meeting where families are given all of the information on the child/ren. This is done the day before the Encuentro.
Encuentro Day: Getting your kids!!
Over the next week there will be Embassy appointments for a TB test, vaccinations, etc. for immigration.
After this week, you will return to La Casa for integration. This involves meeting with the child/ren's psychologist and their family defender.
Next, you will go to La Mesa for 5 days, and on one of these days you will have court. The rest of this time is just for spending time as a family!
After court, you will receive the child/ren's new birth certificate(s)and then return to Bogota. This said, some agencies give the certificates in Bogota instead.
Now all that's left in-country is to get the child/ren's new passport(s), an Embassy appointment for the visa, and return to La Casa to say goodbye and sign last papers.
Now, you're ready to fly home!
Congratulations on your expanded family!
A special thank you to Maria Carolina Moreno Lopez of La Casa de la Madre y el Niño in Colombia for this helpful guide. Please note that this list will vary for adoptions not done through La Casa, an authorized foundation for adoptions in Colombia.