Top 10 Myths About Adopting from Colombia


If you or someone you know is considering adoption from Colombia, you may have heard some common misconceptions about the process. Below, we highlight the top 10 myths about adopting a child from Colombia, and provide some useful insight as you consider this program!

Myth #1: Only married couples can adopt from Colombia.

Fact: Couples, single men and single women are all eligible to adopt from Colombia! While some other country programs aren’t open to single applicants, or are restricted to single women, the Colombia program allows single men and women who are 25 years and older to apply.

Myth #2: All children on the Colombia photolisting have severe special needs.

Fact: Children typically appear on Holt’s photolisting when they need a little extra advocacy. While this includes children with moderate to severe special needs, it also includes children with more minor ones.  Some children featured on the photolisting are included because of their older age or because they are part of a sibling group.

Myth #3: “Special needs” means lifelong care.

Fact: The term “special needs” is often misunderstood and doesn’t necessarily mean that a child has physical or developmental disabilities. Many children with special needs in the Colombia program are either older than 6, part of a sibling group or have minor to moderate physical, developmental or emotional health needs. Each child and their situation is unique. So while there are children with special medical needs that do require lifelong care, many of the kids in Colombia waiting for a family are healthy and developmentally on target.

Myth #4: Adopting an older child is scary.

Fact: While it’s true that an older child has likely experienced more trauma and loss, they’re still just kids! Many of the children in Colombia waiting for families are 4 years old and older when they become eligible for adoption. As special advocacy for these children, and a special opportunity for families considering older child adoption from Colombia, Holt offers a summer hosting program. This program is designed to give families the chance to answer questions like, “How will an older child adjust to such a different life,” “Will we bond” and “What about children already in my home?” You can also check out our blog post about older children from Colombia who are waiting for families, and see that what these older children need most of all is no different than what younger children need — the unconditional love of a family.

Myth #5: Adopting from Colombia takes a really long time.

Fact: The average timeframe from the time of Holt application to travel to adopt a child from Colombia is two to three years. For waiting children the timeline is only one to two years. These average timeframes are fairly average compared to our other country programs.

Myth #6: Colombia isn’t a safe place to travel.

Fact: When most people think of Colombia, they think of the country’s dangerous history. However, Colombia has become very safe in the past several decades, especially in the regions where Holt families would travel to meet their child. Watch this video from Holt’s Colombia adoption director, who grew up in Colombia, to learn more about this beautiful country and the children there who are waiting for permanent, loving families.

Myth #7: All children from Colombia are of the same ethnicity.

Fact: Colombia is made up of more than 85 different ethnic groups! The Mestizo (meaning “mixed”) ethnic group makes up 53.5 percent of the population, and 10.5% of the population is African-Colombian. Children waiting to be adopted from Colombia reflect this ethnic diversity.

Myth #8: I won’t have time to bond with my child before they come home.

Fact: Parents who choose to adopt from Colombia are required to spend three to five weeks in country before bringing their child home. For couples, one parent can return home after a week, with the second parent remaining there. This time provides the opportunity to learn about your child’s culture and background, and for you to get to know one another better before returning home.

Myth #9: Contact with Holt ends after my child is home.

Fact: We want you to feel prepared and informed every step of the way. Holt offers a variety of post-adoption services to provide continuous support for you and your child. Family support groups, camps, counseling, birth family searches and citizenship questions are just some of the services we offer to assist with your family’s adoption journey.

Myth #10: Parent eligibility is the same for every country.

Fact: Parent eligibility differs for every country. Holt does not discriminate based on race, religion, age or marital status. However, some countries have limitations based on these factors. Take a look at our parent eligibility page to see if you are eligible to adopt from Colombia.

Thank you Holt International for this amazing blog and for allowing us to share it!


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Traci Mai

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