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Adoption from Colombia

Do you consider adopting a child from Colombia? You can read more about this on this page. The interest of the child is always the most important factor, you can read more about this at our basic principles.

Wereldkinderen has been a mediator for children from Colombia for more than 40 years now. The past four years 20 children were adopted from Colombia. After a reorganisation of the activities in Colombia, this contact of Wereldkinderen is currently considered to be an experimental contact.



The age of children that qualify to be send to the Netherlands for adoption is between zero and six years old and older (in case of sibling/triblings). This concerns children that were deserted or children that were given up for adoption. Sometimes this also concerns children who were abandoned. These children all have a burdened history of origin, amongst which drug use of the biological parents, or neglect by the biological parents. They have various medical problems, such as children who miss a limb, children who have a problem that can be helped by surgery, children with hearing problems/visual problems, children who are infected with HIV, children who have behavioural problems and so on and so forth.


All applications are assessed by Wereldkinderen. Wereldkinderen prioritizes the specific needs and rights of children.

In order to be able to adopt a child from Colombia, you have to meet the following conditions:

  • You possess a valid principle consent
  • You are married
  • You are both at least 25 years old
  • You give permission for or are open for the adoption of a child with a special need for medical reasons and/or social-emotional reasons
  • You give permission for and are open for the adoption of a child with a psychomotor lag in development
  • You give permission for and are open for the adoption of a child with a severely burdened history of origin
  • You are approved of adoption a child aged between 0 and at least 4 years old and preferably at least 6 years old
  • If you already have a child living with you, then you can only start the adoption procedure when the youngest child is at least 5.5 years old. You can register at Wereldkinderen at an earlier date though, for you will then be placed on the waiting-list.
  • You are able to stay in Colombia for a maximum of nine weeks
  • You both travel to Colombia to start the adoption procedure
  • You preferably speak Spanish


Wereldkinderen cooperates with the ICBF, Instituto Colombiano Bienestar Familiar, which is basically the government agency Colombian Institute for the Wellbeing of the Family. The ICBF is also the Central Authority. The ICBF is part of the Ministry of Social Affairs. The headquarters are in Bogota and there are regional offices in every province. The ICBF does not charge any costs for the activities concerning adoption.

The ICBF has a number of children’s shelters of its own, or places children at private shelters. The larger part of the children is placed in foster families.


Hague Adoption Convention

In November 1998 Colombia has ratified the Hague Adoption Convention. This means that there is a central authority both in the Netherlands (the Ministry of Security and Justice) as in Colombia (ICBF) that supervises the adoption. Before a child is qualified for international adoption, it is checked whether the background has been clearly investigated and whether a possible proper solution was sought in Colombia.


Child protection measure

Children are being proposed via the ICBF and come from foster families or private shelters. The children that are registered via the ICBF are children that were taken under care as a protection measure. If it is not possible to place a child from this category back with its family, then the parents are dismissed from parental authority. The bond between the biological family and the child (children) is then broken. Contact is no longer allowed from that moment on, until the child becomes eighteen and can decide for itself whether or not it wants to seek contact with its biological family.


After the intake you will make sure that the documents and paperwork for the adoption procedure in Colombia is taken care of. These documents are accordingly submitted at the ICBF in Bogota for approval. The documents are being studied by a psychologist and additional information can be asked for. Accordingly, you will receive approval of the ICBF for the adoption of a child of a certain age.

The procedures were put to rest from 2013 onwards. Therefore, the waiting periods were sometimes as long as five years (from the moment of sending the documents). In 2017 we were able to bring about four adoptions via a private children’s shelter. We decided to register a limited amount of files via this children’s shelter in 2018. Because of the experimental status it is currently difficult to state an average waiting period.

If the proposal is accepted, then you will have to be able to travel to Colombia for the court procedure two up to four weeks after the acceptance of the proposal. Outside Bogotá this will take about an average of six weeks and in the region of Bogotá this will take about eight weeks. After the adoption decision by court you will need about a week in Bogotá to get a Dutch passport for your child. Possibly one of the prospective adoptive parents can travel back to the Netherlands if the procedure is filed at the court (after about ten days). The children from Colombia travel with a Dutch temporary passport to the Netherlands. When you get back home you will be informed on the follow-up obligations. You do not need to follow a procedure in accordance with Dutch law. You can register your child immediately at your municipality.