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: Married couples (including same-sex 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 from Colombia on Holt’s photolisting have been released to multiple adoption agencies for shared adoption advocacy. While this includes children with moderate to severe medical, developmental or psychological needs, it also includes older children and sibling groups with minor conditions or issues that have stabilized or resolved. The majority of children from Colombia, regardless of age, need adoptive families because they have been removed from their biological families for a variety of reasons — almost always traumatic ones. Children who have experienced chronic hurt, fear and sadness in childhood need an opportunity for stability with a prepared adoptive family who is committed to engaging in the therapeutic services needed to help their child heal and thrive.

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

Fact: The term “special needs” is often misunderstood and doesn’t necessarily mean that a child has a permanent physical or developmental disability. Many children with special needs in the Colombia program are either older than 10, part of a sibling group or have minor to moderate physical, developmental or emotional health needs. While there are children with needs requiring lifelong care, many of the children in Colombia who are waiting for a family are healthy and developmentally on target in many areas. That’s not to say that childhood trauma disappears when a child is adopted. There are experiences that may impact a child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development that are important to learn about and prepare for, but the outcomes are excellent when families are well-supported and prepared.

Myth #4: Adopting an older child is scary.

Fact: While it’s true that older children have likely experienced more trauma and loss, they’re still just kids! Many of the children in Colombia waiting for families are older when they become eligible for adoption. As special advocacy for these children, and a unique opportunity for families considering older child adoption from Colombia, Holt partners with Kidsave to offer 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 and commitment of a family.

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

Fact: The average time frame to adopt a child from Colombia depends on the profile of child you are applying to adopt. For older children, larger sibling groups and waiting children, the time line is only one to two years from Holt application to travel. Families who adopt after hosting may complete their adoption in one year. Families eligible to adopt a younger child can anticipate a two- to three-year adoption process. These time frames are fairly typical of 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 and recent political uprisings. However, Colombia has become very safe in the past several decades, especially in the regions where Holt families travel to meet their child. In addition, our support team in Bogota can help with scheduling, activities, translation and transportation while accompanying parents to appointments and serving as the legal representation throughout the adoption trip.

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% 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 approximately three to five weeks in country before bringing their child home. (For couples, one parent can return home after the first 10 days.) This time offers you the opportunity to learn about your child’s culture and background, and gives you and your child the chance to get to know one another better before coming home. Additionally, most families are able to send correspondence and participate in video chats with their child for at least two months before traveling to complete the adoption.

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.

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