Colombia Adoption Overview

America World’s program staff brings decades of experience guiding families through the international adoption process and will offer ongoing support throughout their adoption journey. Learn more about how to adopt from Colombia below.

How To Adopt From Colombia

The process of adopting a child from Colombia is divided into three main stages.

Colombia Adoption: Step 1 (Dossier)

The first stage of adoption from Colombia involves assembling a collection of documents called a dossier. These documents must go through several levels of authentication by U.S. government offices to ultimately be used as the legal framework for your adoption process. This stage can take several months to complete and includes a finalized copy of the home study assessment. America World’s team will review dossier documents before the finished dossier is forwarded to our foreign-supervised provider. Once our provider in Colombia receives your dossier, she will translate it and forward it to the Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF), which serves as Colombia’s central adoption authority, along with an application for enrollment in the country's official waiting list for prospective adoptive families. The dossier can also be sent to any IAPA (private institution) from which children are referred for adoption.

Colombia Adoption: Step 2 (Waiting)

After your dossier is registered with the ICBF, you begin stage two of adoption in Colombia – the waiting stage. The process of matching a family with a child is called the referral process. The wait time for a child referral varies, depending on the eligible and available children for adoption and the characteristics of the child each family is seeking to adopt. The referral of a child is generally comprised of several photos, a medical profile, a brief biography of the child’s life, a developmental and social report, and other general information, which will be translated.

Colombia Adoption: Step 3 (Travel)

After carefully reviewing a child's referral and deciding to accept the match, you will begin to prepare for the trip to Colombia. Both parents must travel for the initial bonding period (8-11 days), and then one parent may return home while the other stays for the duration of the trip, which can take up to an additional 6 weeks. The average stay in Colombia is currently 4 weeks (28 days) but could be longer depending on court assignments, holiday schedules, and many other factors. It is highly encouraged for current children in the home to accompany the adoptive parents for at least the bonding period.  If the spouse decides to return to the US after the bonding period, it is also heavily suggested that another friend or family member join the spouse in Colombia throughout their stay.

Colombia South America Adoption



Many school-aged children with moderate to significant special needs are ready to be adopted internationally. Families who are open to adopting an older child, a sibling group, or a child with an identified special need will likely experience a significantly reduced adoption timeline compared to the timeline for families desiring a younger child. The ICBF maintains a list of children waiting for placement, generally comprised of older children (age 10 and above), large sibling groups, and children with significant special needs. Your family will work with your social worker and America World program staff to determine which needs your family is open and prepared for during the home study process. Families can apply specifically for a waiting child. Families not yet formally on the adoption register must submit a paperwork dossier before a formal match through the ICBF or any IAPA.


America World's Colombia program allows single women, ages 25 and above, to adopt. See the program requirements for more eligibility details.

The staff at America World is trained to handle every detail of your international adoption process, and one of our experienced staff members will be assigned to your family as soon as your application is approved.

Be sure to visit our Financing Adoption page to learn how to reduce or eliminate your Colombia adoption expenses!



CALL US!  800-429-3369

Colombia Frequently Asked Questions