Orphan Outreach: Child Sponsorship Changes Lives
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Wendy and the Lost Boys
Ecuador is a country of many ethnic groups. European. Mestizo. Indigenous. Spanish. African. Ecuadorian children available for international adoption are represented in all of these groups. The children available are ages 6-15. There are sibling groups available as well. The children come from poor social backgrounds. Poverty is the primary reason for relinquishment however if the child has a special need, they are often abandoned immediately.
Currently there are a handful of global adoption agencies that are approved to work within Ecuador. Of those eight the United States has three agencies advocating for children within the borders of Ecuador.
Ecuador is located in northwestern South America. It is bordered by Columbia to the north, Puru to the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Galapagos Islands is also considered a part of Ecuador, although it lies 620 miles west of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean. The main language spoken is Spanish.
Caitlin Daugherty, Director of International Programs at Illien Adoption International, Inc. describes the adoption process in Ecuador, “The adoption process is similar to all Hague Convention countries: A couple or single person starts with a home study, this is then used to apply for their permission to adopt internationally with the United States government. Once they have received that then they apply for permission to adopt from Ecuador. Then the Family Assignment Committee matches them to a waiting child after which the family applies a second time for permission to adopt this specific child with the United States government. Finally the family travels to Ecuador to complete the adoption after a supervised bonding period with the child.”
Georgianna, an Illien Adoption International, Inc. family member, recalls the day her family finally was able to travel to bring her new sister home. “It took 16 long months, but on July 3, 2012 we went to get her! I can remember how excited we were, it was so surreal to be going to Ecuador to get a new family member. I was getting a sister, just like the one I had always dreamed of.”
The primary system of care for orphans in Ecuador is the orphanage system. There are two types of orphanages in the country, one run by the government and then private missionary based orphanages.
Ecuador has seen an increasing trend in domestic adoptions of children under the age of five because of stabilization of their economy. Agencies are seeing Ecuadorian Nationals adopting. There is a long waiting list for children from the Ecuadorians. Ecuadorians, however, want healthy children with clean social histories and they are also very sensitive to the ethnicity of the child.
Special needs include blindness, cleft lip/palate, some autism, epilepsy, some cerebral palsy, mostly learning disabilities and some poor motor coordination. Other waiting children special needs include missing digits, paralysis or weakness of one side of body, deafness, speech impediments and Down Syndrome.
Beyond the obvious special needs it is important for prospective parents to understand that each child may have issues that are not immediately visible but may arise after their placement. Emotional, behavioral, and medical issues may develop.
Families are encouraged to be open to both gender and health.
Time frames for international adoption are never certain because there are many factors involved in the process. One main factor is the profile of the child prospective adoptive families are open to adopt. Families who seek to adopt a child under age 4 without medical issues will wait longer for a match then a family who is open to adopt a sibling group or a child up to age six with some special needs.
The timeline from dossier submission to referral is dependent on the age of the child and the health of the child. For example, prospective adoptive parents could expect to wait 9-12 months for a referral for a child 5-7 years old. The wait time decreases as the age increases. The referral for a child aged 7-11 years old after dossier submission is approximately 3-6 months and the referral for a special needs child can be expected 2-4 months after dossier submission. In some special needs cases there is no wait time between dossier submission and referral. The processing time in Ecuador after the acceptance of the child, however, will take about the same amount of time for all cases.
The average stay in Ecuador is five to eight weeks. Both prospective parents are required to travel. During this time a judge will evaluate the parents’ information submitted with their dossier such as their economic situation, psychological reports, and additional qualifications. Once an adoption decree is issued, only one parent is required to remain in Ecuador to attend the visa appointment at the US Consulate in Guayaquil and to accompany the child home.
• Single Parents may adopt.
• Married couples are given priority and must be married at least three years.
• Adoptive parents must show that they are emotionally and physically capable of parenting.
• Adoptive parents must not have ever been convicted of a felony and must explain every arrest despite the outcome.
• Applicants must at least be 25 years old and no more than 45 years from age of child.
• Parents must show they are capable of financially supporting the needs of the child.
Questions? Want to request information about adopting from Ecuador? Contact our agencies working in Ecuador today!
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