Ecuador International Adoption Process and Cost

Adoption is indeed a beautiful thing! Ever thought of International Adoption from Ecuador, the closest country to space? Well, you’ll obviously not need a spaceship for your flight to the “Republic of the Equator”!

Before finally providing a home for a needy Ecuadorian child, it’s important you know about the process, eligibility requirements, and the cost details.

Being a Hague country, Ecuador’s International Adoption Process is based on The Hague Adoption Convention. The process is also guided by the Ecuadorian laws.

The timeline for Ecuador’s adoption ranges from 9-16 months. Adoption cost varies based on several expenses.

The average total cost is in the range of $25,000 to $40,000. Some agencies may charge you a fee of about  $13 800 with total country program fees amounting to $14,000.

Specific expenses that need to be considered include:

  • Registration and application
  • The program fee for the adoption
  • Home study and the necessary training
  • Documentation expenses
  • Legal services
  • Travel expenses
  • Miscellaneous expenses.

Since costs may keep varying, engaging the services of a professional will enable you to get suitable cost estimates. We’ll explore more on costs in this article.

Most Ecuadorian children eligible for adoption are often special needs children of older ages ranging from 2 to 15 years at the time of the match. About 67% of these needy children seeking places to call their homes are girls.

Many of these children are, therefore, of school-going age, sibling groups, and those who suffer from trauma due to either having been abused or neglected. Others may have special medical conditions and need a caring and loving home.

It’s important to note that during the initial 3 weeks of the adoption process, as adoptive parents, both of you will be required to travel to the country, Ecuador, for 8-10 weeks. However, during the final 5 weeks, only one parent will be required to remain to complete the entire process.

Requirements For International Adoption From Ecuador

Adopting from Ecuador is governed by the U.S law. An assessment by USCIS must be done for you to adopt a child from other countries.

Children must be eligible for adoption as stipulated in the immigration law of the United States to travel with an immigrant visa.

 Who is the Eligible for International Adoption In Ecuador?

Ecuador has its requirements when it comes to child adoption. They include:

  • Income- To adopt from Ecuador, potential adoptive parents should be capable of satisfying the adopted child physically, emotionally and financially.
  • Age- Married parents wanting to adopt from Ecuador must be 25 years and above and have lived together for 3 years or more. Besides, the younger parent should be 14 years older than the adoptee and the older parent less than 45 years older than the adoptee.
  • Residency- Ecuador has no minimum requirements for residency. Nevertheless, parents wanting to adopt a child must complete the process together. But after getting the adoption decree, one parent can leave the other to complete the adoption process.
  • Marriage- Whether you are married or not, you are eligible to adopt from Ecuador. However, a single eligible adoptive parent can only adopt a child of the same sex unless the National Adoption Agency allows opposite sex adoption. It’s much faster to adopt a child in Ecuador if you are married than when you are single as the wait is much longer for singles than for married potential adoptive parents.

Child Eligibility Requirements

As we have seen above, Ecuador is a member of The Hague Adoption Convention. This means a child suitable for adoption must be adopted in compliance with the Convention law. Also, a child entitled to adoption must be listed as a Convention adoptee to be issued with an immigrant visa to travel to other countries.

Besides, a child qualified for adoption from Ecuador must be aged between 2 to 15 years. For international adoption from Ecuador, children must have received the “Sentencia de Adoptabilidad.” This means they are declared abandoned by a judge.

better adoption
Special needs children who need love and care

Also, children with exceptional needs or medical disorders can only be adopted once the Central Authority issues a report.

Let’s explore more details on the requirements, the process, and costs involved when you are planning for  a successful international adoption from Ecuador

Ecuador International Adoption-The Process

It is worth noting that because Ecuador is a member of The Hague Adoption Convention, you are not allowed to adopt a child from Ecuador until the U.S. consular issues The Hague Adoption Convention “Article 5 Letter” to Ecuador’s Central Authority. This is for adoption between the U.S. and Ecuador.

The process of adopting from Ecuador, like other international adoptions isn’t a walk in the park. It takes time.

It will, therefore, be prudent that you fulfill all the requirements necessary for International adoption from Ecuador.

The right process and the steps must be completed appropriately else the adopted child may not be issued with an immigrant visa-

Below are the processes you’ll need to follow during international adoption from Ecuador:

  1. Pick a Recognized Ecuador Adoption Agency
  2. Submit an Application to be Allowed to Adopt a Child- Ecuador’s Central Authority will determine your suitability to adopt
  3. Get Matched With the Child Suitable for Adoption from Ecuador by the Authorities
  4. Apply for the Child to be Listed as a Convention adoptee
  5. Complete the Child’s Adoption Process in Ecuador
  6. Apply for an Immigrant Visa to Bring Your Child to Your Country

Looks like it’s a long and tiresome process, right? Let’s break it down for easier digestion!

 1. Pick a Recognized Ecuador Adoption Agency

To adopt from Ecuador, you will start by choosing a recognized Adoption Agency. This is an individual or agency approved to provide adoption services by the Government of Ecuador.

None but these agencies can provide adoption services and must follow The Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws.

You can contact the Ecuador Central Authority or the U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil to get the latest information about the accredited Adoption Agencies.

As a guide, ensure that your selected agency fulfills the following requirements:

  • Fully licensed agency providing services in your current state
  • Provides reasonable liability insurance (Minimum: USD 1 million)
  • Is ready to freely and effectively respond to all your questions
  • Has the required accreditation for International adoption

2. Submit an Application to be Allowed to Adopt a Child- To Ecuador’s Central Authority

Only eligible potential adoptive parents are allowed to adopt from Ecuador. Once you have picked an approved Adoption Agency, you will be required to apply eligibility assessment to adopt from Ecuador.

You will fill the Form 1-800A which will be evaluated by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Once the form is approved and you are declared eligible and suitable to adopt, your Adoption Agency will then forward the approval notice and any other needed information to Ecuador’s Central Authority. This is to allow Ecuador’s Central Authority to determine your eligibility and suitability to adopt as per the Ecuador law as well.

3. Get Matched With the Child Suitable for Adoption from Ecuador by the Authorities

international adoption from equador
Neglected children

Once your adoption request is approved by the USCIS and Ecuador’s Central Authority, you will then be matched with the child suitable for adoption by the authorities in Ecuador.

The child must also be interested to relocate to another country for you to get a referral for the child by The Family Assignment Committee (also called Comites de Asignacion Familiar).

The committee will also assign you the child and forward the information (background study, specific child’s needs) to the Adoption Agency you have chosen. You can always reject or accept the referral but you cannot identify or pick a child of your choice to adopt before the referral.

Once you accept the referral child, you will be required to do it in writing. You will also be required to ascertain that you will satisfy the child’s needs. Your Adoption Agency must also let the Central Authority know of your acceptance.

From there, you (the two potential adoptive parents) will be required to go to Ecuador to finalize the process of adoption and also for adaptation purposes in case you are married. The adaptation period varies depending on the adoption program and the orphanage’s law but the longer it can take is about four days.

4. Apply for the Child to be Listed as a Convention adoptee

Now that you have been declared eligible to adopt from Ecuador and you have been matched with a child and accepted the referral you will be required to apply for the child to be classified as Convention adoptee using Form I-800.

Without the adoption approval from the USCIS, the child cannot move out of Ecuador.

Once Form I-800 is approved, you can proceed with the application for an immigrant visa at the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Your Adoption Agency can do it on your behalf. Your form together with the immigrant visa application will then be verified by a Consular Officer.

You will get the final decision of your immigrant visa application from the Consular Offices later.

5. Complete the Child’s Adoption Process in Ecuador

ecuador international adoption process
Happy mother with children

International adoption from Ecuador is complete once the four steps are followed to the latter.

Once you have gone through each step successfully, the next step is to finalize the adoption of a child.

Here, you will be issued with the adoption decrees by the courts in Ecuador. One or all of the potential adoptive parents will have to get permission from the Childhood and Adolescence Court to travel with the child.

During the process, it’s important to have the following in mind:

  • Role of Adoption Agencies- We assume that you picked an approved U.S. Adoption Agency who is also certified to work with the Government in Ecuador. You can get the estimated adoption cost from your Agency
  • Role of the Central Authority- Here the Adoption Authority will supervise the entire adoption process and will issue the Certificate of Conformity (Article 23 letter).
  • Role of the Court- Once you have been matched with the child you will be issued with the provisional custody. The orphanage will also report whether you are compatible with the child or not. The Technical Adoption Unit will then revise the report and a petition will be filed before the courts where you will be required to finalize the adoption.
  • Time Frame- There are multiple factors involved in the process of adopting a child and hence the time cannot be certain. For instance, the child’s profile can determine how long it will take for the process to complete. The entire adoption process can take approximately 9 to 16 months to complete.
  • Important Documents You Should Have- As a rule, you will be required to complete certifications, notarizations, and apostilles in the U.S. before you travel to Ecuador or before you start the adoption application process.

You will then submit the following documents to Ecuador’s Central Authority:

  1. Original copies of your(potential adoptive parents) birth certificates
  2. Original copies of your marriage and divorce certificate, if you are married and death certificate, if applicable
  3. Your passport size photos
  4. Original copy of the state law of your country of residence
  5. Verified copy of the Home Study Report you submitted with the I-800A
  6. Your certificates of good conduct from the police- This is to show that you don’t have any criminal record
  7. Employment and income letters
  8. Current Income Tax Return
  9. Certification from the Adoption Agency to confirm that you are ready to adopt an Ecuadorian child
  10. Proof of your physical and mental state

Once you provide all these documents, you will then attend a hearing that will be scheduled by the judge where signatures will be verified and all the documents will be verified.

In the end, you and the judge will be required to sign the minutes and then you will be issued with the final adoption decree.

Make sure you provide genuine statements and documents to avoid further frustrations during the process of adopting a child in Ecuador.

6. Apply for an Immigrant Visa to Bring Your Child to Your Country

  1. Birth Certificate

Your adopted child must have a birth certificate to get a passport. The birth certificate will also show that you are the parent to the child. Your Adoption Agency will help you with the application process of your child’s birth certificate from the Civil Registry.

2. A Passport From Ecuador

Remember that you are still in Ecuador and the child is still an Ecuadorian. For this reason, he or she must have an Ecuadorean passport. This is the document that will allow your child to travel from Ecuador.

There are plenty of offices in Ecuador you can apply for a passport for your child. You will be required to pay a fee amounting to $70 for processing your child’s Ecuadorian passport which you get it the same day.

3. Immigrant Visa

Once you have been issued with a birth certificate for your child and Ecuadorean passport for your child, you must get an immigrant visa for him or her.

Finally, you will be required to go to the Consular Section for your child’s I-800 petition to be reviewed and then be issued with the visa. That’s when you will be free to bring your child to your country.

During the final review of your adoption, the Consular Officer will request the child’s medical report.

7. Travel Arrangements

Since you’ll be required to travel to Ecuador, it’s important that all your traveling documents are in order.

It’s important that you consult with your service provider accordingly for all the necessary travel arrangements and costs. Your service provider will often have all traveling details and help you make the necessary travel arrangement.

8. Post-Placement/Post Adoption Reports

After a successful International adoption from Ecuador, you’ll be required to submit a total of 5 Post-Placement or Post Adoption Reports after two years.

The submission of these reports will be in the interval of 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months. You are advised to ensure that all the reports are submitted in time.

International Adoption from Ecuador- The Cost to Adopt a from Ecuador

The cost of adopting from Ecuador is different from one Adoption Agency to another. (Adoption Agency is a person or company licensed to provide adoption services to potential adoptive parents).

Some of the costs you will incur to adopt from Ecuador include but not limited to notarial services, application for birth certificate and Ecuadorian passport, application for a visa, medical exam charges, translations

The estimated total cost of International adoption from Ecuador is about $25,000 to $40,000 where the intake fee is around $250.

The program fee can cost you about $16,000 with an additional 50 % with dossier or 50% with a referral. As earlier mentioned, these amounts vary and are only meant to guide you.

At the beginning of the process, your service provider will provide you with the adoption services contract that you will have to sign. You’ll also be guided with regard to the estimated total cost for adoption.

Summar-Ecuador International Adoption

International adoption from Ecuador just like other inter-country adoptions will need your patience and proper planning. The timeline is about 9-16 months.

Both the Hague Adoption Convention processes as well as Ecuadorian requirements must be effectively adhered to.

Ensure that you fulfill all the set conditions as an adoptive parent, and make the necessary travel arrangements during the initial weeks as required.

Since different factors affect the total cost for International Adoption from Ecuador, it’s not possible to be certain about how much you’ll be required to pay in total. The total amount can, however, be in the range of $25,000 to $40, 000.

Engaging a professional Service Provider will help in ensuring that you effectively follow all the required processes, and fully adhere to requirements and conditions.

It’s important to remember that after a successful adoption process, you’ll be required to submit 5 post-adoption reports after 2 years.

Complying with all requirements will ensure that you enjoy fulfilling and peaceful family moments with your new child.

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Meshack Sewe

Meshack, is a tech-savvy Creative Copywriter, Poet, & Entrepreneur who is very passionate about Adoption and Humanitarian activities. He has served as both Program Officer, and Program Manager with two Non-Governmental Organizations focusing on orphaned children and vulnerable girls

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