!Saludos! Across The World Adoptions (ATWA) is approved by ICBF, the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, to complete adoptions in Colombia. Colombia has a long and stable adoption history which is often used as a model program for other countries.

You can learn more about adoptions from Colombia at the U.S. Department of State website:

Colombia (there is no ‘u’ in Colombia), was named after Christopher Columbus, with the Spanish conquistadors arriving in 1499. It is located at the top of South America. Colombia is very ethnically diverse with different parts of the country enjoying a distinct personality and heritage. Colombia is famous for its coffee.



  • We have been licensed as a non-profit agency since 1996 with experience in Hague adoptions and Latin American countries.
  • Our Spanish speaking consultant is married to a Colombian and together they are the adoptive parents of a Colombian child.
  • Our team in Colombia has more than 30 years of experience with adoptions.
  • We provide assistance in the process to obtain the “cedula de ciudadania” and passport to families with Colombian heritage.
  • We provide service to families adopting relatives.
  • We have built strong foundations with our partners abroad to ensure stability and reliability for your adoption.

We specialize in helping COLOMBIAN HERITAGE FAMILIES adopt Colombian children, including family members.

  • Providing assistance in obtaining the “cedula de ciudadania” and new passport.
  • Providing service to families adopting relatives.

Only Colombian Heritage Families can adopt healthy children from the following age ranges:


We also specialize in helping ANY FAMILY adopt children who are Older or have Special Needs.

  • Expedited referrals.
  • Pre-identification of child(ren) possible.
  • Hosting opportunities.

Special Needs as defined by Colombia:

  • Healthy children age 10 and older.
  • Sibling groups of 2 or more where one child’s is age 10 or older.
  • Sibling groups of 3 or more with children of any age.
  • Children of any age with a permanent disability — physical or mental — Down Syndrome, Blind, Deaf, Autism, etc.)
  • Children of any age with a chronic medical condition (HIV, Congenital Syphilis, Cleft lip/Palate, etc.)

Child Characteristics:

  • The wait for girls is generally longer than the wait for boys.
  • The more open your request, the quicker the referral.
  • Children may have a mix of Latino, Indigenous, European and African heritage.
  • Medical and social information is usually quite thorough.
  • Referral information also includes photos.

Eligible Applicants:

  • Married couples, single women and single men (on a case by case basis).
  • At least 25 years of age and 15 years older than the child.
  • Between the ages of 25-65, parent cannot be more than 45 (healthy) – 50 (special needs) years older than the child they intend to adopt.
  • At least one parent must be a U.S. citizen.
  • If a couple is adopting, both parents are required to travel. However, one parent of a couple may leave Colombia after about 10 days.
  • Prior divorces OK.
  • Larger families are welcome for older children.

Adoption Travel Information:

  • If a couple is adopting, both parents are required to travel. However, one parent may leave Colombia after about 2 weeks.
  • If you are a single parent, you will need to stay in the country for the entire adoption process.
  • Adoption completion may take between 4-8 weeks depending on which city the adoption is completed in.

Adoption Process:

  • Undertake a home study by an agency licensed in your state of residence. ATWA will help with home studies in California or help you identify an agency in other states. We cannot accept home studies by independent social workers, even if permitted in your state.
  • Complete Hague adoption education during the home study process.
  • Apply for I-800A approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).
  • Prepare a dossier of documents required by Colombia under ATWA’s guidance.
  • After a completed dossier is received, it is translated and submitted to ICBF for approval.
  • Once approved by ICBF, you are placed on a waiting list (Colombian families). The wait will be 6 months-3 years, depending on age and other factors of request.
  • For families requesting a child with special characteristics, there is no waiting list, but you may wait 3-6 months for a referral.
  • Once referral is received, families review child proposal.
  • If family accepts referral, travel is generally 8-12 weeks after acceptance.
  • Our in-country team will meet you at the airport and help you get settled in a guest house or hotel.
  • The staff will escort you to all adoption related appointments, including when you meet your child on the Entrega or Encuentro Day.
  • Both parents must travel for a bonding period. If a couple, one parent may leave after approximately 2 weeks.
  • The court process in Colombia will typically take between 3-7 weeks and concludes with “Sentencia” or the final judgment.
  • After Sentencia, you will get the child’s new birth certificate listing you as the parent(s).
  • You will then apply for the child’s Colombian passport.
  • Visit the Embassy Doctor.
  • Apply for visa processing at the U.S. embassy.
  • Home with your forever family! The child is an automatic U.S. citizen upon entry. Children under 14 will receive a Citizenship Certificate in the mail within a few months of returning home. Children 14 and over will receive a letter inviting them to swear an oath of allegiance before receiving their certificate.
  • Post adoption visits with an agency social worker at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months following Sentencia. Reports must include photos.
  • Re-adoption in the U.S. is strongly recommended.

Fees and Expenses:

  • Program fees encompass all professional services in Colombia related to the adoption, including translation of Dossier, Article 16 referral documents, Sentencia and New Birth Certificate.
  • Additional expenses paid to third parties may include the home study, CIS fees, document preparation, travel, U.S. visa fees and post adoption. Fees and expenses are paid in increments. ICBF does not charge for its services.
  • A federal tax credit up to $13,460 for 2016 is available to eligible taxpayers to offset fees and expenses after adoption finalization. Please consult your tax expert.



Getting Started:

To get started, please contact Across The World Adoptions by phone: 925 356 6260 or by email at Or contact Melinda at

Note: The Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF) is the Hague Central Authority for adoption. Adoptions are processed by the court in Colombia and there will be no foreign supervised providers. ATWA collaborates with other agencies in the U.S. for home studies as exempt providers. There will be no U.S. supervised providers since adoptions are finalized in Colombia.