The ICBF defines adoption as “a measure of protection through which children and adolescents are provided not only with a father or mother, but also with a family that provides what is considered appropriate for their welfare and full and comprehensive development, having a special constitutional and legal relevance to give effect to the principles of the best interests of the child, child and adolescent, of protection and prevalence of their rights, as ordered by article 44 of our Constitution, given their conditions of vulnerability and defenselessness, and the special attention with which their development and formation process must be safeguarded.”
In Colombia, adoption has two stages, the first is administrative, which is carried out by the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare (ICBF) in which the child is declared adoptable, then the second stage corresponds to the judicial, which is through which a family judge establishes the parent-child relationship. As a general rule, the family judge of the domicile of the person or entity in charge of the care of the child or adolescent is competent to hear the judicial process of adoption in the first instance.
The documents required for the initiation of the judicial adoption process in Colombia are:
- Resolution declaring the adoptability, resolution authorizing the adoptability, diligence of the consent of the parents of the child or adolescent or homologation of the declaration of adoptability.
- Certification from the ICBF or the IAPA on the physical, mental, social and moral suitability of the adopters, issued no more than six months in advance, and the proof of the respective entity on the personal integration of the child or adolescent with the adopter or adopters.
- Current certificate of criminal or police record of the adopters.
- Civil registration of the child and adolescent.
- Civil registry of the person/spouses/permanent partners who are going to adopt him/her
- Civil registration of marriage or proof of cohabitation outside of marriage
- Certification on the validity of the operating license of the institution where the child or adolescent is housed, issued by the ICBF.
- The approval of the accounts of the curator, if applicable.
*foreign adopters residing outside Colombia must present other documents.
Law 1098 of 2006 establishes that once the lawsuit is admitted, it will be transferred to the family defender for a term of 3 working days. If the family defender agrees, the judge will issue a sentence within 10 working days of its admission. The judge may set a maximum term of 10 days to decree and practice the evidence he deems necessary. Upon expiration of this term, it will make the corresponding decision.
Finally, among the effects of the sentence is that the pre-existing filiation between the adoptee and his/her parents is extinguished and the same rights and duties as those of the child by blood arise for the adoptee.