International Adoption - Ecuador
DISCLAIMER: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign counsel.GENERAL:
As a result of negative publicity generated by a case of child smuggling in 1986, Ecuadoran laws regarding adoptions by foreigners were changed in an attempt to provide greater protection for the child. All Ecuadoran adoptions by U.S. citizens must be processed through U.S. based adoption agencies, which are legally authorized to deal with Ecuadoran adoption agencies or private attorneys.
Although children are sometimes released to the custody of prospective adoptive parents, an Ecuadoran court must issue a final adoption decree before the child is permitted to leave the country. ADOPTION PROCEDURES:
In order to be eligible for adoption in Ecuador, a child must be considered either abandoned or orphaned. The child may be in the custody of the government, a private sector facility, or in some cases, with relatives or family friends. A child of a sole or surviving parent may be considered an orphan in Ecuador if that parent is unable to care for the child properly and has forever and irrevocably released him or her for adoption. If both parents are living, both must irrevocably sign the release of the child. At such time, the child is considered to be abandoned for adoption purposes.
U.S. citizens residing outside of Ecuador who wish to adopt
an Ecuadoran child should file an application with the representatives of a private adoption agency which is authorized to arrange placement of Ecuadoran children. Before granting the adoption, the judge must rule that the child has been abandoned. ADOPTION AUTHORITY:
The National Directorate for the Protection of Minor Children (Direccion Nacional de Proteccion de Menores) oversees adoptions in Ecuador. Adoption decrees are issued by the courts in Ecuador. The Tribunal de Menores (Juvenile Court) must grant permission for the child to depart the country. This permission is only valid for 1 year. AGE AND CIVIL STATUS REQUIREMENTS:
and unmarried individuals may adopt a child in Ecuador. An unmarried (single, widowed, divorced) adoptive parent may only adopt a child of the same sex, unless a favorable report for adoption of a child of the opposite sex is issued by the Technical Division. In such a case, there must be an age difference of 30 years between the adoptive parent and the child. Both members of a married couple should be over 25 years of age. There must be an age difference of at least 14 years between the younger adoptive parent and the child.TIME FRAME:
The prospective adoptive parent(s) must come to Ecuador and appear in court in order to begin the adoption process.
The adoption process may take approximately six months to a year before the adoption is finalized.ECUADORAN DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS:
All translations, certifications, notarizations and authentications must be completed in the U.S. before the adoptive parents travel to Ecuador and before the application for adoption is made. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General in Ecuador do not have the authority to authenticate documents originating in the U.S.
1. Adoption request presented personally by the prospective adoptive parent(s) before the Minors Court in the domicile of the child. The prospective adoptive parent(s) must acknowledge their signatures before the appropriate court. Married couples must present the adoption application jointly.
2. Certified copies of birth certificates of prospective adoptive parents and certified copy of marriage certificate (death certificates/divorce decrees related to prior spouses if applicable).
3. Certified copy of the state law
that regulates the adoption of minors (especially foreign minors) in the adoptive parents' state. Home study report on the adoptive parent(s) and institutional criteria on the suitability of the adoptive parent(s) from the entity performing the home study.
4. A certificate of good conduct/no criminal record for each adoptive parent from a local police department which has been sealed or notarized and authenticated. An FBI report is acceptable in lieu of local police record.
5. Verification of employment and salary notarized and authenticated. Bank statements notarized/certified and authenticated.
6. Family letter of intent to adopt, describing child adoptive parent (s) is/are willing to adopt, notarized and authenticated.
7. Certificate from the pertinent government organization of the country of the adoptive parents that credits the authenticity of the information included in the request.
8. Birth certificate of the child they want to adopt.
9. Certificate of physical and mental health of prospective adoptive parent(s).
10. Photocopies of the passports of the prospective adoptive parent(s) reflecting the date of entry into Ecuador.
11. Personal references.
12. Certificate as to the authenticity of all of the above documents.
Generally, U.S. civil records, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates must bear the seal of the issuing office, then be authenticated by the particular state's secretary of state, then by U.S. Department of State's Authentication Office, then by the Ecuadoran Embassy or Consulate in the U.S.
It may be possible to eliminate some of the authentication steps if the Consulate has the seal of the local issuing authority on file.
Tax returns, medical reports, personal references and police clearances should likewise be authenticated, by a local notary public or the appropriate issuing office, and the clerk of court of the county where the notary is licensed or some similar authority.
The U.S. Department of State Authentication Office is located at 2400 M Street, N.W., Room 101, Washington, D.C. 20520, tel: (202) 647-5002. Walk-in service is available 8 a.m. to 12 noon Monday-Friday, except holidays. You may contact that office for a schedule of fees.
It is advisable to bring several copies of your authenticated and translated documentation with you to Ecuador. All documents prepared for transmission to Ecuadorian adoption authorities must be accompanied by a certified Spanish translation. The translator must execute a statement before a notary public as to the validity of the translation. The notary's seal must then be authenticated.
Individuals who were born or married in third countries should have their birth or marriage certificates authenticated by the issuing authorities, and then authenticated by the U.S. Embassy in the country in which the birth or marriage took place. Such documents must then be authenticated by the embassy or consulate of the country of the adoptive child's origin.ECUADORAN EMBASSY AND CONSULATES GENERAL IN THE U.S.:
Embassy of Ecuador
2535 15th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
tel: (202) 234-7166
In addition, Ecuador has 13 Consulates General operating throughout the United States.U.S. IMMIGRATION PROCEDURES:
abroad who have been in the custody of the adoptive parents less than two years require orphan petitions for U.S. immigrant visa processing to enter the United States.
It is advisable to contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Quito or Consulate General in Guayaquil at least three working days in advance of the desired interview date to check that all required documents are in order and to set an appointment for the immigrant visa interview. If everything is in order, the visa may be issued the afternoon of the same day. The Consulate General cannot guarantee issuance of the visa in advance of the interview.
If you are outside the U.S. and the child has completed his medical examination, you will have a preliminary interview with the consular officer in order to complete form I-604 "Request for and Report on Overseas Orphan Investigation". The child must be present at the Consulate General for the immigrant visa application. A physician from an approved list of physicians using a specified form must perform the medical examination. Unless special circumstances, such as a physical handicap, indicate the child's care will be particularly costly, the adopting parents
will not be required to provide further proof of their financial situation, as this information will have already been provided at the time of petition (I-600A or I-600) approval.What Documents to Bring With You to U.S. Embassy:
Since each case is different, it is possible that the Consulate General will request additional documents after a preliminary review of the application of the prospective adoptive parent(s).
1. certified copy of child's birth certificate;
2. if birth father, mother or both are deceased, certified copy of death certificate issued by civil registrar;
3. relinquishment of parental rights executed before an appropriate Ecuadoran authority;
4. adoption decree issued by a judge with the certified translation to English. The translation must be notarized by a consular officer at the American Embassy or Consulate General;
5. authorization from a Judge to permit the minor to leave Ecuador;
6. Ecuadoran passport valid for at least six months;
7. three photographs (consult Embassy or Consulate for specifications);
8. two 230-B forms;
9. I-600 form filed at the Embassy in Quito or at the Consulate General in Guayaquil. The adoptive parent signing this form should be present during the interview with the Consul. The completed adoption decree must be presented when filing this form;
10. I-604 form filed at the Embassy in Quito or the Consulate General in Guayaquil. A consul must see the adopted child when this form is filed;
11. Medical examination;
12. In cases where the minor has not been seen or observed in person by the prospective adoptive parent(s), a notarized statement by those parents will be required indicating that although they have not seen or observed the minor in person, they are nevertheless willing to adopt or re-adopt the minor in the United States. AMERICAN EMBASSY/CONSULATE GENERAL ASSISTANCE:
Upon arrival in Ecuador to try to arrange an adoption,U.S. citizens should register at the U.S. Embassy, Consular Section, American Citizens Services in Quito or with the Consulate General in Guayaquil. The Embassy/Consulate General will be able to provide information about any outstanding travel advisories and to provide other information about Ecuador including lists of physicians, attorneys, interpreters and translators. The U.S. Embassy is located at Avenida 12 de Octubre y Avenida Patria, Quito. Telephone: 011-593-2-562-890. Fax: 011-593-2-502-052. The U.S. Consulate General is located at 9 de Octubre y Garcia Moreno, Guayaquil. Telephone: 011-593-4-323-570. Fax: 011-593-4-325-286. QUESTIONS:
Specific questions regarding adoptions in Ecuador may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, 2401 E Street, N.W., Room L127, Washington, D.C. 20037; Phone: (202) 736-7000; Fax: (202) 312-9743. Recorded information concerning significant changes in adoption procedures is available 24 hours a day at: (202) 736-7000, or by automated fax (calling from the telephone on your fax machine) at (202) 647-3000. If the country you are interested in is not listed, procedures have not significantly changed. Information on immigrant visas is available from the State Department's Visa Office, at (202) 663-1225. This 24 hour automated system includes options to speak with consular officers during business hours for questions not answered in the recorded material. Application forms and petitions for immigrant visas are available from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the nearest office of which is listed in the federal pages of your telephone book, under U.S. Department of Justice.
In addition, the State Department publishes Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings. Consular Information Sheets are available for every country in the world, providing information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health conditions, political situations, and crime reports. When situations are sufficiently serious that the State Department recommends U.S. citizens avoid traveling to a country, a Travel Warning is issued. Both Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings may be heard 24 hours a day by calling the State Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone telephone. The recording is updated as new information becomes available. In addition, this information is accessible through the automated fax machine, as above, and is also available at any of the 13 regional passport agencies, field offices of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad.
Furthermore, you may write in requesting information, sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overseas Citizens Services, Room 4811 N.S., 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818.ECUADORAN POST-ADOPTION REQUIREMENTS:
Ecuadoran law requires compliance with certain regulations, even after you have adopted your child. These post-adoption requirements include:
1. Legalization of the adoption in the United States;
2. Notification of any change of address of the adoptive parent(s) to the nearest Ecuadorian Consulate in the United States;
3. A social worker's examination each year (or more frequently, if Ecuadoran authorities so desire) of the physical, "moral", and social atmosphere in which the child is being brought up;
4. A report to the nearest Ecuadoran consulate to be forwarded to the National Directorate for the Protection of Minors (Direccion Nacional de Proteccion de Menores).