Just curious to find out what type of information those that have adopeted from Colombia have gotten in regards to birth families? I know that medical information is sometimes more complete than other countries, but what about information as to whether the birthmother wants/is open to future contact? I've been following some threads on the Guatemala board and am just curious as to whether or not this is/has been discussed at any appointments with the social workers. Please don't feel that you need to give details, I'm just wondering how much of that is discussed and if anyone has been through that part before.
Thanks! I really appreciate all the info I've gotten from this board before. We're finally getting to the point that we think more about being parents than the actual process!
Hi Kate,
This may have changed since our first trip to Colombia in May/June 2005 and it may work differently for each adoption house and through ICBF, but I can share a little bit of what we learned with you. I'm looking forward to hearing what other's have to say.
We adopted through Ayudame and during our stay in Bogota we went with another family (who had adopted through Los Pisingos) to a crisis pregnancy center that was run independently of either adoption house. We participated in a "round table discussion" of sorts. There were expectant mothers there, birth mothers, social workers/psychologists, and us (the representatives for adoptive families). It was all in Spanish, and my Spanish is pretty good, so I understood most everything after asking them to repeat a few things. However, the other family didn't understand much Spanish and there was no time allowed for me to translate everything for the other family, so that was a bummer for them...they did get the gist of what was being said, but not every detail. During this discussion, we were all able to ask questions freely of the others. Some questions we asked were:
*Do you want your children to grow up learning Spanish? (most answered yes)
*If our family were to adopt again would you prefer that we returned to Colombia or chose a different country? (most said that they prefered we adopted another child from Colombia)
*Do you want contact with your child?
This was the difficult question because according to the social workers in the room, a new regulation had been passed in (or around) November of 2004 which prohibits the birth mothers from having access to their child's information either until their child is 18 or for 18 years after placement (I couldn't understand which it was). Also, the child has access to their file in Colombia when they are 18 years old. We asked several times for clarification because, of course, we want to follow the law and because we need to know for our children if they will have access to their files when they are ready.
I'm hoping that someone who knows Colombian law can speak to this and whether or not the 'regulation' they were speaking about has changed in the past 2 1/2 years.
Other than that, I know of one LP family who received letters from the birth mother...they were beautiful. We received lots of background information that is precious to us. Not all of it is easy to read and understand, but it is still precious information to our child's history.
It would also be interesting to hear from some who have adopted older children whose relinquishment (or removal from the home) might have been due to their protection what they were told about future contact with birth family.
As an adult adoptee I have my own opinions regarding contact, but I know that every adoptee deals with their experience in a different way and will have different needs regarding future contact and finding peace with their past. I want to be able to help my children find peace with their adoptions however they need to, so these questions regarding contact with birth family are important. I hope that makes sense.
[FONT=Times New Roman]ICBF has a stated policy on meeting the birth family. Below, I quote from the original document the new LINEAMIENTO -- found on the ICBF website and put into effect in September of 2007.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]If you read Spanish, you can read it all, I will summarize below the article.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman] Reencuentro con la familia de origen.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Los nios tienen derecho a conocer su filiacin y sus padres adoptivos tienen el deber de compartir la informaciᳳn teniendo en cuenta, entre otras cosas, las condiciones especficas de desarrollo del nio y su edad. La persona adoptada que llega a la mayor�a de edad tiene derecho a tener y conocer la informacin disponible sobre sus antecedentes familiares y sociales y las circunstancias que rodearon la adopcin, atendiendo a lo establecido en el art. 75 del C㳳digo de la Infancia y la Adolescencia.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]No todos los adoptados buscan la familia biolgica, sta es una opci㩳n individual. Las razones que motivan su bsqueda son varias: conocer las razones que llevaron a los padres a no ejercer la crianza, imaginar que puede ayudarlos econmicamente, necesitar esta informaci곳n para el proceso de reafirmacin personal y el establecimiento de su identidad, por curiosidad, entre otras. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Teniendo en cuenta la importancia que tiene para algunas personas buscar la familia, en algunos casos los padres biolgicos dejan una carta a su hijo explic㳡ndoles las razones que dieron lugar a su separacin, la que anexan a la historia y hace parte de la documentacin. En ocasiones manifiestan su deseo de actualizar sus datos de contacto, los cuales deben ser registrados en el ICBF o Instituci㳳n autorizada, tantas veces como sea necesario, y conservados en un archivo creado para tal fin. En todo caso los padres que lo deseen, una vez se obtenga la Sentencia de Adopcin y el nuevo Registro Civil de Nacimiento del nio, ni㱱a o adolescente podrn solicitar por escrito al Secretario del Comit, fotocopia de la totalidad de la Historia sociofamiliar de su hijo, reservᩡndose el momento y las condiciones en que deseen compartirlo con su hijo.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Partiendo de que la historia de los nios “declarados adoptables” es en muchas ocasiones “turbulentas y dolorosas”, se hace necesario que previamente el adoptado conozca que existen riesgos al entablar contacto con la familia biolgica y que ᳩsta no est obligada a aceptar la comunicacin o los encuentros. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]El Cᳳdigo de Infancia y Adolescencia en el artculo 75 establece a quienes se les puede expedir copias de los documentos y quienes requieren realizar el proceso de levantamiento de reserva. En todos los casos se allega la solicitud al comit que realizo la adopci�n para que coordine la bsqueda de la informacin existente y proceda a la entrega de informaci곳n o los reencuentros, con un acompaamiento psicosocial del Centro Zonal ICBF o de la Institucin Autorizada, a fin de minimizar su impacto y contribuir a un encuentro armonioso. En Colombia no hay servicios aprobados para la bᳺsqueda de races. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]ICBF states that children have the right to know about their background, and adoptive parents have the right to decide when and how this will be accomplished. If the child has already reached adulthood they have a right to all of the availble information on their case.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Not every child will want to know about their biological family. But, because it is impossible to know who will and who will not and understanding that it is important biological parents can be invited to write a letter that will be a part of the child's file and should be annexed to the file given to the adoptive parents. Also, the biological parents could be invited to update their personal information whenever they want and ICBF or a Casa Privada should do that as often as they request.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]In any case, adoptive parents, once they have received Snetencia and have the new Registro Civil (Birth Cert). can go to the Secretary of the Adoptions and ask for a fotocopy of the COMPLETE History of the child {We did this and got 158 pages of material on our son}. Then the parents can decide when and how the material should be shared.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]It is important to keep in mind that children that are adoptable may have turbulent and painful circumstances in their past and their may be risks with contacting the birth family, and the adoptive family has no requirement to establish or maintain contact with the birth family.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]According to the new law, only certain people can request information. IN any case, the comittee that placed the child for adoption should coordinate the search for information and the turning over of that info. They also should provide a social worker to be present if a reunion happens. In Colombia, there are NO APPROVED AGENCIES THAT SEARCH FOR BIRTH FAMILIES.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Hope this helps.[/FONT]
That info does help, thanks!
Ideally I would love to be able to have contact while the child is growing up in order to send them pictures and letters if they are interested in receiving them (though I do understand that this will likely not happen). We also plan to make return trips to Colombia fairly often and would be open to meeting the birth family if they were interested. It sounds like the best way to go about this is just to share this type of info with the casa privada and let them be the intermediary with the birth family, right?
And thank you, Sumerce, for letting me know about that step to get the complete file. I hadn’t heard of that yet, so I’ll be sure to make note to do that after the new birth certificate is received.
Megan, thanks for sharing about the panel discussion you were part of. What a great opportunity to ask questions and get insight. Can I ask who coordinated that visit for you? Was it Ayudame?
Thanks again for the info, and please pitch in if you have any addition info or opinions on this.
You may need to bring a copy of the lineamiento with you and point out the change in philosophy about this. Since this is new, all casas and regional ICBF offices may not be aware of it or following it. Also, since the children in the casas are typcially relinquished at birth, you may find that birth families are more willing to communicate with you.
In the case of children that were taken from their homes and then placed for adoption may think twice about making contact.
Also remember, that the Hague treaty requires that birth families not receive any monetary gain by the placement of a child. Unfortunately, some birth families see contact with the adoptive family as a financial boon. They will ask for "help" for this or that. They will ask you to pay for another child's education, for their education, for their housing, all sorts of things. When I spoke with the SW that worked with my son's birth family she advised us not to make contact because she felt we may be dragged into that kind of situation. She was also concerned about the illegal actions of one of our birthparents and that this might pose a danger to us and our family in Colombia.
I think that sometimes as adoptive parents we only think of the contact as being pruely positive for both, when in reality it may not be.
So, when you get your child's file, ask to speak with the social worker that worked with your birthmother/father and get her take on the family before you reach out and get involved in something that you may not want permanently.
Thank you for sharing the new regulations regarding this. Your advice regarding talking with the social worker first is excellent. Coming from a country where open adoptions are the norm and almost an expectation, it is good to get the advice of the social worker who would know more specifically if contact (either throughout the growing up years or in the future) would be beneficial for the child.
I don't know exactly who set up the meeting I went to in Bogota (which including birth parents, expectant parents, adoptive parents and social workers). I know that we were invited to it by our agency's in-country representative and that at that time there was a big push for expectant mothers to understand their options for parenting and placing their children for adoption, as well as what the Colombian government could offer them as support if they chose to parent. It was a wonderful meeting and it gave me a great prespective that someday I will be able to share with our children. Also, as an adult adoptee (though through US domestic adoption) I was able to share with the birth mothers and expectant mothers how adoption has blessed my life and been a very positive influence on who I am today.
So is the ability to get the complete file new? i would like to have that!!! i wonder if i can go about getting that now...maybe when we go to Colombia in a few years. Our setencia was signed in 2005.
but there is no information about her birth mother at all in the information that we have. her name and that's it. nothing about the pregnancy, etc. I know about the state our daughter was in when she was found, but that's it. (we adopted from ICBF)
she lived with a foster family for 14 months before she was adopted. Since we are done sending official reports, i was thinking of contacting my agency and see if they'd be an intermediate between myself and the foster mother. I'd like to send her pictures and a letter each year to let her know how everything is going. I did meet with and talk to the foster mother at our pick up. it really stuck out to me how much she cared for my daughter and how much she wanted to read the reports about her growing up.
We had to take a copy of the Sentencia and the Registro Civil to ICBF. When we did we also gave them a written request for a copy of Mateo's file. They actually brought it up at our inital meeting, before we had a chance to ask. There is almost no information on his birth mother as she lived on the street and couldn't provide an address or even a cedula (the national ID) so it will be almost impossible for us to find her in the future. About the only thing we do know is that he has 2 half siblings that live with their father (we are assuming that he has a different father). We will share with Mateo the information we have when it is appropriate.
We sent a letter to the foster mother when we sent our acceptance. We thanked her for everything she and her family did for our son and for their very important place in his life. In it we asked for any photos of his first year that she could share with us. The social worker suggested we not show them to him right now as he needs to bond with us not remember them. But we will show him later. Its nice to have something from that time period in his life. They are on a cd. I will do something very special with them when we get home so that he can look at them when he gets older.
We do have the foster mother's name and address because it was in his file, but ICBF asked us not to contact them and we will honor their request. Each office seems to be different in how they handle the foster parent relationship. Some let them meet the family, some don't.
Thanks for bringing this subject up, and thanks to all of you who have responded with such helpful information. A friend of mine who adopted through Ayudame sends pictures of her sons and an update every year back to the orphanage, just in case the birth mother may decide to contact the orphanage to get an update on their progress. I think the casas and ICBF are trying to do a better job of maintaining accurate birth family information and keeping it updated as much as possible, so that when children are of age, they can try to contact the birth family if they want to.
Hi everyone,
My expereince was very similar to Laura's... we were given the complete file without asking for it, and any information they had for us about Alayna's birth family was in there, including her siblings, etc. Like Mateo, Alayna's birth parents will be very difficult if not impossible to find and have contact with, and this is true for many relinquished children. We also received a beautiful photo book made be the social worker and foster mother, which we were advised to share with Alayna once she is a little older. ICBF also asked us not to contact the foster family directly for our protection and theirs... we will honor that request but have sent updated pictures etc., to our lawyer already that she can share with the foster family as she sees fit.
ICBF's policies may seem very strict to some, but I know they always have the child's interests in mind first and foremost.
For those of you still waiting for your referrals, I know the holiday season can be especially difficult... as someone with a long long timeline, I can promise you that you WILL make it, your baby is waiting at the end of this road!!!! When you meet him/her all the waiting will finally make sense!
I'm boosting this thread to see if anyone knows about getting a copy of the file after the fact. I'm very, very interested in doing this. There are so many gaps in the knowledge that I have....
Does anyone know if I can have my agency could help me with this? I wrote them and am awaiting a response.
But If I were in Colombia, I just need the Sentencia and her Birth Certificate, correct?
We adopted an older child - a 12 year old daughter. I know that is very different from most here.
In our case, our daughter's mother lost custody of our daughter due to neglect, abuse, etc. During our daughter's stay at the orphanage, much time was spent in trying to rehabilitate her mother and ultimately restore the family. Due to the mother's ambivalence and lack of cooperation, her parental rights were ultimately terminated.
Unfortunately in this situation, medical history, family history, etc., was only as good as what her mother provided and given her lack of cooperation, it is quite incomplete. Our daughter though, as time has gone on, has been able to give us some history of things that she remembers. She has some very good recall, but there are still huge gaps.
Additionally, given the situation surrounding her previous home life and "abandonment", she is not allowed any contact with mother and/or family until after the age of 18. In her case, this is for her "protection". But what that also means is that there is virtually no way now to know where we might find her mother and siblings.
Although my story is somewhat different than those posted here, I thought it might be helpful to those who are considering older child adoption in that you might encounter similar circumstances.
As we are hoping to adopt an older sibling group this is something we have spent much time considering and praying about. Thank you, Robin, for sharing your experience.